Based on a discussion of goals and rewards I saw yesterday I want to add:
Making goals and rewarding yourself for success is great. But make goals based on things you *can* control and make goals that help you move towards permanent weight loss and better health. Sure, your overall goal may be to lose 50 pounds. But I wouldn't make a goal to lose 10 pounds in a month, because the number on the scale is not totally within our control, and that goal doesn't really do anything to help you get to that final number. You can do everything you think is right and still have no control over the number on the scale. You could do everything you know to do, still miss your numerical goal and end up feeling like a failure, when you should feel like a success for doing everything right.
So, try making behavioral goals that are totally within your control:
* Avoid fast food for a week.
* Plan a menu, shop for the menu, and stick to the menu for the week.
* Drink 100 ounces of water every day for a week.
* Walk 30 minutes, three times a week, this week.
* Read the book.
Small, weekly goals are easier to stick to. And specific behavioral goals are more effective as well. So, figure out where you struggle, and make yourself a game plan to deal with that struggle.
Do you get tired and hungry at the end of the work day and veer off to a Sonic on the way home for some cheddar poppers, because you are hungry and have nothing to eat at home? Well, make a goal to address that problem and get through it. (Bring a late-day snack to work to eat on the way home, and have dinner ready in the crock pot when you get there.)
Are you confused about what to eat and not eat, and you don't really understand low carb, so you make bad choices without realizing it? Make a goal to deal with this problem. (Read a chapter per night in a LC book, every night, until you have read your plan cover to cover. Then move on to reading the next one.)
Those kinds of goals actually attack the problems you are facing and help move you to a healthier place.
The same goes with rewards. Don't reward yourself with food, especially with off plan meals or "cheat" days. Reward yourself with tools that make it easier to continue on the low carb path. With the money you save from quitting the fast food monster, reward yourself with a new crock pot, so those home cooked meals are easier for long days at work. When you finish reading your Atkins book, reward yourself with Taubes' latest book, so you can continue your nutritional education. To celebrate the fact that you are moving again, reward yourself with properly-fitted walking shoes, so that exercise isn't painful.
Also, the goals and rewrads don't have to be completely about food and exercise. Do you have trouble sticking to the plan because you hate the way you look and have grown to think you are not worth the effort? Make a goal that helps you love yourself more each day, and reward yourself with things that reinforce your value as a person, regardless of the scale numbers or the measurments on the tape.
Choose rewards that reinforce your new way of eating and way of life, because we are each valuable people, and we are worth the effort to be healthy. And choose rewards that make sense to you, where you are in this journey. It takes some thought and self reflection, but that is how you grow.