Sue Johnston, a mother of three in Cumming, Georgia, lost almost 78 pounds- and not only that, she earned $150 to boot, using one of the many online services that reward you with cash when you lose weight. Erin Wright, a mother of five in Center Valley, Arkansas, earned a whopping $800 and lost 69 pounds.

If you’re having trouble losing weight, you’re not alone. However, what if someone actually paid you to drop those pounds? Psychological studies have shown that subjects are highly likely to lose weight, and to lose more of it, if there is some money to sweeten the deal.

Enter social dieting

Sites like DietBet, Gym-Pact and Healthy Wage are proliferating across the ‘net and all employ some concept of social dieting. What’s social dieting? It’s where dieting is a group-focused rather than solitary activity. You lose weight with other people, be they your family members, friends or just random folks online. Through a combination of community support and some peer pressure, you end up more committed to losing weight in a set period of time. Oh, and then there’s the money: You bet a certain amount of your own cash, say $100, and if you achieve a defined weight loss goal, you make back your initial investment and then some.

There are no stipulations about how you lose weight. However, most of these weight loss betting sites do offers forums and other member communities where participants support each other in their weight loss goals.

Here’s what Sue had to say about her weight loss bet on Healthy Wage:

I was skeptical at first, but after thoroughly researching it, there just didn’t seem to be a downside. If I stayed on track, I’d win; it was that simple. The 10% weight loss over six months was both achievable and healthy. And who better to bet on than myself – right?

I had no intention of losing my initial $150 bet, so I jumped in with both feet and never looked back. On August first, I had surpassed my goal of 26.9 lbs. and lost 78 lbs. By August third, I had a $300 deposit in my PayPal account.

Since her Healthy Wage challenge, Sue has continued losing weight and, at this point in time, is down at least 124 lbs compared to when she initially started on her weight loss goal.

Erin Wright participated in two Healthy Wage challenges and said the following,

I started the 10% 6 month challenge and the 1 year BMI challenge on the same day. The 10% challenge was a $100 payout and the BMI challenge was a $300 payout. I think I lost 36 lbs the first 6 months and won $200. At the end of the year I had lost 69 lbs., with my BMI below 25, and won $1,000, for a net win of $800.

Diet Bet is another get paid to lose weight site where participants form betting pools. The amount of money that can be make back depends on the number of people in the pool; the bigger the pool, the bigger the pot of money that can be won. However, if the challenge is an easy one and there are several winners in the pool, the money won back is going to be little.

Amy Oztan of Selfish Mom tried DietBet for several weight loss bets. Here’s what she had to say about the program:

For the second and third DietBet I (and about 20 participants) put up $50. If I remember correctly, most of us on the second bet met our goals, so we each got our money back plus about twelve dollars and change. I did not win the third DietBet – I think I had to lose about 7.5 pounds, and I actually lost about five. The $50 was not enough of a risk to really matter on its own.

A better motivator was saving face with my friends. I knew everyone doing those DietBets, and I wanted to be accountable to them. However, I don’t think that *just* the friend angle would have done it either. It was both the money and saving face. Putting your money where your mouth is, I guess.

How do you find a legitimate weight loss betting site?

Given the testimonials I collected, it seemed to me that these weight loss betting sites seem legitimate. However, I did find a negative review about Healthy Wage that got me worried. To better understand what might be going on, I talked with Anna T. of Real Ways to Earn Money Online. She had this to say:

To determine whether or not a site is legit, you should carefully research its reputation. Most of the time when people have been ripped off, they are going to make some noise about it online. It’s a good idea to type in the company name followed by the word “scam” on Google or another search engine to see what results populate.

If you discover that the site has an overall positive online presence and that it’s been discussed favorably on reputable online magazine sites, blogs, or forums, that’s a good indicator that it’s not a scam.

I would also suggest doing a Whois search on the domain to try and find out who’s behind the site and when it was created. If you can find out who is behind the site, you can research that person through Google in the same manner that you researched the site itself.

What about staying honest?

It would be easy for anyone to say that he or she weighs 300 lbs. now and then “lose” a quick 150 lbs. in the space of 6 months (it just melted right off!). To maintain honesty, the aforementioned weight loss betting programs do require that you are officially weighed when you start and end your program. Official weights can be recorded in a doctor’s clinic, gym or your own home. DietBet, for example, has members take before and after photos of themselves standing on a scale in front of a full-length mirror.

For those of you with those smartphone things…

What if you’re on-the-go and would rather have your smartphone involved in your diet challenge? Guess what- there’s an app for that. And it’s called GymPact. This app works on iPhones and Android devices and has you invest a certain dollar amount up-front to guarantee that you will go a certain number of times to the gym, or eat healthy vegetables, or avoid junk food, etc. When you don’t keep to your resolutions, you have money deducted from your account. But if you maintain your resolutions, you make money.

So the only question that remains is…

Should I “put my money where my mouth is” and do a weight loss bet of my own? I could stand to lose a few pounds…

Please let me know in the comments below! And thanks for the feedback!

