Don’t Pay to Lose Weight — Get Paid Instead

Here's how you can start earning money for shedding pounds.

It’s the rare dieter who didn’t experience a twinge of envy when looking at the grand prize winner on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” There they were: slim, happy and clutching a fat check.

We’d all like to be paid a major bonus for hitting our target weights. Good news: Now we can be.

Shed pounds, gain dollars

There are several programs that enable you to bet on your own weight-loss goal. If you reach your goal, you win money. If you miss your goal, you lose money.

The programs vary, but they help you — and in some cases your teammates — reach goals by offering structure, accountability, games and, importantly, cash.

Greg Topple was one of five members of a team that did a weight-loss challenge through HealthyWage. He told Money Talks News:

“Having teammates, they were there to give me a hug or a swift kick when I needed it, and everybody on the team ended up losing at least 10 percent.”

Topple lost 42 pounds after putting up $70. He got his $70 back plus an additional $65.

Other people have won thousands of dollars by betting on their weight-loss goals. How much money you stand to win depends partly on how much money you’re willing to wager.

Science supports the idea of monetary rewards for weight loss. For example, a Mayo Clinic study 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.

Unlike contestants on “The Biggest Loser,” you won’t be required to leave your family, home and friends to participate in programs that offer financial rewards for weight loss. True, you won’t have the support of “The Biggest Loser” trainers and medical professionals. If you choose to take the team approach, however, you can get encouragement from teammates.

Get started

Ready to get rewarded for your weight-loss efforts? Here are some of the programs currently out there:

  • HealthyWage: You can enroll in either personal or team challenges. What you win depends on variables like how much weight you lose, how long it takes you to lose it and how much money you put up. To get an idea of how much you could earn, play around with the prize calculator on HealthyWage’s website.
  • StickK: This program, described on its website as a “goal-setting platform,” is based on the work of a Yale University economics professor. You can customize your goals and put the details — including any stakes — in writing as a “Commitment Contract.” StickK describes stakes as “the price of failure.” If you wager money and fail, the money goes to a recipient of your choice. This program also allows participants to put a price on their efforts to quit smoking.
  • DietBet: This program uses both financial incentives and social gaming to help you stick to your commitment. There are three games to choose from, each involving a different weight-loss goal, duration and bet amount. (If you’re interested in making running a habit and shedding pounds, you might want to check out a related site, RunBet.)

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.

Have you tried any of these programs or one like them? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Nancy Dunham
Nancy Dunham @NancyDWrites

Nancy Dunham is a freelance journalist based in the Washington, D.C., metro area.


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