For every 5 pounds I lose, I treat myself with a little something. The vast majority of my rewards are fitness related (i.e. a new Wii fitness game, a Jillian Michaels DVD, a pedometer, new workout pants), but my final reward when I lose 45 pounds is for something I really want. I don't necessarily NEED this motivation, but it will sure be fun buying that Wii game in the store for the sole reason that I lost weight!
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I created a list of rewards for each 10 lb milestone. Each reward is better than the previous one. For example, my rewards are: Spark Goodie, new workout gear, dragon figurine, leather jacket, professional family photo, and a full spa day when I hit goal. My reward for my stretch goal is a Past, Present, and Future diamond ring. Now that's worth some time on the elliptical!
We all need rewards as motivation - they help us look forward to the work. But don't reward yourself with food. That doesn't get you closer to your weight loss goal and it sets a bad habit.
As my aunt said the other day: You aren't a dog, so don't reward your behavior with treats!
Instead, find non-food rewards such as trips, reading time, shoes, clothes, pool time, pedicure or manicure, spa day, or anything else you want to do or have always wanted to do but never found the time!
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