In my recent post on getting paid to walk, I briefly mentioned the other side of this make money coin – get paid to lose weight. Money is a huge motivator in this household. My husband and I could both stand to lose a few pounds. And with this being the season for eating, we thought maybe it could help us power through the holidays without surrendering to every piece of pumpkin pie or peppermint mocha thrown our way.
What are Weight Loss Challenges?
Weight loss challenges are exactly what they sound like: games in which you challenge yourself to lose a specific amount of weight within a set period of time. While we all know excess weight can affect everything from sleep to mental wellbeing to heart health and joint health. Our weight can impact every aspect of our lives. And while that should be enough to make changes, that just isn’t the case.
But money can change that! Several studies have shown cash incentives can not only motivate people to lose weight but also keep it off. And that’s what we’re talking about today. Online platforms that incentivize weight loss with cold hard cash!
How Do They Work?
Most weight loss challenges begin with a commitment – you’ll determine how much weight you are required to lose to win your challenge. On sites like HealthyWage and DietBet, you can choose from programs they’ve set up and buy in with the wager required.
You do need to put your money in the cookie upfront, but that’s the point! The fear of losing out on your investment gives you an additional push to stick to your committed goals. And studies have shown financial incentives help further weight loss.
These challenges may be personal or group-based, and may require you to lose a certain number of pounds individually or a percentage of overall team weight. You’ll have to do weigh-ins throughout to demonstrate whether there’s been any weight loss.
If you meet your goal, you are guaranteed to, at the very least, get your investment back. But because you will also be getting a cut of the bets of everyone who didn’t meet their goals, you will probably earn a little extra!
HealthyWage says they host “wellness challenges with cash prizes.” You can join a corporate challenge if one is being offered by your employer. Or, you can join team or individual challenge. Most people simply join an individual challenge in which your individual results determine whether you win or lose. That’s how I like it!
To discover how much you could win, HealthyWage has a prize calculator that asks for how much weight you'd like to lose (must be at least 10% of your current weight), your desired challenge time period, and how much money you want to bet per month. If you’d like to lose 60 pounds in six months, for example, you could bet $50 each month and walk away with between $389-$1209 if you win. (They’ll ask for you sex, height, weight, and waist size before telling you exactly what you could earn.) The prize money amount increases depending on how statistically difficult it is for you to lose weight.
If losing 10% of your weight – or a six-month challenge – is a little too big of a commitment to start, don’t run away just yet. HealthyWage also offers shorter challenges which run 90 days and require 6% weight loss.
HealthyWage conducts weight verification at the beginning and end of their challenges – these weigh-ins must be completed on video using either their app or uploading your own video to their system. You can self-report on a weekly basis. There are no monthly requirements, so how you lose the weight and cheer yourself or others on is up to you. (If you’re pregnant or undergoing bariatric surgery, you are not eligible to participate.)
Once you win, you’ll be paid via PayPal or a paper check after your challenge completes and you request your payout.
My husband joined a 6% challenge.
DietBet hosts two types of weight loss challenge “games” – one that runs for four weeks (called a Kickstarter) and another that runs for six months (called a Transformer). All Kickstarter games are about losing 4% of your body weight, and they encourage participants to think of these challenges as a way to drop those last few pounds or get toned for an upcoming event. The Transformer games require you to lose at least 10% of your weight and focus on measured, healthy weight loss. They also offer a Maintainer challenge for people to hold steady at their goal weight, keeping off the pounds they’ve lost.
There are many different challenges you can choose to join when you sign up for a DietBet game – they have different buy-in amounts, number of participants, and pot sizes – so you can choose one that best suits you. If you win the challenge, you'll split the pot with all other winners.
You can also participate in more than one challenge at a time if you become a DietBet member. We had the option to become members for the duration of our first challenges. It may have been a one-time offer, but it cost $5 and would not renew after our challenge was over.
DietBet has a two-step photograph weigh-in process to check your weight when you begin and finish a challenge. If you choose to become a DietBet member, you can also do weekly weigh-ins and get feedback from their referees – and entered to win a weekly progress prize. If they believe there’s something unusual about your weigh-ins, you may be required to submit a video weigh-in instead. Transformer game participants can submit monthly weigh-ins to win monthly percentage weight loss goals.
How much you can win all depends on how much money is in the pot and how many winners there are, but DietBet says that Kickstarter winners earn, on average, 50% to 100% over their wagered amount. They say their average winner of a Transformer game earns $325 for winning each month’s goal or $175 for just winning the final month.
If you win your current game, the amount of money you win will be added to your account as equivalent points. You can choose to cash out by submitting a request for a PayPal payment or a paper check to be mailed. Unlike HealthyWage, DietBet will allow you to request a refund up to seven days into a Kickstarter game or up to 14 days into a Transformer game; additional exceptions may be made for refunds if you experience medical problems during your challenge.
Beyond being a health-conscious weight loss app, DietBet also ensures that you don’t earn back less than you bet if you win your challenge. That’s right, if the pot is split among so many winners that your payout is lower than your bet, they’ll forego their fee so you make your money back. So even if you don’t make any money, you’ve still lost weight for free! Learn more at DietBet here.
Did We Get Paid to Lose Weight?
My Husband’s HealthyWager
Weight Loss Commitment: 6%
Results: Ongoing. This challenge ends February 2019. I’ll update this post at this time, or join my newsletter for a final result. Check out these success stories while you wait:
- Blake lost 151 pounds and won $4,670
- Kristin lost 114 pounds and won $4,000
- Teresa lost 69 pounds and won $2,415
Weight Loss Commitment: 4%
Winnings: $50.10 – After subtracting the $30 bet, that’s $20.10 profit to those who met their goal. A 67% return is pretty nice!
Please be aware winnings will be different for every game depending on the number of participants, the size of the pot, the site’s cut and how many people don’t meet their goal.
Walgreens Balance Rewards
Walgreens has long been pushing their message that they want you to be healthy, and their Balance Rewards for healthy choices app certainly backs that up! Not only does their rewards card do all the typical rewards card stuff – rewarding you for store loyalty and your in-store purchases – but it also rewards you for making healthy choices in your life.
If you use their Balance Rewards app to log information such as your health goals, how much you’ve walked (or run or cycled), your exercise sessions, daily weigh-in, and more. You can earn points that you can later convert into savings on future Walgreens purchases. It may not be cold, hard cash, but is keeping cash in your wallet.
The app now links up to several popular fitness apps and devices. They’ll even reward you simply for tracking your blood pressure and blood glucose. Learn more at their program details page.
This was just the jump start we needed. I have long told myself, I needed to lose a few pounds but I have never really committed to it. My husband has just been saying, “Next week…” all year long. It was scary to have it written in stone, but it was very much needed.
However you choose to gamify your weight loss and make a little money along the way, make sure that you are approaching your weight loss challenge in a safe and healthy way. Your body will thank you for eating appropriately and not pushing yourself too hard! Minimize risk with a healthful diet and exercise that fits your experience level. Making small changes can add up to big transformations and could be the key to winning those big pots in a weight loss challenge.
I'd also recommend checking with your health insurance company for additional opportunities.
Have you participated in a weight loss challenge before and won? Share your experiences in the comments.
Published December 2015. Updated December 2018.