Food as a Reward

A common mistake made by many people is rewarding working out with food. This mistake is common and very understandable. However, it can lead to some disordered habits. Habits that can lead to a halt in progress and a negative view of exercise.

When you think of food as a reward for exercising, you tend to think of exercise as this taxing chore that allows you to eat. This is an unhealthy relationship to have with both food and exercise. I used to have the exact mindset of Well, I workout so I can eat whatever I want and If Chad Ochocinco does it, so can I. Well, that’s bullshit. I can speak from experience. For a time I went completely overboard and was slaying McDonalds, Taco Bell, and KFC. Sometimes all in the same night. As I ate I told myself that I had worked out earlier so it was fine. I wish. Eating shitty food all the time no matter what you are doing for exercise is not good for your health or performance.

Many times, when we have the food-as-reward mindset, we tend to undo our training or exercising. Meaning if you burned 500 calories during exercise, but then stuffed your face with 1500 calories after, you just undid your efforts. Let’s now take a look at the opposite of that mindset. When you do not workout, you feel guilty. The guilt causes you to not eat at all. We can not think about food and exercise in this manner. This not only is detrimental to your physical health, it is also an unhealthy mindset as well. Food is food, exercise is exercise. Though the two should be related in some aspects, action and reward should not be one of them.

When you eat as a reward to exercise it usually leads to the feeling of guilt. On the other hand, if you eat something such as a donut and you didn’t exercise, guilt will weigh on your mind again. You want to avoid feeling like shit, or having guilt. Disassociate the two.

My coworker, Joey Percia, had recently explained to me the 80/10/10 rule, which I think is amazing. 80% of your food intake should be foods you like and happen to need; 10% should be foods you don’t like but need; and the last 10% should be foods you like but don’t need, such as donuts and stuff. This helps to set up a much healthier relationship with food where you are able to eat whatever you want, just modified portions of each.

Overeating is good for putting on weight. So, if you want to do that then stuff your face. But, if you want to maintain or lose weight, overeating (even if you worked out) is detrimental to your progress. Exercise because you know its good for you and eat well because you know its good for you. Nuff said.