Money, competition can boost weight loss efforts

By Shayna Brouker • Published: June 28th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Determined to slip into an itty-bitty bikini, or at least get your body beach-ready? Need some serious motivation to shed some pounds? Maybe a cash incentive would get you to the gym, or a little friendly competition among friends? According to a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the most effective way to lose weight is a combination of both.

The possibility of getting green can go a long way toward motivation, but add competition in the mix and the stakes — and willingness to sweat — become higher. The University of Michigan study offered one group of participants one hundred dollars as an individual prize for losing weight. Another group got the same offer — but more money if others in their group didn’t succeed. The second group collectively lost three times as much weight as the first.

So why is it that a little extra cash makes people march to the gym? Quite simply, money matters. Money is a great motivator and can help dieters make better decisions. Boost your drive even more with these tips if you’re trying to lose a few and collapsing on the couch in front of your favorite T-V show sounds much more enjoyable than busting your hump on the treadmill.

Remind yourself that exercise will almost always make you feel better —you’ll regret the decision to not work out more. Keep close track of your progress to spur your enthusiasm and be your own best cheerleader for every rep, set and step you take. Set your own goals and avoid comparing yourself with others.

Make working out most convenient for you, whether it’s running around your neighborhood or squeezing in a spin class at the gym nearby. Do what you enjoy, whether it’s a game of pick-up soccer or pumping iron in the weight room. Most importantly, don’t expect perfection — be kind to yourself when you do slip up. Get back in the saddle and start again tomorrow.