WEIGHTY BET: Gaining While Losing

Losing weight can seem like a roller coaster ride as the scale sometimes goes up and down. One Iowa woman lost more than 100 pounds over the past two years. While she shed the weight, she gained something in return.

Pounding the pavement hasn’t always been easy for Shelley Bair. She says, “When I started exercising, I was 263 pounds.”

She goes on to say, “This is the first picture I saw of myself when it hit me, and I realized I had to do something about my weight and my health.”

That was two years and more than one hundred pounds ago. Now, she’s about five pounds away from maintaining her goal. She says, “I feel a lot better. As you see the weight coming off, you start feeling better the exercise gets easier and people start noticing.”

Bair started shedding the pounds in October 2011. She signed up for Weight Watchers and tracked her food. Then, she started jogging. She says, “For me it’s all mental, you have to want it. And, you have to have a reason to want it. Mine was health.”

While Bair was losing weight, her wallet got a little heavier. During her journey she heard about a website called HealthyWage. She says, “I started off doing their 10% challenge, which if you lose 10% of your weight in 6 months, you can double your money.”

She doubled her money twice. Then, she signed up for the BMI challenge. She bet $300 she could move to a healthy body mass index in one year. She won $1,400 for all three challenges combined. She says, “I think part of my success through HealthyWage was I had money into it. I had a little carrot dangling there saying if I don’t do this, I lose my own money.”

UnityPoint Clinical Dietitian Kelsey Ermels says, “We find weight loss incentives are really helpful for keeping people motivated along the way.”

Ermels says a monetary reward is a great incentive for losing weight. Any non-food reward like shoes, purses or trips can also help.

Bair says, “This is my workout room. This is one of the things I did with my $1000.” Shelley’s reward helps her further her fitness goals. She goes on to say, “It’s a lifestyle change. It’s forever. You have to do it all the time.”

The HealthyWage website says it makes money from corporate and government clients interested in helping employees lose weight, along with people who sometimes lose their weight loss bet.