When you hear the word treat, what comes to mind?

We can (almost) guarantee your brain conjures up images of your favorite candy bar, ice cream or brownie if your a sweets loving kind of gal, or maybe potato or corn chips if you’re more of the “salty” type.

With that in mind, how many times have you said to yourself:

  • I had a hard day, I deserve a treat!
  • I’ve worked so hard on my diet, I deserve a treat!
  • I had a great workout today, I deserve a treat!

While we are all for recognizing a job well done, we were wondering, since when did we start equating the word treat with something food related?

And why do we always turn our attention to food when we feel the need for a reward?

We have been thinking about this a lot lately, and have come up with two main reasons:

Number 1: Women are so used to restricting themselves, they wind up craving the foods they work so hard to keep out of their diets. Read THIS for some awesome insight.

Number 2: We are ingrained since we are little to be rewarded with food (you know, “be a good girl and we’ll get ice cream”). So “treating” with food becomes second nature.

If you find yourself trapped in this line of thinking, check out this exercise we use with our Simply Nourished clients.

Get out a pen and piece of paper and write down all the NON-food ways you like to “treat” yourself.

Imagine if food wasn’t an option, but you wanted to reward yourself with something fun. What would that be? Be sure that at least some of the things on your list can be accessed immediately (this is key if you are trying to replace food, which is available 24/7).

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Put money in a reward jar (and come up with what you will do with this jar when it is filled $$)
  • Paint your nails a fun color
  • Watch a favorite movie, or watch a cute puppy video
  • Share your accomplishment with a friend who supports you
  • Do a silly dance or raise your arms in the air like a champ (this motion actually sends a message to the brain that you are a winner)

When you begin to practice using non-food “treats” instead of food, it’s a win-win situation . . . you avoid overeating, AND you replace it with something that is potentially a healthier alternative.

Let us know in the comments – do you use food as a reward? Which non-food “treat” will you start using instead? Get even more insight and suggestions about this topic on our “Hack Your Willpower” video right HERE.