You are not a dog!

Dogs get trained and rewarded with food, they looooove food, it is the best possible thing that you can use to reinforce good behaviour. You, however, are not a dog! What’s more, if you are on a diet, the worst possible thing you could do is reward your self with food. Think about it logically:

“OMG I am so awesome, I have worked my butt of in the gym and have stuck to my diet for 3 whole days! I deserve a chocolate bar!”

Really? I hope you can see why that doesn’t make sense. If you are trying to stop a kid from biting other children, you don’t reward them by letting them bite again… so why do we do this with food?

Junk food, or splurge food should not be seen as a reward, because you are training yourself to associate successful weight loss or fitness goals with unhealthy food. Instead try to reward yourself in a healthy way that doesn’t relate to food. My go to reward/pick-me-up is a mani-pedi. If I am succeeding and I’ve reached a goal I go out and get one, at the end of it I feel even prettier than I did before, plus I haven’t thought about food for at least an hour. Sometimes I’ll even use these rewards to curb a craving or cheat . If I’m feeling discouraged; for instance the scale hasn’t budged and I’m thinking what’s the point of depriving myself, might as well eat some chocolate (this may have happened last night and I now have beautifully manicured hands and feet and a guilt-free conscience)… I go for a walk, or go to the movies or some other activity. Just do something non-food related.

I am in no way saying that you shouldn’t splurge sometimes, just that it shouldn’t be related to your diet either negatively or positively. Cheat meals can really help a diet, but they should be less of a reward, and more a normal part of life. If you have a special event on a thursday but you would normally splurge on sunday, just mix it up. It’s not bad, it’s just life. Your diet should be manageable in the long term and if you are constantly looking for the next time you can have what you want, it’s not going to last.

So here are some ideas for rewards that are not related to food for smaller achievements:

  • mani-pedi or some sort of spa treatment
  • going to the movies
  • buying a new book/movie
  • having a long relaxing bath
  • go to a theme park

and for bigger achievements:

  • purchase that camera/phone/random gadget you’ve been eyeing
  • buy a new outfit (especially if your size has changed… this is so rewarding)
  • get a new hairdo for the new you
  • go on a vacation somewhere you can wear a swimsuit
  • spend an hour looking at your abs Think about your next goal and plan for it

Food is delicious and you should enjoy it, it’s all about how you think about what you are eating. If you make food a reward it becomes emotional and that can lead to disaster. I hope I’ve given you some idea/justifications for treating yourself.

 

 

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