53 weight loss rewards to celebrate your progress

by | Oct 7, 2022 | Last updated Dec 28, 2022

One of the reasons Noom helps people maintain their weight loss is that our personalized programs are sustainable.

Noomers aren’t swearing off bread or birthday cake.

Instead, the Noom Weight program encourages you to continue enjoying your favorites in moderation. Treating yourself isn’t just fun; it’s a big part of how and why Noom works. 

There’s more good news:

Treating yourself is about much more than occasional pastries—you can reward yourself for your progress in hundreds of different ways that aren’t food.

Today, we’re going to share some inspiration for what the most motivating rewards might be for you. These come from our in-house behavior-change experts and from real-life Noomers who have told us what keeps them going.

Why rewards for weight loss milestones matter

Rewards work as positive reinforcement; when you reward yourself for a behavior, you’re more likely to do it in the future.

Science shows that rewards work best when they’re immediate, meaning you get them right after performing the new behavior, and intermittent, meaning you don’t get them every single time you do that behavior.

Weight loss milestones, like losing 5 pounds, are a good time to reward yourself.

But the most important times to reward yourself are after making positive choices, like going for a long walk even though you were feeling unmotivated.

How to “reward” yourself for losing weight (without feeling guilty)

1. Don’t deprive yourself

If you’re constantly thinking about cake while dieting and you deprive yourself of it until you reach a certain marker, you are more likely to eventually go overboard.

If you make it a more regular occurrence, you’ll be able to enjoy smaller amounts while still being satisfied.

The regularity of “treat foods” is important because it removes the guilt associated with these foods.

Food should never make you feel guilty.

No matter what you’re eating, that food gives you important energy and helps your body function.

Sure, the quality of cake calories doesn’t compare to the quality of broccoli calories, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have both.

2. Figure out a way to fit your favorite foods into your diet

There are so many specialty foods nowadays that there are infinite ways to make your favorite foods healthier.

You can sneak veggies and fruit into any recipe and use alternative sweeteners to cut calories. Check out our article on health-ifying your favorite foods for some yummy ideas.

3. Plan your treats

When your treats are scheduled ahead of time, it can help remove the guilt, in addition to fitting less-healthy food into the bigger picture of your weight loss journey.

Think about your week of meals: if you’re eating well 95% of the time, one treat meal is only 5% of your week.

Limiting indulgences to a “cheat” meal instead of a cheat day is a way to prevent overeating and also helps you make sure you’re picking a food you really love that will satisfy you until the next treat meal.

4. Don’t give up when you feel like you’ve failed

Eating healthy is hard!

A meal or two that don’t quite fit into your plan won’t reverse the progress you’ve made. You might get a little bloated, but you probably won’t gain much weight.

Don’t get discouraged because you feel like you’ve fallen off the wagon. If you were on track before, you can do it again!

Don’t let an unplanned treat or two make you think that all your efforts are hopeless. The only thing that truly reverses diet progress is letting a mistake defeat you and resorting back to your old ways.

Don’t let one bad moment turn into a bad week or month.

5. Think critically about your food behaviors

It doesn’t make a huge difference what your treat is. But the behavior that results from that treat might have a larger impact.

For example, does drinking lead you to eat more?

Because alcohol changes your blood sugar levels, it actually causes us to crave high carb foods.

While there’s nothing wrong with a little wine or a little white bread, if having wine leads you to eat more bread than you normally would, then you should be aware of that.

If you’re planning on having some wine as your weekly treat, don’t keep bread nearby (or whatever food you think you might reach for).

Alcohol in general also adds stress to your body that can impact your quality of sleep or your energy levels in the following days, so be cautious of that.

If you think you might have some other foods that would trigger similar patterns, take that into account when having it as a treat.

6. Assess your downtime

Proper rest is one of the most important (and most overlooked) elements when it comes to good health.

If you’re tired or stressed, you’re more likely to overeat. Sleep-deprived brains are more likely to reach for “rewarding” foods (i.e. treat foods), making it even more dangerous.

The easiest solution?

Create a regular sleep pattern.

Put away your electronics at least 20 minutes before bed and try to fall asleep at the same time every night.

This regularity makes it easier to fall asleep faster and makes you feel well-rested. Plus, you’re more likely to stay on track and reach your goals faster.

It can be difficult to be critical of yourself when you’re trying to lose weight. But once you have a clear idea of your behaviors and tendencies, it will be much easier to avoid triggers and find ways to treat yourself.

The longer you keep up your good habits, the easier and more natural they become. Just keep it up and you’ll see results in no time.

53 non-food rewards for weight loss milestones

At Noom, we understand how personal weight loss is and that it touches every aspect of our lives. And your rewards should reflect that—they should be the things that personally speak to you the most.

We classify rewards as falling into four different categories: tangible, self-care, social, and healthy.

Take a look at the examples below. Which of these rewards would help motivate you to keep making healthy choices each day?

Tangible rewards

  1. A bathrobe (or, you know, regular clothes)
  2. A new book or audiobook 
  3. A weighted blanket
  4. A coffee or tea at your favorite café
  5. A magazine subscription
  6. An e-reader (or some old-fashioned books)
  7. A house plant
  8. Vintage records
  9. Fuzzy socks
  10. A smartwatch (this is definitely a “milestone” reward!)
  11. Subscription boxes—they have them for everything from cheese to razors to books to succulents
  12. Wireless headphones

Self-care rewards

  1. Enjoy a bubble bath.
  2. Take a nap. Maybe even a long one.
  3. Meditate.
  4. Watch the game.
  5. Watch a movie or TV show.
  6. Read a book.
  7. Kick back with a movie.
  8. Get a massage.
  9. Turn your phone off for a few hours.
  10. Clean out your garage or a junk drawer. (Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it—it feels good.)
  11. Jump in the ocean.
  12. Take a scenic drive.
  13. Bang the drums.
  14. Get acupuncture.
  15. Make a pot of tea.

Social rewards

  1. Go out to a movie.
  2. Drop into a party.
  3. Host a brunch.
  4. Hang at your favorite bar.
  5. Plan a beach day.
  6. Go to a comedy show.
  7. Play mini-golf. Or even regular golf.
  8. Try an escape room.
  9. Play paintball.
  10. Watch live music.
  11. Go for a picnic in the park.
  12. Meet a friend for coffee or a drink.

Healthy rewards

  1. Enjoy dinner at a healthy restaurant.
  2. Sign up for a new workout class.
  3. Splurge on a personal training session.
  4. Buy a reusable water bottle.
  5. Take a cooking class.
  6. Sign up for that 5K.
  7. Get a gym membership.
  8. Try a healthy meal service.
  9. Buy an immersion blender.
  10. Order new running shoes.
  11. Pick out a road bike.
  12. Invest in at-home gym equipment.
  13. Find an interesting cookbook.
  14. Upgrade your yoga mat.

Curious to learn what a sustainable health journey could look like for you? Check out Noom Weight or Noom Mood today.