Activity and reward

Crone Wood, Enniskerry, Wicklow, Ireland
Crone Wood, Enniskerry, Wicklow, Ireland

Saturday was a glorious day in Dublin. The sun was shining, the skies were blue, and with the delicate encouragement of my good lady wife, I felt compelled to get outside and embrace nature.

In other words, it was a nice day and my wife persuaded me to go for a walk in the hills.

In fact, we jumped in the car with the dog and drove south to County Wicklow, and to a place call Crone Woods that is next to Powerscourt Waterfall (the tallest waterfall in Ireland don’t you know?) in Enniskerry.

The trail takes you through the woods and up the Maulin Mountain. It’s about 8km long, and pretty strenuous. It certainly got my heart pumping! But as it was such a lovely day – and as there were so many places to stop and admire the view – it didn’t seem so bad. I took my camera along, so I had plenty of excuses to stop and catch my breath as a composed shots.

Even so, by the end of the walk, we both felt like we’d had a good workout. And with this feeling of virtuousness came the temptation of rewarding ourselves for all the effort. After all, we’d probably burned about 1,000 calories each, so why couldn’t we have a small treat?

So that evening, when we at a friends’ house for dinner, I indulged probably a little more than I should have – both with food and alcohol. Yes, and I know I only just recently talked about the perils of the demon drink, but I’ve never been one to follow my own advice!

I did successfully side-step the plate of garlic bread that was being passed around, but my resolve broke when the cheese board appeared. I’ve always loved a bit of smelly blue cheese, and I could hear it calling to me. So I had some, and I enjoyed it. And I told myself that I had earned it, because I had done all that strenuous walking earlier in the day.

But here’s the thing… the activity and the reward weren’t necessarily equal. In fact the reward I gave myself definitely outweighed the activity in terms of calories eaten and burnt.

I guess that’s why Slimming World doesn’t give extra syns in reward for body magic – because the temptation would always be to over-estimate the benefit of the activity and grant yourself too many syns!