You’re not a dog

One of the most profound quotes I’ve ever read on Pinterest was: “Do not reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog.” For some reason, that very obvious statement completely turned a light bulb off in my head. I realized how often I turned to food as a reward. A reward for finishing a semester of school, for getting through a tough week, for getting all the yardwork done. Really, for just about anything mentally, physically or emotionally tough.


In fact, once I pondered it, I realized that was the case for many. We celebrate a home run with ice cream, take a graduate out to dinner, spend an anniversary over fancy food and drinks. All throughout our lives, starting as children, we are taught to reward ourselves with food.

I decided at that point to be more conscious of that. I definitely feel that food as a reward sets us up for failure in terms of our relationship with food. Of course, I certainly believe we should indulge, we should have treats and we should celebrate and fellowship with food. However, equating success or hard work with empty calories is not a lifestyle habit I want for myself or my children.

So, when we deserve a reward, what else can we turn to other than food? This concept is even more important if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your health statistics like blood sugars, cholesterol and more.

Score a homerun? How about a new water bottle or glove?

When your middle schooler makes the honor roll, how about a trip with a few friends to laser tag?

Perhaps you could treat that high school graduate to concert tickets.


The anniversary could be celebrated by doing something together that you’ve never done before like parasailing or geocaching.

When it comes to weight loss, there are many little and big victories that deserve celebration and reward! The first step in the process is to identify those little and big goals. For example, every pound or every five pounds could be a little goal. Every full week of working out could be a little victory. Every full week of not cheating on your eating plan could be a little victory. Rewards for those little victories could include downloading a new workout song, taking a bubble bath, a new cooking gadget or new fitness equipment.

Bigger victories that deserve bigger rewards might include losing 20 pounds, going down pant sizes, setting new personal records for running or max weight lifts. Rewards for these big moments could include a new workout outfit, new fitness shoes, trip to the movies, a massage, new haircut/color or a weekend getaway! I’ve got a big ol’ list of 55 rewards you can use other than food right here.

Separating victories from empty calories is an important step in a healthy lifestyle transformation. Little mindset shifts like this one compound into to big results.

I’ve created a free printable for you to put this on your pantry door too if you’d like. Sign up below to grab it!

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