Psych Central

Mmm. I love cupcakes.

For some, allowing ourselves to eat certain kinds of food is a way of rewarding ourselves; however, whether it’s because we overindulge ourselves with junk food or break the diets we work so hard to keep, often times we end up feeling guiltier than we do rewarded.

A lot of times we end up feeling physically sluggish, bloated, and even sick after these rewards, too.

Apparently, this is something both Jessica and I dealt with this week. While she was treating herself to cocktails and tortilla chips, I was stress eating nearly everything I could get my hands on.

(More on that, later.)

While our reasons were different, our overall rationalizations were the same: We deserved these things.

So what if Jessica follows a gluten-free diet? She deserved a treat for being so good.

Who cares if eating greasy cheese pizzas and fast food veggie burgers for six consecutive days isn’t exactly conducive to a well-rounded vegetarian diet? I deserved a break. I had a lot on my plate (pun intended) and the quick meals helped me de-stress.

Thing thing is, neither of us felt rewarded or any less stressed afterward. Jessica pretty much felt like crap, and I swear, I think the jeans I wore on Day One were noticeably snugger on Day Six.

Of course, this isn’t to say we don’t deserve rewards. We do. I am a huge advocate of rewarding oneself. Yet, how can we reward ourselves without feeling guilty afterward?

Speaking strictly for myself, some ideas include:

  • A night of live music with friends.
  • Doing something new and fun with my hair.
  • Splurging on a piece of clothing or a beauty product I’ve had my eye on for a while.

How about YOU?

What are some ways you reward yourself that don’t leave you feeling guilty afterward?



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    Last reviewed: 30 Mar 2012

APA Reference
Sparks, A. (2012). Weekly Weigh-In: How Can You Reward Yourself Without Guilt?. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 20, 2014, from



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