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Diet Talk from the Doc

by Dr.Diet, Diet.com's Medical Director

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Rewarding yourself for losing weight will make you feel like a winner. And when you feel more successful, positive actions will follow - and these positive actions will continue to reinforce your success.

Whether you want to eat healthier, start an exercise program or stop smoking, using incentives or rewards (financial or otherwise) is a useful tool to reinforce behavior change.

That's the thought behind cash incentives offered by the Chicago City Police to spur officers to get more fit.

As reported in the Chicago Tribune, "Under the department's union contract, officers can pocket $250 a year by running 1.5 miles within certain time limits and meeting sit-up and bench-press requirements. The Fraternal Order of Police, which is negotiating a new contract, wants to increase the incentives to $500 this year and to $850 later."

Personal contracts, not legal ones, can be an important part of your weight loss program. By signing a contract and hanging it in a visible place, you will have a consistent reminder to feel more accountable and stay on your path toward success.

Cash rewards surely don't hurt! But we recommend printing out a pledge to yourself, signing it, and keeping it in a very visible spot in your home (maybe near the fridge).

The purpose of this is to increase motivation. Think of this contract as your way to kick-start your weight loss program, which should include specific rewards for meeting specific goals.

Here's what PLEDGE stands for, on Diet.com:

P - A pledge is a promise you make to yourself about something you want to accomplish and will do your best to achieve.

L - Level of commitment. You know that your goals can be reached only by committing yourself to doing your very best.

E - Everyday when you wake up you should remember that you have promised to make healthy and positive changes in your life because you are worth it!

D - Don't give up! Some days will be harder than others, but never give up and never give in!

G - Good health is yours for the taking! Step by step you will get there!

E - Excellence is what your life is all about. You can do it - and you will!

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