Fitness columnist Emmet Rushe outlines how rewarding ourselves with treats can play havoc on our weight loss goals

So, you are having a bad day at work. Your boss is on your case, your supervisor is being a pain in the posterior and you have to pull up the slack from other people’s work that has fallen behind.

It’s 4:30 and you have half an hour left of work. All you can think about is the bottle of wine that you are going to open when you get home.

You deserve it.

You have come to the end of a big project, your boss is delighted and your supervisor is over the moon that the task has been finished ahead of schedule.

It’s 4:30 and you have half an hour left of work. All you can think about is going out for dinner to celebrate and you are definitely having dessert.
You deserve it.

It’s (insert day of the week here).  Let’s go for (insert food or drink or choice here) because (insert situation here)…because you deserve it.

Our emotions govern how we eat more than most of us might realise.
The situations that I outlined above are a perfect example of how someone can provide justification for the way they are going to eat and drink later on that evening.
The more emotionally stimulating the situation, the more deserving the reward will be.

The only problem with reward systems like this is, our emotions don’t put on the extra weight.
Our bodies do.

Why do we do this?
Why do we use food as a reward and convince ourselves that we deserve the treat?

The majority of this stems from how we grew up and the different situations that arose during our childhood.
You are two years old and in a supermarket queue with your parents.
You want a chocolate bar.
You are not getting a chocolate bar.
You throw an almighty tantrum.
You get a chocolate bar.
What have you learned?

You are 8 years old.
Your team wins the local football blitz.
Your parents are over the moon.
You get taken out for (insert fast food outlet here)
What have you learned?

You are 10 years old.
You fall off of your bike.
You are inconsolable.
You get offered sweets to make it all better.
What have you learned?

Then, as you get older and the same emotionally stimulating situations start to arise.

You are 20 years old.
Your boyfriend has broken up with you.
Your friends come over and bring wine and chocolates with them.
Because screw him, that’s why.

Rewarding ourselves with treats can play havoc on our weight loss goals.
Emotional situations will always arise in our lives.
You simply cannot expect to have a treat in the form of food or drinks every single time one of these arises.

I’m not telling you that you cannot have a treat, but the type of treat that you reward yourself with can make a huge difference when you are trying to keep on track with your weight.

Instead of rewarding yourself with food why not treat yourself to something else?
What about a punnet of those berries from M&S that you usually wouldn’t buy?
A walk on your favourite beach?
Go to the theatre or cinema?
A trip to the pool, with an extra 10 minutes in the Jacuzzi?
Spend the day with your family?

There are endless possibilities that you can do to reward yourself that won’t ruin the hard work that you put into your diet and training.
Everyone will have bad days and everyone will have situations that will be deserving of a reward how you choose to reward yourself can be the difference in achieving your ultimate reward –
Your ideal weight.

If you don’t have time to make it to the gym or can only train from home, my ever popular Drop a Dress Size Challenge restarts on May 17th.
It is a full 6 week training program that you can do from home with minimal equipment.
Click the link to find out more and read some of our success stories.