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FTSOLK
Posts: 1,205
6/24/13 11:47 A

LadyStarWind, I'm still doing the sticker chart. However, sometimes, I need a little instant reward on rough days. For me, it might mean buying the more expensive Polar seltzer instead of the store brand or splurging on a Trenta unsweetened iced tea instead of my usual venti. It's not something I do on a daily, or even a weekly basis, but I've been known to set a bottle of hint water in the refrigerator and tell myself that it's waiting for me to finish with my workout. Before the workout, I'm limited to plain water.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,444
6/21/13 7:15 P

There is a positive way to handle the "I'm full and don't want anymore"....and then 2 hours later you have a hungry, crying child on your hand.

Since the parent is responsible for planning and preparing all meals and snacks. You basically, say...."that's fine that you are full and don't want to eat anymore. If you get hungry in a few hours, let me know. I have planned for snacktime either (1) a bowl of cheerios with bananas and milk, or (2) peanut butter and crackers and carrot sticks. You can let me know which snack you want. " (you can decide on the snacks)

See....the parent is still in control of the healthy meals and snacks. With this approach there are no battles, struggles, force-feeding, wars, etc. There is no guessing if you child is hungry, full, etc.

Becky



CLARK971
Posts: 670
6/21/13 6:08 P

Becky, thanks for the articles. emoticon



DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (56,306)
Fitness Minutes: (14,204)
Posts: 9,583
6/21/13 5:42 P

Same here, Nanleykw... my kids don't have to sit at the table forever; it's a total power struggle for my youngest (the picky eater.) I d on't even force her to try it; she knows the rule. She has to try it if she wants anything else. And I'm okay with a lick or a teeny bit... she can get up if she wants to, but there will be no snacks or treats later if she decides that she is "full" and doesn't want anymore.



NANLEYKW
SparkPoints: (49,819)
Fitness Minutes: (24,989)
Posts: 818
6/21/13 5:31 P

@Becky: Great article! I do like Ellyn Satter a lot. Our kids fall more into the "Family A" scenario, where it isn't a big deal to them to try a new food. Although they do sometimes balk a little bit (not often, though), it just takes a gentle request to convince them to try something. One of the boys discovered he loved asparagus that way a couple of weeks ago, and the other tried and loved kohlrabi last night. I know we are very lucky that they both tend to be pretty willing eaters. For things they have definite issues with--for instance, one of my kids has texture issues and hates mashed potatoes and cooked carrots (though he loves them raw)--we don't enforce the "one-bite rule" and offer something else instead. We would never make a kid sit at the table for hours until he tried a food.

And more on the topic of the original post, I agree that I don't think a fancy tea is quite the same as a food reward, as the "reward" part there is splurging on the cost, not on the calories.



SILVERMOONFAIRY
Posts: 259
6/21/13 2:20 P

I don't know, I can kinda see the OP's point regarding fancy tea being a reward. Also considering it's probably naturally low or nearly non-existent calories, it doesn't quite count in my head as a "food reward." It'd be like saying you're rewarding yourself after the gym with water or rehydration.

For me, I don't really look at it that particular way, but I do feel better about my food splurges even when they fit in my range if I know I'm staying on track with my fitness. Let's say, for example, I decided I'm having pizza with a friend for dinner, so I plan it into my calories for the day, I'm in my ranges, cool, no worries. When I go to the gym that day, my pizza-for-dinner isn't contingent on my working out, but I will sometimes say to myself "you're having pizza for dinner, how about another few minutes" or I'll kick it up to the next intensity level for part of the workout, or whatever.

In this sense, I have already planned the food into my day, it's not a reward, and I'm already exercising, but I know I'll fully enjoy the food splurge (from a different mental level, even if I know logically I've already tracked/accounted for it) if I feel like I put in the effort to really make sure I'm having a good workout that day.



MANDIETERRIER1
Posts: 13,539
6/21/13 1:57 P

I don't think it is a good idea to use food as a reward. I believe it reinforces the bad behavior that got me to spark people.

I did good today, I deserve a cookie. I didn't do good today, but I want a cookie. I'm going to eat it anyway. Guilt! I messed up. I'm going to eat everything in the kitchen that isn't nailed down.

So I plan for the cookie. So that I am trying to get out of that reward/ guilt phase.

