Would you eat more spinach if you got paid for it? How about less trips through the drive-thru? What about cash for walking 10,000 steps a day? Is money enough of a motivator to get you to commit to finally losing weight?
With the obesity epidemic growing rapidly in our country (2/3 of all American adults are either overweight or obese), employers, gyms, and communities are desperately trying to find ways to motivate people to lose weight. “Biggest Loser”-type programs are cropping up everywhere, with prize money ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
Does Money as a Motivator Work?
A recent study of IBM employees showed that cash is king. The company offered employees with children $150 to participate in a 12-week program where they set goals like eating more vegetables and cutting back on TV time. More than half of the employees that signed up for the program completed it. The number of families exercising more than three times a week increased by 17% and families eating healthy dinners five or more times a week increased by 12 percent. Not bad.
Many gyms across the country are offering weight loss programs that offer a cash pay-out to the winner. Participants usually pay a set amount to join a competition, with the winner taking home the pot of money. Participants are not usually monitored during the process, only weighing in at the beginning and the end. How they choose to lose the weight is up to them.
Most of these programs seem to work in the short run. They motivate people to make healthy lifestyle changes, like eating more fruits and veggies and getting more exercise. Unfortunately, when the program or competition is over, most people return to their old habits and regain the lost weight (and sometimes more).
What’s the Solution?
While external motivators, like money, a wedding, a high-school reunion, or a beach vacation, can encourage someone to get with the program, these things come to an end when the motivation is gone. The key to successful weight loss is finding the motivation from inside. You have to be ready to make the changes necessary to lose the weight for good. If you can’t find a good enough reason for losing the weight, then it won’t work for the long-haul. The choice is yours.
We challenge you to find a good enough reason to get healthy and lose the weight – forever.