Got the Urge to Splurge?

Ever since I decided to go back to work full-time, my schedule has been getting tougher….and tougher….

…and by Friday, I’m spent. Which usually means I’m really ready to reward myself, because I deserve it.

For most of my life, that has mean splurging, usually on food (you know, the kind I “shouldn’t” have.)

Some people splurge on snacky foods…

For some it’s ice cream…

And for others, like me, it’s all things chocolate-filled, decadent and rich (when I do it, I really do it ;) )

The problem with this way of thinking–that hard work or meeting a goal = permission to overdo it on foods that aren’t the best for me– is that while I may feel good for a few minutes while I enjoy a big sundae, in the end, I’m left feeling like I cheated myself out of the feeling of accomplishment I should have enjoyed, and replaced it with one of self-loathing.

See, I’ve always been one to overindulge, and I’ve always been one to feel really disgusted with myself afterwards.

In the past several years, my thinking on “the splurge” has changed considerably. First and foremost, I must stress that I still do overindulge once in a while, and I just swoon over a good gelato or a hunk of dark chocolate. But, I think that’s OK. I’m much more controlled about it than I used to be, because my relationship with food is much healthier than it used to be, and what fun would a life without chocolate be, anyway? In my humble opinion, everyone should enjoy the things they truly love. I believe that constantly denying yourself is not much better than indulging every whim.

That said,  I also believe that rewarding yourself can take forms other than warm chocolate chip cookies. Lately, I prefer to look at “splurging” as an opportunity to reward myself with good things that nourish my body well, which is like a two-for-one, really. 

Take yesterday’s splurge, for example. I rarely order lunch at work, but I worked a long week, and the girls who went out for lunch offered to bring me something back, so I took them up on it and treated myself to a winter roll (salmon with dill sauce) and a mango avocado roll from a great little sushi place near my office. 

See, it’s a double reward for a week’s worth of hard work! First, I enjoy a fantastic lunch, and then, I get to feel good about it for the rest of the day because I know I took good care of ME!

Other splurges lately include some pricey but lovely sweet dumpling squash and shallots at the farmer’s market, and some equally pricey, but totally worth it, organic, grass-fed, humanely raised beef from North Mountain Pastures, a farm we just discovered about 30 minutes away. 

And, since nourishing the soul is just as important as nourishing the body, a wonderful splurge can be as simple as turning off the computer and letting myself enjoy some quality play time with my boy. Deeeeeelicious :)

I think I’ve realized that “treating” myself means something different to me now than it ever did before, and I don’t have to wait for the things I want until I feel that I deserve them.

One of the things I want is real food, and I deserve it every day. I don’t have to make myself earn it the way I used to make myself earn a half a bag of Hershey’s Kisses.

I am increasingly more and more aware of the fact that little eyes are watching my every move, and learning from my example. I want them to see a mommy that doesn’t use a hard day’s work as an excuse to treat her body badly, but strives to make every day an opportunity to treat her body well. :D

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What does “splurge” mean to you? A pile of candy you normally don’t allow yourself, or a healthy ingredient you’ve been eyeing? Maybe a manicure, or a new plant?

If you have children, do you ever use food as a reward for behavior or hard work? How do you handle “splurging”?

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Comments

  1. For me, splurging usually consists of spending extra money on a pricey, specialty food that I ordinarily wouldn’t allow myself because of budgeting purposes. But I used to be very much like you – “treating” myself to all kinds of unhealthy foods, believing I “earned” it after a tough week/day/whatever. You’re so right that after those kinds of days or weeks, we should focus on what will really feel good, which is treating ourselves well!

    In that light, I think my biggest splurge is probably a long, hot bubble bath!

  2. A splurge for me is usually some really self-indulgent, like getting a massage or going to a yoga class. They’re things that I don’t treat myself to very often, but feel deserving of every now and then.

    I don’t usually use foods as a splurge, because I think I eat them too often to be considered splurges.

  3. Sushi is totally a splurge for me, but my real weakness is chips and salsa. I’ll sit down with a bag and a jar, and not even notice that I’ve finished ‘em off. Ugh. Not good for the waistline.

    I try really hard to not use food as a bribe for the kids, but I do occasionally use it as a reward for good behavior. ;)

  4. “I’ve always been one to overindulge, and I’ve always been one to feel really disgusted with myself afterwards.” – I’ve had the same problem throughout most of my adult life =/ I’d be lying if I said I’d solved it…but I’m working on it. Kudos to you for revamping your “splurges”!

  5. Love this post! Splurges definitely make every-day life sweet (literally or figuratively!). Like Katie, I typically “splurge” by treating myself to a foodie item that would usually be considered off-limits for budget reasons. I love wild-caught salmon, but it’s usually $16/pound, so I eat it only a few times/month. A good restaurant meal is also a favorite splurge. I “treat” myself to sweets every day (chocolate and ice cream are always part of my daily quota), so I’m not sure they count as splurges. :-)

    • Woohoo! Can I get a “heck yeah!” on the daily quota of ice cream and chocolate!

      Good quality and in moderation, of course, blah blah blah… ;)

      I agree that sometimes a longed-for ingredient is the best splurge! My last was coconut butter from Artisana. Love it!

  6. I don’t have children but I imagine that having someone always looking to you for appropriate behavior is a huge motivator to stay healthy! My splurge foods usually involve fried food and it never makes me feel good. Ah, well. Buffalo wings DO work wonders on my mental well-being. ;)

    • Yes, he’s a huge motivator. It’s not just about me anymore, you know? As for the wings, I feel you, sister. I don’t like the actual wing part, but I’ll eat just about anything else dipped in buffalo sauce. When I get that craving, NOTHING else will do! :)

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