Weather Alerts

HEALTHY WAGE: Betting To Lose Weight

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Losing weight can be difficult, but one Iowan decided to sweeten her weight loss mission. And, she’s gaining while losing.

You wouldn't find Shelley Bair pounding the pavement a year ago. She says, "I've always been a heavy person. I've never been skinny. That didn't really bother me. But, it was the health wise."

Bair decided she wanted to get healthy last October. She joined Weight Watchers and started tracking her food. Then, she got moving. But, she was looking for a little more motivation. She says, "I came across Healthy Wage, and thought, let's try this!"

Healthy Wage is website offering a financial incentive to drop pounds. Bair signed up for the ten percent challenge. She bet $100 she could lose ten percent of her weight in six months. She did that and more and won $200. She says, "I doubled my money."

Bair says doubling her money was a nice reward. Instead of celebrating with a nice meal out, she treated herself in another way. She says, "What I actually did with that money was get a massage. So, instead of having food rewards, now I have other rewards, like pedicures, massages, clothes, things like that."

Bair is now down more than 60 pounds. She recently finished a 5K and plans to run another race with her daughter and husband this month.  She says, "The best incentive for me is not only me getting healthy for myself is inspiring others."

A 2008 study in the Journal of American Medical Association said financial motivation can help people lose weight. A spokesperson for Healthy Wage says you need to do your homework before signing up for one of these sites. You should make sure it requires third party weight verification, has been covered by mainstream media, and you shouldn't be required to purchase any third party supplies, like diet foods, to participate.

As for Bair, she also started a group at work that makes friendly little bets to promote weight loss. The 10 employees have lost a combined 180 pounds.