Friday, February 06, 2009

Dieting For Dollars

Financial incentives may be an effective way to help people lose weight, according to this New York Times article: Dieting? Put Your Money Where Your Fat Is.

Most diet bettors agreed that while losing weight was the ultimate goal, winning the bet — and pocketing the winnings — soon became the main reason they stuck to their diets.

“I wanted to win, and I blew everyone away,” said Christopher Fallon, 36, a medical sales representative from West Orange, N.J. Mr. Fallon participated in a three-month diet bet with nine other colleagues, everyone contributing $100 to a winner-take-all pool. At a sales meeting a few weeks before the end of the bet, Mr. Fallon’s fellow bettors realized that he was way ahead.

“When I saw Chris at the gym at 6 a.m. looking skeletal, I knew it was over for me,” said one colleague, Carolyn Kramaritsch.

Mr. Fallon admitted that he enjoyed vanquishing his peers even more than losing the pounds. “I didn’t even need to lose much weight,” he said, “but when I saw everyone else, I thought, ‘I just won $900!’ ”

Sounds like a win-win situation... unless people start cheating with dangerous weight-loss drugs, just so they'll get the money!

But it seems to me that what would REALLY work well is exactly the opposite: let's say you could magically lose a pound for every $1,000 you put in a savings account. Something tells me a lot of Americans would suddenly have much bigger nest eggs!


FB @ said...

Can you imagine that?

Losing a pound for every grand saved?

Hah! :) If only.

Fabulously Broke in the City

"Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver."

Jill Kemerer said...

Wouldn't that be nice! Or let's see--how about getting $100 for every pound gained? Christmas weight gain could pay off the bills!
Love your blog!

Miss M said...

Some girls at my work are doing that right now, though I think they just pitched in $20 a piece. It seems to be motivating them.

Anonymous said...

What if you rephrase it a bit? For every pound you lose, you'll save $1000 in health care costs due to obesity related illnesses. (Not sure if that's necessarily true, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were.)

Becca said...

I am in a "biggest loser"-esque competition right now at work, and I can't even tell you how much the $500 prize is motivating me. :)

And I would totally lose weight if it meant extra $$ in the savings account. Sounds like a good pitch for the stimulus package!

Kizz said...

I was actually motivated by the Weight Watchers fees. Knowing I'd get that $20 a month back once I got to goal and worked out how to stay there was properly motivational.

Anonymous said...

That's just silly. People have had the option to eat more limited portions and exercise (cutting medical costs) - which would have saved them expenses (your $ saved for pound lost) - forever. The average American clearly wasn't motivated to do so, given the obesity epidemic and dismal savings rate.