Motivation Articles

50 Non-Food Rewards for Fitness and Weight Loss

Healthy Ways to Celebrate Success!

Losing weight and maintaining healthy habits are both challenging, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't also be rewarding. Besides the intrinsic benefits that come from feeling better and reaching new goals, rewarding yourself for your healthy efforts will reinforce your new habits and inspire you to continue your journey.

There are lots of effective and motivating ways to reward yourself (both large and small), but first you need to come up with a system. One easy solution is to tie rewards to SparkPoints or fitness minutes rather than weight loss alone. Start by choosing a target that is challenging but not unreachable. For example, give yourself a reward if you reach 600 fitness minutes in a month or each time you earn 500 SparkPoints.

Before I discovered SparkPeople, I created my own reward system that had two components: one to reward healthy behaviors, which are the only things you can truly control, and another to mark weight-loss progress. It's very similar to earning SparkPoints, which you can add up by doing healthy tasks such as tracking your food, exercising or utilizing the supportive Community. But if you have some specific behaviors that SparkPoints don't cover, you can use this list for ideas and customize it however you wish to fit your own goals.

My Healthy Choices Reward System
1 star for going to the gym
1 star for going to the gym 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
To mark my weight-loss progress, I bought an old-fashioned silver charm bracelet and added a new charm for every 10 pounds I lost. I chose charms with symbolic meaning to remind me of my journey and all my hard work. For example, because walking helped me drop the first 10 pounds, I chose a silver sneaker. When I got halfway to my goal weight, I chose a tiny pair of scissors.

50 Non-Food Reward Ideas
Almost anything can work as a reward as long as it fits into your budget and doesn't undermine your efforts. Food does undermine your efforts, so always choose ways to reward yourself that don't involve eating. What works as a reward should be inspiring to you; otherwise, it won't compel you to stick to your program. Here are 50 ideas to get you started (arranged from least expensive or time-consuming to most):
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About The Author

Megan Patrick Megan Patrick
Megan Lane Patrick has been a professional writer and editor for the past 16 years, and was a chronic dieter for at least 30. A combination of weight-loss surgery, mindful eating and daily exercise finally allowed her to maintain a weight loss of more than 100 pounds. When she's not lifting weights at the gym, you can find her walking shelter dogs as a volunteer for the SPCA.

Member Comments

  • I like the original list plus your additional suggestions! - 11/5/2015 4:13:28 PM
  • JMB369
    Great ideas! Some of these "treats" I've learned to give myself anyway as part of learning to love myself and take time for myself, but others would be inspiring. I especially like the star system and the charm bracelet ideas!

    I like to travel, so I have created some rewards that encourage me to do more: 5 lbs=take a day trip: 10 lbs.= take an overnight trip: goal weight = a week-long vacation

    Others that have worked for me: attend 2 water aerobics classes/week for a month = new bathing suit and a fluffy new towel; attend 2 yoga classes/week for 2 months = new yoga pants and top; average 7+ hours of sleep/night for a month = room darkening curtains for bedroom.

    And this is a food reward, but substitutes a healthy food for a less healthy food: one month with no cookies or muffins = half pound of unsalted macadamia nuts or a jar of Costco unsalted mixed nuts.

    It takes some effort to identify rewards that are personally motivating, but I think it's worth it. For instance, I decided 75 lbs ago that I would replace my wardrobe every time I changed sizes. I was able to do this by making careful thrift shop purchases. I felt as if
    I always looked my best, and this has been an important ongoing motivator for me. Someone else might decide to wait until they reached their goal weight. - 10/27/2015 9:47:02 AM
  • IRISRT36
    Love the list, great ideas! - 9/29/2015 4:49:41 PM
  • Great List! THANKS!!! - 9/16/2015 8:16:53 PM
  • I've gotta think about this one ,. . . . there's gotta be something.... - 9/9/2015 12:22:50 PM
  • I've gotta think about this one ,. . . . there's gotta be something.... - 9/9/2015 12:22:50 PM
    For me, the trouble with rewards is that 'rewarding myself' feels like a duty in itself. - 8/6/2015 2:43:03 AM
    For me, the trouble with rewards is that 'rewarding myself' feels like a duty in itself. - 8/6/2015 2:43:03 AM
  • I have such a hard time with rewards. Thanks so much for this list. It seems I can never think of anything. I guess I'm not much of a "reward based" person. - 8/4/2015 3:16:36 PM
  • I am always surprised by the judgment I read in responses, some are just so harsh. If something feels like a reward to you then it is a reward. Taking time out to just get on SP and read some articles in my day, is a reward to me. Some of us (now matter how old are) just really learning how to take better care of ourselves vs. spending so much time on others that we neglect our own health. Anyway, I find your list refreshing and I thank you for sharing your personal success tactics and story. However you did it, YOU DID IT! I think I will do something similar! - 8/3/2015 1:10:16 PM
  • I have a wishlist on Amazon that has milestones, like 5lb, 10, 15. 25 etc. Some stuff that is healthy lifestyle related, some not. - 3/28/2015 5:41:23 PM
  • 've got a few of these on my list. They get bigger as the weight loss gets bigger. All of my rewards will help me achieve my goal.
    (I-tunes to exercise with, new water bottle, etc.)
    Now I need to give myself a reward for completing the 30 day Walk About Challenge! - 3/4/2015 3:54:00 PM
  • I'm going to give this a try. I've set realistic tasks that I feel I can achieve and are balanced between nutrition and fitness. Let's see if I can reward myself with a movie ticket or night on the town! - 2/19/2015 2:27:49 AM
  • I can't read the second page, either. The text runs into the ads. - 2/18/2015 2:43:31 PM
  • I don't believe in rewarding myself for something I should be doing. That's like rewarding myself for cleaning the house or doing the laundry. So why should I reward myself for eating right and exercising? - 2/18/2015 10:18:02 AM

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