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  1. 5 Guilt-Free Rewards for the Health-Conscious Dieter


    Rewards. We all love them... we want them... we need them. A pat on the back for a job well done, a holiday bonus for a productive year, a cold drink after an afternoon working in the garden, a new pair of shoes after finally paying off debt.

    Rewarding yourself is a great way to stick with a diet

    As we work to achieve good health and a comfortable weight, we definitely should reward ourself.

    I recently read about a woman who was working very hard for to lose weight for a reunion. She reached her desired halfway point and planned to celebrate at her favorite restaurant by choosing the most fattening appetizer and entree on the menu and a decadent, high-calorie dessert.

    She felt she deserved this feast for denying herself for several months.

    I certainly agreed she should get something for her diligence and discipline, but I was also a bit concerned. After a meal like that, she would feel guilty for having overindulged.

    And, if she continues to reward herself with food and reaches her final goal (if she ever does), how long before she gains all her weight back? All that hard work down the drain. Why do we choose to reward ourselves with food?

    Perhaps it stems from our younger days when Mom told us if we were good we could have ice cream or cookies or cake?

    As a Health and Nutritional Counselor, I focus on lifetime changes and sane attitudes toward food. Weight loss is only one benefit of adopting a healthy diet of sensible food.

    I teach my clients to reward themselves regularly but not with food.

    If we continue to give ourselves prizes of ice cream sundaes, pizza, chocolate bars, or other forbidden foods, then our focus will always be on what we can't have. One bad or emotional day can destroy all our efforts and result in us completely giving up and forgetting the whole thing!

    There are other ways to celebrate and reward yourself

    Treat yourself to a weekly or bi-weekly mani-pedi.

    A pedicure is a great reward for a good dieter

    Think about how good you feel with pretty painted nails and toes. Schedule an appointment early in the week so it's something you look forward to. Go for something daring, something red or another nail color that makes you feel alive.

    If you don't like the length of your nails, consider extensions. Long, well-manicured fingernails make your hands look feminine and graceful. If you reward yourself this way, each time you glance at your nails and toes, you will want to keep going in the right direction.

    Wear sexy lingerie under your clothes.

    Yes, this is a reward... a celebration of you. Discard your old frumpy undergarments and indulge in silky, lacy items. You don't need to look like a Victoria's Secret model to wear pretty things. Lingerie comes in all different sizes.

    Dig through your closets and drawers and take out the items reserved for special occassions or the lingerie that you have buried because you think you are too big to wear. Even if your daily outfit is a uniform or sweats, nothing make you feel sexier than wearing something luxururious underneath.

    When you feel sexy, you ARE sexy, and this is one the greatest incentives to keep you on your healthy eating plan.

    Go the beach and watch a sunset.

    After a successful week of healthy eating, toss your beach chair in the back of your car, pick up a bottle of wine or sparkling water and your best friend or your lover, and go sit at a local beach, pond, lake or park.

    If you prefer to be alone, then go and enjoy the painted sky, the peace and quiet, and the time to reflect on your accomplishments.

    Bed down with a good book.

    Do you enjoy reading but don't have time for it? Reading is a great escape into another world filled with romance, suspense and drama. A successful week -- or even a day of eating well -- deserves an evening of slipping between crisp, clean sheets with that novel that's been collecting dust on your nightstand.

    Pick or purchase fresh-cut flowers.

    Put your fresh flowers in your favorite vase and display them in a place where you see them often. Admire their beauty and inhale their glorious scent.

    These are just a few simple ideas to keep you going, keep you focused and to keep you feeling good about yourself.

    Take the focus off food. If you want ice cream, go ahead and have it but don't use it as a reward. Losing 5 pounds shouldn't justify eating a bucket of fried chicken. Try a different approach and treat yourself to something pleasurable, something you have always wanted to do or to have.

    Eventually you will realize your relationship with food has changed and all your hard work, discipline and determination will last a lifetime.

    Diet-to-Go blogger Cynthia Parrott

    About Cynthia: I am a Certified Holistic Health and Nutritional Counselor. My company is Metamorphosis Consulting and I have been in private practice for over 10 years. I believe we can completely transform our lives by nourishing our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. It is my desire to help others achieve their health and nutritional goals, their personal goals, and to live the life they have always dreamed of. Learn more at www.truemetamorphosis.org and www.cyndaily.com.

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