Now that you’ve set some goals for your healthy lifestyle, it’s time to pick out some ways to reward yourself. Rewards should not always be food. Actually, it’s probably a good idea NOT to use food.
Many people have been rewarded with food for a majority of their life. Just think about your school classroom, good behavior is often rewarded with candy. How do you celebrate holidays or birthdays? Cake. It’s all fun and games until you begin to associate the feeling of joy/happiness/job well done with the food itself.
The food becomes an emotional attachment and you begin to think that the food can give you that feeling of happiness. Often times, that is the reason that we want to eat junk food (or promoters) when we’re stressed or depressed. We see the food as providing us with that feeling of happiness and love. This is termed “emotional eating”.
To redirect this habit, find a way to reward yourself that is healthy. Think of the things that you like that aren’t food related. If your goal is a long term goal, then you might want to make the reward a bigger one. Don’t forget to set those short term (weekly) goals. Reward the small steps with smaller rewards as you work towards the bigger goals.
Here are some examples of appropriate rewards:
- Massage or other “spa” related item.
- Health related magazine (Nutrition Action, Health, Vegetarian Times).
- Sports Gear
- Necklace or other jewelry
- Movie tickets
- Fitness video
- iTunes giftcard
Long term rewards:
- iPod or MP3 player
Rewarding yourself is an important way to help you reach your goals. Use an incentive to keep yourself motivated in making a healthy change and reducing your cancer risk.
Until next time, stay healthy!