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I often hear, “I did great with my nutrition this week so I get a cheat meal.”

I was there, I said that. But then I realized it wasn’t helping me.

Or another one, “I worked out today so I deserve this food.”

I’ve also told myself that and again realized it just created a bad cycle of forcing myself to work-out more to eat more or crappy foods. That didn’t help me. Not to mention I just over-trained and added more stress to my system. PS, YOU need to recover. Rest days are good for you and as important as the food you put into your body.

Your body needs food no matter what. The amounts will vary from person to person. As well as goals. If you have a lot of weight to loose then you should really focus on your mindset and not the weight. Most likely there is a negative relationship with food that needs to be adjusted. Rewards of food will not help that mindset. Changing someone’s relationship with food is never easy. Trust me when I say, I know. Whether it is an actual eating disorder, body dismorphia, your will power, or whatever it will take time and sometimes a professional therapist to help get through the highs and lows to figure out what is the root of all of it.

You can just eat one. It’s called moderation. Some people need to track macros to build the habit of being a moderator. Although you don’t and shouldn’t need to do that forever. Sometimes just abstaining from the food all together for a period of time, rests the mind and habit.

It’s a habit. Ever find yourself on the couch watching TV with a bag of chips and 10 minutes later there are no more chips in the bag. You can’t believe you just ate the whole bag chips without realizing it. It’s a habit you made. You can change it. You just need help in figuring out how to become a moderator with that trigger food.

Everyone has different trigger foods. I can tell you over the course of YEARS mine have changed. I could eat a whole pint of ice cream in one sitting. If I knew that ice cream was in the house, I wanted to eat it. I would try to moderate myself and eat smaller servings. But that didn’t work for me. I had to stop buying it all together. Hint, no one forces you to put it in your shopping cart. No one forces you to give it to the cashier to purchase. No one forces you to give the cashier money to buy it. You make all those decisions.

Over the course of years, I figured out not buying it helps me the most. So I didn’t. I saved that money and rewarded myself with books and nutrition courses. I bought myself massage sessions and got some new workout clothes. I found other ways to reward myself instead of food.

I was able to break my trigger food and being an abstainer. I can now successfully have most of my trigger foods in the house and not have the feeling of just smashing all of it in one sitting.

It takes time. Some will do it more quickly than others. If you are like me, it might take you years. There were lots of good days and bad days. Sooner the good days outweighed the bad days. Eventually the bad days were slowly fading. It is possible. I acknowledged my little triumphs with positivity. Instead of dwelling on “falling off the wagon days”, I recognized them. I thought about how it made me feel and I moved on from those days. I didn’t dwell on them.

Magic can happen if you work at it and you can change from being an abstainer to a moderator. Keep trying to reach those goals. Until you are 6 feet under there is nothing holding you down except you.

So what’s your non-food reward going to be?

~Coach Jess