Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Reward systems

I can't say I've spent as much time thinking about the intricacies of how one rewards oneself as I've spent thinking about other aspects of my diet and fitness self, but I think it's an important thing to start thinking about. Research even shows that using food as a reward or punishment with your children sets them up for poor eating habits as adult (DING DING DING!!)

A friend noted to me the other day that, in the few years that we have been friends, she's noticed that I regularly reward myself for food or fitness successes with food. I've spent lots of time sitting in weight watcher meetings talking about reward alternatives to food and here I am not thinking about or implementing any of that. When I have a good week, I celebrate with chicken wings. Or my favorite Hawaiian joint.

Frankly, I never REMEMBER to do it any other way. It's so ingrained. Just like sometimes, it honestly never occurs to me to order grilled chicken at a restaurant when I can order the cheeseburger (no joke, it rarely crosses my mind). But I'm making some really big and drastic changes in my life right now in regards to health and fitness and I need to be able to reward myself for milestones. A reward for my first 10 lbs. A reward for my first pant size lost. A reward for a month of consecutively showing up to have my arse kicked at 7am 4 days a week. But I don't want to continue to enforce poor eating habits by having those rewards revolve around food.

So I'm kicking around some ideas and would love yours as well. Mani/pedi is common for us ladies. Maybe a new book or some new yarn I really want. If I lose enough weight to have to buy new clothes, then a new outfit! I also thought of putting $20 aside for each milestone so when I hit a big stride, I can do something really special like a 90 minute massage or a spa day or a night at the coast. I believe rewards should build on each other... each one getting a little bit bigger and better with each goal you achieve.

So, I think my first reward, which will come when I lose my first 10 pounds or 30 consecutive days (whichever comes first), will be that I can go to Powell's and browse for however long I'd like and I can pick out a new book that I find there. I love going to Powell's and getting lost and reading backs of books and it can take me 20 minutes to 2 hours to find just the right thing. I'll even go to the Powell's downtown instead of cheating and going to the one on Hawthorne. I can't wait!!

What are your non-food rewards?


  1. I'm kinda with you on the "books as reward" when I want to treat myself, even though the bookstores here suck. That and Blockbuster for DVD's.

    While food has never been a problem for me, smoking has and continues to be a problem. I've tried the "reward myself for not smoking" approach, but so far no luck. I've pretty much given up on quitting for now due to massive stress at work and at home.

  2. Nice one on the non-food rewards. I needed the reminder.
    Books, cloths and electronic gadgets work for me. So do trips away(close by and far). Weekend at a Cabin or coffee, or a drink with friend. I also use movies and tv as rewards since I love movies and like a few shows but don't get much chance to do either. Anything you enjoy could be turned to a reward, do you buy makeup, jewelry, accessories? ooohhh what about shoes? I am going to start making my own list now. Thank-you!

  3. My rewards are all based around spoiling myself and relaxation because that is my favorite activity. I am now less than 7 pounds from my first goal of 10% of my body weight. I am going to reward myself with a 2 hour massage. I know it sounds insanely expensive but I have a Groupon that will make the first hour very very affordable. Then, I really only have to pay for the second hour. Heaven right?

    My next reward for the second goal will be a one hour facial. Again a Groupon, so much less expensive. I have always rewarded myself with food, used food to take comfort when times were bad, and let's face it - eating good food is fun!!

    Good for you for recognizing the various milestones and setting up appropriate rewards for getting there!

  4. And good for YOU, Nicole, for being so close to your goal! GO YOU!