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Blog, Health and Wellness, | 06.01.22

How Can I Drink Coffee Without Sugar? Reworking our Rituals!

People depend on rituals for many reasons. It may be because they provide comfort and security, the rituals may be something they share with others or creates a feeling of belonging, they may give them something to look forward to, or break up the monotony of the day. Just because rituals are maintained for years, it doesn’t mean that they are healthy or helping you move towards their goals. Sometimes rituals need to be reworked in order to fit into a new, healthier lifestyle.

So, what do you do when you have to adjust a ritual or two in order to make healthier choices for yourself? Humans tend to be creatures of habit, and any form of change can be difficult. A little preparation can help. 

How can you prepare to adjust rituals that don’t align with new goals or values?

  1. Identify your fears. When you think about changing a ritual, is there anything that makes you feel afraid? Do you fear that you will lose friends? That others won’t accept the changes you want to make? Fear is normal. The important thing is to not allow it to hold you back.
  2. Think about what could get in the way. What could serve as a barrier to reworking the ritual? Experiencing pressure from the people around you? Not feeling confident in your ability to make the change? Figure out your roadblocks and how to overcome them.
  3. Prepare to talk to your friends and loved ones. Think about what you can say to express your new needs to the people around you. Figuring out how to assert your needs ahead of time can make it less stressful if anyone questions the changes you want to make.     

How can you go about making changes to your rituals? Here are a few examples that may help:

  1. Your morning cup of caffeine…sweeter please! A normal morning routine for many includes a cup of coffee, most of the time with a sweetener of some kind. 
    1. How to re-work it: Replace your sugar or flavored creamer with milk or half & half. Try tea instead of coffee, even for one day, to see how it feels. If the change seems daunting, make it more appealing by buying yourself a new mug with a positive affirmation on it. Drink your caffeine in a new place, like in front of a window where you can enjoy nature, or add something new to your morning routine like journaling or a crossword puzzle. 
  2. That nightly brownie during a Netflix binge – It’s the end to the day and this one has been a particularly stressful one. You are very much looking forward to turning off your mind and enjoying a treat. 
    1. How to re-work it: Replace the brownie with popcorn or another healthy snack. Instead of watching TV, find a different activity that you don’t connect to food, like reading, coloring while listening to music, or go to sleep earlier than usual. Do you spend your nights with a partner or friend? Ask them to be your accountability partner and support you in making healthier choices at night. 
  3. Baking holiday cookies with family – Holiday rituals can hold a special place in someone’s heart, producing feelings of connection and love, and creating memories
    1. How to re-work it: Check in with yourself – can you bake cookies and feel triggered to eat them? If the answer is yes, make adjustments to make it more doable for you or identify some coping skills to help. If the answer is no, then a bigger change needs to be made. Find a healthier option to cook with family. Create a new ritual that still carries some holiday spirit. Try some other ways to connect and feel close to friends and family that don’t involve food. 
  4. Weekly wine and food date with your friends – lives are busy, can’t always carve out time to see friends, may want to go to a winery (but you don’t drink) or a place that has great desserts, how can you say no? Will you lose friends?
    1. How to re-work it: Can you choose a different place for dinner? Have recommendations ready, and if you are not completely comfortable with your actual reasoning for wanting to try a new place, prepare a reason (this place got great reviews, my brother keeps raving about this place, we can eat outside, location, etc.)

Life ebbs and flows, things change whether we want them to or not. Children grow up, and your family may not keep the same rituals you did when they were younger, and that’s ok. Family members and friends move away. Want more support? Sign up for the Breaking Up with Sugar Course! A 6-module online course that will help you break up with Sugar and heal your relationship with food. Also, check out Molly’s youtube channel and subscribe to the Sunday Love Letter to get support, information, and motivation on your journey to create a loving relationship with food.

Photo by Emily Bauman on Unsplash

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