My mom sent me an email today containing an article about ways to treat yourself that are not food related. I enjoyed the article but it made me think about some of my friends who can't afford to do much by way of rewarding themselves.
When you're on a weight loss program, it's important to celebrate the small milestones along the way. It keeps you motivated to stay on track. But, when your mentor tells you to go get a manicure and you have no money in the bank, it's easy to think, "I guess I'll just have to skip the rewards."
Let's face it. It's really cheap to go buy a bag of Oreos. It takes more time and creativity to think of an alternative. In our microwave generation we like cheap and easy. Of course, if we had a list that we maintained and kept on hand for those times when we need a little incentive, then perhaps the cheap and easy habits would be broken. I'm going to start a list. Feel free to contribute your own suggestions, just be sure they're either free, or comparable to the price of a bag of cookies.
Going to the beach (in my area): even if you don't get sand in your shoes and just choose to sit and watch the waves from a bench, it's still a nice treat.
Watching the sunset/sunrise: If you're a night owl, don't force yourself to watch the sunrise, and vice versa... this is a reward, not a lifestyle shift.
A bubble bath: assuming you have bubble bath in your cabinet already
A home pedicure: again, assuming you have the necessary tools on hand
Window shopping at the mall: it isn't free if you buy something
Taking over the TV for the evening to watch a chick-flick: just make sure you aren't stuffing your face while you watch.
Coloring: Yes, I'm talking about getting out the crayons and spending some time coloring like you did as a kid.
Things that cost about as much as a bag of Oreos:
A new cosmetic item: we're talking small here... a new shade of lipstick or eye shadow
A craft tool: some fun dollar fabric, a skein of yarn in a cool color, a rubber stamp. Remember, this doesn't mean that new cri-cut printer you've been wanting.
Some fresh flowers: seriously... you don't have to wait for your hubby to buy them for you all the time
A new book: ok, some of these can get expensive, but if you look in the "last chance" section, or the library bookstore, you can find them pretty cheap. Not to mention, many of the classics are free for e-readers
Here's another thing to think about. I grew up in church. Every time we wanted to celebrate, we had a meal. We would sit and talk for hours and stuff ourselves with food. Why? As I mentioned before, it was cheap. Everyone could contribute to the pot-luck without breaking the bank. It was also easy. Trying to rent a facility to do some rock-climbing (which wasn't even available then), or paying for everyone to go bowling or ice skating was not only costly, but required everyone leaving the church grounds and transferring to a new location. Not much has changed over the years.
That being said, I think as Christians we need to swallow our pride and admit that we need support. What was that verse again? Oh yeah... Hebrews 10:25 - Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Do you think God would have put that in there if He knew we would be able to withstand any temptation that comes our way? We need to admit to each other that we have a hard time eating reasonable portions of food. We need to ask for help, and when asked for help we need to get off our high horse and be willing to help.
Another area of pride that needs to be brought down is our incessant striving for human approval over the food we bring. Sure, grandma's prize winning pie recipe is a hit at the church social, but when Grandma made it she also hung laundry to dry and kneaded her own bread by hand. She burned enough during the week to justify eating that calorie laden dessert now and then. If you're looking around at church and notice that the pews aren't filling up with new people, but rather with the same people taking up more space, maybe you should contribute to the general health of the congregation by coming up with your own special recipe you can hand down to your grandchildren that is full of flavor and half the fat.