You’ve been dieting, exercising and following your trainer’s (hopefully GFM!) recommendations to the letter. You’ve already hit your first milestone goal for weight loss and the second is fast approaching. Now is the time to celebrate your efforts and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  Before you go overboard and pull out all the stops, take a step back and consider positive ways to reward yourself for sticking with the program.  Rewards are great motivational tools, and they are well deserved if you have reached certain goals.  You don’t, however, want to undo your accomplishments by choosing poorly and even tempting yourself to get back into old habits you’ve been trying to rid yourself of.

Rather than break with the program and splurge on a large pizza or decadent dessert that may leave you wanting for more, consider healthier, wiser alternatives.  While you don’t necessarily have to say goodbye to occasional treats forever, now is probably not the best time to give in to temptation. When you have reached your ideal weight and have made healthier eating and exercise habits, then you might consider being “bad” once in a while.

For now, consider doing these things to reward yourself:

• Pick milestone markers – If you don’t have a milestone list for your weight loss or body toning program in place, create one. You might count five or 10 pound losses as your markers as you strive to reach your ideal weight. Should you simply be trying to tone your body and strengthen your muscles, set milestones based on what you are able to do in the gym.
Set rewards for each marker achieved – Rewards given at milestones can give you something to look forward to and motivate you on those days when eating right and heading to the gym to work with a trainer are especially difficult. Considering an escalating scale of rewards by starting out small at your first milestone and working your way up to something you really want.
• Brainstorm rewards that are meaningful to you – If at all possible, you don’t want your rewards to be food related or break your exercise routine. Remember, to lose weight and keep it off, you want to make these lifestyle changes habit. With this in mind, food is not really a good reward to consider. Instead, brainstorm for healthy ideas that reward on a personal level. Consider small splurge purchases, massages, a day at a salon or even a chance to sleep in an extra hour on a lazy day off. For the final reward, plan to do something big. Maybe take a short vacation, buy a special outfit or go out for a night on the town. Whatever your choice, make it the carrot you dangle before yourself as you reach for each milestone goal.

Rewarding yourself for losing weight and getting into shape is a great way to keep going when the going gets tough. Just remember to select rewards that don’t undermine the positive strides you have made.

The point is…make it something great for yourself!!