“What’s in it for me? ” I ask when my son wants something.
I joke! I kid!
But on some level, I am dead serious. On some level, this is a consideration for every decision I make and I have to give Dr. Phil the credit for making me realize it. For every action I perform, there is some payoff for me. What is it? An object? Reduced stress? Feeling of well-being having helped someone else?
Even negative reinforcement has a payoff – one that makes no logical sense, but a payoff, nonetheless. Overeating reinforces the belief in self-worthlessness. The same is true for staying in abusive relationships. Neither belief is healthy or worthy of being reinforced, but it happens all day, every day, all around us. It’s head-trash at its worst and we have to be diligent in defeating it.
To do that, what we need are some positive reinforcements – positive reinforcements that aren’t food!
Humans celebrate by feasting. We see it throughout our history from Beowulf to Attila to Oscar after-parties, we celebrate victories, milestones and power by breaking bread. When food was scarce, it meant more than it does now, though. Now, we feast every Wednesday down at the all-you-can-eat buffet and you can tell it in our waistlines. Still, we want to celebrate when we accomplish something and weight loss is an accomplishment! (I say that like you aren’t already painfully aware of the fact.) We need to reward ourselves, but hauling out the fatted calf is a little counter-productive.
Are you like me? Are you a movie hound? Then give yourself a movie rental or a trip to the theater for every five pounds (or whatever) you lose. I love sparkly things to the degree that my mother used to swear I was part magpie. So, fo every 20 pounds of weight I lost, I got a piece of jewelry. And, of course, I got all kinds of new clothes. Those were a necessity since my old clothes were literally falling off; but, still, the new clothes made me feel pretty, put together, and, yes, sexy. That was a real treat after so many years of feeling frumpy. Let’s face it, you can call it “flowing” all day long: that kaftan or waistless dress made me feel like I was wearing a tent and usually a floral one at that! You’ll note that Coleman does not make a line of lingerie. That’s because tents aren’t sexy, folks. Period. (No, they’re not. Stop trying to make exceptions.)
My point is this: we want to be rewarded. Sure, improved health, cuter clothes, and more positive social interaction are all well and good; but, particularly when you have a lot of weight to lose, those rewards are too far away and too abstract to really be motivating – or at least they were for me. I needed something real, something attainable, something shiny; so, I developed a system that worked for me – movies and jewelry.
Thanks to Red Box and Moonstruck Design, I had a custom frequent loser rewards program that continues to work for me!