Saturday, January 5, 2013

On Reward Alternatives to Food

I sat this morning amid a cluster of people on the floor, as we listened intently to our fearless leader - the Crossfit box's nutrition coach. She was giving an overview of the upcoming challenge; paleo nutrition options, and Zone nutrition options. Much of it I had heard before, but this time I really tuned in to something that she emphasized.

"Find other rewards for yourself besides food..."

Oh, how familiar I am with this need! She had willfully acknowledged the common battle that many face, of using food as an emotional salve. There is just something about the end of the day that beckons for a treat to take the edge off - a minicelebration for making it through another gauntlet. A glass of wine, some chocolate, some toasted nuts (or how about all three!).

While processing her encouragement on that topic, I vowed to draw up a list of non-food rewards that I'm going to look to during this challenge. Here are mine:

Sometimes mini mental escapes are
the best form of nonfood reward.
Via Flickr Creative Commons/The Smithsonian.
  1. Mobility sessions. Rewarding? Maybe not immediately. But, I always come away from 10 minutes with my roller feeling much better and a little more supple all around. Even better, our challenge awards bonus points for mobility work. For small sessions at home I'll be looking for pointers from
  2. Words with Friends. Any time the urge for junk food strikes, I know I can depend on the 5-10 games of Words with Friends that I have going on at any given moment. Sometimes taking a few turns is all I need to be distracted from that craving.
  3. Planned TV time. Hear me out on this - I'm not talking mindless TV consumption. I mean deliberately seeking a TV show or movie to watch as a reward. Being a Star Trek and sci-fi junkie, I luckily have quite the vast selection of favorites. I will still be honoring my earlier bedtimes though, per challenge sleep recommendations!
  4. Hot salt baths. There is nothing quite so relaxing for me as a long soak in the tub. I will add in some Epsom salts for enhanced relaxation and mobility, thanks to the magnesium!
  5. Magnesium oil. Magnesium oil does an even better job of getting magnesium to muscles when applied by rubbing on the skin. I plan on using some every day, if I can manage it.
  6. Hot yoga. Another mobility-enhancer, I see the reward of exercise in the optimized hormones, the delicious muscle exhaustion, and the boosted mood for the rest of my day. Though I won't be attempting a return to Crossfit WODs for a few weeks yet, I embrace whatever workout reward I can derive through hot yoga!
  7. New reads. I'm going to find some good reading material in the next week or so. I especially like biographies. Does anybody have some to recommend?
  8. Home DIY pedicures. A hot foot soak in Epsom salt water, followed by some Piggy Paint. Amazing what prettier toes can do for one's mood!
  9. Scent therapy. Lighting a scented candle, or putting on some of my favorite junk-free fragrance - Lavanila's Vanilla Grapefruit - are often enough to brighten my mood. I love the portability of the Lavanila, too, for mood boosts on the run!
  10. Earlier bedtimes. Yup, instead of seeing earlier bedtimes as a drag, I'm going to embrace them as a reward in and of themselves! So when the nighttime itch to snack strikes, if nothing else on my reward list sounds good, it's off to bed with me.

    Maybe, though, I'll squeeze in a play or two of Words with Friends before I go to sleep.

What are your favorite non-food rewards that make you sigh contentedly at the end of the day?


This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Shopping Amazon through Primal Kitchen affiliate links supports Primal Kitchen at no additional cost to you (i.e. the item's price does not go up for you), so thank you!!


  1. Hi, I just found your blog while searching for primal and paleo lunchbox ideas. I am not primal or paleo but I am trying to cut down on my grain consumption, so the lunch ideas were a great help for me (even though I'm not a kid!). I'm having a great time reading through your blog archives and getting more inspiration :)

    I also like the idea of non-food rewards, since I do tend to reach for the chocolate. My favourite non-food rewards are playing games on my iphone (including words with friends) and curling up with a good book :)

    I look forward to reading more of your blog in the future :)

  2. We've been on The GAPS Diet the past couple of weeks, so have been trying for non-food related rewards for the whole family. My fave indulgences have been soaking my feet in epsom salt water (one of yours too!) and reading cookbooks... although it can be a little counterproductive looking at food I can't have, but with a few hundred cookbooks on my bookshelf, I can't help but page through them and be inspired!

  3. Great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts.


I cherish your comments, each and every one!

Please note that comments that are off-topic or of a gratuitously promotional nature will not be published. Also, for reasons of privacy, comments with my name or family members' names will not be published.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...