I do reward myself with hair accessories and costume jewelry. Nothing to expensive.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,444
6/21/13 1:38 P

Even forcing the "one bite rule" can have a negative impact on some kids. Read this for more on the topic:
www.raisehealthyeaters.com/2011/07/parents
-of-picky-eaters-unite-is-the-one-bite
-rule-the-answer/


Becky
SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist



NANLEYKW
SparkPoints: (49,819)
Fitness Minutes: (24,989)
Posts: 818
6/21/13 12:32 P

I agree with several previous posters--dessert is not contingent on eating your broccoli at our house. We have a family rule that you must at least taste everything on your plate, so it's a given that the kids will at least have a bite of broccoli (or whatever food is served--my kids happen to like broccoli, so it's not the best example). After that, they eat until they are full, and don't have to eat more than that taste of things they don't like. If they're full (and sometimes they say they're full just because they don't want to eat more of something), then they obviously have no room for dessert either. If they still have room after the main course *and* we have dessert available (which isn't that often), then they can have dessert. No rewards, no punishments.

As for whether it's a good idea to use food as a reward as an adult, again, I agree with others that it sets up an unhealthy relationship with food. I certainly eat my share of "treat" foods, but only by fitting them into my calorie ranges after my basic nutritional needs are met. I don't "eat back" the calories I burn through exercise, so my calorie range is the same whether I work out on a given day or not. Certainly, on my running days, I'm often hungrier than my non-running days, so I'll eat closer to the top of my range than the bottom. That's simply to satisfy hunger, though, not because I've "earned" extra food.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,444
6/21/13 9:18 A

"Please read this"....
Parents/teachers/grandparents use food as a reward all the time with children....
Eat what is on your plate and get the ice cream
Do your homework and get a cookie.
Be good at the store and have a candy bar.

It is wrong! It is dangerous! It sets your child up for lifetime eating disorders, emotional eating, using food for comfort, hiding and eating food in secret, etc, etc. I repeat...it is wrong! As a dietitian I see the harm on children as well as the adult who was raised this way.

So...what do you do?
Read the work by dietitian Ellyn Satter
Check out the helpful tips on her website
Read one of her books.
Every parent should do this!


www.ellynsatter.com/

Becky
SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 6/21/2013 (09:24)


CLARK971
Posts: 670
6/21/13 8:11 A

"You plan dessert for after dinner and your child doesn't eat dinner. Therefore, s/he gets no ice cream. Now, it's not that the plate needed to be cleared, but the broccoli was not even touched."

It doesn't work like that in my house. Dessert is not an everyday thing after dinner in my house. If I am having ice cream in the evening and my kids want some, they can have some, even if they didn't "touch" some of their dinner. It isn't used as a prize. If they are still hungry after the ice cream, they will grab a healthy snack.

The obesity rate among children is rising. Overweight children may grow up to be overweight adults. Using food as a prize isn't helping this.

Edited by: CLARK971 at: 6/21/2013 (08:14)


MISSRUTH
Posts: 3,306
6/21/13 8:10 A

I do not reward myself with food or beverages, calorie or no-calorie, healthy choices or not-so-healthy choices. Period. I may very well have a treat or a splurge, but I plan it, I track it, and I enjoy it. It has nothing to do with whether I've gotten all my steps in for the day, or my cardio or strength training or drunk all my water or anything else. Just as I wouldn't withhold food from myself, if I didn't do all those things. It's (jmho) a rather unhealthy way to look at food.

If for example you like an expensive coffee or tea for a treat, look at your food budget and see if you can fit it in. It's more of a "reward" for good grocery money budgetting, than anything else. I like kona coffee and also grape-flavored water-- but I buy those things only when I've managed to plan the monthly meals etc and shop well enough to have the money for them. Otherwise it's the "regular" types of coffee from the grocery store, and plain tap water for me. Has nothing to do with exercise and everything to do with good meal planning and being a savvy shopper.

And if dessert fits into your meal plan for the day-- whether you eat it or not really has nothing to do with whether you exercised or not. It either falls within your calorie range, or it doesn't. I don't skip eating all my vegetables, just to leave room for dessert. But if eating all of them fills me up, I'll wait a couple hours and eat dessert later. Most of the time, dessert around here is fruit but sometimes we have ice cream or I'll bake something. Again-- I plan it, I track it, I eat it.




LDHAWKE
SparkPoints: (19,069)
Fitness Minutes: (1,818)
Posts: 771
6/21/13 7:39 A

If I am going to reward myself with something, it surely won't be food! I'd rather it be a nice bottle of perfume, clothing, new purse, shoes, makeup, etc. Something that I will consistently see and remember why I rewarded it to myself. That's something to be proud of!



LADYSTARWIND
SparkPoints: (19,783)
Fitness Minutes: (15,878)
Posts: 1,132
6/21/13 1:21 A

Very Interesting...I just read some other threads on Spark.....

at 1115 yesterday and again this morning, you made posts about completing your "Sticker Charts for Rewards" for all you do, and how you earn stickers or stars for this or that, and if you get enough stickers or stars you get a tangible-hold- in-your- hand- reward.....

and by 230 this afternoon, you are figuring out how to make "Food Rewards".....What happened to the stickers for working out??!!

