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Lifestyle Changes & Rewards

Good Weight Loss Incentives for Long-Term Success

Rewards can offer the necessary motivation to stay committed to healthier eating and being physical activity — two keys to losing weight and keeping it off.

woman celebrating

Could a few coins here or a few dollars there promote sustained weight loss? A new study suggests a monitory incentive could be the ticket to getting in the gym (and ultimately losing weight).

Is This the Adele Weight Loss Diet?

No. This is not the Adele weight loss diet. In fact, there is no Adele weight loss program. And furthermore, ‘diets’ set you up for failure.

Just think about it. Diets are a billion-dollar industry primarily because they don’t work. Even when they do work initially, the vast majority of people who lose weight dieting put the weight back on.

A meta-analysis of 29 long-term weight loss studies revealed that within two years, more than half of those who had lost weight regained it all. Scarier is that the analysis also found that after five years, this percentage rose to a staggering 80%.

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A Lifestyle Change is the Key to Losing Weight and Keeping It Off

It’s not the diet that will keep the weight off. It’s finding a ‘sustainable healthy lifestyle change,’ as Monique Tello, MD, MPH explained in her 2018 article, ‘Which diet is best for long-term weight loss?’ published on Harvard Health Publishing.

This is a strategy that’s been supported by doctors, weight loss professionals, and weight loss success stories for decades. The New York Times Personal Health columnist, Jane E. Brody, is a walking (or shall we say writing) example. In her personal essay, ‘Jane Brody’s Personal Secrets to Lasting Weight Loss,’ she admits to having been a 40-pound overweight yo-yo dieter when she was hired by The New York Times.

She describes how she changed her lifestyle and lost the weight:

I finally regained control when I stopped dieting. I decided that if I was going to be fat, at least I could be healthy. I made a plan to eat three nutritious, satisfying meals every day with one small snack, which helped me overcome the temptation to binge in response to deprivation.

Incentives Can Encourage Lifestyle Changes

In December of 2021, Nature published a new megastudy study involving 61,293 American gym members, 30 prominent scientists working at 15 universities, and more than 50 different motivational programs.

The results show that offering just a 9 cent financial reward for something as simple as showing up to the gym after missing a planned workout increased gym visits by 16%!

The effectiveness of incentives is relatively universal. For example, teaching individuals about the reward of compound interest can help them save for retirement. That being said, effective incentives don’t have to be based on money.

The key to finding a good weight loss incentive is identifying something that motivates the individual trying to lose weight.

53 Good Weight Loss Incentives that Don’t Involve Food

Each individual is unique, so too are their motivations. It may be that a weight loss patient could benefit from using some (or all) of the following ideas. 

  1. Get a Message
  2. Take a Nap (And don’t feel bad about it.)
  3. Savor a Bubble Bath
  4. Document Your Progress with a Selfie
  5. Treat Yourself to a New, Fragrant Candle
  6. Try a New Workout Class
  7. Invest in a Fitness Tracker
  8. Share Your Success with Family and Friends (Or post it on Social Media and watch the likes roll in.)
  9. Buy Tickets to Concert Featuring Your Favorite Artist
  10. Attend a Sporting Event
  11. Sign Up for a 5K Supporting a Charity You Care About
  12. Schedule a Professional Photo Shoot to Show Off Your Curves
  13. Pick up a Bouquet of Fresh Flowers
  14. Take Time to Read a New Book
  15. Get an Adult Coloring Book (Or a kids one because they’re pretty cool too.)
  16. Buy Yourself a Special Piece of Jewelry that Reminds You of Your Commitment to Your Health
  17. Get a Manicure 
  18. Sport Some New Sunglasses
  19. Add a New Piece of Equipment to Your Home Gym (This can be a great way to mix things up and keep things fresh.)
  20. Start a Daily ‘Tip’ Jar (more on this below)
  21. Sleep In
  22. Take the Day Off and DO NOTHING (Or do what you want. It’s your day!)
  23. Watch a Movie
  24. Sample Some New Makeup
  25. Do a Hobby You’ve Been Missing
  26. Buy New Headphones for Your Workouts
  27. Listen to a New Podcast
  28. Host a Game Night
  29. Play Tourist in Your City
  30. Get Involved in the Kids’ Activities (No one said you need to sit on the sidelines.)
  31. Get a New Kitchen Gadget
  32. Schedule a Walking Date with a Friend
  33. Explore a New hiking Trail
  34. Get a New Set of Matching Workout Gear
  35. Go Dancing (Or have a dance party at home. Nothing says you can’t dance like no one’s watching — when no one is watching.)
  36. Pour a Cup of Tea
  37. Call a Friend to Catch Up
  38. Treat Your Feet to New Shoes
  39. Get a New Water Bottle
  40. Hire a House Cleaner
  41. Purchase Personal Training Sessions
  42. Paint
  43. Plant a Garden
  44. Go for a Bike rIDE
  45. Subscribe to a Healthy Meal Service
  46. Take a Cooking Class
  47. Plan a Dream Vacation (And then take it when you’ve achieved your goal!)
  48. Get a Fun Lunch Box
  49. Go to a Comedy Show
  50. Buy a Standing Desk
  51. Go to Bed Early
  52. Get a Facial
  53. Treat Yourself to New Bed Linens

