Celebrate Your Successes With Non-Food Rewards

February 17, 2013

Do you remember when you were younger and your parents promised that yummy dessert as a reward for eating cleaning your plate or eating your vegetables? Or perhaps if you cleaned your room or finished your homework, you received a special snack. Many of us were encouraged to eat, even if we felt full. It’s no wonder that as adults, we often reach for that refrigerator or cupboard door to reward ourselves for our accomplishments.  It is time to break the connection between celebrating successes with food and give yourself non-food rewards.

What are Non-Food Rewards?

Take the time to feed your soul by treating yourself with non-food rewards. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. A relaxing bubble bath is heaven on earth for me and one of my rewards. Of course, I have my candles and incense burning away as I am immersed and soothed in the warmness of the water. These moments I have to myself are priceless. Maybe you prefer to reward your progress by going to the movies or purchasing a book that inspires you.

Treat Yourself with Non-Food Rewards!

Losing weight and maintaining a healthy, nutritional diet is hard work! You deserve to celebrate your “mini” accomplishments on the way to your ultimate weight loss goal, but why sabotage your success with a favorite food that will only add calories and leave you feeling guilty? Talk about counterproductive!

Set your goals and plan on how you intend to reach them. You may decide to reward yourself after losing five pounds, 25 pounds or 50. You might want to reward your ability to make behavior changes that will lead you to your weight loss. You have made the decision to live a healthier lifestyle, why not give yourself a little pat on the back along the way? It’s motivational and uplifting to be able to celebrate reaching your goals.

How Do You Celebrate With Non-Food Rewards?

OH Member, Jamie Miles shared how he rewards himself when reaching some of his goals:

“I have a reward system that works nicely for me. I call it a “Me Fund”. Each time I have some extra money, I put it away in a me fund container in my laundry room. It can be leftover change in my pockets or $1’s and $5’s. My me fund is actually a coffee can that I decorated up a bit. I didn’t want a clear jar because I didn’t want to see what was in it until I was ready to reward myself. I have inspirational photos and quotes on the outside of it to keep me motivated.


Photo courtesy of Ramberg Media Images

For every 15lbs I lose, I go to my “me fund” and I take it to my bank that has a change counter. I usually have about $15-30 dollars. I head to my local discount retailer (like TJ Maxx or Marshalls) and I comb the sale racks. I found a pair of jeans that were only $7.00, a dress shirt for $8.00 - all designer brands! Sometimes I can wear them ASAP and sometimes I have to wait for another few pounds to get into them but, I always get into them! I’ve even used their layaway plan when I find too many good deals. I started doing this when my weight loss slowed down. I needed that extra motivation and reminder. What’s nice now is that my fund is getting a little bit bigger as I am about 25lbs away from my goal weight. This has brought me great enjoyment. I hope it brings others some enjoyment as well! Since my weight loss surgery, I have found designer jeans, rugby, weight training and self-esteem!”

"I always waited for the day that I could walk into a Victoria’s Secret instead of looking through the window. Now, that’s how I award myself. I love to buy myself matching bras and panties. Even though no one else can see them, I feel so sexy and confident wearing them. Something that I have lacked as a “big girl”! If you see me walking with a little more of a wiggle in my step and a smile on my face..It’s not just because I am at goal and maintaining. I’m wearing my VS undergarments!" - PuggyDawn S.

"For me, it is more about the little things all along the way that send myself a message that I am worth taking care of... getting my nails done, going for a massage. Letting the house be dirty (without guilt) and working out instead of cleaning. I have not started to think about what I will do at “goal”- -still have a little over 25lbs to go...but this way I feel like I am setting up a pattern of self-care that I hope will get me through the long haul when the scale “goals” are gone." - Lorri M.

"I like to buy myself candles for the house. It creates a lovely scent that doesn’t come from food. I also like to splurge on perfume and makeup when I hit significant goal weights. My SO (significant other) buys me jewelry when I hit specific goals."- pandoralsu

"My reward when I reach my goal weight is to start trying to have a baby. My #1 reason for having lap-band surgery was to get my body healthy not only to diminish the chances of obesity-related complications during pregnancy, but also to be a healthy mom and set a good example for my future children. In the meantime, I have rewarded myself by:

-Strictly budgeting my “dining out” expenses and putting surplus money in a savings account
-Splurging on a gym membership
-Buying new clothes that flatter my shape instead of simply covering up
-Going to a stylist and getting a new, perkier haircut and highlights

It’s been a really grand journey. I feel like a whole new person and I am inspired to be the best person I can be!" - Mandy (FlabToFab)

"I have set up a personal savings account at the corner credit union. I can WALK down and deposit some $$$ each week. I also get all the monies in the change jar and any rebates or refunds we receive. DH (Dear Husband) will occasionally just hand me some funds and say, “this is for your fund”. When the time is right, I will have a nice nest egg for my new wardrobe. Also, I hunt in Goodwill and other thrift stores, only getting top quality cast-offs for the sizes I will hopefully only be in a short while. I have scored cashmere sweaters and great brand name pants and tops. So far, this journey has been fun!"- Jenny t (psworker)