Whatever works for you...!
patti

Edited by: LADYSTARWIND at: 6/21/2013 (01:27)


LADYSTARWIND
SparkPoints: (19,783)
Fitness Minutes: (15,878)
Posts: 1,132
6/21/13 12:39 A

No.. in my home, dessert was never a "Reward"---it was simply the end of the meal. And if you choose to not eat the meal, you also choose to not eat the end of the meal..... Simple!!

A Category of Food Does Not Equate To A Reward....

You can twist the thinking around any way it pleases you, but the physics and math remain the same.... Calories in, Calories out....Stay in your limit. And if you are Wise, you will choose healthy ways to get those calories 95% of the time. The other 5%, you might choose something maybe a little less healthy. But you are simply fooling yourself if you think it is a Reward. Its simply part of the math.... which doesn't change.
patti




DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (56,306)
Fitness Minutes: (14,204)
Posts: 9,583
6/21/13 12:39 A

"You plan dessert for after dinner and your child doesn't eat dinner. Therefore, s/he gets no ice cream. Now, it's not that the plate needed to be cleared, but the broccoli was not even touched. In this case, food was being used as the reward."

That depends on how you frame it. Modern childrearing experts are learning that rewarding children with food promotes obesity. In the case you're describing, food is being used as *punishment* - not a reward.

www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/conten
t.aspx?ContentTypeID=160&ContentID=32<
/a>

It creates an unhealthy attitude towards food, and is exactly the kind of mentality in our kids that we DO NOT want to have in ourselves! You're teaching kids that food is a reward.

In my house we rarely do dessert, for this reason. On the rare occasions we do, I wait to see if the kids eat enough at dinner to allow them to have dessert. If they don't have room for the broccoli, they don't have room for the dessert. It's a part of the meal, and you don't get to have seconds, nor dessert, of anything until you've eaten what you have already. We actualyl did this with my youngest (5) tonight: She wanted more rice. She had on her plate carrots, red potatoes, roast beef, and rice. She ate the rice. Wanted more. I told her "no, you don't get to have more rice until you eat the other things."

I wasn't punishing or rewarding her. Just explaining that she has to finish her meal before she gets more meal.

It's all about your mentality. If you're "earning" dessert by working out more, then yes, you are rewarding yourself with food. This starts you on the slippery slope we mentioned; the problem is that this leads to more rewarding, and working out becomes a thing you're doing not because you're being healthy, but you're "earning" unhealthy food. Once in a while is no big deal; but it's the habits that got us here that we're trying to avoid: the vast majority of us are emotional eaters. You are too... otherwise you wouldn't be arguing so vehemently for your planned reward system of food. If you weren't so emotionally attached to things you feel you deserve, or have "earned", then you wouldn't be having a hard time finding other alternatives.

If you want dessert, have dessert. Don't play mind games with yourself.

That's why I am on Sparkpeople... and not My Fitness Pal. I disagree with their basic philosophy of "you have one number for weight loss, and can earn more calories by exercising." I prefer Sparkpeople's philosophy of all exercise being planned in and a part of normal healthy living, and a range that you can work with throughout the week... not just when you're "extra active."

The point of goal-based rewards systems is motivation. If you are motivating yourself with the very thing that got you fat in the first place, how is that a healthy goal to reach for?

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 6/21/2013 (00:46)


FTSOLK
Posts: 1,205
6/21/13 12:03 A

I see everyone's points, but I have some food for thought:

You plan dessert for after dinner and your child doesn't eat dinner. Therefore, s/he gets no ice cream. Now, it's not that the plate needed to be cleared, but the broccoli was not even touched. In this case, food was being used as the reward.

How is that any different than saying "I'm not going to have my planned dessert until after my workout?" My current plan allows me to earn calories through activity. So, I can earn an extra 500 calories just by walking around the mall. So, if I have an excess amount of calories and decide to order dessert, I may be staying within my goal, but in essence, I am rewarding myself with food. It's not a "I worked out, so I'm ordering dessert" thing though. It's a "I worked out harder than usual and have more calories than expected, so I'm going to spend them on dessert since it's within my budget" thing.



ERICADURR
Posts: 241
6/20/13 11:32 P

Personally, I don't think so. I think it's unhealthy to view food as a reward--it's just food. It's meant to provide you with energy in order to live. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy it, but I agree that it's a bad habit to use it as a reward and agree also that you should just allot space for it in your calorie range if you want to eat it. I see far too often people undoing their "good" behavior throughout the day with bad food decisions because they feel like they've "earned" it. The key to healthy living is breaking that mentality with food and just viewing it as fuel for your body.



