Losing weight is hard. You can go for several days with significant progress and then fall victim to the Ben and Jerry's taunting you from the freezer. Some extra incentive could help you maintain a healthier lifestyle, and for most of us, cash does the job nicely. Imagine that you would have to pay extra to eat the ice cream out of your freezer and receive money for avoiding it. That's a double incentive that might entice you to ignore your cravings for Cherry Garcia.
The double incentive principle is the basic driver behind HealthyWage.com. You win money for losing weight and lose money for either gaining weight or staying at the same level. Losses are covered by a deposit you place at the time of making your bet — if you fail, you do not get your deposit back. However, if you meet your challenge, you will not only receive your deposit back, but you will also receive cash prizes.
What is HealthyWage?
HealthyWage was formed based on academic studies showing that even small rewards of cash increase the effectiveness of weight loss programs by a factor of three, and that weight loss is increased when people put their own money at risk (in other words, a bet). Thus, HealthyWage offers individual programs allowing a person to place their own monthly bet ($20 to $500) on the amount of weight lost (10 to 150 pounds) and amount of time needed to reach the goal (six to eighteen months).
A button on the front page of the website takes you to a menu to calculate prizes that you can win based on the difficulty of the weight-loss challenge that you accept. Challenges that are more difficult will be rewarded with greater prizes, and will likely require a greater deposit before you can begin.
Prize money does not just come from failed attempts at weight loss. The site is backed by entities that have an interest in healthier lifestyles, such as insurers, hospitals, and the government. They rightly assume that backing HealthyWage should result in lower medical costs down the road.
You will need to have your weight verified twice, once at the beginning of the challenge and again at the end. Verification can be at a health club, doctor's office, Weight Watchers meeting, or other official site. Check with HealthyWage to determine your verification options. Since you are likely to use your own scale as your guide to success during the challenge, weigh yourself on your scale immediately after being verified to account for any offset.
To increase the competitive aspect and take advantage of social pressure, HealthyWage also offers group weight loss programs. They can be sponsored by employers or set up as teams with any sort of connection that you want — or none at all. The latest team challenge on the website lists a $10,000 top prize. You can participate in an individual and a team challenge simultaneously to maximize your winnings, or even in up to ten challenges at one time.
Check the HealthyWage website for a list of current and future team challenges. The terms will be listed under each specific challenge.
If you can lose weight and win some money at the same time, why wouldn't you do so? HealthyWage is betting that you will take that offer and make your waist thinner and your wallet fatter at the same time. Try not to invest your winnings in Ben and Jerry's.