We Have to Stop Thinking of Food as a Reward

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

I had some of the best workouts ever this week. I lost around 4 pounds, my pants are fitting better and I’m now going to reward myself by going out to eat a big dinner. I see food as a reward.

But, isn’t the 1,800-calorie meal going to undercut my week-long success? Keep in mind, too, that I only am supposed to eat 1,970 calories per day.

I used to think of food as a reward. How do we celebrate birthdays, an anniversary or anything really? Oftentimes we go out and eat. Now, some restaurants make it easy to count calories and you can grab something off their under-500 calories menu. But that’s not the same, right? Food as a reward means that we don’t have to worry about counting calories.

Don’t get me wrong. I like to eat. I eat six to eight meals per day now. And sometimes I eat something sweet. But I’ve stopped looking at food as a reward. It used to be that I work out to eat. Now I eat to workout.

Food as a reward - but not for changing this tireMy reward for exercising is to feel great, hit new personal records and sometimes get surprised by a photo that makes me look “kind of buff.”

And I used to eat a lot. So much, that in high school, a friend and I would stop at a fast food joint after eating dinner with the football team.

So how did I change? I saw photos of myself weighing in at around 330. I couldn’t move. My waist size was like a 48. Yuck. I wanted to change. So I started watching what I ate. I started working out. I started running.

Food wasn’t a reward any longer. The feeling that getting in shape gave me was.

Celebrating our successes, of course, is important, but let’s do that by spending time with each other – aside from eating large meals.