Rewards Along The Way

lets-celebrateIt’s totally awesome when someone I know gets super excited about hitting some weight or fitness milestone. What gets me is them following up with wanting to celebrate it by going out to eat. My brain tends to grind to a dead stop. “Wasn’t the whole point of losing weight or getting more fit to learn to not do all of these things that make you regain weight?” my brain eventually kicks out when it resumes operations. “This doesn’t make any sense. Why would you celebrate with something that is probably part of what caused the problem in the first place? Isn’t this like an alcoholic celebrating a year of sobriety with a beer?”

I sat and thought about this a bit. I wouldn’t dream to speak for the world at large, but at least here in the U.S. there is a certain fixation with combining food and celebrations. Birthday parties, graduating from high school or college, baby showers, weddings, Christmas, New Year’s; they all celebrate with some kind of food product front and center. That makes the desire to go out to eat to celebrate just about anything, not just weight loss or fitness goals, make a certain amount of cultural sense.

Unfortunately in my case in particular, it can be detrimental to do something like this. I’m not saying it always happens, but it has in the past kicked off the lovely downward spiral of my personal issues with being unable to get some kind of signal from gut to brain that says “Full now. Stop. Please.” My brain and gut seem to not like talking to each other. Maybe they need counselling or a better long distance plan.

Tangent aside here, many weight loss regimens seem to support the “this seems like a bad idea” theory, and recommend non-food related rewards when you hit milestones you’ve set for yourself. I’m not saying the milestone has to be something like lost 10 pounds. In fact, it could be as simple as being able to walk three miles and feel good instead of wiped out, holding a plank for 2 minutes straight, or being able to easily lift that 10 pound box. Whatever goal you’ve set for yourself. The problem for me was actually thinking of things that I could reward myself with that weren’t tied to food.

I thought I’d suggest a handful of things for folks looking for a self-high-five so to speak, to jog the neurons in a non-food celebratory direction.

  • Get yourself a snazzy new haircut. – New you, new ‘do!
  • Buy something you’ve been holding off on. – I frequently put off buying something for a lot of silly reasons, so this one’s pretty good for me. New shoes, a new winter jacket, a new video game, the possibilities are endless.
  • Indulge in one of your sillier likes. – What do I mean? Well, I have a fun fascination with weird socks, so I’d buy a couple pairs of those. Maybe you like collecting video game figures or Lego models you build and keep on a shelf. Go for it!
  • Get a manicure/pedicure/massage. – Sometimes a little relaxation and pampering is awesome.
  • Pick up the latest installment in that book series you’re reading. – I know, this is probably only me, but I do devour books.

Some of my own reward socks!

That’s just a few but if you’re having trouble thinking of things like I do, maybe it’ll jog a thought or two loose. Maybe I’ll end up helping myself down the road re-reading it, who knows.

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