Non-food Rewards

A week or so ago, my friend Stephen posted on Facebook, “Don’t reward yourself with food, Stephen. What are you, a dog?”

I laughed, but it was as much from shock as amusement. I tend to reward myself with food, and while it has yet to become a problem, I have to admit I’d never thought of it that way. I’ve been thinking on and off about way to reward myself that don’t involve food, and it’s harder than I thought. For the most part, my rewards involve food or spending money. Or both. Again, it’s not a problem, but for some people, it could be. Health and financial difficulties could rule out just about every reward I have. It’s a subject that bears more thought, and I’m open to suggestions.

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2 comments on “Non-food Rewards

  1. Jean says:

    I guess we have to look to our non-monetary interests. My problem is, if I want to do something, I just do it. There’s very little incentive to do something to earn something, unless I create an artificial barrier.

    Which is probably why food works so well as a reward. In an effort to improve our health or lose weight (or both!), we deny ourselves certain food items, so it’s pretty much a natural reward item (even if it tends to defeat the purpose of why we were denying ourselves the item(s)).

    While I was playing Health Month (I stopped this month), I used a rule “Don’t eat after 8 pm” for many months, and it worked very well. I could stop myself from snacking after 8 pm (or even make sure I ate dinner before then), because eating after 8 pm cost me a life point in the game each time I did it (and we began each month with 10 life points, so breaking rules could hurt quickly).

    Naturally, when I stopped playing the game and didn’t have the artificial rule there, I was tempted to snack at 10 pm, and did so some nights. For me, that’s a disaster! I had to remind myself that I was playing “Health Month” for real now, and even if I couldn’t see the life points being subtracted, I was losing them. And these weren’t silly game points but real “points” from my life.

    Seeing the not positive results on the scale in the morning served as a good reminder, and I’ve recommitted to not eating after 8 pm. I just didn’t feel good when I did it. I’m not sure what kind of a reward that is, but it seems to be one.

  2. I’ve always been better with the stick rather than the carrot. But over the years, I’ve picked up the habit of rewarding myself with food. A special dessert or maybe a steak with a fully loaded baked potato. (They call it “fully loaded” because that’s what it does to your waist.)

    Right now as I struggle with regaining my get-up-and-go, I’ve been trying to reward myself rather than beat myself up. It’s tough to not use food because it’s so simple. And right now, I can’t afford to buy a book or a new gadget.

    I’ve been using going to library and watching a favorite TV show as my reward. Swimming, also. Still, my non-food rewards need work!

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