Food and drink has been a way to celebrate life for millennia. We celebrate festivals like Christmas and Easter, often with some sort of mini-feast. We also celebrate birthdays with a meal and a drink. Then there are wedding banquets, anniversaries, engagements and christenings, not to mention work successes and personal achievements.

Celebrating a weight-loss goal

In health and well-being a personal success could be something like running your first 10k, but it could equally be a weight-loss goal. It would be ironic (and counter intuitive) to celebrate a weight-loss goal with food and drink. Which led me to the question, how do other people celebrate life and success without using food and drink?

To get to the bottom of this question I asked a group of 1400 well-being professionals how they celebrate (or how they encourage their clients to celebrate) success.

A dozen celebration ideas

Here is a condensed version of non-food celebration ideas, as suggested by well-being professionals…

  1.  I allow myself an hour off in the day with a good book or, if I’ve achied something really big, a day off with a book or a walk by the seaside with the dogs – something that gives me headspace and time for myself – Ali Cook
  2. I choose something that improves body awareness and feels like a lovely treat – like a massage – Judith Johnson
  3. The biggest ‘reward’ for taking care of ourselves is what we ultimately gain from that. What could be more ‘rewarding’ than that? – Becky Mincheff
  4. I find that if you are limiting foods that you have eaten for most of your life, having those foods is a great reward. Several things can happen with this. The body can have a reaction to the foods that helps you continue good habits because you see the negative effects more clearly, or they satisfy you and you get your fix long enough to continue the good transformation – Chris Ritter
  5. Buy a new lipstick, paint your toenails a wonderful colour or go to an art exhibition locally. It rewards us mentally as well as physically – Rachel Dobbie
  6. Experiences that make memories are great rewards…..a trip out for the day to one of your favourite places, trying out a new hobby/interest, going to an art gallery/museum, going to the theatre/cinema, a comedy night out. Look in the local “what’s on” section in the newspaper to stimulate ideas – Carol Webb/Bullimore
  7. Often weight loss is seen as restriction, so by giving oneself ‘something’ or ‘time’ is demonstrating value in oneself. When you start to value yourself, you are more likely to prioritise your needs and desires – Samantha Farmer
  8.  Whenever I feel a reward is due, it is almost always a massage. It used to be a food reward (dinner out or a special dessert) but that never quite felt as satisfying as an hour and a half on a massage table – Avesha De Wolfe
  9. Special trips/activities and rewards motivate me. It could be a beach, museum trip or a pedicure, message, new music, hobbies, go-karting, balloon ride, parasailing, a nice restaurant out or a movie date – Jackie Walburn
  10. Getting fixated on weight loss (even if that is the ultimate goal) can be a double-edged sword. If losing weight becomes stressful, the fight or flight mechanism kicks in and the body’s digestive system shuts down – April Rose
  11. One reward I have found effective (for both myself and for clients) is to quite literally pat yourself on the back/shoulder with the opposing hand. The body does not appear to register it’s your own hand patting, and it feels as good as someone else patting you, and it releases endorphins. Daft but it does work, try it! – Jessica Hothersall
  12. Be content with self-gratification. Take ownership of your own internal motivation. Do all the things suggested above because you enjoy them, not because you shifted a couple of kilos of fat mass. – Terry Curran-Bowen

Which of the ideas resonate with you and what other ideas can you share?

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