Sue Johnston, a mother of three in Cumming, Georgia, lost almost 78 pounds- and not only that, she earned $150 to boot, using one of the many online services that reward you with cash when you lose weight. Erin Wright, a mother of five in Center Valley, Arkansas, earned a whopping $800 and lost 69 pounds.
If you’re having trouble losing weight, you’re not alone. However, what if someone actually paid you to drop those pounds? Psychological studies have shown that subjects are highly likely to lose weight, and to lose more of it, if there is some money to sweeten the deal.
Enter social dieting
Sites like DietBet, Gym-Pact and Healthy Wage are proliferating across the ‘net and all employ some concept of social dieting. What’s social dieting? It’s where dieting is a group-focused rather than solitary activity. You lose weight with other people, be they your family members, friends or just random folks online. Through a combination of community support and some peer pressure, you end up more committed to losing weight in a set period of time. Oh, and then there’s the money: You bet a certain amount of your own cash, say $100, and if you achieve a defined weight loss goal, you make back your initial investment and then some.
There are no stipulations about how you lose weight. However, most of these weight loss betting sites do offers forums and other member communities where participants support each other in their weight loss goals.
Here’s what Sue had to say about her weight loss bet on Healthy Wage:
I was skeptical at first, but after thoroughly researching it, there just didn’t seem to be a downside. If I stayed on track, I’d win; it was that simple. The 10% weight loss over six months was both achievable and healthy. And who better to bet on than myself – right?
I had no intention of losing my initial $150 bet, so I jumped in with both feet and never looked back. On August first, I had surpassed my goal of 26.9 lbs. and lost 78 lbs. By August third, I had a $300 deposit in my PayPal account.
Since her Healthy Wage challenge, Sue has continued losing weight and, at this point in time, is down at least 124 lbs compared to when she initially started on her weight loss goal.
Erin Wright participated in two Healthy Wage challenges and said the following,
I started the 10% 6 month challenge and the 1 year BMI challenge on the same day. The 10% challenge was a $100 payout and the BMI challenge was a $300 payout. I think I lost 36 lbs the first 6 months and won $200. At the end of the year I had lost 69 lbs., with my BMI below 25, and won $1,000, for a net win of $800.
Diet Bet is another get paid to lose weight site where participants form betting pools. The amount of money that can be make back depends on the number of people in the pool; the bigger the pool, the bigger the pot of money that can be won. However, if the challenge is an easy one and there are several winners in the pool, the money won back is going to be little.
Amy Oztan of Selfish Mom tried DietBet for several weight loss bets. Here’s what she had to say about the program:
For the second and third DietBet I (and about 20 participants) put up $50. If I remember correctly, most of us on the second bet met our goals, so we each got our money back plus about twelve dollars and change. I did not win the third DietBet – I think I had to lose about 7.5 pounds, and I actually lost about five. The $50 was not enough of a risk to really matter on its own.
A better motivator was saving face with my friends. I knew everyone doing those DietBets, and I wanted to be accountable to them. However, I don’t think that *just* the friend angle would have done it either. It was both the money and saving face. Putting your money where your mouth is, I guess.
How do you find a legitimate weight loss betting site?
Given the testimonials I collected, it seemed to me that these weight loss betting sites seem legitimate. However, I did find a negative review about Healthy Wage that got me worried. To better understand what might be going on, I talked with Anna T. of Real Ways to Earn Money Online. She had this to say:
To determine whether or not a site is legit, you should carefully research its reputation. Most of the time when people have been ripped off, they are going to make some noise about it online. It’s a good idea to type in the company name followed by the word “scam” on Google or another search engine to see what results populate.
If you discover that the site has an overall positive online presence and that it’s been discussed favorably on reputable online magazine sites, blogs, or forums, that’s a good indicator that it’s not a scam.
I would also suggest doing a Whois search on the domain to try and find out who’s behind the site and when it was created. If you can find out who is behind the site, you can research that person through Google in the same manner that you researched the site itself.
What about staying honest?
It would be easy for anyone to say that he or she weighs 300 lbs. now and then “lose” a quick 150 lbs. in the space of 6 months (it just melted right off!). To maintain honesty, the aforementioned weight loss betting programs do require that you are officially weighed when you start and end your program. Official weights can be recorded in a doctor’s clinic, gym or your own home. DietBet, for example, has members take before and after photos of themselves standing on a scale in front of a full-length mirror.
For those of you with those smartphone things…
What if you’re on-the-go and would rather have your smartphone involved in your diet challenge? Guess what- there’s an app for that. And it’s called GymPact. This app works on iPhones and Android devices and has you invest a certain dollar amount up-front to guarantee that you will go a certain number of times to the gym, or eat healthy vegetables, or avoid junk food, etc. When you don’t keep to your resolutions, you have money deducted from your account. But if you maintain your resolutions, you make money.
So the only question that remains is…
Should I “put my money where my mouth is” and do a weight loss bet of my own? I could stand to lose a few pounds…
Please let me know in the comments below! And thanks for the feedback!