Dieting for dollars: Using money to motivate weight loss

A cash reward or financial penalty could help you stick to your weight loss goals.

Update [12/06/2013]Back in October, we spoke to Rob, an attorney from Connecticut, about his weight loss journey.

Rob, put his money where his mouth is and decided to pay -- or punish -- himself to lose the weight. Rob's deadline just passed, and we are checking in to see if he met his goal.

"My goal was to lose appromixately a little over 30 points by November 27th. I was luckily able to do it which is great. I made it a little bit under, and I was able to get my money back." Rob says. "It was getting pretty tight towards the end, so it was nice to have people rooting me on."

Rob says the combination of the money on the line and community of people rooting him on was a great combination. But will Rob will be able to maintain his weight?

"I proposed a maintenance agreement with my friend," Rob says." I have a certain set weight .... if I can't [maintain] that I have to pay $100 immediately to charity." 

Read more about Rob's plan below:

Imagine setting up a competition at work—or with a  friend.  You step on the scale every Monday.  The outcome of the weigh in determines how you much you pay up.

That’s one example of individuals using financial incentives to spur weight loss, like Rob from Connecticut who has about $700 on the line.

"Every week I weigh in and if I've lost weight from the beginning of the competition, that sets a new low for me to stay at," Rob says, "If I go above that, I have to pay ten dollars to a friend of mine for each week that I'm above the low weight."

Rob's friend keeps the money until the end of the challenge, when Rob will either get it back if he meets his weight-loss goal, or lose it if he doesn't.

Financial incentives like these can be effective for those of us looking for that extra push to lose weight. Another listener, Liz from Maryland, says she was able to start a weight-loss competition at her job that got her, and her coworkers, motivated to shed some pounds.

"I ended up losing a little over 19 percent [of my body weight]," says Liz, "It really at that point became kind of a lifestyle change for me."

Everyone who participated in Liz's competition chipped in some cash to create the reward for the winners, and toward the end of the challenge, Liz's company decided to match the contributions. Liz ended up winning around $2,500.

To hear the rest of Rob and Liz's experiences, click play on the audio player above.

 

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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