Motivation Articles

50 Non-Food Rewards for Fitness and Weight Loss

Healthy Ways to Celebrate Success!

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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'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
  • I'm not able to read the 2nd page, the way you have it formatted. - 2/17/2015 10:56:33 PM
  • The star system sounds like a great idea and I love the charm bracelet idea. But the rewards of nail polish change,home spa day,etc.,should be things that we do on a weekly basis just to take care of ourselves. - 2/17/2015 8:37:31 AM
  • YOGAGROOVE
    Looks like specific advertising and marketing. lol Capitalism is everywhere, lol - 2/3/2015 8:57:38 AM
  • Half of these things don't even sound like rewards, they sound like things people ought to do to maintain their sanity/health. Lame options. So disappointed that this was the best you all could come up with. - 1/30/2015 3:32:44 PM
  • JAYRAY15
    When I finally met my goal weight I rewarded myself with a new Fitbit HR. It hasn't arrived yet but I am anxious to get it and after all my hard work I deserve it! - 1/19/2015 11:59:32 AM
  • Some of these things are things we should treat ourselves to more often and enjoy the whole process, not just the end goal. I like fitness classes like zumba and they help me reach my goals, as well as, nice workout clothes, equipment, like snowshoes, and good fitness shoes.
    Even every day clothing that is attractive makes me feel better about myself all the time and then it is easier to achieve goals, too.
    I don't think we need to wait to be nice to ourselves. A relaxing bath, for instance, is good anytime. - 1/19/2015 11:45:56 AM
  • I love this!!! Megan, you are brilliant. I was just this morning trying to figure out a way to reward myself more than just a material item for each 25 lbs I lost. Now I can mimic you and stay inspired. Thank You!! - 1/19/2015 9:21:30 AM
  • KATNUR
    Is there an application somewhere for the star system reward yourself. One where you can put in your values etc. until you get the required stars and also where you can post your reward goal or something you would give yourself for the 100.
    - 1/6/2015 4:00:57 PM
  • This is great! It's so much better than just rewarding weight loss! - 11/21/2014 11:27:35 PM
  • For the last several months, I have done something similar to the star system but I have aimed to try and get at least 80% of my goals daily. I've found that's really tough so I'm thinking of switching to the "total points" (e.g. 100 pts = reward) to help keep me motivated. I did meet my October goal and ordered myself a heart rate monitor as a reward!

    Some of the daily goals I've used (some work better than others) have been:
    * 10+ min of exercise
    * 8000+ steps
    * 7.5+ hours of sleep (I've found this to be my minimum productivity)
    * met calorie deficit
    * met fiber goal
    * 8+ cups of water
    * 5 fruits/vegs
    * no soda
    * floss (I got out of this habit)
    * 50 SparkPeople points
    * read a motivational book chapter - 11/3/2014 10:41:43 AM
  • CHERRYZMB60
    i like these the best

    Have a guilt-free home spa afternoon, Pick up a new plant for your garden, Treat yourself to a massage! - 10/28/2014 12:24:08 PM
  • Thanks a lot for this article!!! I too tend to associate the idea of 'reward' with that of 'food' (the unhealthier, the better, in fact)... But it doesn't work and it can only do harm! So I really loved your list of practical, easy-to-do/find rewards. I'm going to print it and stick it.... on the fridge! :) - 9/19/2014 9:44:40 AM

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