Weight-loss resolutions for the New Year are great, but c’mon now, let’s get real – how many years in a row have you said you want to lose weight only to see December come ‘round and you’re still the same weight? Or worse – even heavier!
NOW is absolutely the time to start losing weight – cliché or not – but I know as well as anyone just how hard it can be. After college I dropped nearly 100lbs only to put it back on after birthing two children in less than two years.
Between being pregnant and breast-feeding, my body hasn’t been my own in FIVE YEARS. But I was done with excuses and ready to feel good in my own skin again.
So I did some research and found FOUR great sites that offer some serious weight loss motivation in the form of cold hard cash. Uh yes please!
Disclaimer: The links below are referral/affiliate links; this means I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you should you click through to sign up. This is no way impacts my decision to write about these sites as they are all ones I’ve personally used and found success with.
Achievemint is a unique website, in that it allows you to link many of your healthy living devices and apps into one central hub, awarding you points based on things like steps taken, exercises logged, and tracking nutrition in programs like MyFitnessPal. Each individual action nets a small amount of points, and it takes 10,000 to get a payout of $10, but for something that’s no more difficult than connecting a few apps, it serves as a pretty solid reminder to get your progress logged. Small, inexorable steps forward are what carves out change, and Achievemint helps you keep track of those incremental yet incredibly important steps.
If you’ve read my other article about how one man won nearly $700 by losing 50 pounds, then you already know I heartily endorse Healthywage. It’s a website that provides you the opportunity to bet that you will lose a set amount of weight in a set amount of time. Essentially, you put in some information (weight, age, gender), how much weight you want to lose and how quickly you think you can do it, and how much money you want to bet per month, and Healthywage calculates a wager for you. For me, I bet $50/month that I would lose 60lbs in 9 months and guess what – I DID IT! And guess what? I won nearly $1,600!!
The motivation comes not just from the possibility of winning more than double what you put in, but also the fact that you are actually paying out however much money each month, and if you don’t reach your goal; poof! That money is gone. So yeah, win by losing!
Like Healthywage above, DietBet is another site that allows you to bet that you’re going to lose weight, but it functions a little differently. You pick a bet – they usually run for a few months, but some are strictly 28 or 30 days – and you place a set bet to join.
Most of the ones I’ve done were about $15, but I’m currently in a longer term one that runs for 6 months and it was $100 to join; I’ll update you next month with my total winnings!
All of the money for each player goes into a pot, and at the end of the duration, everyone who met their goal receives an equal amount from the pot. The losers unfortunately don’t get anything and that’s the motivation. You’re betting you’ll lose, but you’re also competing, in a way, because if you don’t win, everyone else gets a small portion of your money.
The key difference between DietBet and Healthywage is that you’re not going to get large sums of money from DietBet. With the smaller $15 bets, I usually won about $30. It’s still a great thing to give you a little bit of extra motivation, though, and might better serve you if you’re nervous about taking the long-term plunge with a Healthy Wager.
Pact is an app that allows you put up a certain amount of money to ensure that you reach a goal. As you complete your goals, you gain small increments of money from the rest of the Pact users who don’t achieve theirs. Conversely, if you fail in your goals, you lose your money to the people who are successful. In this way, it’s very similar to DietBet, but the difference lies in how it reinforces your goal-seeking behavior.
Pact reinforces daily exercise, food-logging, and other goals that you personally set, with functionality and specificity down to “eating more vegetables” or as broad as “get more exercise in ‘X’ increments of time”. Though not a big money winner like HealthyWage, Pact DOES encourage daily, systematic changes in behavior that will (ideally) lead to permanent habits that improve your health.
Remember, it takes 15 minutes of an activity a day for a minimum of 21 days to form a habit. Focusing on Pact will help make you more mindful about the activities and choices that affect your life every day.
While the process of getting fit is rewarding in and of itself, every little bit of encouragement helps. Take the time to invest in yourself, both in time and in money, and your rewards will compound. There’s little thriftier than living a healthy, active life!