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Thoughts/input on Healthywage.com?

lgfrielgfrie Posts: 510Member, Premium Member Posts: 510Member, Premium Member
Saw an ad for Healthywage.com on TV last night, this thing where you make bets on your weight loss and win pretty big payouts if you lose the weight, so I researched the heck out of it.

I'm not asking "if it works" or "do they pay out". I'm satisfied that it's legit. For those not familiar with it, the payouts can be decent play-money if you've already got your weight weight loss system down and proven and you already know, realistically, how many pounds you lose per month. For instance, you'd win about $800 for losing 40 pounds in 10 months.

My question is, is there a non-trivial possibility that introducing a financial angle to the mix could upset the delicate balance of incentives and motivations that are already in place, such that the risks goes up of things going off course? I know that my focus is always on health and self-improvement; I wonder if introducing $ would skew things better or worse (better because now there's a fun-money prize waiting for me - an extra bonus for losing weight!, or worse because the $ is a distraction from the simple, clarifying goal of bettering your health, also the potential to lose your wager could add stress when you least need it because you're doing well).

Replies

  • tinkerbellang83tinkerbellang83 Posts: 6,664Member Member Posts: 6,664Member Member
    I have used DietBet and HealthyWage. I find HealthyWage a useful tool because you can set the amount and pace of loss unlike DietBet where it's a one size fits all approach.

    You are also able to extend the wager if you feel you need more time, so I don't feel like there's a whole lot of pressure in terms of stressing about getting to goal by date x.

    I am currently in a Healthywager (which I have extended - focus went off weight whilst I had some work stress going on) and also a jackpot challenge (you can add additional challenges) so now that I am trying to get my head back in gear I am aiming for 6% loss in 3 months which for me is around 15lbs.
    edited October 8
  • SilentpadnaSilentpadna Posts: 1,287Member Member Posts: 1,287Member Member
    -deleted-
    Need to research a little closer. Might not be as bad as what I "guessed"....depending greatly on whether you do your weight loss in a reasonable manner.

    Part of my "-deleted-" section deals with the 'bookie' part of this. I'm quite sure that "Healthywage" makes their money on those who lose, knowing that most probably will.

    [Edit again - by all means this is gambling. Understand that you have (mostly), control over the outcome, so it's not like the lottery, but as with all gambling, the house takes a cut.]

    This is how some of the challenges at places like Crossfit (my wife has done one of those) work. Except that at Crossfit, the 'bet' was toward her membership. Although she didn't make the weight, the workouts have been great for her.
    edited October 8
  • holly_romanholly_roman Posts: 108Member Member Posts: 108Member Member
    Never heard of this but I know I am motivated by certain things. My two biggest are money and food. I don't mind buying new clothes but it isn't a big motivation. Instead I put a $1 in a jar every day that the scale says less than the day before. That money is my daily motivation. It means at the end I have some extra dough to put towards anything I feel like. I can't imagine it hurting if you like the motivation as long as you aren't hurting yourself for it.
  • geraldaltmangeraldaltman Posts: 1,514Member, Premium Member Posts: 1,514Member, Premium Member
    Health, fitness and all of it's extended family of benefits ought to be plenty of motivation to pursue it. The extra layer of temptation for those being treated for gambling (that is what I call this notion) addiction and those who are not or are in denial about it just isn't needed. It's just a bad idea and no I don't have gambling issues nor am I a schill for G.A. I am just able and prefer to do things like try to get fit or watch sporting events without betting on them.
    edited October 8
  • tinkerbellang83tinkerbellang83 Posts: 6,664Member Member Posts: 6,664Member Member
    -deleted-
    Need to research a little closer. Might not be as bad as what I "guessed"....depending greatly on whether you do your weight loss in a reasonable manner.

    Part of my "-deleted-" section deals with the 'bookie' part of this. I'm quite sure that "Healthywage" makes their money on those who lose, knowing that most probably will.

    This is how some of the challenges at places like Crossfit (my wife has done one of those) work. Except that at Crossfit, the 'bet' was toward her membership. Although she didn't make the weight, the workouts have been great for her.

    It is partly funded by those that lose, but they also have corporate sponsors as they run a lot of employee weight loss programs.

    I've been using it for a year and quite a lot of people that I chat with have reached their goal, of course there are going to be some people who don't reach goal, but I don't think it's as many as you might assume, because they dictate how much they want to lose and over what period of time.

    I think the difference with a "bookie" and these types of apps is unlike betting on a football game or a horse race where you have absolutely no influence or control on the outcome (which is part of the thrill of gambling) you are "betting" on yourself and can control the outcome.
    edited October 8
  • LyndaBSSLyndaBSS Posts: 6,508Member, Premium Member Posts: 6,508Member, Premium Member
    Personally, I wouldn't get involved in something like this. I think it could put an unhealthy wrinkle in how I look at weight loss.

