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Could Money Motivate You To Lose Weight?

Posted by on May. 8, 2013 at 1:24 PM
  • 7 Replies

'Shocking' Health News: Money Makes People More Willing to Lose Weight

by Deborah Cruz

fortune cookieThey say money can’t buy you happiness but a new study shows that for some overweight people, it just might. The new study from the Mayo Clinic found that people are motivated to lose weight when money is involved. When it comes to slimming down, financial incentives are king. For some reason, we are willing to gamble with our health, but not our money. It's pretty sad that we are more afraid of being broke than we are of being dead.

The study looked at 100 obese Mayo Clinic employees. Half of the employees received weight loss counseling, monthly weigh-ins and a three-month gym membership. Think Weight Watchers with a Curves membership thrown in for good measure. Sounds pretty good to me. But the big question is, could it motivate them to get up and take advantage of all that was provided?

The other half of the employees received weight loss counseling, monthly weigh-ins, a three-month gym membership and were financially compensated. They were required to lose four pounds a month. If they succeeded, they were paid $20. If they failed, they had to pay in $20.

A year later, the paid group had lost an average of 9 pounds while those who were not compensated lost an average of 2 pounds. The moral of the story is that those who weren't being paid to lose weight got bored and quit. Those who were getting paid kept trying to earn some money or earn back what they had lost.

This study blows my mind. Shouldn't the #1 motivator for weight loss be to get healthy? Shouldn't the possibility of falling over dead from a heart attack at 40 scare the shit out of anyone? Yet, it does not. We keep on eating super-sized French fries, atomic-sized Big Gulps, bleached flour, and refined sugar like it’s the only food on earth.

I did a little poll myself on Facebook and the number one motivator was to look good for a reunion/wedding/party, the second motivator was money and the third and final motivator was health. The fact that you could die was the least motivating factor. This makes no sense to me.

Hey, we’ve all been there and done that -- trying to look good for a reunion or wedding. I know that I've even gone so far off the rails that I’ve tried to lose weight in the least healthy ways imaginable, but money could ever motivate me or at least I don’t think it could.

Now, maybe if I was forced to lose weight in order to earn money to buy more groceries, that might work, but this study really shocked me. Are we really so superficial and financially motivated that monetary gain or loss must be involved in order for us to take care of our own health?

Could money motivate you to lose weight?

Would it depend on the amount?

by on May. 8, 2013 at 1:24 PM
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by Suzanne on May. 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

It's amazing the difference that a little money can make.  Gympact is great for this, too!  I keep thinking of signing up.  With how consistent I am, I really should.


"Don't sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now."

by Gold Member on May. 8, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Of course money is motivation.  Hubby tells me of the crazy things people will do to lose weight every year when they have thier contest- I think they all pay like 20-25 bucks to do it then the winner takes the money (or something like that).  

I would never do any sort of contest- because of the unhealthy ways people will lose-to win

and I'm not in it for money- I'm in it for ME

by on May. 8, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Sad but true - absolutely. It would be a huge motivator for me depending on how much money.

by on May. 9, 2013 at 11:57 AM

$20 wouldn't be enough to motivate me, I don't think. Now $100 or more, and I would likely be quite motivated. I wanted to lose weight to look better and to help prevent future health problems.

by on May. 9, 2013 at 12:10 PM

I think you're right. I don't understand it either though. I mean I really do want to lose weight! Sometimes I feel really motivated and other times I just don't feel like trying. It's always in the back of my mind though, 24 hrs a day. I will try something new and be all excited about it and then when things don't go the way I want them to I get discouraged and quit. But when I quit I go right back to my old patterns that got me into this mess in the first place! Then I get disgusted with myself and try something else and get all motivated again for awhile. I've been doing this for years! I keep losing and regaining the same 20 lbs. I'm sick of this, I really am. And while I do care about my health and I really want to live a long healthy life somehow I think money would help me stay motivated. It's crazy because you're right, my wanting to be healthy and live a long life should be motivation enough always to never quit. Ugh!!

by on May. 9, 2013 at 3:33 PM

I agree I am doiong it for me not for the cash but then again with being already modivated wouldn't hurt to have the extra cash to go along with it hey it could help me afford more health food then paying almost 4 bucks a pound for fresh veggies which is what the prices were today for the majority of the produce aisle and that included the fruit. ( am kinda being sarcastic :-D)

by on May. 9, 2013 at 3:37 PM

it very well could!

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