Do you reward yourself with food? Stop it!

If you answered yes, let’s stop this bad habit.  When I was heavier, food was always apart of the celebration.  Had the best day of my life? I had ice cream because I deserved it.  It’s my birthday or Willie’s birthday or my cousin’s twice removed birthday; let’s chow down.  Got a pay bump?  Let’s spend that extra money on a really decadent meal that will leave me knocked out later. Food is used as a celebratory manner in our lives, but does it always have to be that way.

I even fall victim to it now.  I run a race and I go screaming for froyo!  On the race course, we often see people with the “I run for beer” shirts but mine would proudly state “I run for froyo!”  Willie openly admits he runs so he can enjoy a good meal without counting the calories and whatever else. (But he’s really not running to eat fried chicken or anything so let’s get that straight first.  He’s running to eat those things we have kind of exed out of our diet…like a regular hamburger.)

Rewarding ourselves with food would be considered emotional eating, right?  I get many e-mails on the daily about people’s biggest problem being emotional eating.  Emotional eating was my problem and I’ve had to work very hard to break those habits.  And having a great moment in life and celebrating it with food is considered emotional eating.

Wait!?! Does that mean I can’t have food to celebrate a moment?  I’m not saying that all.  Everything in moderation.  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 blowout 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 Chicken Express tonight.”  And that’s really not something to celebrate…that’s emotional eating and it will take you on a downward spiral.

And don’t forget, there are other ways to reward yourself?  Remember my friend Julie, every time she hit a weight loss goal, she got a new purse!  I’m trying to reward myself with a spa day or something along those lines after I finish a race instead of that froyo cup!  The point is, find something that you like and make that your reward instead of focusing on rewarding yourself with food.

Here are some other ways to reward yourself:

1. Plan to take trip when you reach your goal.

2. Take a day off.

3. Spa day.

4. Plan a movie night (or girl’s night out) with friends.

5. Buy something fitness related.  New running shoes, workout dvds, workout equipment…keep your eye on something that you want and work toward getting it.

6. Buy your splurge item you’ve been eyeing fitness related or not!

It’s something we all do, but now is the time to break the habit!

What is one thing you can reward yourself with instead of food?