Would You Lose Weight for $1,000?

This post is sponsored by Treadmill.com. All opinions expressed are my own. (And I promise my next post won’t be sponsored! Sorry for two in a row.)

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this on here, but when I was losing weight, my mom and I had a little deal going on.

I was 26 and working as a reporter. I was overweight and unhappy and believed that losing weight would change my life. (It did, but it was more that it was the catalyst to take my life into my own hands than the actual weight loss.) I wanted to go to a trainer at my gym, but couldn’t afford it on my own. 

My parents had helped me pay for trainers before that, and I’d go, work out with them and carry on with my same bad habits the rest of the week in between, or I’d lose interest after several sessions.

When I asked this time, my mom asked how things were different this time. She was willing to help me, but she also wanted to make sure she wasn’t throwing her money out the window. We decided that I’d put the sessions on my own credit card so that I could rack up miles, and she’d pay me back if I lost the weight. Since I couldn’t afford to pay her back, I was determined to do whatever it took to lose the weight.

I also think the stars had just aligned, and I was ready that time and nothing was going to stop me – but the financial incentive didn’t hurt, for sure.

So when the fine folks at Treadmill.com emailed asking if I’d share the news of their weight loss challenge, I agreed because I thought it was interesting.

Treadmill.com Weight Loss Challenge

So, you need to make a minimum purchase of $499 on their site in order to participate. But the way I see it, if you were already thinking about trying to lose weight and you were thinking of buying a treadmill (/elliptical/stationary bike), it could be a good way to offset the cost and light a fire under you to achieve your goals. 

They also have minimum weights in place to encourage safe weight loss (although I think the 100-pound incentive could start at a lower weight like 250.)

What do you think about this/financial incentives to lose weight? I think they’re a great added push when you already have that desire, but you gotta want it first. I don’t think financial incentive alone is enough to keep someone motivated, but it doesn’t hurt. (In fact, studies have found that a financial incentive definitely does help.)

7 comments on “Would You Lose Weight for $1,000?

  1. Victoria

    I’m glad they have the disclaimer that you need to have a certain starting weight. Not sure I’d want to see what I look like at 55ish lbs just to make $1000.

    I’m torn on financial incentives in general – I think they can help people lose weight, but the extrinsic motivation may lead to short-term changes to achieve the goal, rather than sustainable changes that would maintain the loss.

  2. Cheri @ Overactive Blogger

    I think it’s an okay idea, but I think it could turn a little unhealthy for someone like me, who’s already at the lower end of her BMI, and SUPER competitive. For a split second I was like hmmmm I could lose like 20 pounds! But it would be a terrible terrible idea, and I’d be sitting at 110 on my 5’8″ frame!

    But for someone in the throes of weight loss, I think that this could be a good idea, especially if you’re looking for that extra little push to lose the last 100, 50, or 20 pounds. Definitely an interesting idea!

  3. Amanda

    This is interesting. I think incentives are great for weight loss but this is not the way to do it. The company setting the challenge doesn’t know anything about the participants (age, height, weight muscle mass, health, etc) and everyone is working against the same standard. This might be a great challenge for someone weight 300 pounds, but what about people who weigh less and want the money? I’m mostly shocked by the minimum weight of 110 to join. Isn’t that extremely low? For someone to drop 20 pounds in this challenge and then weigh 90 pounds seems completely ridiculous and unhealthy. Maybe this works if the person is 4 feet tall, but again this goes back to the issue of not really know much about the participants. I think this could work if the company met with individual participants, discussed healthy and reasonable goals and then measured participants against those targeted goals.

    While incentives are an excellent motivator for positive change, I think this is too broad and could potentially lead to unhealthy results.

  4. http://www.healthyarms.net

    I think that this COULD be a great idea for people who are thinking twice about investing on fitness machines as such because they aren’t sure if they’d actually get something from it. If they do decide to push themselves to get something out of it and money is their motivator, then it’s all good. But personally, I am not in favor. A campaign as such would come off as giving a focus on just the weight, the numbers on the scale, how heavy you are; rather than on the wellness itself. What if a person is 165lbs. Should this person reach 65 lbs in order to get $1000? In a modern world like the one where we live in, people would go to such extreme for money.

  5. Mallory

    As someone who’s been on and off the Weight Watchers train more than I care to admit (I’m finally back on for good) as well as a pile of grad school student debt, a financial incentive like this could make a huge difference and be an added motivational factor to getting back at it. It’s obviously not right for everyone and their parameters for the contest may be questionable, but for those with a significant amount of weight to lose, this could be a huge bonus (and very helpful for those who need it financially).

  6. Brittney @ Sweets 'N' Greens

    This is an interesting idea, but badly executed – it’s set up so that only overweight people can benefit. It should be a percentage of weight lost rather than a set pound limit so more people can participate.

    But I have been seeing sites like diet bet a lot more lately where you can join a challenge and get paid once you lose weight. I think it’s a pretty good incentive for a lot of people – kind of an extra nudge if you’re already gearing yourself up for a lifestyle change.


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