Nutritious Nuggest: Are You Rewarding Your Healthy Behaviors with Unhealthy Foods?

I’m pretty sure every human being has at least once (maybe even once a week or once a day) had this internal conversation…

“I ate a salad for lunch so I am going to reward myself with that warm chocolate chip cookie.”


“I did 100 burpees today therefor I deserve 2 margaritas and an entire basket of chips and salsa.” (maybe you have a solid point there…)

This “reward” system is called self-licensing. It is when we choose to reward our good behavior with a “bad” behavior our counteractive behavior. This can happen in many different situation such as at restaurants and at the grocery store. For every “healthy” item we put in our cart we treat ourselves to an “unhealthy” item for making such good choices. Hopefully while reading this logic you can see it is a rather skewed way of thinking.

Shift Your Mindset

First, it is important to recognize when you are self-licensing. Quickly identify that you are considering about rewarding yourself with food that is actually leading you AWAY from your goals. This self awareness will likely empower you to be more likely to make a different choice. This doesn’t mean that you should never have that cookie, doughnut or margarita. However, make sure when you are having those “indulgences” you are doing so because you are making a choice to enjoy it or celebrate with others RATHER than rewarding yourself with food.  When we choose to reward ourselves with food it can quickly become a slippery slope which can turn into a destructive daily habit. Shift your mindset to reward your healthy behaviors with other healthy things! After a hard workout reward yourself by refueling your body with the food it needs: good proteins, veggies and fruits, this will help your body feel great for tomorrow’s workout.

Healthy Rewards

Here is a short list of other ideas to reward yourself with after making healthy choices that will encourage your to continuing to do so rather than walking the road of self sabotage.

  • Hang out with friends
  • go for a walk
  • get a massage
  • get a manicure/pedicure
  • go to a yoga class
  • get in some extra mobility work
  • meditation
  • spend time with your family without electronics
  • Take your dog to the park
  • Buy yourself new workout clothes
  • Make your favorite healthy meal at home

What are other healthy ways can you think of to reward yourself? Write a list that is appealing to you and start applying those rewards this week!