My name is Neale Bacon. I have lost (so far) 200 pounds with no pills, potions, shakes, short cuts or surgery. Join me for tips and tricks I learned on this journey. There may even be a laugh or two along the way.

So you have been working hard at the weight loss journey. You have been watching what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat. You have even been watching WHY you eat. You are exercising and the weight is coming off. Great! You deserve a reward!

The problem is for a lot of us we are used to rewarding ourselves with food. In fact we can’t see rewarding ourselves with anything else, but there are rewards that won’t set back your progress and that’s what I want to share today.

When should you reward yourself? When you hit a certain goals, like so many pounds lost or you have exercised 3 times in a week or whatever goal you have set for yourself. Don’t wait until you get to your weight loss goal before you reward yourself. We all enjoy little rewards, even if we give them to ourselves and sometimes they are that little extra incentive we need.

One of my favourite websites for weight loss ideas and motivation is http://www.sparkpeople.com and I recently found this great system they have for setting up your reward system.

My Healthy Choices Reward System
1 star for going to the gym
1 star for going to the gym ( or working out at home) three times in one week
1 star for walking at least 30 minutes
1 star for walking outside in temperatures below 20 or above 80
1 star for drinking at least six cups of water per day
2 stars for drinking eight or more cups of water per day
2 stars for staying below my daily carb range
1 star for meeting my daily calorie goal
2 stars for not weighing myself more than once a week
100 stars = I got a reward from my list

You could make your stars whatever you like. I took this list right from their website and I am going to implement it for myself so I can track things better. It makes it easier than just saying I feel like I deserve a reward. This way you earn it.

So what kinds of rewards can you give yourself? I can share with you what has worked for me, but you need to find rewards that motivate you.

I am a big movie buff. If there is a certain movie playing I really want to see, I have used that as a reward. If it is a bigger milestone, I may buy a new Blue Ray or DVD.

How about buying a new item of clothing that shows your weight loss progress? I have been purging my closet of my fat clothes so I don’t allow myself to grow back into them. I have been enjoying buying new clothes for myself, which is unusual for me. I used to be happy to find something that fit, never mind what it looked like.

One of my favourite rewards is to go to a thrift store or on eBay and allow myself to buy 1 inexpensive item. As you know, in my regular world I am a ventriloquist and I collect ventriloquism memorabilia. If I hit a real milestone like 5 pounds down, I go look for stuff for my collection.

Ladies – go get a mani/pedi. Men – go get a real hot towel shave at a barber. Trust me it is like a spa treatment.

How about download a new workout song to add to your playlist? How about putting up a photo on your Facebook page to show off your progress?

Here are 50 non-food rewards listed on the Spark People website. http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1990&page=2

So why should you reward yourself? Well, for me, it helped with my motivation. I need that motivation because it was not always (and sometimes still isn’t) part of my nature to watch my food choices and my exercise.

I think we all respond to rewards. It’s kind of like when we were kids. I remember going grocery shopping with my mom and if I was really good I could get a new Matchbox Car. That little reward kept me in line!

Another good reason to add rewards to your weight loss program is that it’s fun! Think of it as a game. Set some reward goals. Print them out and put them on your phone or mirror or any place else you can see them and think – hey a couple more visits to the gym and I can go see a movie or another 5 pounds and I can buy a new outfit.

The rewards don’t all have to be big and expensive. Check out your local dollar store for things like fridge magnets with funny or motivational sayings. How about a new water bottle? This is kind of food related, but how about new food storage containers or a new lunch kit?

The point is you are working hard. This journey is not easy, and sometimes it is very hard to stay motivated. Sometimes we just don’t want to do this or we think we have not been making the progress we wanted.

How many times have you thought “I think I will skip my workout today” or “To heck with healthy eating, I want junk food!” Use the reward system to help you stay on track like it did for me as a child grocery shopping with my mom.no rewards

Remember – don’t reward yourself with food. That’s how they train animals, and you are much more than a trained animal. You are working towards becoming a healthy happy human being!

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

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