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Cash in on your weight loss, healthy lifestyle

Published: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Money is a strong motivator, and it could just be the key to losing a few pounds. A new online concept uses a financial rewards system based on your success at dropping the weight. Here are two programs you can examine:

n DietBet.com – At DietBet, you can start a weight-loss “game” for yourself and a group of friends, or join a game that is already in progress. You are required to ante up for the pot. Then you take a couple of pictures of yourself and your scale with your smartphone and submit them. The goal is to lose 4 percent of your starting weight in 4 weeks. At the end of the 4 weeks, you take a couple more pictures to verify your ending weight and submit them again. Whoever hits their 4 percent goal is a winner and splits the pot with the other winners.

n HealthyWage.com – Healthy Wage offers 3 different challenges: the BMI Challenge and the 10% Challenge for individuals, and the Matchup Challenge for groups:

n The BMI Challenge is completely free and lasts for one year. You must have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of at least 30 to participate, and if you reach a healthy BMI by the end of the year, you win $100. (You can calculate your BMI at www.freebmicalculator.net.)

n For the 10% Challenge, you pay a $150 fee up front and attempt to lose 10 percent of your starting weight in 6 months. If you are successful, you win $300. 

n In the Matchup Challenge, you and 4 friends join as a group and each person pays $25. You compete against other groups, and the team that loses the most weight in 3 months wins $10,000.

Could one of these programs work for you? In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008, dieters who were given a financial incentive to lose weight lost 10 pounds more over 3 months than the group without that incentive. What was the incentive in this study? Each dieter in the incentive group contributed between 1 cent and $3 per day, which they would get back if they met their goal.  

If you decide to try one of these programs, be sure to carefully read the rules for participation. 

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