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There’s a fitness meme I saw recently that said, “Don’t reward yourself with food. You’re not a dog.” It reminded me when I was in puppy class with my dog. He’d do anything for peanut butter or half of his Blue Buffalo treat. He was also good with an ear rub and vocal praise. He knew when he was good.

It made me look at why I liked to use food to reward myself because it didn’t make sense. Good job! You lost two pounds. Have a cookie.

One of the reasons I have used food as a reward is it’s a low price point and a treat. I get something I don’t usually get like mochas. What I think is a cheap treat is actually a costly set back. I’m making it sound more dramatic than it is, but you just challenged yourself to reach a goal. You’re rewarding your discipline by gifting yourself something you’ll have to work off. You were in the green, now you’re closer to the red.

It also brings up your relationship with food and mindset. Food is good and I love food. I wanted this to be for the long haul. Thinking of food as fuel has changed my relationship with food and how I eat. I don’t put sugar in my tank. I wouldn’t get very far.

It also made me address my emotional eating. I eat every three hours and only when I’m actually hungry. I can now tell the difference between tired, bored, and hungry. That skill has helped a lot. I’ve given in a couple times (it’s called comfort food for a reason) but I’ve admitted it and gotten back on track.

Have fun choosing different rewards that bring you closer to your goals.