This week I’ll be giving you a jump start to 2014 by bursting bubbles, revealing truths, providing motivation, and tips to get you ready for the new year.  I’m also in the middle of wrapping up my smoothie ebook to share with all of you.

Today’s Bubble Burst: 
Food is not a reward and exercise is not a punishment. 

Do you get through the end of a long day, a gruesome workout, get a promotion at work, mark off a goal on your list and celebrate with an ice cream sundae, a round of drinks, or a trip to the drive-thru because “hey, I earned it! I worked really hard”…..?  

I’m sorry, but are you a dog? 

Validating our hard efforts and achievements with food is a pretty sad reality.  Let’s face it, if you aren’t living in a third world country and you aren’t living under a bridge or on the streets; food should never been seen as a “reward”.  After all; you didn’t earn it. It’s not scarce.  It’s available anytime and anywhere.  Food should be enjoyed and it should be eaten because it makes us feel good and provides us with energy to thrive and live.  And if your food choices don’t make you feel good, nor provide you with energy then you should reevaluate what it is that you are eating. The right foods for your body shouldn’t make you tired or feel like taking a nap after you eat them.  They should fire up your engine and get you going every time you eat.

I’m not saying that I don’t go out to anniversary dinners or celebrate birthdays because I do. But those are special occasions; celebrations – not excuses to “reward” myself for living another day; another year.

Exercise is a gift; not a punishment

If you see food as a “reward” then chances are you probably see exercise as a punishment.  I blame old school athletic programs for this mentality.  “Go run bleachers until I tell you to stop.”  The ability to move, walk, run, swim, ride, climb, and lift freely is a gift.  Not everyone was born with this “luxury”; an able body that can pretty much do what you ask it to do day in-day out, day after day, year after year.  

Here’s where the vicious cycle occurs: We reward ourselves with food (most likely poor food choices).  We overindulge; we feel like crap.  We punish ourselves with countless hours of cardio and/or hard workouts to “teach ourselves a lesson” or to “feel better”.  And then as soon as we feel like we’re “back on track” it starts again – Reward (food). Punish (Exercise). Feel Better. (Made it through another week). Reward (food). Punish (Exercise). Feel Better. And on and on and on….

Instead of falling into that trap this year try focusing on eating and exercising to feel better; to feel stronger, leaner, healthier, energized.  You’re not a dog; so stop treating yourself like one.  Reward your achievements and successes with something more meaningful; save the money you would spend on “reward food” for a vacation, new clothes, a new car or something you can look forward to vs. eating it in 10 seconds and forgetting about it.  Exercise because you CAN; not out of obligation or as punishment.  Your able body is a gift; treat it well.