Is This You?
“Well done, let’s celebrate and order a pizza”
“Happy birthday, Lets go out and eat”
Can’t I ever have food to celebrate a moment?
Not at all. Everything in moderation. BUT Rewarding yourself with food is an emotional eating pattern and a habit.
The problem with emotional eating or rewarding ourselves with food is we tend to go overboard.
That isn’t necessary! You don’t need to have a big plate blow-out because it’s your birthday or you got a raise. Food shouldn’t make the situation BETTER or HAPPIER!
Remember eat to live, NOT live to eat!
Rewarding yourself with food will lead to bigger problems. Every time you experience something great then you’re going to think about food. And possibly those BIG times that are celebrated with food will start to whittle down into smaller things like,
“I survived this really hard day so I’m going to eat that KFC.”
And that’s really not something to celebrate…that’s emotional eating and it will take you on a downward spiral.
“I’ve been so good about eating today; I totally deserve a cake”
“I lost 4lbs this week, choccy time”
“I did extra classes this week; I deserve crisps for the extra work”
And a reward with the sort of food you feel is naughty would make perfect sense if eating healthy were some kind of horrible drudgery imposed on you for no actual reason. But if you have a reason to want to eat healthy food, then it doesn’t work: why would you reward yourself for healthy eating with unhealthy food? You wouldn’t give a heroin addict a shot because they have been clean for a week would you?
Having an occasional less-healthy treat because you want it and it looks good is one thing, but bribing yourself with the promise of sugary desserts as a “reward” is not the way to making healthy habits in the long run.
Ideas for Non Food rewards
1. Guilt-free “You Time.”
How often do any of us take that kind of time for ourselves? Probably much more rarely than we should. “You time” that you schedule isn’t the same thing as slacking off – it’s so much better. You don’t have to sneak in something you can pretend will be “just for 5 minutes;” you can really take the time to enjoy what you actually want to do, without that nagging voice of guilt in the back of your head.
Try rewarding yourself with half an hour to do absolutely anything you want (sleep, read a book, watch TV, stare at the wall, whatever). And refuse to feel guilty about it. It’s a great way to recharge, de-stress, and get your groove back.
It’s true that eating well does make you feel good, but there’s also something to be said for a completely self-indulgent pleasure that you do just because you like the way it feels.
A massage (especially good after all those toning classes}
A fancy new body scrub, bubble bath, bath salts,
A nice new haircut
A manicure or pedicure.
A new item of make up or nail polish
3. New Experiences
Try rewarding yourself with something that adds excitement or interest to your life.
Experiment with new type of workout
Explore a new park or beach that you’ve always driven past.
Go to a museum or gallery that you’ve never visited and look around.
Do something “touristy” where you live many of us haven’t experienced what is on our own doorsteps
Take a weekend trip to somewhere nearby and explore the local attractions.
4. Something that builds momentum.
New and beautiful equipment is a great way to stay motivated about cooking every day.
Having nice things to go along with a healthy lifestyle, makes that behaviour so much more fun – why not get yourself something nice that makes healthy eating more pleasant, so your reward just keeps on motivating you to do better?
If you’re rewarding yourself for exercising, try…
Buy a block of yoga classes, a rock climbing wall, or something else “fun” that you wouldn’t otherwise do.
Really nice new workout clothes or shoes (go for shoes if you’re still losing weight – you’ll just shrink out of the clothes!).
New equipment, A nice filtered water bottle, a new gym mat, perhaps a nice new bag to keep it all in
If you’re rewarding yourself for healthy eating, try…
Nice new knives. A good knife makes a difference in everything you cook.
A list of healthy food items you would love to try that are too expensive for everyday allow yourself to purchase one healthy-but-expensive shopping item that you otherwise wouldn’t buy.
A replacement for your most annoying kitchen tool. Rusty can opener? Uneven vegetable peeler? Cracked cutting board? Replace it!
A new cookbook.
5. Something you couldn’t do before.
What can you do now that you couldn’t do? Fit into a roller-coaster seat? Fly without a seatbelt extender? Hike all morning? Run a 5k without stopping? Shop in regular-sized clothing stores instead of special plus-sized stores? Do it, and do it in style. The feeling of pride and accomplishment is great!
6. Mini luxury services.
What’s a chore you absolutely hate doing? Is it grocery shopping? Mowing the lawn, Laundry? Cleaning the bathroom? Wouldn’t it feel so nice to sit back and have someone else do it for a change?
You might not be able to afford that all the time, but as a treat to yourself once in a while, it can be perfect. Some ideas to get you started:
Shop on line, in the comfort of home no running around
If it’s cooking that you hate, treat yourself to one of the fabulous healthy eating boxes, you just cook the provided ingredient to the recipe supplied.( www.hellofresh.co.uk)
For most uncomplicated garden work, like raking leaves mowing the grass, you’ll be able to find a teenager to do it with very little difficulty.
A dog groomer, if you are always bathing your own dog,
Some of these ideas can be a little pricey, so why not make your first treat one of those un-opening tin type money boxes. And every time you reach your goal/target or it is time for a treat, put some money in it, as much or as little as you feel appropriate, even the loose change from your purse will soon add up
Or a marble system allow yourself a bigger treat after you have collected say 10 marbles in your pot at home,
Summing it up
Don’t use unhealthy food to reward yourself for making healthy choices – that doesn’t make sense anyway, and it encourages you to think of healthy food as boring or a punishment. Instead, reward yourself with something that actually adds to your life – like a trip, an hour to yourself, or just freedom from an obnoxious chore that you can’t stand doing. That kind of reward will actually get you closer to being the person you want to be, and it feels better in the long run anyway.