Food as reward

22:50, Oct 16 2012

On Monday I mentioned, in passing, the awesome dude I saw jogging up on The Terrace last week - while eating a pie!!! He was wearing a headband, a white tracksuit jacket (extra points for stain-danger from the pie), running shoes, and short shorts. I, of course, did what any right-minded person would do having witnessed such a glorious sight - I put it on Facebook, so others could share my amusement.

This, then, degenerated into a discussion as to what exactly was going on. Some suspected some sort of art prank, others suggested that this was simply the way things were done on The Terrace, as opposed to on loose'n'groovy Cuba Street - efficiency, in all things. Another friend postulated that he was simply cutting out the middle man, and that as a garden variety steak mince pie would probably yield around 400 calories, if the awesome pie-jogger dude were to run around 5-6 kms, he would be about square. He was simply taking his food reward as he was earning it. Although, as someone else suggested, a bacon and egg pie would be a more appropriate pie-jogging accessory...

I also recently mentioned Plus One's bribing me with ice-cream to do an onerous paint stripping job for our renovations - a perfectly satisfactory exchange, where a few hours labour attains the food reward of a delicious Zany Zeus organic ice-cream.

When I have managed a respectable number of lengths at Huia Pool in Lower Hutt, or in the summer, at Thorndon Pool, I often head to the nearby Wholly Bagels store, for a coffee and a bagel, and a read of the newspaper.

And then I kind of had a think about this - do I "incentivise" everything I do with food?!? It would perhaps explain why I am so interested/obsessed with food - I view it as not merely the fuel that enables the body to function, but the dangling carrot in front of me, one of the chief reasons I do, well, anything...

I mean, lordie, I have gone a long way out of my way for specific food rewards. Walk the dog on Lyall Bay beach - get a burger from Ekim Burgers, or maybe a mad lunchtime dash for steak and chips at The Larder in Miramar, just cos, y'know, I feel I deserve a treat. Does this make me a terrible person? I mean, I'm sure a lot of people feel the same. If you are even reading this, I suspect you are at least interested in food to a significant degree, if not necessarily as obsessed with it as I am?


For instance, I'll bet that many of you have decided that an extra couple of kilometres on the treadmill at the gym is worth it for that piece of chocolate brownie at morning tea. Maybe you do it retrospectively - pay penance for last night's dessert the next day at the gym/park/pool?

It is certainly very rewarding when you finish a hard day's work when there is a hearty meal waiting for you upon completion of your toils. It is probably a more tangible thing when you have been doing physical work, rather than sitting in front of a computer. I have found that lately, having finished a day's painting at home, you have a different kind of hunger - one that demands feeding, rather than one that simply waits until you have finished logging off and shutting down your computer.

Today I have spent the day painting. I am astonishingly crap at painting. I have paint in my hair and on my face, and have been sweating like a derby winner. P1 is at work. I feel that, in our own ways, we have both earned a decent evening meal, despite the fact that we are still operating sans-kitchen. There is some bread, and chicken, and salad. It's a lovely evening. Chicken sandwiches in the yard? Yes. I think that for tonight, that is a quite suitable food reward.

So, how do you feel about food as a reward? Do you (as I do) incentivise your work or tasks with the promise of a tasty treat? Do you mentally factor in how much exercise you have taken when you are eating, or do you work retrospectively and seek to work off what you have already eaten?

And, finally - Oh awesome pie-jogging dude from the Terrace last week, if you are reading, please fill me in on your modus operandi. Are you simply seeking to cut out the middle man: calories in, energy out...or, what?

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Lollipop hoto by Sacha Wolff