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Weight Loss - Motivational Idea from Mayo Clinic - Paying for Weight loss

Updated on January 26, 2016

Weight Loss Challenge

The Mayo Clinic Study

Recently the Mayo Clinic published results of a year long study they conducted on weight loss. Mayo essentially paid the participants to lose 4 pounds a month and their results say it worked. Would you lose the extra pounds if you were paid to do it? Here is what they did to test their theory that money could motivate human beings to lose weight. Mayo took 100 participants that wanted to lose some weight. 50 participants were paid $20.00 per month for every month that they could lose 4 pounds. The other 50 participants were charged $20.00 per month if they failed to lose 4 pounds in a month. The money these participants paid in would go into a pool that all 100 participants could win. Each month a participant lost 4 pounds they would get an entry to win the pool.

The results show that those participants who received the $20.00 per month for losing weight actually lost an average of 9 pounds during the course of the study. That may not seem like much in terms of pounds but when compared to the participants who were penalized $20.00 per month for not losing 4 pounds it is significant as this group lost an average of only 2 pounds during the study. Which would you prefer?

It makes sense that money would be a motivator to many people especially in times of high unemployment and rising costs of living expenses. Would money motivate you to lose weight? How can this study help obese people lose weight and become healthier? What happens to those who lost weight after the study is complete – will they be able to motivate themselves to continue? There are many unanswered questions on this study. The experts will be discussing all of these questions and the study this weekend in a medical conference in San Francisco – hopefully we will hear more on this.

Could we use these results to help us lose extra weight and become healthier? I think we could. Maybe an office sponsored 3 month weight loss challenge would work. Perhaps the employer would be willing to front $100.00 to help his/her staff become healthier. Healthy employees mean less drain on health insurance policies and less sick days – might help convince them. You could follow the same plan that Mayo used or create your own as long as the weight loss was reasonable i.e. 1-2 pounds per week maximum for health safety reasons. If you have a small group then you could pay the staff that met the goal $20.00 per month and charge the ones who did not meet their goal. You would have to set up monthly group weigh in sessions and have a “record keeper” to keep it all documented and up to date – maybe the skinny girl/guy in the office.

There are many variations that could be used as long as every participant agreed to the terms. If you cannot get buy in from the Boss then maybe everyone kicks in a certain amount of money at the beginning in order to participate. Office competition is a good motivator to try and do better. The participants can get fellow office or family member sponsors to add a predetermined amount of money to the pot as a helpful way to make this work. The office could hold a weekend bake sale or yard sale if baked goods are too tempting and use the proceeds as money for the pool to pay the winners. Maybe paid days off would be a motivator for you – see if the boss will sponsor 1 paid day off a month for anyone who met the weight loss goal and those who didn’t meet the goal would have to work a little harder to cover. That would motivate me!

What Motivates You?

What would motivate you to lose weight?

See results


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Again this is all palaver. Proteins are used by ALL cells to reluibd the cell, in the event there isnt enough then the body will break down muscle. Muscle only shrinks (atrophy) from lack of exercise. You need 1-1.5 grams of protein per lean weight per day, thats 100 grams at most for all of you per day. Anything less and your muscles will simply shrink, and your metabolism will decrease. You do not NEED carbohydrates AT ALL, your brain can use ketones just fine.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I went to tons of links before this, what was I thkngini?

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I had not read about this Mayo study. It is really interesting and money is certainly a motivator for many people. I think it would work in an office group as some could support others and the money, of course, probably would be a motivator.

    • Conservative Lady profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      tebo - I think a lot of people would love to lose a few pounds - might as well make it fun and rewarding! Thanks

    • tebo profile image


      5 years ago from New Zealand

      This sounds like a great form of motivation and anything that helps people lose weight is great. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Conservative Lady profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      cathylynn99 That is fabulous! Congratulations for your great results too!

    • cathylynn99 profile image


      5 years ago from northeastern US

      our counseling center has run a weight loss contest for highest per cent of body weight lost in 3 months. everyone chips in $5. the boss doubles the pot to about $300. winner take all. I came in third with 12% lost. it was worth it.

    • Conservative Lady profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      michiganman567 that is how I do it as well. If I'm paying for it I definitely use it. Thank you for commenting!

    • michiganman567 profile image


      5 years ago from Michigan

      Money is definitely a motivator. If I have a membership at the gym that I know that I am paying for it is harder for me to skip a day.


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