The 17-year-old foodie rewarded herself with chocolate mousse after winning the gold medal. Why rewarding yourself with food can be a positive thing.
Olympic snowboard sensation Chloe Kim rewarded herself for winning the gold medal in the women’s snowboard halfpipe with a decadent dessert: chocolate mousse.
The 17-year-old Korean-American all-star has become famous for killing it at the winter games in Pyeongchang, and for tweeting about her latest food cravings from egg sandwiches to ice cream to her 200,000 followers.
“Could be down for some ice cream rn,” she tweeted on Monday during qualifying runs.
Could be down for some ice cream rn
— Chloe Kim (@chloekimsnow) February 12, 2018
And to calm her nerves on Sunday, she ate two churros, telling fans of the sugary sweet treat: “If you ever get nervous go eat a churro.”
Oh and I also had 2 churros today and they were pretty bomb so if you ever get nervous go eat a churro
— Chloe Kim (@chloekimsnow) February 11, 2018
It’s no shock that celebrating a job well done pairs well with comfort food. Two-time Olympic champion Gabby Douglas went to New York City after competing in the 2016 summer games in Rio to eat pasta at Patsy’s in Midtown. And tennis champ Serena Williams chows down on her mother’s roasted chicken and biscuits after a victory, she told Bon Appetit.
Eating a cheat food as a reward for hard work or achieving a goal is perfectly healthy, and a great source of edible motivation as long as you don’t overdo it, experts say.
“It’s very healthy because most of the time when any of these competing athletes are in training mode they’re following a strict diet, with micro and macro nutrients. Depending on the sport they might be restricting their calories or carb loading for endurance. So when they’re off these high performance diets, they’re treating themselves to dessert,” says Sharon Zarabi, a dietitian and fitness trainer at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “A lot of the time when you’re eating the same food, it’s helpful to rev up your metabolism with something different.”
Even if you’re not an elite athlete, a reward food isn’t a bad idea: Treating yourself with a piece of candy or a cookie is proven to increase productivity. The Premack principle in psychology, informally known as Grandma’s Law, proves that you’re more likely to behave a certain way or get things done if you know there’s a reward at the end of it all — like grandma saying you can’t have your ice cream until you eat all the broccoli.
“The nice thing about setting up an overt or freely chosen reward system is we’re gaining control over our behavior by saying ‘I’m going to have this treat for myself because I earned it.’ It’s about taking ownership,” says clinical psychologist Shaun Wehle.
Of course, you shouldn’t give yourself a brownie everyday for basic tasks like doing your job. “Having a treat everyday at 4 p.m. because you finished a work day early” isn’t healthy,” notess Zarabi.
But “having dessert once or twice a week is part of the healthy process … If you’re eating a balanced diet throughout the week and you have a cheat meal once it won’t hurt.”
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