    Improved physical and emotional health and wellbeing are all the reward I need.
  • OpulentBobbleOpulentBobble Posts: 18Member Member Posts: 18Member Member
    I think it could supply an added layer of motivation on those particularly hard days. People use non food rewards for themselves all the time. I’m getting my hair colored at 15 lbs down. I think it depends how you look at it.
  • tinkerbellang83tinkerbellang83 Posts: 6,664Member Member Posts: 6,664Member Member
    I think it could supply an added layer of motivation on those particularly hard days. People use non food rewards for themselves all the time. I’m getting my hair colored at 15 lbs down. I think it depends how you look at it.

    This is the way I am looking at it, I'm already planning on losing the weight, I haven't changed anything about the way I am doing it, it will just be nice to get a cheque for $900 at the end of it for something I was planning on doing anyway. Which will hopefully go towards some smaller clothes :)

    It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but for me I like it and worst case, I don't hit my target weight and the money I put in goes towards helping someone else reach their goals, I can live with that.
    edited October 8
  • kimny72kimny72 Posts: 14,209Member Member Posts: 14,209Member Member
    IMHO, just like any gambling situation, it's fine as long as you are prepared to lose the money you bet in the first place.

    If losing that money (or not maxing out your prize money), or just being generally super-competitive, will cause you to do unsafe things to lose the weight you need to in the required time frame, it's a bad idea.
    But if the money you bet is fun-money, and the goal you've chosen is realistic, I'd think it could be a great motivation for the right person.

    I'm a procrastinator and on a tight budget, so the combination of worrying about the money I might lose, and procrastinating until the goal became aggressive, would've made it a bad idea for me :lol:
  • lgfrielgfrie Posts: 510Member, Premium Member Posts: 510Member, Premium Member
    To the person who flagged my initial post: please unflag it. This thread is a legitimate discussion topic.
  • NovusDiesNovusDies Posts: 5,703Member, Premium Member Posts: 5,703Member, Premium Member
    Since I recently had a medical deadline, which I admit is not the same thing, I have a bad taste in my mouth over any deadlines. I hardly ever need to take a day or two off from being in a deficit but I believe that is because I allow it as part of my plan. The lack of pressure makes me more consistent.

    When I embarked on my "hurry up" weight loss plan the pressure wore on my nerves. I needed time off but I could not allow myself to take it because my deadline was tight. On 3 different occasions it was all I could do to keep myself from engaging in "rebel eating".

    In general I would say it is probably okay as long as the goal of sustainable weight loss greatly overshadows the goal of making money or the risk of losing it. More specifically as I recall from some of your other posts you have been losing for 5 months and you recently made some changes to your system. That is still relatively early in the process and with recent changes you may want to wait long enough for the dust to completely settle.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Posts: 36,926Member Member Posts: 36,926Member Member
    Just like gambling, the house usually wins...and most certainly, they get theirs. I wouldn't do anything like this simply because in my experience, while in theory you have more control than traditional gambling, *kitten* happens. Plateaus happen, injuries happen, life in general happens and things can slow down progress.
  • lgfrielgfrie Posts: 510Member, Premium Member Posts: 510Member, Premium Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    Since I recently had a medical deadline, which I admit is not the same thing, I have a bad taste in my mouth over any deadlines. I hardly ever need to take a day or two off from being in a deficit but I believe that is because I allow it as part of my plan. The lack of pressure makes me more consistent.

    When I embarked on my "hurry up" weight loss plan the pressure wore on my nerves. I needed time off but I could not allow myself to take it because my deadline was tight. On 3 different occasions it was all I could do to keep myself from engaging in "rebel eating".

    In general I would say it is probably okay as long as the goal of sustainable weight loss greatly overshadows the goal of making money or the risk of losing it. More specifically as I recall from some of your other posts you have been losing for 5 months and you recently made some changes to your system. That is still relatively early in the process and with recent changes you may want to wait long enough for the dust to completely settle.

    Yep, this is exactly what I've been chewing on; you've nailed it. Not so much because of changes - I've only upped my calories by 150 (1600 -> 1750) and tweaked my 16:8 IF program a bit to allow for the occasional breakfast (but have since reverted back to true 16:8 because I found that I wasn't liking the less structured approach as much).

    It's more about how I treat days off and minor setbacks. I've gradually adopted a relaxed Groundhog Day approach -- every day is the first day of my diet; I simply start all over, do my cardio, and try to precisely hit my calories, as though my diet had no history whatsoever. I brush off minor setbacks as irrelevant and just start fresh the next day if need be - I don't do make-up calories or weekly balancing or try to be perfect all the time; I plod along, eyes-forward. It's very unstressful for me this way. I do wonder whether having this "thing" hanging over my head with HealthyWage might subtly shift a psychology that's working for me. However, I'm thinking about doing an easy version, like 40 lbs in 10 months, which is so far below my track record of 8.5 lbs/mo that it's almost inconceivable I wouldn't hit it without even having to think about it. But I'm not sure about that. I think you've addressed the real issue on my mind. I may just chew on this for a month and reconsider in Nov.
  • lgfrielgfrie Posts: 510Member, Premium Member Posts: 510Member, Premium Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    Just like gambling, the house usually wins...and most certainly, they get theirs. I wouldn't do anything like this simply because in my experience, while in theory you have more control than traditional gambling, *kitten* happens. Plateaus happen, injuries happen, life in general happens and things can slow down progress.

