30 Weight Loss Rewards to Motivate You to Reach Your Goals

Article posted in: Lifestyle Experts’ Corner
woman meditating at home as a weight loss reward

Incorporating rewards into your weight loss plan can be a game changer. Decades of research show that positive reinforcement plays a vital role in sustaining behavioral change. But how can you effectively use weight loss rewards to boost your motivation and make healthy habits stick?

This guide will show you the best ways to reward your weight loss progress and why they are so effective. Plus, you’ll find a list of weight loss reward ideas that will keep you motivated on your journey to a healthier you.

Why Weight Loss Rewards Work

person choosing a new shirt in a store

While regularly patting yourself on the back may seem like overkill throughout your weight loss journey, rewarding your progress is crucial for establishing healthy habits that stick long-term. Research shows that rewards and incentives trigger a positive reinforcement loop, making us more likely to repeat certain behaviors. In other words, rewards make you feel good about your healthy choices, which in turn makes you more likely to repeat those healthy behaviors.

But it’s not enough to save up for a big celebration once you hit your final weight loss goal. Humans are not wired for patience when it comes to rewards. In fact, when we’re faced with choosing between instant pleasure (like a bowl of ice cream) and a future reward (like reaching a weight loss goal), our brains tend to lean towards instant gratification.

Therefore, it’s helpful to incorporate consistent rewards and incentives throughout your entire weight loss journey. Doing so will help you boost motivation without solely relying on willpower so that you achieve sustainable results.

The Best Ways to Use Rewards for Weight Loss

man cooking healthy meal with vegetables at home

There are a few important principles to keep in mind to make your weight loss rewards successful:

  • Build rewards around healthy behaviors: Instead of focusing on numbers on the scale, base your rewards on healthy habits and positive behaviors. Celebrate your fruit and vegetable intake, improved sleep habits or the number of steps walked. These are factors within your control and directly contribute to your overall well-being.
  • Set realistic milestones: Aim for achievable milestones that allow you to feel good about the effort you’re putting in. Unrealistic goals may lead to disappointment and frustration, while smaller milestones build momentum and motivation.
  • Avoid “good” and “bad” thinking: Steer clear of labeling foods or choices as good or bad. This perfectionist mindset can create guilt and shame, negatively impacting your motivation. Instead, set objective and specific reward milestones, focusing on your efforts and achievements.
  • Prioritize non-food rewards: Enticing foods fire up the pleasure centers in our brains, but indulging in food as a reward can hinder your progress. Opt for non-food rewards that provide the same satisfaction without derailing your weight loss journey. This approach helps you celebrate your accomplishments without compromising your health goals.

How to Create a Weight Loss Rewards System

woman relaxing at home

To establish a strategic rewards system that will propel you towards your goals even when willpower wanes, follow these steps:

First, choose both small and large rewards. Small rewards can be used for short-term milestones and may include things like taking extra time to relax or watching a favorite movie. Large rewards are reserved for longer-term achievements. These rewards may include buying new clothing or planning a memorable trip.

Remember to avoid overwhelming yourself with too many goals at once. Aim for no more than one to two new goals every week, allowing yourself enough time to focus on each accomplishment.

Next, track your progress diligently. Consider using the official Nutrisystem app, NuMi. It’s a convenient tool to monitor your journey and receive reminders for well-deserved rewards.

Finally, remember to genuinely celebrate your achievements. Pair your rewards with positive self-talk to reinforce the good feelings around your healthy behaviors, which will help them stick.

30 Motivating (Non-Food) Weight Loss Reward Ideas

Woman buying flowers at garden center

Ready to boost your success with positive rewards? Here are 30 enticing weight loss rewards to rev up your motivation:

  1. Hire a babysitter so you can enjoy some downtime.
  2. Get a massage (or have your partner give you a massage).
  3. Go out on a date night.
  4. Hire someone to clean your house.
  5. Buy a meal delivery program subscription, such as Nutrisystem.
  6. Explore a new trail or hiking path.
  7. See a show or movie.
  8. Book a personal training session or join a new fitness class.
  9. Take a day off of work.
  10. Go on a special trip.
  11. Buy a new fitness tracker or device.
  12. Have an at-home spa day. Relax in a hot bath with music and a good book.
  13. Go to a concert.
  14. Donate to a charity close to your heart.
  15. Take a cooking class.
  16. Paint your nails.
  17. Have someone else cook for you.
  18. Have a fun boardgame night.
  19. Treat yourself to a meaningful piece of jewelry.
  20. Book a photo session.
  21. Note your progress in a goal poster or tracker.
  22. Meditate.
  23. Sleep in on the weekend.
  24. Catch up on a new show or a new book.
  25. Update your support community so they can congratulate you.
  26. Invest in new materials for a hobby you enjoy.
  27. Have a dance party.
  28. Put money in a vacation fund.
  29. Add a new piece of decor or plant to your home or office.
  30. Buy yourself a fun new journal, planner or coloring book.

Tips for Staying Committed

Close up view of man writing in notebook

As much as rewards can boost motivation, there will be times when you don’t hit your goals and miss out on a reward. Remember not to let setbacks derail your progress. Instead, take a moment to evaluate the situation:

  • Ask yourself if the goal was genuinely meaningful and attainable for you.
  • Identify the obstacles that hindered your progress.
  • Devise a plan to make the goal more achievable and set your sights on the next reward.


happy man relaxing at home

Incorporating a strategic rewards system into your weight loss journey is a powerful way to maintain motivation and celebrate your achievements. For best results, focus on healthy behaviors, setting realistic targets and prioritizing non-food rewards. Doing this will help you create a sustainable plan that propels you toward your goals.

If you need help kickstarting your weight loss journey, the easy-to-follow plans by Nutrisystem are designed to deliver results. Each plan comes with education and support to move you forward on your path to a healthier, happier you.


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