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would you bet money on losing weight?

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Old 06-05-2011, 11:08 PM   #1
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I was reading a magazine yesterday and they mentioned a website called loseitorloseit.com Basically, you bet x amount of dollars that you can lose x amount of weight by x amount of time. The lady who tried it out in the article bet $500 that she could lose 20 lbs. in 10 weeks (I think). Well, she didn't lose the weight so she lost the money.

Frankly, I'm shocked that anyone would do this because I don't find money to be a motivating factor. However, maybe it is for some people (like maybe on The Biggest Loser)?

So, would you do it? Just curious.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:11 PM   #2
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Lose xx lbs by xx date? No. I wouldn't bet. Because how do I know that my body wouldn't decide to plateau or maybe I'd lose 19.5 pounds instead of 20 pounds and still lose the money.

If it was "Bet $$$ that you'll still be eating healthier and exercising a year from now" ... that'd be much more interesting and I'd be much more inclined to bet.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:12 PM   #3
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I think the only reason it should be frowned upon is that money isn't really a "keeper" reason. 20lbs in 10 weeks is a lot, and was an almost unrealistic goal.

Plus, where is the money going? Into the founder's pocket or into a charity or something? I have a major issue with lining one's pockets like that, but hey, if you want to do it, it's your money.

I've heard of a gym where it actually charges you money if you miss your workout days, but this is totally different. Can't say I appreciate it, and no, I wouldn't do it.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:25 PM   #4
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The money goes straight into the owner's pockets! Isn't that incredible? I just don't get it! I guess there are some people who just know that money is a huge motivator for them, but what about keeping it off? Will they have to make constant bets on that too? It just kind of stunned me so I thought that maybe I'm the crazy one!
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:40 PM   #5
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If someone was giving me money, I would do my hardest. Otherwise, I'm not parting with it.
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Old 06-05-2011, 11:46 PM   #6
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Absolutely, just not on a website like this article. Actually after I had Logan, my mom's group had a biggest loser contest. We all put in $40 (there were 8 or 9 of us) and then set a time limit of about 3 months. Whoever lost the most weight in that time won the whole pot! It was motivating for most of us, and we all tried and the winner won the pot just before her big Vegas trip. Which was good because she needed new clothes!!
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Old 06-06-2011, 02:02 AM   #7
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Yes, but as above poster said, not on a website. I have lost and won money in group "biggest loser" competitions. But its not really about the $$$ being the main motivating factor there was also the comraderie and team spirit involved despite being competitive we helped each other out, other than joking around like "You should REALLY have a piece of cake" (at office parties etc) which really served as moral support too. And the weekly weigh ins to keep tabs on each others progress were motivators too. At least for me, and I got a bunch of $ out of the last one so... That worked for me
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:48 AM   #8
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What happens when the time limit is up and you have won or lost the money? What do you do then?

I think these contests are gimmicks and lead only to short-term weight loss for most people.

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Old 06-06-2011, 10:31 AM   #9
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I heard about a site like this and if you didn't win, the money did go to charity (one of your choice, even). It was not necessarily just weight loss, but other goals like quitting smoking. So that way I think you wouldn't feel so bad if you didn't make it. Would that be less motivating though?
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:45 AM   #10
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There are interesting studies that have shown that people tend to value the risk of a loss more than they value the possibility of a bonus.

So, for example, the notion "If you don't stay on plan for a year, you will lose $1,000" is more motivating and more powerful than "if you stay on plan for a year, you will win $1,000."

Anecdotally, I read a story about a woman who successfully quit smoking after many failed attempts - and never relapsed for 30 years - only after she gave $5,000 to her best friend and said, "If I ever smoke again, give this $5,000 to the KKK." The thought of such a substantial amount of her money going to such a repellent cause was the only trick she found to help her quit smoking. It turned the amorphous, long-term gain of "better health" into something immediate and visceral that was strong enough to overcome the part of her that wants a cigarette NOW.

