Want to drop pounds Put your money where your mouth is and get competitive with new trend for weight-loss betting websites
If you are struggling to get rid of extra pounds in the run-up to Christmas, how about a bet
Savvy dieters are literally putting their money where their mouths are thanks to a new trend for weight-loss betting websites.
Dieters who join the sites pledge to lose a certain amount of weight by a specified date and the website calculates weekly goals.
Kick start: a prize fund and the public challenge are the key incentives for starting a diet and the competition encourages users to stick to their goals
If the target is not reached, the website will remove the pledge from a bank account or credit card.
If you win the most out of your group, you take home the jackpot. If you are in a club, and your group beats another, you split the cash prize.
Research on whether financial incentiveslead to weight loss is inconclusive, but that hasn”t stopped thousands of people signing up to diet betting sites since they first launched in 2004.
Seth Brown from California used Weightlosswars.com to lose 62lb he”d gained while unemployed and living with his parents.
He put up $30 to compete against 14 strangers.
“I first set out to find a website that acted as a sort of social network for fat people,” said Mr Brown.
“I thrive in competitive situations and I loved the idea of competing with a group of people who are in the same boat.”
If he ends up in the top three, Mr Brown will win about $260 when the challenge concludes on January 16.
One five-person group lost a collective 252 pounds in three months and evenly split the $10,000 jackpot
Klark Overmyer, from Georgia, says that the money prize is a big incentive.
He lost 58 pounds as part of a five-person team.
The group lost a collective 252 pounds in three months and evenly split the $10,000 jackpot.
Overmeyer used the winnings for a family trip away.
“I would like to say that I”m above the money being a big motivator but who am I kidding,” said Overmyer.
“Without the money my vacation to Disney wouldn”t be a possibility. Instead of seeing Mickey my son would be seeing his fat dad on the sofa”.
Debbie Haughton, an attorney also from Georgia, wanted to lose weight for her 40th birthday.
She joined a 12-week, 40-person pool organised by a friend. Ms Haughton put in $20, dropped about 18 pounds and walked away with $200.
“I knew that a competition would stoke that fire for me since I tend to be fairly driven,” she said.
“I”m very toned and looking and feeling great. I”ve also become a runner for the first time in my life.”
Commitment: Websites such as Stickk.com are experiencing a growing number of users, with the figures peaking around the Thanksgiving and Christmas period
Not all the websites use money as the incentive.
At Healthmonth.com, winners receive virtual fruit to give in solidarity to others over a month”s time.
At the beginning, participants fill out detailed questionnaires that are later used by the site to craft daily emails offering help with self-selected goals like limiting alcohol or soda and eating more greens or whole grains.
Alex Rainert, 35, wanted to drop some of the weight he picked up when he became a dad nearly two years ago.
“I”ve used countless food and fitness trackers to try to change,” he said. “I think this worked for us because of the social pressure. You don”t want it to look like you”re underperforming.”
At Weightlosswars.com, where the motto is “Lose together or gain alone,” marketing director Pete Maughan expects 10,000 to 15,000 people to register from mid-December through January.
“I don”t view it as a solution to America”s weight loss problem,” said Mr Maughan. “But it”s an important spark and a fun and extremely motivational way to get started on a weight loss journey.”