Are You Addicted to Food or the Ritual?

Are You Addicted to the Food or the Ritual . . . Read more at

A few weeks ago I was at the grocery store getting my weekly groceries which I like to call “weight loss ammunition.” If I don’t do my weekly shopping trip, I’m setting myself up to fail. I had packed my shopping cart with tons of fresh fruit, vegetables, chicken, milk, low fat cheese, water , etc. All the healthy and clean foods that I need in my kitchen to help me lose weight.

I had checked off my entire list and I finally noticed I had walked around the store at least 2 or 3 more times. It was as if someone had possessed my body and I didn’t even realize I was doing it!

I walked down the cookie aisle looking for something sweet that would satisfy my cravings.

Then I headed down the salty chip aisle looking for who knows what. I believe it was chocolate covered pretzels at the time.

I then walked down the baking aisle admiring all of the icing and cake mixes.

Then I headed over to the bakery where my biggest vice of all lives, butter cream icing. I stared at the gorgeous cupcakes and I’m pretty sure they winked back at me. They may have even called me by name.

I quickly left the bakery empty handed and kept circling around the store looking for something “healthy sweet” to fill my craving for icing.

Then, my logical side kicked in.

What in the world are you doing?! You’re not even hungry. You don’t have a sweet tooth. You’re not even craving anything sweet! You don’t even really want any icing right now.

That’s when it hit me.

Sometimes it’s more about the “ritual” than the actual food itself. Eating disorders and food rituals go hand in hand. This particular ritual for me is about going to the grocery store alone and knowing that I could sneak any food I want into my cart, eat it, and nobody is going to know. Of course, the food I would always “sneak” is covered in butter cream icing or just a tub of icing itself. It’s something I’ve done in the past without even thinking about. It’s a ritual.

I quickly snapped back into reality and headed to the check out lane with just the groceries I came for, without any icing or chocolate covered pretzels.

It was an epiphany for me because I noticed in the moment what I was doing. I noticed that I wasn’t even craving food but felt like I had to do it because I was alone and I could.

I challenge you to be in the moment when you’re ordering food or grocery shopping. Are there certain rituals that you catch yourself doing? Has it just become so normal to you that you don’t even notice?

Growth is about identifying these behaviors as they happen and making a positive choice once the bad behavior is on the table . . . sometimes quite literally.

Are you addicted to the ritual of the food or the food itself?

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.”
~Maya Angelou~


  1. says

    I think it’s the food for me. I mean, sometimes I feel like food is all I have to look forward to. And I reeeeally look forward to it. It never disappoints me…
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  2. says

    In my own focus on eating healthier, my biggest ritual issue is the “family style” food environment, especially when visiting with relatives. When the food is on the table where we’re sitting and visiting, it’s tough to not mindlessly graze (especially if everyone else is). In our house, the food is prepared in the kitchen and plates get filled there instead of bringing the dishes out.

    I chew mint gum after meals to kick that sweet craving, I’ve heard it helps when shopping or baking.
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