A Rewarding Experience

By Shani Petroff

When I finish a project, get through a bad day, or get great news, I find I turn to food as a sort of reward. After I turned in my latest book project, I went out for a nice dinner. When I was stressing out, I met a friend for drinks. When my novel, Romeo & What’s Her Name, released, I split a gooey, rich dessert. All of those things can fit into the Weight Watchers program, but if I do them too often, I’ll go over my SmartPoints® budget. That’s why I’ve come up with other rewards that are not food-related that I can indulge in!

​Manicure, Pedicure, or Massage: A little pampering is always a nice reward. A massage can be relaxing and help reduce stress (even better than a piece of cake). Sometimes, that’s a bit pricier than I want to go, so I’ll choose the mani/pedi route. There are a lot of places in Manhattan that offer amazing deals, and if I really want to save, I’ll do it myself. I’ll turn on some soft music, or a fun TV show, relax, and paint away. An added bonus: I don’t reach for any snacks for fear of ruining my drying nails.

Trampoline Park: Exercise and fun? It’s hard to beat! I don’t tend to love the gym (even though I try to force myself to go). It feels like a chore to me. But the idea of a trampoline park? Doesn’t take much convincing for me to join in. You get to bounce, do your own thing, laugh, and possibly even make a slight fool of yourself — all in a good way, if you’re as (un)coordinated as I am.

Book & the Park: I love to read, and to me, sitting outside in the park on a beautiful day with a good book is a luxury (and we’ve been having some surprisingly nice spring-like days recently). Often I’ll fit in reading before I go to bed or on the bus, but to schedule time for it definitely feels like a reward. I get to sit back, relax, and get lost in a world of characters.

Shopping: I’m mixed when it comes to shopping. Sometimes it feels like a chore, and sometimes I love it. But it becomes a reward when I’m looking for something special. A pair of shoes I’ve had my eye on, a new purse, perusing a bookstore for my next read, etc. For me, I leave clothes shopping out of this one — because while it can be amazing and a huge reward, it can also be hit or miss. Sometimes I come out feeling great at the way things fit, and other times, I’m disappointed that I couldn’t find anything flattering. So when it comes down to a reward — I leave out clothes shopping unless it’s something I already know I’ll love or have had my eye on. After all, a reward should make you feel good!

Movie or Theater: I love going to the movies and the theater (and I actually don’t tend to be a big snacker at either event. I don’t go as often as I’d like, usually because of time or money. But when I think about it, it doesn’t really take or cost much more than a dinner out does. I spend a few hours when I meet friends at a restaurant or lounge, so hitting a show and then getting a cup of coffee or tea afterward isn’t any more time-consuming, and, depending on the restaurant we choose, is about the same price as a play. The difference? The show won’t cost me nearly as many SmartPoints values.

What are some of your non-food-related rewards? Let me know! You can find me on Connect @shani!

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