What motivates you to lose weight?
Is it health? More energy, less risk of disease, a longer life?
Is it fitness? Maybe you’re inspired by the thought of running a 10k or building stronger muscles.
Is it appearance? Who doesn’t love sliding into a smaller pair of jeans?
A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that when employees competed to lose weight as a group, they lost up to three times more weight than those who received individual incentives to take pounds off.
The details:The study involved obese employees at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.In one group, participants were offered $100 per month for meeting weight loss goals.In the other group, participants were placed into groups of 5 and were offered $500 to split as a monthly reward. If a member did not achieve their goal, their reward was divided among other members.Participants were notified each month about the money they earned or would have earned if they had been successful.After six months, the group-incentive participants had lost more weight than the individual-incentive participants and the control group.
In a press release, the study’s lead author Jeffrey T. Kullgren, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., health services researcher at the U-M Medical School wrote:
There is broad and growing enthusiasm for rewarding healthy behaviors in the workplace, but there is little evidence on the effects of these strategies. We anticipate more employers to offer these awards in an effort to help control health care costs while also improving the health of employees. We found that these incentives were substantially more powerful when delivered in groups, which has important implications for both policymakers and the employers who are considering offering them.
This study got me thinking.
If you’ve been reading, then you know that I kicked off an attempt to lose 50 pounds back in February. (See my posts on my 30-day primal challenge, parts one, two, three, and four.)
I’ve been happy with my progress so far, but I wondered: “Would a financial incentive give me a little extra motivation?”
Spring is coming fast, and I’d like to be closer to my goal by the time the warm weather hits. And I enjoy changing things up to keep myself from getting bored.
I don’t know if money will motivate me, but I decided to give it a shot.
I headed over to DietBet.
At DietBet, participants put down their hard-earned cash with the hope they’ll earn it back — and more — at the end of the challenge. Here’s how it works:Start or join a challenge by betting the required amount.Stick to your diet plan in an attempt to lose 4% of your body weight in a month.
Keep tabs on your fellow challengers.Split the pot if you succeed.
The group I joined, for $35, is called Danny-J’s Diet Bet, and the pot is currently $27,505. That’s certainly a big enough incentive for me to kick my weight loss into high gear, but with 785 other members it’s far more likely I’ll win $50 or so.
The challenge starts tomorrow and ends on May 5, so check back then for a full review.
Would money motivate you to lose weight?