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Janel, a Registered Dietitian who follows a vegetarian diet, promotes no-nonsense, plant-based cooking so that eating is both healthful and enjoyable. Janel has a master’s degree in nutrition communication from Tufts University in Boston.

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Janel's Vegetarian Kitchen
by Janel Ovrut, MS, RD, LDN

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Weight loss can feel like a long, endless road with big lofty goals that will take "forever" to reach, right?

Oftentimes people set big weight loss goals for 20... 30... 100 pounds of weight loss that could and should take months or even years to achieve. It can be easy to fall off the wagon, get discouraged or lose track of your goals over this long stretch of time, when the reward of weight loss feels so out of reach.

This is why it is so important to set small, achievable and attainable goals that will ultimately lead to your big weight loss goal. For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds in a year, your goal could be to lose 1 pound a week. Sounds a lot more doable, right!?
rewards for reaching goals, diet
Then, reward your smaller successes along the way to motivate you to keep going.

The key: Don't choose food rewards to reward your progress! Many people think that just because they lost weight, they can treat themselves with a "forbidden food." (First of all, no food should be forbidden, only consumed in moderation!) Using food as a crutch for when we feel stressed, lonely, happy and angry is what often contributes to extra weight in the first place.

To avoid the urge to use food as a crutch, it's important to identify different coping mechanisms beyond just eating. Pick fun, calorie-free rewards that are motivating for you. You can determine how often you receive a reward. Maybe it is after 5 pounds of weight loss, or maybe it means adding on another day of physical activity each week.

Here are some of my favorite rewards:

  • Clothes shopping (for your smaller sized body!)
  • Manicure or do it yourself at home with a new polish color
  • Getting a new book
  • Relaxing in a bubble bath
  • Get a massage
  • Do something fun in your area, like visit a museum, catch a baseball game, or take a walking tour of your nearest city (great exercise too!)
  • Do something crafty. I love sewing and rarely have the time to do it, so this is a treat for me!
  • Make a date with a friend. Even better – make it a walking date!
  • Download some new music for your workouts.
  • Purchase a new kitchen gadget, like a steamer or grill pan, to make healthy cooking more fun!

    Weight loss shouldn't be a long, tedious process without any reward!

    What are some of your favorite non-food rewards? Have you used any to reach your weight loss goals?

    If you hunger for great meatless recipes, be sure to check out the 700+ vegetarian recipes served up daily right here at Diet.com!

    Janel Ovrut, MS RD LDN is a Registered Dietitian who follows a vegetarian diet. She promotes no-nonsense, plant-based cooking so that eating is both healthful and enjoyable. Janel has a master's degree in nutrition communication from Tufts University in Boston, MA. You can read many more of her blog posts at Eat Well With Janel.

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