“R” is for Rewards

I’m a big proponent of Skinner’s operant conditioning. As an educator I find that a system of rewards and punishments (not cruel or unusual) is effective in getting students to behave in any particular way.

Similarly, most of us are stuck in a similar system at our jobs (bonuses anyone?), when shopping (think loyalty cards) and dealing with our finances (avoiding late fees). Rewards and punishments work, whether we like them or not.

So when I started my weight loss journey and set goals, I immediately started thinking how I would reward myself for meeting them. Enter realization #1: no more food rewards. No more celebrating with food.

This was a difficult lesson to learn. It was two-fold. The easy lesson was that I had to come up with other ways to reward myself. The hard lesson was to realize how food was so unhealthily present in my life.

You should probably know that at this point I have only reached goal #1: reaching ONEderland or getting under 200lbs. I celebrated by buying clothes 2 sizes smaller. But in between goals, I celebrate my monthly weight loss, whatever small, whatever big, and instead of eating at my favorite restaurants, I celebrate with makeup, a new book, an accessory (jewelry, belt, etc.) or by getting a spa treatment (sometimes a homemade one, I’m not made of money) or a ticket to a museum, a gallery, or a show. I avoid the movies as a reward because I can’t resist the concession stand.

How do you reward yourself for a job well done?


BONUS NEWS: In what I can only call a super awesome random chain of events, I was recently rewarded by the blogger at PlayfullyTacky for reading her blog (go ahead and check it out) and answering some questions. I was so happy when I got the package in the mail and especially thankful when I saw that it wasn’t food for it makes this post even better. Thank you! You’re the best.

Wondering what I got? Check it out here.



  1. During the active weight loss phase I rewarded myself with new clothes, shoes and pretty undies/bras ๐Ÿ™‚ When I reached my goal weight my big reward was buying a two piece swim suit (for the first time in my life), and I also changed my hair color to blond, from brown ๐Ÿ™‚

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