It’s the rare dieter that doesn’t experience a twinge of envy when looking at photos of the grand prize winner on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” — There they are: slim, happy and clutching a high-dollar check.
We’d all like to be paid a major bonus for hitting our target weights. The good news — now we can be!
Shed pounds, gain dollars
There are several programs based on this simple concept: You make a weight loss bet. If you make your goal, you win money. If you don’t make your goal, you lose money. The programs vary, but they help you, and maybe your teammates, reach goals by offering structure, accountability, games and — importantly — cash.
Compare earning money to paying money, which is the way it works with most diet programs, from Weight-watchers to Jenny Craig.
Science supports the idea of monetary rewards for weight loss. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, found that financial incentives prompted 62 percent of dieters to lose weight. In contrast, only 26 percent of those without cash on the line lost weight. And the Journal of the American Medical Association – published a study tying “significant weight loss” to financial incentives.
Unlike the contestants on “The Biggest Loser,” programs that offer financial rewards for weight loss don’t require anyone to leave their family, home and friends to participate. True, those that use the online programs don’t have the support of the “Biggest Loser’s” trainers and medical professionals. If they choose to take the team approach, however, they can get encouragement from teammates,
Daniel Teuscher is one of five members of a team that did its weight-loss challenge through Healthy Wage. Their team, which they dubbed “Will Work For Less Food” managed to lose a combined 252 pounds and win a $10,000 prize. Teuscher credits the tight-knit nature of the group for its success.
“We kept in contact throughout the whole challenge,” he said on the HealthyWage site. “We tried to be very positive and encouraging. There were some tough weeks that we had to lean on each other to keep going. We wanted to win; but losing the weight was the most important.”
To hear another success story, check out the video above.
Ready to get rewarded for your weight-loss efforts? Here are some of the programs currently out there.
- HealthyWage: Participants enroll in either personal or team challenges. What you win will depend on how much weight you lose, the time period you set to lose it and how much money you put up.
- StickK: The program works with users to define their goals and then asks them to sign “commitment contracts” that spell out what steps they will take to accomplish their goals. And if you don’t? Your forfeited cash goes to a charity of your choice selected from their list.
- DietBet: The program’s mantra is “commit, collaborate and celebrate.” Translation: Joining requires a concrete commitment – as you play games to hit your goal. The program holds members’ “feet to the fire” then “Finally, it gets you to laugh your way through the journey with your fellow “dietbetters.”
Not into team challenges? No worries, HealthyWage and other sites also have individual “challenges” where individuals name their goals, wagers and challenge length. Once contestants provide them with the specifics the company calculates the possible prize.
Whether you choose one of these programs or a different one the bottom line is the same: The only thing better than losing weight is gaining some cash while you do it.
Ready to try this new form of dieting? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.