    To the extent I understand the business model, the 60-75 % of people who don't succeed are funding the people who succeed. The house is getting its cut in the form of embedded profits within the actuarial table which determines the payouts, but if you succeed in the weight loss and are happy with the pre-set payout, you will come out a winner. This is different than Atlantic City, where you simply cannot win if you stay long enough for the math to catch up with you. However, yes, you are gambling that you are not going to hit some life event that makes it impossible to achieve the target weight.
    edited October 8
  • cariduttrycariduttry Posts: 210Member Member Posts: 210Member Member
    I think it's awesome, personally. However, I don't have a gambling addiction nor do I have any real beliefs as to whether gambling is 'good' or 'bad'...rather, I think it's to each their own and fun IMHO. I've won one jackpot to lose 6% in 3 months; I'm currently in a wager to lose 50 pounds in a year. Looks like I'll hit it about a month early so long as I don't completely fall off of the wagon.

    I'm kind of a 'cheap' person, so although it's perhaps a bad motivation ('for my health and longevity' being better ones)...it is, in fact, working. So, perhaps the ends shall justify the means.

    Just my $0.02.
  • HoneyBadger155HoneyBadger155 Posts: 1,377Member Member Posts: 1,377Member Member
    I looked into it, and for someone who has a lot to lose, and has realistic goals, it may be worthwhile. I didn't have enough to lose and any amount I was willing to wager had almost no payout even if I was successful (per their little estimate thing) - definitely not enough payout to risk losing the money.
  • SilentpadnaSilentpadna Posts: 1,287Member Member Posts: 1,287Member Member
    lgfrie wrote: »
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    Just like gambling, the house usually wins...and most certainly, they get theirs. I wouldn't do anything like this simply because in my experience, while in theory you have more control than traditional gambling, *kitten* happens. Plateaus happen, injuries happen, life in general happens and things can slow down progress.

    To the extent I understand the business model, the 60-75 % of people who don't succeed are funding the people who succeed. The house is getting its cut in the form of embedded profits within the actuarial table which determines the payouts, but if you succeed in the weight loss and are happy with the pre-set payout, you will come out a winner. This is different than Atlantic City, where you simply cannot win if you stay long enough for the math to catch up with you. However, yes, you are gambling that you are not going to hit some life event that makes it impossible to achieve the target weight.

    It actually sounds like you have a pretty good handle on this - contrary to many posters who enter these forums without that. My knee-jerk reaction, which probably nobody read (the deleted part) was that it was perhaps dangerous for those with aggressive goals and may incentivize people to overdo it.

    I also agree no need to flag this. It's a reasonable discussion. I would think that if you understand the process, and want to bet on yourself with your eyes open, it's cool. My only problem with it is that if everybody who used that site came in with the knowledge you do, it either wouldn't exist or the payouts would be lower. Perhaps they fluctuate based trends? So in any case, it seems to me that they rely on people failing to be successful. It's my only issue with it - and just my opinion.
  • emmies_123emmies_123 Posts: 381Member Member Posts: 381Member Member
    I don't think I would feel comfortable doing healthy wage, as I don't really have a lot of weight to lose and my goals are more in line with building strength and changing my diet for nutrition reasons. I do give myself financial incentives though. I have a little chart I made myself and for each goal each day I give myself amount between $0.25 - $1.00. The goals that I'm really struggling to meet (aka trying really hard and not quite catching) are worth a dollar to me, and the things that area easier but I don't want to slack off on get $0.25 a day. Also threw on some other adulting goals, like fully cleaning one room of the house each week (aka not just clutter, gotta scrub too), going to bed at a good time (lights off in bed), etc. Forcing myself to be binary with it (either I hit goal or I didn't, almost doesn't cut it) to really earn that fun money.

    This money is all I'm allowing myself for fun money. Which is killing two birds with one stone, since I also need a way to mentally rein myself in from spending too much on things I don't need.
  • amy19355amy19355 Posts: 689Member, Premium Member Posts: 689Member, Premium Member
    Over a year ago I swore to myself I’d get my eating program in order. It’s been successfull so far because I committed to not repeating things that didn’t work, and instead making practical choices for my lifestyle and budget.

    I’d counter the idea of a gamble involving a third party broker with the idea that life is already a gamble, our every choice in life is a gamble, including every excessive calorie we have consumed.

    That said, I can see the appeal just for the fun of it, like going to Vegas. Once was enough.

    Good luck to you!
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