Maybe food was held out as a reward when we were children. “If you eat everything on your plate, then you can have dessert.” It’s a cultural thing to use food as a reward. It’s not exclusive to people who are overweight.
I’m not saying that we should never have that food reward. What I want to suggest is that we begin to form new habits where self-reward is concerned. Our taste buds are not the only part of us that need to be nurtured and rewarded. Our whole being, physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual being needs to be nurtured and rewarded if we are to achieve our goal of finding a joy-filled life.
And that brings up the question of what milestones we are rewarding? Is weight or clothes size the only milestone or goal that deserves a reward? What about the moment we realize we are no longer judging our food or anyone else’s? What about the day we realize we’ve worked out 3 times a week for 4 or 5 weeks straight? What about that moment we realize we’ve quit shaming and blaming ourselves?
It is my theory that rewards should happen often. It’s a good idea to think of some non-food rewards we can give ourselves on a regular basis. These should be things we can incorporate into our day, week, month or year. They don’t have to be expensive, but they can be. They don’t have to require a lot of time, but they can.
As we continue on this journey toward joy and self-esteem, let’s be our own cheerleaders, encouraging our inner selves keep trying one more time, keep going until we are not only standing in our new habits but walking and running. The more we become aware of our internal progress, the more reason we have to celebrate. So, why not have all kinds of rewards ready to go at a moment’s notice. You never know when you are going to have that ‘aha’ moment that requires a celebration!