We’ve all done it. After a good workout we get home and see those hostess snacks in the pantry, or that chocolate bar on the counter, and we say “Oh, I deserve this!”. This makes sense to us because we are looking for excuses that help us to feel less guilty about eating food that we know we shouldn’t be. What many people don’t know however, is that this is more of a “one-step-forward-two-steps-back” method.
If you are working out to lose weight (as most of us are) or reach a different goal, rewarding yourself will hinder the result. Often times, we tell ourselves that we deserve sweets after a good workout, and in turn we end up putting just as many calories back into our body, if not more, than we have just burned off. Though working out and eating unhealthy is better than only eating unhealthy, this gets your body and mind used to the reward afterward. Now imagine one time after working out, you don’t reward yourself, your body will then get confused because it begins to think that there is no reward for all of that hard work, and in turn you lose the motivation to work out again (1).
So what should I do?
I know it’s easier said than done, but step away from the chocolate cupcake! Instead of rewarding yourself with food after your workout think of investing in a nice new pair of yoga pants, or gym shorts. Another alternative is giving yourself a guilt free trip somewhere, or a shopping spree to find new clothes that you’re going to look awesome in when you finally do start seeing the results. If that isn’t your style, try creating a goal. For example, if you complete 5 workouts in a row you can reward yourself with a new CD or movie. If those ideas are not motivating to you, try something different. The idea is to make the reward desirable to you. Everyone is different and everyone has different things that motivate them! Take a couple minutes to figure that out and get back to working out.
Trust me, I’ve been there. One time I even got caught eating a donut while on the treadmill. Surprise, surprise, I never saw results by doing this. We can justify our sweets however we want, but no matter what we tell ourselves, eating them won’t get our bodies to where we want it to be. If you really want to start seeing results, stop rewarding yourself with food after your workout, you are not a dog.
- Beattie, D. (2012, August 1). Stop Rewarding Yourself. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from http://skillbasedfitness.com/stop-rewarding-yourself/