CORTNEY-LEE
SparkPoints: (50,524)
Fitness Minutes: (43,624)
Posts: 3,011
6/20/13 10:37 P

I agree that food should not be used as a reward, however, I do not consider high quality tea to be a food reward. I could see it if you were rewarding yourself with chocolate cake or ice cream, but a special blend of tea can be a great reward because they can get pricey. I know my most favorite blend runs about $5 an ounce, so it isn't something I buy on a regular basis only after I have accomplished something.





DRAGONCHILDE
SparkPoints: (56,306)
Fitness Minutes: (14,204)
Posts: 9,583
6/20/13 10:07 P

Rewarding yourself with food is reinforcing poor habits that result in emotional eating. Food is fuel; when you treat it as a reward, you're assigning emotional weight to it, and as a result, you can be falling back into the same habits that made many of us gain weight in t he first place. It's a slippery slope that causes us to fall away from our habits.

Food can absolutely be a motivator. That's the problem. When food becomes something you earn, or must reward yourself, you're approaching the whole thing with the wrong attitude.

If you want a skinny latte, make room for one in your calorie range, and plan for it as a part of your weekly intake. Not as a reward for something you were supposed to be doing anyway.

SP has some suggestions for non-food rewards here:

www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_ar
ticles.asp?id=86


To Quote SP:

"To build a new lifestyle, food cannot be a currency to be used for anything other than healthy eating."

Do you want a healthy lifestyle? Or do you want to stay on the diet and excuses treadmill you've been on for so long?

You are not a dog. Don't reward yourself with food.

Edited by: DRAGONCHILDE at: 6/20/2013 (22:14)


DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,444
6/20/13 9:02 P

Food should not be used as a reward for adults, children, teens, etc.
What should be used....planning.
Look at it this way....
you are going to "plan" a special treat into your meal plan on Saturday that fits within your healthy eating plan and calorie range.
OR
you are going to stay in the lower end of your calorie range for 3 days and then make a plan to spend those extra calories when you dine out on Saturday.

Becky
SP Registered Dietitian Nutritionist



MEGAPEEJ
Posts: 732
6/20/13 5:59 P

I think that commonly, people apply a disproportionate food reward to an achievement - how many times have you heard someone say "I worked so hard on the lawn this afternoon, so I'm having a big juicy burger today!" They maybe burn 300 calories, and eat back 1000, and it creates this unhealthy habit of "I work hard so I can eat hard!"

That said, your rewards sound very realistic, healthy, and proportionate to what you're doing. It can be easier to get to the gym if you know you'll get fun flavored water or high quality tea out of it. On my gym days, I allow myself one cup of chocolate milk. I need the protein and carbs anyway, but it's a special treat that I only get after a workout, and if I skip the workout I don't get the chocomilk either. I fit it in to my tracker and plan properly, but opening the fridge after work and seeing that chocolate milk reminds me "if you want that, you had better get to the gym first!"

I think as long as you're not ALWAYS rewarding with food (I also like nail polish, new workout clothes, an afternoon by myself, etc), and that's your being smart about it and not depriving yourself, or going overboard, or picking disproportionate rewards, you'll be ok. I also agree with your statement that it should be something you would have anyway, but just after doing something healthy.



FTSOLK
Posts: 1,205
6/20/13 5:34 P

I'm just wondering if there's ever an acceptable time to reward oneself with food or the like.

I know there are people who don't allow themselves to have coffee until they drink X number of glasses of water. For me, I know that I can bribe myself with food or drinks on tough days. "If I get my 10 minutes of exercise in, I'll go to the store and buy myself a Metromint water." For me, I have a reward system set up to earn stickers for completing specific tasks. Every 25 stickers, I get a little prize, and I get a larger one every 100. I considered possibly getting some high quality tea as one of my mini goal rewards, but it also goes against the "no rewarding yourself with food" rule of weight loss rewards.

I understand the concept of not rewarding yourself with food, but food is cheap. Sometimes, using food (or even flavored water) as an instant reward can be motivating. I've also done the whole "I can't eat my planned treat until I reach my step goal" thing. Basically, I'm using my dessert as a reward for my daily activity.

I understand not saving up to go out for a huge meal when reaching a weight loss goal, but I also know that telling yourself you can go to Starbucks for a skinny latte after the gym can be a motivator. Though, I suppose one of the tricks for these rewards is the fact that you would have them anyway. For me, Metromint and Hint Waters are splurges, but they're still just water.



 
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