All weight loss plans have a honeymoon phase — fast weight loss, loose-fitting clothes, compliments, tons of energy, feeling great about ones’ self. The honeymoon phase can last days to months. The constant barrage of wonderful feedback keeps you going.
But nearly 3 years into my healthy lifestyle, the honeymoon is long over. The steady stream of positive feedback is down to a trickle. And my weight loss battle has become (at times) one long, tiring, slog.
Losing weight is hard. Keeping myself motivated to maintain my healthy habits is even harder. I know the benefits of eating right and staying active. I’ve experienced the results. But staying inspired day in and day out isn’t easy.
Earning Rewards For Good Behavior
I can hit my goal weight this year, but I know I need more than that to spur me forward. So I came up with a reward system – Dots & Blots — to reinforce daily healthy habits and minimize problem areas.
Dots – Rewarding Daily Healthy Habits
Previously, I would reward myself for weight loss – Oh, I’m still doing that – but now I’m awarding myself points (which I call Dots) for the little things I need to do everyday to stay healthy. The bigger the Dot value means I’m struggling with that habit at the moment. Here are the Dots I have lined up:
- Drinking my 100 ounces of water a day (2 Dots)
- Tracking what I eat (1 Dot)
- Getting 7-8 hours sleep (1 Dot)
- Working out 6 days a week (2 Dots)
- Staying within my daily carb and Points Plus range (1 Dot)
Blots – Breaking Bad Habits
I’ll earn Blots when those bad habits I’m trying to break rear their ugly heads.
- Using my iPhone/iPad after 9:00 pm (1 Blot)
- Eating Fast (finishing a meal in 20 minutes or less) (1 Blot)
- Drinking wine or eating out on non-designated days (2 Blots)
- Snacking late at night (1 Blot)
- Emotional eating (1 Blot)
At the end of each month I total up my Dots and Blots. After subtracting the Blots from the Dots, if I have enough Dots left over, I get a prize. Pretty simple. I’ve set up a few rules to keep myself accountable.
There are also milestone rewards for achieving specific fitness and weight loss breakthroughs. For example, I want to run a 10k. Once I do, I’ll earn 20 Dots and reward myself with 2 Pandora charms. When I reach my goal weight, not only will I earn 200 Dots, I’ll also be rewarded with a new wedding ring set.
For rewards to work, they need to be very personal to me (or you, if you try it). Many of the rewards I dreamed up are on my Healthy Bucket List. Some are on the cheap, while others are pricy (hello new oven!). I’m hoping this little Dots and Blots system inspires me to keep pushing myself as well as create long-term healthy habits. Habits I’ll need not only to reach my goal weight, but also to maintain that weight for years.
If I’m going to deeply ingrain these healthy habits, I might as well have a bit of fun while I’m at it.