Can Money Be a Weight Loss Motivator?

November 19, 2013

According to a recent study conducted by Mayo Clinic, money talks when it comes to weight loss. 

The study followed 100 adult participants who were given the goal of losing four pounds per month up to a predetermined goal weight. Two of the groups were given a financial incentive -- either earning money or being required to pay money -- while two other groups were given no financial incentive.

The result?

"Study completion rates for the incentive groups were significant compared with the non-incentive groups: 62 percent versus 26 percent. In the incentive groups, participants' mean weight loss was 9.08 pounds, compared with 2.34 pounds for the non-incentive groups."

Clearly for some, money can be a great motivator. In my case, money can stress me out to the point of putting away a bag of Maple Bacon Kettle Brand chips by myself.

However, to balance that stress (and the eating that can accompany it), I found a few different places online that can help motivate you and potentially create a contest between friends. You need to be careful though. It’s a commitment that you can’t simply back out of without some recourse. These goals that you legally bind yourself to are nothing to blow off. If you lose your motivation, you can also lose your cash.

Healthy Wage: This site uses the concepts from the Mayo Clinic study -- i.e. people are more likely to lose weight if there is a monetary incentive. They make sure the challenges are fun, social, and pay you for your success. They have a free BMI challenge where you can win $100. Another challenge is where you can double your money when you lose 10% of your body weight. The top prize in all team challenges is $10,000. There is a lot to gain from this site, so check it out.

Diet Bet: Diet Bet gives you two choices for your personal challenge. The Kickstarter challenges you to lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks. The Transformer challenges you to lose 10% of your body weight in 6 months. With either choice, you have the option to bring on your own group of friends or make it open to the public. If you do the latter, then you have more opportunity for more cash. For either one, you can reel in as many participants as you want to increase the size of the pot. Whoever hits the set goal splits the pot.

GymPact: The convenience of this program comes as an app on your phone. The difference between this one and the others listed is that you aren’t getting money for losing weight, you are getting it for working out. You commit to 30 minutes a day and win money as you progress through your daily workouts. Be careful though because if you miss one, you have to pay back into the pot. All of the dollar amounts are set by you. The best part is that if you can’t get to the gym, you just need to put your phone in your pocket or wear it in an armband and 30 minutes of activity will count for your workout for the day. They have also partnered with RunKeeper so that you can get your time in by running, walking or biking.

Don’t need the extra cash to motivate? Sites like Run For Charity and Charity Miles donate money to the charity of your choice on your behalf. Run For Charity helps you set up a fundraiser in a myriad of ways while Charity Miles simply logs the miles via an app on your phone. You earn 25 cents a mile running or walking and 10 cents a mile biking.

So the question is, what will motivate you to get healthy?