Unless you have cutoff all network television from your life and you close your eyes as you cross through the magazine racks at the grocery store checkout, you probably have heard of the show The Biggest Loser. The show revolves around contestants competing to lose the biggest percentage of their starting body weight through extreme workouts and intense diet change. This show has inspired many individuals to participate similar contests on a much smaller scale, likely organized by someone at their place of employment. I know I did.
For several consecutive years, someone at my job would organize a game of “The Biggest Loser” in which participants would pitch in $10-$30 to enter the contest. One, maybe two, of the participants would “win it all” at the end if they had the biggest percentage of weight loss compared to their starting weight. It was super motivating, until it wasn’t. Let’s just say that I never won. I would start out excited to “compete” and determined to win, but a few weeks into the competition I would be edgy and stressed out. Feelings of resentment towards other people playing the game (especially those I perceived as “not needing to lose any weight anyway”) would surface and I would ultimately mentally check out half way through the contest. Understandably, those who made it to the end and were the winners likely felt differently than me and this sort of game may have ignited a new passion for health and fitness within them. If so, yahoo!
The last time I participated in such a contest I was about 30-40lbs into my 100 pound weight loss. Over the course of 2 more years I was able to lose about 70 more pounds without the incentive of a “contest”.
One year ago I started noticing posts on instagram about “Diet Bets”. I was intrigued. At the time, I was nearly 10 pounds heavier than my usual weight due to stressing about work situations and dealing with that stress with poorer food choices than usual. I thought this new Diet Bet setup may be just the activity to get me back on track.
How does it work?
When you participate in Diet Bet your are going to pay a fee (or bet) that you will lose a percentage of your starting body weight (4% for 28 day games, 10 % for 6 month games). If you are successful, you will get your bet money back, plus a cut of the money of participants who were not successful.
Who is it for?
Diet Bets that are 28 days long are great for individuals who have weight to lose and are actively using a scale one tool to measure their profess/success. If you have issues with monitoring your weight and attaching a great deal of importance to that number on the scale, this may not be the game for you. There are many non-scale methods for monitoring your fitness journey progress such as clothing sizes, measurements, overall health and mental well being and many more. You should also be in need of losing 4% or more of your body weight, since if you are very close to your healthy/ideal weight, the challenge of losing that last couple of pounds might not be probable with a Diet Bet.
Why is it motivational?
Most people do not wish to part with their hard earned money. Many will find it worth sticking to their nutrition and exercise plan just to get back their money they invested into the game. Plus there is always the chance that you will have some “winnings” which in turn can be seen as a “return on your initial investment” See my example from a recent bet I participated in below:
I’m the type of person who can be motivated by money. I want to get more money, and most importantly I don’t want to lose my money. From time to time I will spend money on a specific nutritional challenge, or expensive running shoes, and like I said since I do not want to lose my money, I make darn sure those materials get used!
What I also find encouraging about joining a Diet Bet fitness challenge is the group dynamic and support. It can be nice to have a challenge in common, knowing someone you know and are friends with is focusing on the same thing you are and that you can share your success and/or vent your frustrations with them.
Who might want to avoid a Diet Bet?
We are all unique and respond to situations in our own way. Anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder would not be an ideal player in this game. If the thought scales and your weight stresses you out and makes you treat yourself not so nicely, I would not recommend this challenge for you. You would probably do better focusing on non-scale related goals in your fitness journey. This game requires a scale to measure success, so you must be okay with weighing yourself regularly. Admittedly, I don’t love getting on the scale to often, so when I participate in these challenges I weigh in at the beginning and then don’t weigh again for 2 weeks, then weigh in every other day during the end of the challenge. If weighing yourself is not something you are into but you do want to join a fitness challenge, the WayBetter company has also recently introduced “StepBet“.
What should I do next?
Well, if you read through this post and you can see how a DietBet might be a fun challenge for you to try, you can join my current game by following this link:
Have you participated in a DieBet or any type of weight loss challenge? Comment below with your experience, I’d love to hear from you!
I am a runner and fitness fanatic who is dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle 80% of the time. I live in Texas and divide my time between raising 3 children, teaching, and living a fit life.