Celebrating your weight loss success with chocolate cupcakes is, at best, counterproductive and, at worst, dangerous. You have put all that effort to achieving your goal and now you’re throwing it out the window.
The reason why people often celebrate their weight loss success with food or drinks is because they have been feeling deprived during the process. They had to use a lot of willpower and self-control. And if there’s nothing else in our lives to give us pleasure and satisfaction, then there’s no wonder that we turn to food.
That’s why it’s important to reward ourselves for our successes, no matter how small or big they are.
The study has shown that rewards help overweight people lose even more weight. In this study 53 obese participants were assigned to five groups: 1) self-reward, 2) self-punishment, 3) self-reward and self-punishment, 4) self-monitoring and 5) information control. After four weeks of treatment the self-reward group lost significantly more weight than the other groups.
So granting rewards for losing weight is a great way to stay motivated, unless you reward yourself with a jar of Ben and Jerry’s. The gifts and rewards should help you get closer to your goal rather than sabotage you.
Rewarding yourself increases your awareness of what you have accomplished already and helps avoid relapse. On top of that, it makes your journey more exciting and enjoyable.
So here are 12 ideas how you can reward yourself without food:
1. Massage. If you often turn back to food for pleasure, massage could be a great alternative. It’s pleasurable, makes you feel relaxed and it’s good for your overall health.
2. Spend time with your girlfriends. You can get dressed and go out dancing, organize a cosy pyjama party at home with movies and/or sincere conversations, or take a dance/painting/singing class together. Connecting with people makes us feel fulfilled, so we do not need to turn to food in order to fill that inner void.
3. Go to a concert, theatre, art gallery or a museum. It’s a great way to get inspired and to “feed” the soul.
4. Buy a new outfit. It could be the dress you were visualizing yourself in, or a smaller size jeans, or even shoes. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this. You can get second hand clothes, especially if you’re planning to drop even more sizes.
5. Have a date with yourself. Schedule some alone-time. It could be a “spa appointment” at your house where you fill in a bath and do your natural beauty rituals. It could be getting under a favourite blanket with some tea in your favourite mug and reading a good book. Connect with yourself and do the things that make you feel good.
6. Buy or make a special piece of jewellery to remind you of your successes and goal. Every time you’ll wear it, it will remind you why it’s important for you to stay on track and make loving choices for your body.
7. Get your hair done. It’s fun to be attractive on the outside, as well as the inside.
8. Get a pedicure or a manicure. It’s fun to pamper yourself. Get a new color to make it even more fun.
9. Buy new workout cloths. Perhaps you’ve lost weight and your old gym cloths are a little baggy. Getting new workout attire might motivate you to exercise and make your workouts a little more fun!
10. Sign up for a dance class. Whether it’s belly dance, ballet, salsa. Find something that attracts you and try it! It’s fun to move your body with a group of people and great music.
11. Buy a new juicer, blender or other kitchen equipment. It will help you make healthier food choices and make cooking more fun.
12. Get a photo-shoot, whether professionally or get your friend to take pictures of you. Celebrate your beautiful body!
In order to make sure that what you’ve read didn’t just go pass you, make a plan. Take a piece of paper or open a blank word document and copy/paste the item from this list that would excite you. Decide what actions you have to take in order to get that reward and schedule it.
Reward yourself for actions, not the results
It’s important to note that you should earn your rewards by taking certain actions and not by achieving results. Focusing on results might be discouraging, since you can’t really control how your body will react to exercising and eating well and how much weight you’ll lose in a week.
So decide to exercise x times a week, and eat a healthy diet. If you follow through, reward yourself. The results will take care of themselves.