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

    Me thinks this web site is mainly for women - 2/5/2016 7:37:50 AM
  • I did not find these ideas rewarding to me, so was relieved when I read a page of comments and found many others agreed. However, it was a good start to get me thinking about just what I might find rewarding. We are doing this with my grandchildren, asking them to identify what they find rewarding, not attempting to guess. The list is then pared down, explaining which items are unrealistic considering the family situation. It's difficult to engage children -- or anyone -- if the rewards are not meaningful to the individuals.

    I also caution against rewarding yourself with a dog, unless you are truly ready to make the long-term commitment and investment.

    I agree that many of the items pertain only to women, but I have to give Megan a break -- she can hardly guess what might be considered a reward for a guy. Perhaps Spark could enlist Dean Anderson or another male on staff to write a similar blog, geared towards men. Regardless, the list is a terrific staring point!

    - 1/27/2016 9:04:24 AM
  • i love the idea of giving myself extra stars for walking in the cold rain! - 1/26/2016 9:56:52 PM
  • Rewards are self selcted in our case, you choose what is rewarding to you. In my case I need only positive feedback from the scale, seeing my daily milage, etc. - 1/24/2016 10:14:49 AM
  • Take a selfie? Ugh, really? Clean out your closet? LOL, what? These are really lame "rewards"... Not motivating at all. - 1/23/2016 2:53:28 PM
  • Sometimes primping in the mirror is all the reward I need.
    A nice big reward would be a weekend golf trip, with a new cute golf outfit. - 1/23/2016 1:53:40 PM
  • Tattoos as a reward? NO THANKS. And why are all of these geared to only women?
    - 1/18/2016 8:45:59 PM
  • I looked at about 45 of these and thought to myself "not a reward". These might seem like rewards to some people, and more power to them. These don't motivate me, but something will. Great job on finding your go-to list and good luck on your health journey! - 1/17/2016 10:22:36 PM
    I'm a movie and book addict, so my old reward system was for every 10 lbs. lost, I'd get on Amazon and order a new movie or book. I'm rethinking the milestones right now, but it will still probably have something to do with movies or books. - 1/7/2016 12:22:47 PM
  • Charm bracelet is a cute idea but I would not even conciser a tattoo or piercing. - 12/18/2015 7:09:43 AM
    I love sp but it seems like all of the articles like 50 non food ways to reward yourself are geared towards women only, please start thinking about men's heath and weight loss also. - 12/5/2015 8:34:01 AM
  • 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

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