I’m SO guilty of this, it isn’t even funny.
“Eating crappy food isn’t a reward — it’s a punishment.” – Drew Carey
What’s the first thing I want to do after surviving a hard day with the kids?
Relax with Ben and Jerry on the couch.
I don’t think I’ll ever fully disconnect the food/reward connection in my brain but I have changed what food I mostly reward myself with. Instead of “crappy” cookies, pizza, and ice cream, I turn to homemade yogurt creations, banana soft-serve, and fun pizza inspired creations. And you know what, it’s all just as good. Actually, no, I now find my choices better!
We need to stop fighting ourselves. Work WITH the urge to snack or reward ourselves by indulging in a more mindful and conscious way.
For example, when the 8-year-old comes home with a good report card we go out for ice cream. It’s a tradition carried over from my husband’s family that I love. Sure, we could visit a typical ice cream place and get banana splits with full-fat ice cream and all the toppings, but we don’t. Instead we go to one of those top-it-yourself frozen yogurt shops and I “indulge” in a frozen yogurt concoction filled with every fruit they have on the bar.
Is it bad to still “reward” with food? Maybe, but it’s a part of our culture. We are surrounded by birthday cakes, dinners out for anniversaries, and parties for every holiday on the calendar. There’s nothing wrong with a slice of birthday cake here and there, but when we are constantly in “reward” mode (and let’s be honest, there’s always SOMETHING to celebrate) it may be time to make our food choices a little more consciously.
In the next few weeks I’ll be celebrating FitBloggin‘, my mom’s birthday, my birthday, our yearly beach week, my friend’s son’s birthday, my niece’s birthday, and, umm, it was just the end of school and the 8-year-old’s birthday last week.
See, there’s always something. Let’s stop punishing ourselves.