A tip jar isn't just a good way to recognize someone's exemplary service. It can be a great way to recognize your own achievements!

How to Start a Daily ‘Tip’ Jar

Sometimes little rewards that lead to a bigger payoff can offer more motivation, which is what a daily ‘tip’ jar can do for you. The key is to set a realistic daily goal that supports your overall health and wellness. These are a few suggestions:

  • Choosing fruit when you’re craving sweets
  • Workout out for 30 minutes
  • Drinking 16 ounces of water before every meal
  • Packing your lunch
  • Making dinner at home

Each day you achieve this goal, you place a small ‘tip’ for yourself in your tip jar. The tip doesn’t have to be huge. Even a dollar a day could be enough. At the end of each month, you then use your ‘tip’ to treat yourself.

Or you could keep on saving it towards a bigger reward in the future. It’s all up to you!

4 Lifestyle & Environmental Changes to Promote Long-Term Weight Loss

As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Making lifestyle and environmental changes not only helps jumpstart weight loss, it helps sustain it. The following strategies have been utilized with success by individuals who have achieved long-term weight loss success.

1. Keep Fruits and Veggies Accessible and Visible

In a 2020 study published in the Wiley Online Library, researchers found that the easier it was for individuals to see and access nourishing fruits and vegetables, the more likely they were to eat them. Frequently we hear about placing a bowl of apples or grapes on your counter.

But for many, leaving food out isn’t always a great option. (Hello fruit flies!) Instead, consider placing those items front and center in your refrigerator. And make them as easy to grab and go as possible. One great way to do so is to prep servings in their own reusable Tupperware containers. 

Heading to a meeting? Grab a container of carrots for the road. Is it time to pick the kids up from school? Grapes can be a great pick-me-up on your drive.

2. Keep a Food Diary

Research has found that simply recording what you eat can help you lose weight. In a study of nearly 1,700 participants, those who kept a daily journal lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t track their consumption. 

One of the easiest ways to maintain a food journal is with an app. The two most popular food journal apps are LoseIt! and Noom

3. Weigh Yourself Daily & Record It

In a two-year study conducted at Cornell University, researchers found that those who tracked their weight daily were more effective at losing weight and keeping it off. The study, published in the Journal of Obesity, didn’t require participants to lose weight in a prescribed way. 

Rather, participants were asked to lose 1% of their body weight and maintain that weight loss for 10 days before attempting to lose another 1%. And of course, they were asked to weigh and record daily.

4. Move Daily

Popular wisdom is that you can’t outrun a bad diet. And for the most part, popular wisdom is right. It takes a lot of miles to counteract a burger and fries — let alone lose weight too. 

But while you aren’t likely to achieve a healthy weight with exercise alone, moving daily can help you shed those excess pounds and keep them off.

Three generations out walking

Why Walking is Good for Your Overall Health

Feel like the years are constantly taking their toll on your health and your waistline? Evidence shows that walking could be the ticket to not only getting fit, but staying fit. Learn why.

How Could a Weight Loss Clinic Near Me Help?

Making sustainable lifestyle changes can be hard, especially if you’re trying to do it on your own. Sometimes, things outside of our control, like our bodies’ hormones changing as we age, can make it even more difficult. 

A weight loss clinic that offers Medically Supervised Weight Loss can help you identify changes that could work for you and things that may be holding you back. Plus, they can give you the support you deserve during the journey. 

The naturopathic medical doctors at Premier Integrative use every tool at our disposal to help you lose weight quickly and keep it off. Because your health and your goals are our passion.

We can connect in-clinic or virtually — to work together to diagnose and prescribe the treatments that will help you reach your goals and allow a fully customized patient experience tailored to your needs.

Contact Our Doctors

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