A realistic road to rewarding yourself for all the hard work 

By Ava Africa | Photo by Chris Ralston/Unsplash

We’re all familiar with this psychological approach to behavioral change: rewarding ourselves after reaching a particular milestone and consistently working towards achieving the main goal.

Experts say that rewards (positive reinforcement) is more effective than punishment (negative reinforcement). And the holiday season is the perfect time to reward yourself after training hard all year. While rewarding yourself has its merits, it’s important to stay focused on your goals so you don’t end up overdoing it.

First, identify what your body needs. In order to do this, you need to determine your body composition and basal metabolism. Next is to select a strategy to help you persevere towards your goal.

Strategy 1: The 90/10 Rule

Ninety percent of the time, follow an eating plan that supports your goal to create a body composition suitable for your sport. This plan is best for those who eat three whole meals with two snacks every day. The remaining 10 percent during the week is allotted for cheat meals. In other words, in a week’s time, you can choose any three to four meals as cheat meals. However, you’d have to remain smart about the cheat meals you choose to avoid binge-eating.

Strategy 2: The 80/20 Rule

Eighty percent of the time should be allotted for healthy eating while 20 percent of the time may be set aside for cheat meals. This is highly recommended for people who can only manage to eat three meals per day, which allows for two to three cheat meals per week.

Strategy 3: Be on Beast Mode Before Feast Mode

Exercise can do a whole lot to boost metabolism as long as you keep in mind that proper eating habits are vital to obtain the body composition you desire. Therefore, especially during the holidays, you may want to exercise harder and/or longer and do some extra work in the gym.