Rewarding Yourself, the Healthy Way.

June 11th, 2012

How many times have you seen people eating something obviously unhealthy and saying they are just “rewarding themself” for completing a difficult task?  Have you wondered why no one says that while eating a plateful of broccoli or running an hour on the treadmill?  From an early age, we are given positive reinforcement with high fat foods.  Every child’s birthday has a large cake with icing and ice cream, grilled burgers and hot dogs are standard at every 4th of July or Labor Day.  Over time, our minds equate high fat foods with happiness and well-being.  Unfortunately, these foods are readily available at every street corner nowadays.

Think about changing how you reward yourself.  Maybe you could go for a massage or get a facial as a reward for losing weight?  How about buying a new dress in your slimmer size?  Obviously, don’t go overboard or you may develop a shopping addiction.  Set goals for yourself, like for every 10 pounds you lose, you can buy a new pair of shoes.  You could set up a jar on your kitchen table, or start a bank account where you deposit $10 for every 1 pound you lose.

At the office, start a pact to not bring in any unhealthy treats for birthdays and other milestones.  It’s always difficult to refuse a slice of cake in front of your office mates at a birthday party.  Think about if (and chances are good) someone in the office was diabetic.  It could be very awkward for them, and certainly unhealthy for them to eat the cake.  How about getting a large fresh fruit plate with a chocolate or caramel dipping sauce on the side?

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good chocolate cake and can’t resist pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.  What I’m saying is that we should wary of becoming dependent on high calorie foods as little “pats on the back”, because over time they lead to “pains in the back” from all the extra weight.