What's wrong here?
Most of us have associated food with rewards since the first time we were give a cookie for being good as children. It's a bad practice that's ingrained early, and if your goal is to have a healthy attitude toward food, it's time to drop that habit like a buttery hot potato.
Instead, look for rewards that don't involve indulging in rich foods; preferably ones that won't break the bank, either. For inspiration, consider the goal you achieved. What have you really earned the right to by what you've accomplished?
Reaching a goal weight. Congratulations! You have a newly trim body to show off. So show it off! Reward yourself with a sexy new outfit in a smaller size. Buying any article of clothing in your new size is doubly rewarding, as you'll get both the item and the satisfaction of seeing yourself in flattering duds.
Receiving good grades or a promotion. Awesome! Bet you had to work hard to earn those high marks. The logical reward, then, is giving yourself permission to relax for a while. Set aside at least a few hours to dig into a novel or watch a DVD. Let yourself forget work for a while and relish the perks of a job well done.
Finished a marathon or met a fitness goal. Terrific! You pushed your body, and it rose to the occasion. Now, reward those tired muscles with a professional (or amateur, if you have a willing partner) massage or spa visit. Your soreness will melt away as you bask in the glow of your accomplishment.
Other rewards. A few more alternatives to the big slice of cheesecake:
- Go see a movie on the big screen (and sneak in your own healthier popcorn).
- Take a day off from work and engage in the activities you love.
- Have a game night with friends and family.
- Take yourself out to the ball game.
- Plan a fun weekend getaway.
- Buy yourself a small gift.
Remember, food can be a treat. There's nothing wrong with indulging in a handful of chips every now and then as long as you're prepared to balance it out with healthier food later. But when you're looking for a reward, not a treat, try looking beyond the fridge.