So I’m on Day 4 of earning positive reinforcement for appropriate health-conscious behaviors with the intention of losing weight. So far there are pros and cons to this system:
- I get to feel good about the things I do right without that being overshadowed by the things I don’t do well. For example, normally I would psychologically beat myself up for not staying under 1500 calories, but when I get reinforced for things I did right (exercising, logging all my food, taking all supplements) my focus turns to that. That feels great. I’m quite prone to beating up on myself.
- There have been a couple days I almost gave up recording all my food because it felt like a pain in the ass, but I did it just to earn the token. So, it works in that respect.
- I don’t have enough money to finance my reinforcement structure. Therefore, I’ll have to revise it. See below.
- The things I struggled to do before I still struggle to do. Yoga (which feels so damn hard for me in my current state of physical non-fitness), despite having a high token value and relatively short duration, hasn’t happened yet. Also, I’ve only managed to stay under 1500 net calories one day since I started. So I’ll have to either increase the reward or decrease the response effort necessary to earn the reinforcer.
- I’m not losing weight…probably because I’m struggling to keep my calories low. Part of this is a matter of changing from an eat-any-quantity low-carb diet to one in which calories are now restricted. It’s going to take time for me to start thinking in these terms again.
So revised reinforcement system is below. Revisions are as follows: I’ve tripled the token requirement for all long-term rewards, because I can’t afford my previous rate of reinforcement. Secondly, I’ve adjusted the reinforcement value and response effort of tasks that I’m still avoiding. Third, I’ve removed music downloads from the list of reinforcers…cuz really. Music can be free. Hello Pandora.
So here are the revised reinforcers and criteria to earn them:
- Time at a coffee shop alone (30 tokens)
- A movie alone (45 tokens)
- Clothes (60 tokens for $10 worth of clothing)
- Pedicure (120 tokens)
- A new book (60 tokens for $10 book)
- Sushi (150 tokens for sushi takeout)
- A night out with David (300 tokens)
- A lab test (e.g., lipids, Vit D) (450 tokens for $75 test)
Criteria for earning reinforcement:
- 30 minutes of exercise (walking or other constant movement) – 1 tokens
- 5 minutes of yoga – 5 tokens
- Logging all food for the day – 1 tokens
- Drinking no alcohol – 2 tokens
- Staying under 1500 net calories for the day (meaning, if I burn off calories exercising I can eat that much more) – 5 tokens
- Taking all of my supplements – 1 token