If someone offered you money to lose weight, would you give it a try? Or what if, you had to give someone money every month in the hopes that if you reached your goal weight you would win back all your money and then a lot more to boot?
Well, folks, some people are giving this a try.
Financial Incentives for Weight Loss
Say hello to online weight loss programs with money incentives, such as HealthyWage and Dietbet. On these sites – or through their app – an individual sets a weight loss goal and bets money on themselves to achieve it. If they lose the weight within their decided time frame, they’re a winner, if not, they lose, and there will be no financial award.
Both weight loss programs have slightly different rules and challenges. And each type of challenge within either program comes with different potential winnings.
One main difference is that in Dietbet your bet is part of a pool with other people, who you may or may not know.
Dietbet has a Transformer challenge, which lasts for six months and requires losing at least 10% of your body weight. Within the six-month timeframe, there are six separate rounds to win; and to win the grand prize at the end, you must have won all six rounds. There are also more rules within each round; and to be completely honest, just reading about them, I got overwhelmed.
With HealthyWage, you do have an option to simply bet on yourself or be part of what they call a team challenge.
In the HealthyWage’s main challenge, called the HealthyWager, a bet must be for at least six months, anywhere to a maximum of 18 months in duration; you must wager over $100, but no more than $10,000; and you must bet to lose at least 10% of your starting body weight.
Will You Lose Weight?
Can you really make money with these programs and lose weight? Maybe.
Some studies have looked at the effectiveness of financial incentives for weight loss – with mixed results. A 2021 study conducted on 103 women with a body mass index of over 30 were followed for 12 months. Money payment for losing weight was provided as an incentive incentive intervention in this study. Some participants were also given diet and physical activity support. The researchers found that financial incentives can effectively help to weight loss and maintenance of weight, and improve lipid profiles; blood sugar and liver enzymes. But they noted that the use of motivational factors with proper training (diet and physical activity) have a better result.
Other studies found no statistically significant difference in weight loss results between financial incentives and other types of support for healthy eating.
I think what one needs to think about is how they will actually lose the weight and keep it off. While looking over both the programs, I had a hard time finding out any information about healthy eating. I can only hope it’s there somewhere helping to guide their players responsibly. Because sure, they could win by starting some fad diet, but we all know by now how that ends: The pounds will eventually return when they find the diet too hard to continue.
The Take Home
At the end of the day, I do think money can be a good motivator for some people, and they will find success. But I also think the number one motivator has to come from within a person and through their own desire to make healthy changes whether or not there is a dollar sign waiting for them.