Tuesday, December 3, 2013

10 food-free indulgences

We seem to develop a reward-mentality with food from childhood. If you make a “happy plate,” you get dessert. If you be still and quiet through nap time {not a chance for little Jenny}, you’ll get a cookie. If you get all A’s, we’ll go out for pizza.

Now that I’m an adult, it’s hard to give up that way of thinking. We made it through Daniel’s first semester of dental school so we should celebrate with drinks. I’ve eaten salads every day for lunch, I deserve this piece of chocolate. It’s been a long day at work, I need this plate of fries.

When I really start dwell on how absurd this thinking is, I always remember this quote that occasionally pops up on Pinterest’s Health & Fitness boards:

I recently read an article about mental tricks that motivate weight loss, which suggested creating a list of 10 indulgences that make you feel rewarded, but do not include food. So the next time the stress starts weighing you down, you grab for this list instead of a bowl of ice cream.

It took me a while to come up with them all, but here are my 10 food-free indulgences:

1. Personal Pampering – There’s nothing like a manicure or pedicure to make me feel relaxed and ready to go. And if you throw in a massage, I’ll be in heaven. Unfortunately, budget restraints make these appointments few and far between, but the option is always there in case of emergencies.

2. Long, Slow Cardio – Exercise in general relieves my stress like no other, but my absolute favorite is spending an hour on the elliptical, with my favorite playlist and my latest novel. This is my favorite way to take my mind off the worries that pile up.

3. Shopping – This is an effective, but very dangerous way to make me feel rewarded. I’m the typical girl who always thinks she deserves a new pair of shoes, but I try to limit these rewards to only the biggest goals. For instance, when I reach my healthy weight range again, I’m rewarding myself with a new pair of boyfriend jeans.

4. Reading – A hammock, a nice breeze and my favorite book sounds like a perfect afternoon to me. With a working girl schedule, it can be hard to set aside some time to read and be a life-long learner. So this is a perfect reward for a bookworm like me.

5. Competition – Whether it’s a board game, a Just Dance competition or – my personal favorite – a friendly game of one-on-one basketball, nothing compares to the rush of competing. Competition happens to be one of my top five strengths (and probably my top five weaknesses). If I win, all the better.

6. Crafting – Don’t you love to create new things? When someone points out how cute the artwork on your wall is, it’s so rewarding to respond, “Thanks, I made it myself.” I have a long list of crafts to do on my Pinterest board, and giving myself the time and resources to do them would definitely be an indulgence.

7. Journaling – If you haven’t figured this out, I love to write. Unfortunately, sometimes coming up with blog posts can feel more like work than play. However, it’s one of my favorite ways to unwind. And journaling and blogging helps me to sort through all the mess of my life and learn more about myself.

8. Sex – This could be TMI. I made sure to ask Daniel for permission before including this. I won’t go into details or anything, but you can’t really have a list of indulgences without it, right?

9. Getaways – Sometimes the best reward is to get away from it all. So whether that means a weekend trip out of town or just a walk around the neighborhood, sometimes the best thing to do is just get away. This only works if I take my favorite future dentist with me.

10. Quiet Time – This whole list is full of ideas for enjoying life and feeling rewarded, but I couldn’t end this list without the one thing that’s truly rewarding and the only thing that makes you truly complete. Whether you’re feeling stressed and burdened or wanting to celebrate, my first response should be the same: praise and thanksgiving to the God from whom all blessings flow. It’s only in His Presence that I can truly indulge.

Did I leave something off my list? What food-free ways do you like to indulge?

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