"I got a Pandora charm bracelet and every 10 pounds I get a new charm. It’s great because I can celebrate these mini-milestones, especially since my goal weight is so far away, and I get to wear it and remind myself where I have come from. Next spring we’ll be trying for a baby. I may not be at goal yet then, but if things keep going well I will definitely be healthy enough." - gaylancsu

"My reward is actually doing something nice for my wife. Every time I have a meaningful scale victory, I am so overcome with happiness that I want to share, so we usually go out shopping. Sometimes it’s a new plant to put in the garden, sometimes it’s something to add to her wardrobe, sometimes it’s a small piece of jewelry. Occasionally, it’s just me doing something that she asked me to do, but I’ve procrastinated about for one reason or another. She’s been one of my biggest supporters throughout WLS and she does the little things like remind me to make a lunch for work or to take my vitamins. She’s able to put aside whatever she might be doing to alter a pair of slacks that are too big. She compliments my looks, even when I don’t see it. She tolerates my hours at the computer posting and blogging here on OH. It sometimes goes overlooked that the folks dearest to us have also been somewhat deprived because of our obesity. Our partners were there for us when we were fat, so my scale victories are a chance to acknowledge their everlasting love and support."- FatGuy(shrinking)inNC

"I just recently lost 75 pounds and I bought myself a pair of red cowgirl boots to celebrate. I’ve always wanted red boots! Don’t know what I’m going to do at 100 pounds, but it’s going to be something good, because at 100 pounds lost will also be ONEDERLAND! So, you can be sure I’m rewarding myself and celebrating!"- Bo-belly

"One huge thing I did when I lost 100 pounds was to buy myself a bulldog. His name is Nash and he’s the greatest gift I could have given myself. He weighs about 55 lbs but he reminds me everyday of the bulk I used to carry around. After I reached my goal, I got a 2nd bulldog, Emmie. Together, their weight is less than the weight I’ve lost but they sure are a lot of dog! It’s amazing to see them together and realize I carried all that around everyday and what a strain it put on my body. In the forums, I often tell people who are struggling with weight loss to think about a pound as a pound of butter, five pounds as a sack of flour and 10 lbs as a sack of potatoes. Carry a sack of potatoes around a grocery store for a while and your arms will surely get tired. Our legs were carrying that load around all day long. I went to a store and stacked up a sack of potatoes to try and quantify the weight I had lost." - MickATL

"My first small goal was to get under 350 and I rewarded myself with new clothes. Once I reached that goal, my next goal was to get under 300. When I reached that goal, I rewarded myself with a new hair color and new makeup. When I lost 100 lbs total (under 280), I chopped my hair off and got a super cute new style. I had never had short hair in my life and I loved it. When I hit 120 lbs lost, my unknown reward was being pregnant! After I have my baby and continue with my weight loss, my ultimate reward at goal will be a trip to Disneyland with my family." - Tami (tamiissunshine)

"I have booked a cruise with my best friend to celebrate my success. I haven’t done much on the way down, but I have reached a lower weight than I’ve been at in my adult life, so I’m rewarding that as well as all the hard work I’ve done to get here! We are planning to do all the things I couldn’t have done if I was still heavier. Parasailing is at the top of the list. I can’t wait!"- Denise (waitinggame)

"When I lost 100 lbs, I finally splurged and treated myself to a beautiful Coach bag. It was something I had always wanted, but could never justify such a big purchase.
I will be celebrating my one year surgiversary with a seven day cruise!"- Brandi M.

"I rewarded myself at each 25 pound mark. Small things like a pedicure or earrings. On my one year anniversary my husband bought me a gorgeous gold necklace. For my 150 pound gift to myself I got my one and only tattoo (on my ankle). It took a lot of guts but it reminds me always of my transformation." - jeanninev

100_0731.jpg picture by vanwey

"I did my rewards in bigger chunks...for every 50 lbs. My goal was to lose 150 pounds. At 50 pounds lost, I had Zoom teeth whitening done. At 100 pounds, I got a photo facial done. Then at 150 lbs, which I really never dreamed I would reach, but did, my husband and I had a quick local getaway and spent the weekend in the most fabulous boutique hotel here in Houston called Hotel Zaza. And when we walked into the room, he arranged with the staff to have a huge arrangement of 150 of my favorite flowers (carnations) arranged in a vase on the table...one for every pound I lost! It was truly the “icing” on the cake!" - txAngela

"I bought myself a diamond necklace in the infinity symbol. I wanted to buy myself something pretty - and the symbol is to remind me that this tool is something I have to work FOREVER - and it will keep paying back benefits forever!" - ericaFG

"This post gave me a great idea! My hubby and I collect refrigerator magnets. A few years ago, we even painted our kitchen ceiling with magnetic paint and we have at least 250 magnets up there by now. So, since I have 60 pounds to lose, I went online and ordered 12 inspirational and/or funny weight-loss magnets, Every time I lose five pounds, I’m going to stick one of the magnets up on the ceiling! Fun, cheap, low-cal, low-carb!"- Mlkpas

What non-food rewards do you celebrate with? Share your thoughts and ideas below!


Tammy J. Colter is an OH staff writer and has proudly served the ObesityHelp community since 1999, helping members and professionals alike. Tammy wears many hats at ObesityHelp, she works as an author, editor, and account manager. Read more articles by Tammy!