We all love that sweet reward; whether it is for weight loss, exercise compliance, a promotion at work, or an A+ on a test. The tricky part is, what we use to reward ourselves. Rewards are wonderful; however, using food for this purpose may be detrimental. In our American culture, we have learned to eat “emotionally”, which over time leads to a negative relationship with food. Training us to expect food as a reward can certainly add to a growing waistline.
To change the way we reward our children and ourselves, it takes some brainstorming. First of all, think about the fact that your reward for some achievements, may just be the positive consequence that naturally occurs. For instance, my reward for exercising five days this week will be feeling better, weight loss, better sleep, and more energy. If I choose to reward myself with a whole pizza and 2 regular beers, I’ll likely undo all of the progress I made.
Here are some suggestions for ways to reward yourself:
1. A new workout outfit, or any kind of outfit
2. A massage
3. An hour of relaxing by the pool without worrying about things you need to do (you may need your spouse to be in on this reward by watching the kids!)
4. Rent a movie you’ve been wanting to see
5. Get a manicure or pedicure
Suggestions for rewarding children:
1. An extra story before bedtime
2. Rent a short movie for them
3. Take them to the zoo
4. Go for an afternoon at the pool
5. Take them to the park
I would love to hear how you use non-food items to reward yourself or your children! Please post a comment with your ideas!