How do you celebrate a good report card?
A promotion at work?
Did any or all of your answers include food?
If so you are not alone.
When I was little my Mom rewarded everything with food. Our family was large and we did not have extra money so the idea of having ice cream or a Twinkie, even a fast food meal was almost unheard of. As a result, it really did feel special treat when we did get any of these things. Sometimes, if we were extra good at the store she might buy us a gumball or the nice man at the bakery would hand us a cookie. If we got straight A’s for the whole year we went out to ice cream and when it was a special occasion or holiday there was always a special dessert to celebrate. Is that so bad? No- at least I did not think so as a child. But what I realize now as a grown up, is that it subconsciously taught me that food is a treat, and that sugary, sweet foods are coveted. The end result is that when I feel I deserve a reward I usually do it with food.
Maybe you grew up differently than this, but if you are one of thousands of people who associate a treat or a reward with food than let’s use now to break the pattern.
Food should not be how we celebrate a success, or a reward for a job well done.
Have you ever “treated” yourself to a Frozen coffee drink or other similar item just because you managed to make it out of Target without buying anything that was not on your list? I admit it, I have.
These are all examples of how we tie eating or certain foods with our emotions, which in turn can lead to a very unhealthy relationship with food. Most people know they should not turn to food for comfort or solace. The same goes for when you eat because you are happy, or proud or because you are in a great mood. The end result can still make you feel awful, and that defeats the purpose anyway, right?
In order to change our connection of food and feelings or the idea that food is fun we have to try to come up with replacement rewards for all of these emotions that we normally associate with eating.
Here are a few ideas I have found to try and find new ways to celebrate, please feel free to share your ideas with us in the comments!
Buy a new workout outfit
Get a massage
Go see a new movie
Buy a new book and enjoy a relaxing afternoon reading
Get a pedicure
Pick up some fresh flowers at the farmers market
Plan a mini vacation
Get a new hairstyle
Learn a new sport
Learn a new skill – like playing the piano, singing, acting, or painting
Go see a comedy show or live performance
Take a day trip to your favorite local town
Go see your favorite band
Buy a new pair of running shoes
Go paddleboarding or kayaking and leave your phone at home!
Attend a local sports game
Have professional pictures done
Get a manicure
Give yourself time to sit and color or paint
Buy a new water bottle
Start a garden
Go for a hike or a nature walk
Get a personal trainer
Have a spa day
Take a day off of work for no real reason
Take a class in photography
Buy a new piece of furniture or home accessory
Buy a new purse or bag
Take a class for a hobby you have always wanted
Play mini golf
Get a facial
Buy something off of your pinterest board
Take a Drive
Go for a bike ride with a friend
Dress up for no special occasion
Spend a day window shopping with a friend