Money may not be able to buy you love, but it turns out it can help with weight loss.
Research has shown that, when it comes to dropping excess pounds, there’s nothing like cold, hard cash to keep you motivated. In fact, dieters who have a financial incentive to lose weight are nearly five times more likely to make it happen than those with no incentive.
Though experts are just beginning to understand the impact of financial incentives on promoting healthy behavior, there’s no doubt that it has a powerful effect. “This is a logical innovation with solid grounding in psychology and economics that has the potential to help people achieve their goals of losing excess fat and improving their fitness,” says John Cawley, Ph.D., co-director of Cornell University’s Institute on Health Economics, Health Behaviors and Disparities.
Inspired by the statistics, there have been a new wave of websites that offer monetary rewards for weight loss. The latest to jump on the lose-to-win bandwagon is DietBet—the online social dieting game, which launches mid-December, that lets players win money through weight-loss competitions. People place wagers on reaching a healthy goal weight and everyone who achieves the goal wins a share of the pot. It’s like fantasy football for dieters.
Founder Jamie Rosen came up with the concept after witnessing the painstaking process friends went through to plan their own diet bets and deciding to streamline the process with an online source. “We wanted to make that all a million times easier for the game's organizer and also more fun,” says Rosen.
Dietbet also offers innovative features, such as the Daily Carrot—a motivational and amusing daily tip written by comedy writers from Harvard Lampoon—and a message board, where users can trash talk, share photos and keep up with each other’s scores. “The reason we started DietBet was the observation that nobody in the world likes to lose weight but everyone loves playing games,” explains Rosen. “So we put a lot of attention to making it a fun, social game experience.”
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