Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rewarding behaviors

Alright folks, I need your help. 

Growing up, we celebrated EVERYTHING with food.  If we had a dance recital, a band performance, or any other "big" thing, the whole family would go out for dinner, ice cream, or some treat.  When it was our birthday, my mom put out a big huge red plate that said "You are special today" all around the rim of it - and we got to pick what we wanted for dinner.

If one of us kids had a bad day, sometimes we'd go out to eat or for a cup of ice cream.  If my mom had a bad day, we ALWAYS did.

It's been so ingrained in my life that celebrating with food is second nature to me.

A week ago, Joe and I were talking about this, and it sounded very weird to him.  His family never celebrated like that.  They never had restrictions on food in his house - candy, cokes, and ice cream were everywhere if they wanted it.  Which meant that they usually didn't want it.

It sounds foreign to me, but it made me really wish that his mom was still alive so I could find out how it actually worked.

Monday night, while preparing for the interview that I had yesterday morning, I said to Joe, "If I do well on the interview, we'll have to go out to eat tomorrow night to celebrate."  He quickly agreed.

And then I remembered that I didn't want to celebrate with food any longer...so I asked him what his family would've done in this situation.  He didn't know.  He suggested a treat of some other kind - like that we would go see a movie or DO something new to celebrate a new thing.

It turns out, I was so tired last night, that all I wanted to do was sleep - which is what I did.

But it prompts the question:

What DO healthy people do to celebrate big changes and good things in their life?

Help me out here...what do you do?  Is a food celebration okay or do you stray from it completely?  How have you made the changes towards celebrating good times other than with revolving around food?

17 Comments:

Allan said...

Not sure what they call it by you, but around here it is called TEQUILA... For the kids, not so much...

Jams said...

*parks self in comments section waiting for answers*

I have no idea. I'd like to know too though!

Lesia said...

I totally hate the food celebration thing too. We go get a movie (new release) and pop some microwave popcorn and cuddle on the love seat together. But we are old folks so that is rare at our place. Just saying...LOL

LauraLynne said...

I wish I knew. I struggle with that with my own kids - good grades=good food. *sigh* Waiting to hear other answers...

Kris said...

*waiting with Jams*
I would love to hear what healthy people do for rewards and celebrations. I STILL eat...

Janell said...

This subject is near and dear to me. We always celebrated with food but what can you do when you cannot eat or drink? You must find substitutes.
I say -- get a hooker.

On a serious note, I have an article I'll send you about this subject.

And Joe is such a fibber. They celebrated with food & booze! Not one family function went by without the entire family being all liquored up.

Moving Mertle said...

I have no idea! I could make up some answers but nothing my family did. Meal were the time everyone got together and went over their day. Even when it's a big family gathering people would do their own thing and then come together for dinner. Hopefully you'll get lots of answers and tell us everything!

SherRon, Shoes To Lose said...

My family celebrated with sweets too. Its been hard to re-learn that food isn't a reward, its fuel. I buy myself shoes...(clearly)

I also really enjoy simple pedicures or going to the movie. A new piece of jewelry is always welcome around my house too.

Hope this helps!

The Incredible Shrinking Woman said...

Ug, this is the BIGGEST struggle of my fat life- I have different food groups for different emotions. Happy, sad, mad, PMS (chocolate, of course)... this list could go on and on.
I wish I could associate my feelings with shopping instead of food. I'm tired of dieting, and my husband is already used to me spending his money... ;)

Lanie Painie said...

We go to the bookstore. That's right. I'm contributing to the delinquency of a compulsive over-reader.

Happy Fun Pants said...

Oooh Lainie...that was a good pun. I mean, REALLY good. :)

Katy said...

I'm with others...no idea! I think healthy or not, we just celebrate with food because food is so social.

kristi said...

My family is really big on food. That's why we're all big! Seriously! I think about all the stuff that we would eat when we were "celebrating" and I cringe now, but it was so much a part of our lives. Now I still partake, but I just make sure to eat less.

When we were kids, we didn't really get rewarded with food. We didn't eat out much either. My Mom would buy whatever we wanted in the store, so we probably didn't make the smartest choices.

I think I would still celebrate with food if I had my own family, but I would make things a bit healthier (but still fun!)

Maggie said...

Excellent question!

I'm also from the family where food is the answer to both good and bad (and everything in between). Here are some things that I've intentionally shifted into:
-tea (I love going to the tea house a few blocks from my house -- there's an amazing aroma and I get to select the tea from a huge wall of choices -- searching for the one that perfectly suits the occasion, and big bonus: these people SERVE ME ON A TRAY! with ceremony and ritual)
-pedicures (especially with my daughter or friend)
-earrings -- this one is great because I have an anchor or a memento of what I'm celebrating (these ones came after my graduation from that amazing leadership program, these from surviving that killer semester when I laid down on the floor and wept every week after Wedneday's class)
-yoga: I asked my yoga teacher to teach a class for my birthday and we did it at sunrise, which was especially meaningful because 1) my birthday is on the solstice and 2) I figured the people who came REALLY loved me because they got up so early
-thrift shopping!

And, yes, I still go to treats as a default. And I'm making progress on finding other avenues to celebrate and console.

Kris said...

Thank you Maggie!!! A new pedi shop just opened by my house. It is the GREATEST $20 pedi I have ever had. And, upgrades are at a good price too!
Maybe weekly pedis instead of every other month?!?! Hmmmmm

Dillypoo said...

I'm a little late to the contribution party, but I struggle with the same thing. Lately, I've been trying to re-define what is a celebration and what is simply a good day. I've decided that birthdays, life events (like weddings) and major holidays are celebrations and everything else fabulous simply makes a good day better.

Which means I "celebrate" with food on special occasions only. That makes that ice cream, cake or a creamy cheesy entree all the more special. I pat myself on the back for a good day and take satisfaction that I didn't eat something instead!

A hug from my loved one with sincere words of support and congratulations are all it takes to celebrate now. But it took a looooong time for me to get there!

Ruth said...

manis, pedis, massages, shopping, walks and talks with friends, bicycling, legos (the small sets, for kids), an item that the child has been "wanting" or that you have been "wanting" not needing necessarily..the shopping can be cheap and looking can suffice (for adults)..books, a good sit down (instead of housework--a day off!)..movies out or in..small trips..concerts..pretty much anything different and unique..good grades?: my ex-husband would give the kids monetary compensation...(then again, at this juncture, I am only on the way to healthy)..