I can see where this would be highly effective for many people. For me, the single hardest aspect of losing weight has been saying no to my inner three year old - foregoing the pleasure of overeating RIGHT NOW in favor of amorphous, abstract goals of indeterminate time frame like "look somewhat better at some point in the future." Knowing that going off plan would cause a substantial loss - not just dropping a quarter into a jar but something I would really feel, like 5 grand to an utterly repellent organization - would be a powerful way of concretizing those abstract rewards.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:13 AM   #11
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My husband entered a pool at work. Last year, everyone contributed $100, but no one got to goal. Everyone put another $100 in this year which meant my husband put it $200 this year as he didn't work there when they started this.

It is a HUGE motivator for him because he's a tight wad! How his pool works is that if you get to goal, you get your money back. if you maintain for a certain time, you get more of the pot, I forgot how much. So far he's the only one in the group that is losing and I know he'll get there. Thing is, he wasn't heavy to start out, but he wanted to be thinner and fitter and the idea of the loss of money is definitely working for him!

But online, with tight limits... no way.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carter View Post
There are interesting studies that have shown that people tend to value the risk of a loss more than they value the possibility of a bonus.

So, for example, the notion "If you don't stay on plan for a year, you will lose $1,000" is more motivating and more powerful than "if you stay on plan for a year, you will win $1,000."

Anecdotally, I read a story about a woman who successfully quit smoking after many failed attempts - and never relapsed for 30 years - only after she gave $5,000 to her best friend and said, "If I ever smoke again, give this $5,000 to the KKK." The thought of such a substantial amount of her money going to such a repellent cause was the only trick she found to help her quit smoking. It turned the amorphous, long-term gain of "better health" into something immediate and visceral that was strong enough to overcome the part of her that wants a cigarette NOW.
I heard this story too. Was it on This American Life?
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:45 AM   #13
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I don't think I would do it through a web site.... but yes, I'd do it! As long as it was properly organized and no fad diets allowed type of thing (just seems like cheating lol)
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:40 PM   #14
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I prefer setting rewards for success rather than setting up punishments for failure. Aside from effectiveness, there's also quality of life involved. I would hate to forever have a donation to the KKK hanging over my head. Talk about a sword of Damocles.

I once gave my mother $20 (when $20 was a huge amount of money to me) for her to keep if I didn't lose 20 lbs by a given date. She was reluctant to agree, but she did promise.

I lost 19 3/4 lbs. Faithful to her promise, my Mom kept the money.

I didn't find that motivationg at all, and it made me pissed off at myself and at my mother (but "coming close" or "rounding up" wasn't in the bargain).


I am motivated though by the small contests our TOPS group runs. For example, one month we all donated a $1 and if we didn't gain for the month, we'd get our dollar back. The biggest loser for the month got all the dollars that were forfeited by members who gained.

There's always at least three contests going at once, and you particpate in the ones you want to. They money amounts are too small to provide strong motivation, but you can get swept up in the competitive spirit.

Sometimes I find the silliest contests are the most motivating. Every month we have an apple tree contest. Everyone's name is on a paper apple on a corkboard tree. If you miss a meeting or have a gain at the weekly weigh-in, your apple falls off the tree. At the end of the month, everyone still on the tree splits $10 (usually between 1-3 people).

I've been a member for about 9 months, and I've never yet won the Apple Tree contest, because I allmost always gain 6 - 8 pounds with TOM. I think even on a water only diet, I would gain some weight. If I eat very, very low-carb I can manage to reduce the gain, but I've never been able to eliminate it.

I really WANT to win the Apple Tree contest. Unfortunately, it's not very likely, but I do try, and I've gotten close (one month I gained only 1.5 lbs during TOM week).

The contests aren't going to make or break my weight loss, but they do add an interesting component to weight loss, and since sometimes the biggest frustration to dieting for me is boredom, anything that can "make it interesting" is positive.

I think as long as you find it positive and not stressful, I think any tool you can use is a good one.
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Old 06-06-2011, 05:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoodoo613 View Post
I heard this story too. Was it on This American Life?
You've jogged my memory! It was on RadioLab.

I was thinking I had read it, because I just finished a book that had a lot of discussion of phenomena driven by loss aversion. But, that anecdote was from a recent RadioLab program - not from the book.
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Today, working off a partial regain. Current weight: 179.
Goals:
* Make the best choice I can make, with every choice.
* Remember that the temptation in front of me is not the last of its kind that I will ever see; say "I'll pass today."
* Say "no!" to my whiny inner five-year-old.
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