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A Reward Other than Food

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I've been reading David Kessler's amazing "The End of Overeating" and today stumbled upon an amazing quote:

"Your ability to follow your own rules will eventually carry its own reward."

A year ago, when I still weighed 268 pounds, I used food as a reward. If my day was going well, treat. If I felt lonely or sad, treat. Before I knew it, my food wasn't a "treat", it was a daily thing.

According to Kessler's book, this isn't uncommon. A lot of people who are overweight (and some who aren't!) have this same problem - food is a reward, an indulgence, something we can't resist and can't control. If a bag of M&M's is in front of us, we eat it. If we are in a restaurant, we eat the entire plate instead of a proper portion.

But our urges CAN be resisted. We CAN change. Kessler's plan? It's four steps:

Awareness - Be AWARE of your temptations

New Behavior - Change your unhealthy habits. If you drive by a tempting fast food joint on the way home, try a new route. If you come home and eat in front of the TV, switch up your routine so you don't mindlessly eat.

New Thoughts - Don't tell yourself you can't.

Support - Surround yourself with people who can support you in your goals.

And how do you avoid the impulse to begin with? Make rules. Tell yourself what you can and can't do. Don't be wishy-washy about these rules - be firm. If you really want to change, don't wait to make rules when you are standing at the donut shop, staring at your temptation. Do it before hand - "I will ONLY buy a coffee and NOT buy the donuts". "I will go out on a walk at lunch and NOT stop at the fast food joint."

And then the best part: when you follow these rules, you get your reward - a healthy body and a healthy life - a life that isn't ruled by food, a life that is FUELED by food!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    100% true. Especially the part about making rules! That has saved me time and time again! Wonderful post! emoticon
    1755 days ago
    Great blog! I can relate. I found myself thinking that food was one of the only pleasures I had in life. Wrong! I am now working towards enjoying lots of other things and looking at food as fuel, not a friend or a reward.
    1758 days ago
    Great blog post. It sounds like a great book. I'd like to read it. Thanks for the info!
    1758 days ago
    I now want to check out this book. Just this week, I made some changes that are based on new rules. Sounds like a timely book for me. emoticon
    1758 days ago
  • DRB13_1
    so glad you mentioned this book - I have it, but alas, haven't read it all the way through.
    Best wishes in reaching ALL your personal goals.
    1758 days ago
    I read the kindle sample of that book after you mentioned it before and was thinking of ordering it. Sounds like it is worth it. Thanks so much for sharing!
    1758 days ago
    My one daughter is always like "let's treat ourselves" because of this or this. Seriously - she is the skinny one. Go figure! However, I'm always reminding her - as well as her sister - that good health is a treat - being able to do things you couldn't before is a treat - and yes, HEALTHY food is a treat.

    The other day she wanted to eat out. I told her eating out should be a time to enjoy - not something you shove food down your throat because you have to.

    We need to learn to celebrate our good choices - and to find enjoyment and fulfillment in those choices. I love what you shared - it really does make a difference.

    1759 days ago
    Yes, I've read that book and it was really enlightening and liberating emoticon
    1759 days ago
    I seriously need to get and read this book!

    That said, while I think food as a reward is everything you say, I am still chewing on the idea of food to mark special occasions and the idea of "sometimes" foods, assuming of course they aren't every day.

    Even since being on TSFL, I have eaten a few meals, here and there, that are off plan. So far, it hasn't stopped or stalled my loss and (more importantly) it hasn't destroyed my commitment to my health.

    I think it's the mental/addiction piece. And if that piece is working right, everything else goes better too.
    1759 days ago
    This is so true! Thank you :)
    1759 days ago
    I read that book and it really did wonders for me. So glad you've given it a look and gained something valuable from it. I still struggle with food as a reward -- it can sneak up on you and before you know it you've celebrated your anniversary with three days of gustatory indulgence (a recent example from my own life). But you (and Kessler) are right, awareness really is the first step. I know I'm prone to make that mistake so next time a situation like that pops up hopefully I can get out in front of it (instead of dealing with the aftermath).
    1759 days ago
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