As I mentioned in my introduction post (hard to believe I wrote that well over a year ago now), I become easily obsessed with things. Prior to personal finance and investing, I was obsessed with nutrition and powerlifting/bodybuilding. I reached the leanest and strongest point in my life going into my last year of PT school, around the summer of 2014. I really had my nutrition and workouts dialed in and was very happy with my body and level of fitness. Fast forward three years and things aren’t going so well on this front.
Around the time of graduation, I started intently researching personal finance, investing, and financial independence topics. This shifted my focus from health to money, and that is where it has remained for the past 2.5 years or so. In the summer of 2014, I reached a low weight of 181 lbs at 6’3″ with a body fat percentage around 6%. Today I weigh about 235 lbs and would hate to know my body fat percentage. I gradually watched my passion for lifting and dieting deteriorate, and along with it my physique and self confidence, while my focus was fully on increasing my net worth. While this weight gain was happening, I knew I needed to change things but couldn’t find the motivation to do it. I kept putting it off and blamed it on my dedication to spending my time hustling to make money instead of lifting and meal prepping. After all, what’s better than listening to the ChooseFI podcast and reading Early Retirement Now after work, while sitting on the couch eating cereal? As great as it is, this can’t last forever.
Making a Change
I recently read this quote by Tony Robbins which describes my current situation quite well:
“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”
I’ve finally reached the point where the pain of being in my current physical condition is greater than the pain required to starting dieting and lifting again. I also made a great discovery that has drastically increased my motivation to get back to my old ways. Some genius came up with a website that will pay you to lose weight and achieve your goals! Finance and fitness, now you’ve got my attention. Not only is there a prize for reaching your weight loss target, but if you don’t hit the goal, you actually lose the money you bet on yourself! That’s a double whammy! If you’re like me (and chances are you are if you’re reading this blog where I primarily write about personal finance and reaching financial independence), then you aren’t a fan of giving money away without good cause. There’s a possibility that if it was just a cash prize for losing weight I could make some excuse to put it off until later, but when there is the consequence of losing money if I don’t achieve what I’ve set out to do, there is a zero percent chance I will let that happen. Keep reading to see how it all works.
The site I’m referring to is HealthyWage. The site works by you betting cash on yourself each month to reach your weight loss target. Based on how much you plan to lose, the time frame, your current weight, and how much you bet, you are given a prize for completion. Whitney and I both signed up and each expect to earn around $1,000 as well as lose a significant amount of weight over the next 8 months. For me, at the end of the 8 month time period I chose, I will have bet a total of just under $4,000 on myself. If I don’t reach my goal, I would lose that money. If I do reach my goal, I get a little over an 18% return on my investment at the end. That’s around $720. Here’s an example of what my offer looked like:
I mentioned we plan to make around $1,000 each, and the reason I say that is because they also have challenges that you can sign up for and participate in along the way that not only give you extra money but also help you in reaching your weight loss goal. Some of the challenges we signed up for, in addition to the main bet, include: losing 6% of your total body weight in 3 months and taking an average of 10,000 steps per day. We would do both of these things along the way to our ultimate prize anyway, so why not earn extra money doing it?!
You might be thinking that this sounds too good to be true, and that’s exactly what I thought when I heard about it. I’m extremely driven by competition and financial gain, so having a site that offered to pay me to lose weight definitely sounded perfect for me and way too good to be true. After hours and hours of research I eventually figured out that the site is legit. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive from those that have participated, and HealthyWage even got an A+ from the Better Business Bureau. Feel free to do your research as well instead of just taking my word for it.
The next question I had was how can they possibly make sure that people aren’t cheating to get money from them. They require a video submission of your initial and final weigh-ins to make sure that you’re being honest about your weight. At first this seemed like a hassle to me, but was actually very easy. The videos have specific requirements and are reviewed by staff prior to you starting the process. They also can request that you go have your weight verified by a healthcare professional if they suspect any kind of foul play. I imagine that these two safeguards significantly reduce the likelihood of people trying to cheat when they have money on the line.
The Bottom Line
Overall, this seems to be an awesome way to not only introduce accountability into my weight loss goals, but also to make extra money in the process. I’m really excited to begin this transition back into diet and exercise, and with this new tool, I’m very motivated to reach my weight loss goals and have an additional $1,000 toward my goal of financial independence.
Does this sound like something that you or your friends and family would be interested in? At first glance this might not be something everyone is interested in. Like I said, I was initially skeptical myself. I know Whitney was extremely skeptical as well, and I really had to push her to want to try it out. But after showing her all the different options on the website including how you can choose your own bet, whether that’s $20/month up to $100’s/month, and 5lbs to 50lbs, she decided to get onboard with me. I encourage you to check it out for yourself, or show a friend/family member who may be wanting to start a weight loss journey but needs that extra motivation.
If you are interested, you can sign up through my referral link and set your own goal, and by going through my referral link we will each get $40 added to our payout when we reach our goals. Take this time to stop procrastinating and start improving both your health and your financial situation! Put your money where your mouth is, as they say. We can go through this journey together, and they even offer some team challenges to earn more money. If you sign up, be sure to mess with the variables a little to try to get the best payout percentage. Initially I wanted to lose 30 lbs in 6 months, but that offered only a 9% return on my investment. By increasing to 45 lbs in 8 months, I was able to get a much better return.
Good luck and let me know if you sign up and would like to participate in team challenges together. I can assure you that I’ll be a good teammate because I’m not a fan of losing money ;).