So, I really enjoyed writing my 10 Ways To Feel Young Again post. I'm really not a "writer" but I do find that when I'm going through stuff or am having a bit of a revelation, it makes more sense when it's written down.
Recently I was talking to one of my wonderful friends and we were discussing ingrained habits and how they can effect our lives. It really got me thinking about one habit or occurrence that may have attributed to my weight gain throughout my life. Food being a reward. Now, this probably isn't a new concept to you. I'm sure all of us remember being told that if we ate our vegetables, we'd get dessert. As a reward. Or if we helped our Mums with the housework we'd get an ice cream or a biscuit. As a reward. I'm definitely not shooting down parents. I'm sure that when I have kids of my own, something along those lines is bound to fall out of my mouth.
But it does set you up to make bad habits later on in life. How many times have we told ourselves that if we do an extra 15 minutes on the treadmill, we can have a bowl of ice cream later. Or because we had such a hard week at work and met our deadlines, we can go out for pizza. I know that I certainly have. And it's not a good thing. I'm not saying that you shouldn't eat these things, or that it's not okay to go out for pizza. It is! But I think this whole "food is a reward" mentality needs to stop.
Food isn't a reward. It's food. Or fuel. Or energy. We eat it so that our bodies function. So we can think, talk, walk, dance. We need it. Without it we wouldn't survive. But it's definitely not a reward.
1. Pamper yourself. Not everyone is into the old "mani-pedi" but that's not the only thing you can do to pamper! Why don't you book yourself in for a massage? Maybe you've been dreaming of a new hair style but haven't had the courage or motivation to go for it. You could even just light some candles, chuck on your favourite playlist and paint your nails. Any of these are such great ways to treat yourself because you know, for sure, that you'll feel great after.
2. Have your friends over. Do you know what makes me feel good? Laughing. And being around my friends and people who I love. This shouldn't even be a reward, you should be doing this all the time! It is hard when you are getting overwhelmed with work and other commitments though, so next time you have a deadline coming up, organise to catch up with some friends afterwards and laugh the night away. It will honestly feel so much better than spending the night on your couch with a huge bowl of popcorn.
3. Go shopping. If you've just had a great workout and you know you pushed yourself, why would you eat something that you know will make you feel guilty and uncomfortable later on. Instead, treat yourself to something pretty that will help you feel good. I know they are just clothes, or jewellery (or shoes, or a bag) but I can honestly say that I always feel awesome when I know I look great in what I'm wearing. And even the smallest thing can give you that little extra confidence.
4. Have a bath. Or do something relaxing. Honestly, sometimes all you need is a little "you" time. I know it's hard when we all have 100 things running through our minds but you've got to do it. Schedule some time out, even if it's just half an hour, and relax. I'll admit it, chocolate is delicious. But it's a short term thing, whereas a bath or even reading a book will be so much better for you in the long run.
5. Reach for something healthy. This might seem a bit contradictory (as you are sort of rewarding yourself with food) but instead of grabbing something unhealthy because you feel like you deserve it, nourish your body and treat it right. Do a bit of research and find healthy alternatives for food you like. You'll get your treat but without any of the nasty extras.
I really think that it's just a matter of rewiring your brain and understanding your actions. We aren't all perfect and we don't always make the best choices (in any area of life) but I think, when you understand that there are alternatives, it's only a matter of time before you break unhealthy habits. Next time you reach for that chocolate, just have a think. Will this really make me feel as good as if I took some time out, and really looked after myself?