A variation of comfort eating is “reward eating”. This can either be planned and ritualistic or subconscious.
An example of the subconscious type of reward eating is the hard-working parent who comes home after a long, grinding day, gets dinner ready for the kids, takes care of all their needs, then comes that little moment of quiet when your favorite reward food starts to call your name. Your mind plays back the day’s events. Certainly, you deserve some little moment of pleasure for all of your hard labor and un-recognized sacrifice! You have earned that cookie, that bowl of ice cream, that bag of pretzels! When you combine the desire for reward with the historical frustration at losing weight, any inhibition to eating is lost. Why not have that food? After all, weight loss doesn’t ever seem to happen. Therefore, you may as well enjoy some junk. You can see how this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Hopelessness thwarts the desire for change which petrifies your current body weight and feeds into the sense of hopelessness.
We all have our cross to bear. We all seek comfort. Armed with the knowledge you are gaining by reading this book, applying the principles you will be learning, you can have your comfort moment without harming your body.
The other form of reward food is quite literally conscious reward. Taking a child for ice cream after receiving immunizations, going out for dessert to celebrate a team’s victory, giving a child treats for a good report card, going out for cocktails to celebrate a profitable quarter. These are all examples of reward eating. These joyful moments should be fully embraced and celebrated. The healthiest way is to acknowledge the fact that it is a reward moment and not confuse it with actual sustenance eating. Be certain that the reward event takes place away from the usual place of sustenance eating.
For instance, reward food shouldn’t be something that is stored in your house. Ice cream in your freezer tends to get old and crusty, losing its flavor. It becomes too easy to eat, and less of a celebration moment. The same can be said for stored carbohydrates. They lose their freshness and are too readily available. Better not to have these foods in your house at all and give them their proper status as a reward treat, complete with the enhanced experience of going out to get them.
The message is that eating for comfort and eating as a form of reward are both permissible so long as they are consciously constructed and carefully planned for in a way that fits your complete life balance. This balance will be different for each person depending on their obesity type and health goals. It is fruitless to compare yourself to others with regard to lifestyle and food consumption. The only thing that matters is you, your weight type, and your personal goals. With these objectives in mind you can modify your patterns of behavior and properly align your supplements and prescriptions in a way to maximize your health and appearance.
By using your premeditated discipline skills, you can indulge in comfort eating without causing irreparable harm to your effort at weight control.
Dr. Stephen Petteruti is board-certified in medical weight loss and family practice. He runs a Functional Medicine Center and has been practicing Medical Weight Loss for over 15 years. For more information about his center and weight loss program, please visit: https://www.im-120.com/Intellectual Medicine 120 is in Warwick, RI.
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