Instead of wasting money on perfectly good desserts by throwing them in the trash and dousing them with liquid dish soap just so you don’t eat them, getting paid to lose weight could be a much more rewarding dieting move. Earning cash and slimming down — in a perfect world, right?
That premise worked for researchers at the Mayo Clinic, reports CNN, when 100 employees took classes on how to eat healthy and lose weight over the course of a year.
Some of the employees were motivated by financial rewards for shedding the weight, while others simply had the classes telling them how to go about being healthy.
“We found that people who receive financial incentives tended to stick with the healthy behaviors we all wish we would do more often,” said the study’s lead author. ”At 52 weeks, those in the financial arm of the study had lost an average of about 9 pounds,” he said, “as compared to those who didn’t receive financial incentives, who lost about 2 pounds.”
It wasn’t just about earning money — participants had to pay $20 for every pound they gained and would earn that same amount if they lost. The study’s lead author says this wasn’t about punishing people for bad behavior, it just started a fire under participants’ butts to get serious and also helped to fund the program.
“About 86% of large employers are already offering some kind of financial incentives to help employees reach their health goals,” he said. “But one problem employers run into with financial incentives is that they can be expensive. Part of our model was to allow the so-called ‘losers’ to fund the ‘winners,’ and I think that can help things to be more sustainable.”
One thing that could affect the study, however, was that the people who weren’t getting money to lose weight knew about the other group, so some of them might’ve just dropped out once they realized there was no reward (other than weight loss) waiting for them.
This makes claims of “So help me dairy gods, you’d have to pay me to stay away from that wedge of cheese” a lot more relevant.