How Weight Loss Challenges Can Actually Hurt Your Chances For A Great Body
(This post written by Dan… Taylor’s husband)
It happened by total happenstance. One of those strange alignments of events where it almost doesn’t seem like it could be coincidence.
It’s nothing huge. However, it might help you actually hit your weight loss goals because both Taylor and I have failed at doing this…
Using The WRONG Type Of Weight Loss Motivation… Money For Weight Loss Is NO Good!
Hear me out and you’ll see what I mean.
I just started reading a book called Drive by Daniel Pink (yes his last name is really pink… poor guy growing up). He is a great writer and this book in particular is all about “true” motivation and how to motivate.
I literally just started it so I’m only on page 30, but the first thing he talked about was motivation in accomplishing a task when it’s tied to a monetary reward.
That’s what the HOT new trend is right now on the Internet. Big money rewards for losing weight (if you finish first).
Just yesterday I got an email from a guy who’s been in the fitness industry for a long time announcing his $10,000 weight loss challenge. He’s actually teaming up with a top New York trainer to do this.
I would link to it for you, but I actually think this is a horrible idea. I have 100% respect for the fitness business guy… I actually admire him a lot, but…
Money Destroys Your Natural Motivation
In the book Drive, Daniel and his research discovered that whenever money was involved, it diminished motivation. In this one study these students where doing a puzzle where they had to make shapes using these blocks.
One group did it and received no compensation. The other group was paid one day out of the three they were doing this study. On the third day, the group that was not paid actually played with the puzzle longer than the prior two days solving more puzzles. The compensated group had a significant reduction in play time because they weren’t being paid… after they have been receiving money.
They quit after only two puzzles solved.
What Does This Mean For Your Weight Loss?
Money as a reward for losing weight is a HUGE short term motivator. In a way it’s great because it can force you to take action where you may not have taken action to begin with.
And obviously there will always be some people that thrive under these circumstances. There are exceptions to every rule.
But here where things break down:
1. No Long Term Motivation
If you stick through a weight loss challenge for money, once it’s done your most likely going to revert back to old habits. Studies have shown that money can only motivate for the immediate term so when it’s been removed from the equation, short term motivation tanks… and there never was any long term motivation.
2. Bad Weight Loss
Because these challenges are usually short term as well (8 to 12 weeks), it can force you to lose weight in a harmful way.
- Giving up too many calories each day.
- Trying fat burning pills.
- Exercising too much.
- Not eating at all as the challenge comes to a close.
Again the motivation is to win the money… not to create a healthy sustainable body. You have to really consider what your body is worth to you in these situations.
3. The Motivation Massacre
Let’s say your two weeks into a competition. That same weekend you cheat a little too much and have too much wine, a huge meal, and ice cream. Not just one night… but two nights in a row.
You’re deflated and beating yourself up (which you should never do). You now think you’re out of the race so you just give up.
The motivation to get healthy was not attached to being healthy… it was the money. Now that you think you can’t win, you just stop trying.
How Should Challenges Work?
That is a great question to ask!
Taylor and I have run challenges with money rewards in the past, but they always fail. In our boot camp, the last one we did had 50 some people doing it… only 4 are serious contenders.
That’s pretty sad… granted our rules were pretty strict.
Our newest challenge is not related to money. In fact, the prize is pretty small because we want the real reward to be the goal that each person set before the challenge. Things like…
- To fit into this dress from two years ago.
- To go shopping at this high end boutique and buy great clothes.
- To run this certain race faster than ever before.
All these goals are not really tied too much to weight loss, but some type of life event that has meaning. A bigger reason why.
A challenge like this only attracts women that want to lose weight for the long term. Women that see the benefits of being healthy and how it impacts important events in their lives. They know what it means to them. And with money out of the equation… it makes it easier to recover after a falter.
Let me know what you think.
Motivation to lose weight is a very interesting topic for Taylor and I. Something we hope one day to crack the code on.