Last Updated: January 12, 2014

Join the Discussion

  • Christine Nesbitt
    Christine Nesbitt

    Would definitely recommend HealthyWage to lose weight. I bet 25 a month for 10 months to lose 80 pounds. I made my bet and won 1053 dollars. Verification of weight using the app was super easy and didn’t have any issues!!!

  • Stephanie

    Just finished a 8 month bet with myself and won $2,000 in the process. Healthy Wage kept me on track by knowing I would lose $900 if I lost. Well I’m 85lbs down total (70lbs for the bet) and $2,905 richer. The verified weigh in and weigh out was easy if you just use the app to do the recording and I was verified and paid way quicker than expected. I like that they gave me a 2 day to 2 week window. I was expecting 2 weeks because of the amount of money, nope. 2 days. Easy peasey – Got some bills paid a some new backpacking gear bought. Love it! Thanks Healthy wage, yall really kept the fire lit under my butt.

  • Sharon Nasworthy
    Sharon Nasworthy

    I just finished a HealthyWage and I can verify…it is NOT A SCAM!! I won $2900 by sticking to a healthier lifestyle and was paid via pay pal within 48 hours. It is not difficult to be successful if you set a goal that you can follow through with and want it bad enough!
    I lost weight for my wedding, and my self and then use used the money for our honeymoon! Perfect. I strongly encourage anyone wanting to lose weight to try!

  • sharron

    i would like to know about taxes. i thought to do a 50 a month bet for 7 months but am wondering when tbey do the payout , is thw money i put in returned to me with winnings taxed and at what rate is it taxed?

    • Tracie-CPA

      I’m a CPA. They will probably send you a 1099MISC showing the amount of winnings as “other income”. It is taxable at your normal income tax rate. You would put this income on line 21 of your 1040.

    • Kari

      They send you a 1099MISC form for anything over $600 for you to claim. So, it is taxed if your winnings are $600 or more, but taxed when you figure your taxes, not upfront.

  • Mat E.
    Mat E.

    This program gave my wife and I that little extra motivation we needed. Here we are now, 130 lbs lighter in our clothes and 2k heavier in our wallets.

    Amazing what putting your money where your mouth is will do to your psyche!

    FIVE STARS!!!!!

  • Mykeerah

    I just completed a Healthy Wager. I bet $50/month that I would lose 75 pounds over a year and a half. I was definitely skeptical and did a lot of research. My advice is to read the rules very carefully. I was told after my final weigh out, completed by my doctor’s office, that I had missed the requirement of a video weigh out and had to do a second verification. I did a video submission and received my $2,900 check less than a week later. That’s a profit of $2,000 JUST FOR LOSING WEIGHT! I recommend doing this challenge as the most you have to lose is weight, but you can gain so much, besides the money. Things that don’t have a price tag, like your health and self confidence. I’m looking forward to doing another Healthy Wager to lose this last 40 pounds!

    • Steve Razinski
      Steve RazinskiFounder

      That is amazing Mykeerah! Not only did you lose an impressive amount of weight, but that $2000 on top of it has to feel great! This is one of the best success stories we’ve heard yet. Congratulations!

  • Ricardo

    Why am I’m going to have to pay double taxes on my own money? I stand to get $1770 for my winnings however, I paid almost $800.00 of my own money that has been taxed by uncle sam. I verified my weight but now I think healthywage is planning on waiting to tell me they need another verified weight down the road in hopes I gain more weight. I’m wondering if this healthy wage is a scam. I bet they wait until 2 weeks to ask me for another verified weight. I’m wondering if I should get an attorney involved. I’m willing to get a second weight in but I don’t want to wait for two weeks. Maybe in 2 days but not in two weeks. This healthywage is starting to get me worried.

    • LJ Evans
      LJ Evans

      Ricardo, I want to know what the outcome was for you! I’m nearing the end of my challenge and I really can’t AFFORD to lose that money. I look at the money I’ve given them as a forced savings plan, and of course I sure as heck don’t want to lose that. So please tell me you got paid!

  • HealthyWage

    Hi Halina,

    Thanks for profiling HealthyWage. We’re always proud when participants like Sue and Erin, who both won HealthyWage prizes, get to tell people about their experiences!

    We wanted to address your tips for avoiding scams. Here at HealthyWage, we understand the dieting and finance industry can be lined with fraudulent claims, and we want to assure your readers we’re serious about running the most fun and fair weight loss challenges out there. We actually ask ourselves the same questions that hesitant participants might ask: Is HealthyWage a Scam? The short answer is no. The detailed answer is here:

    For readers who still have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at 1-888-636-3832.

    • Buck Foss
      Buck Foss

      I was morbidly obese (100 pounds overweight). My doctor had told me if I didn’t lose weight, I would probably be dead in 5 years (I was 52 at the time). I did HealthyWage for 6 months with a goal of losing 45 pounds and a “bet” of $1200. That kept me motivated. On my birthday, I collected $1920, and was down 60 pounds. I did it for the money and realized early in that it really was saving my life. I’m 25 pounds now from my goal of 100 pounds down and happier than I can imagine.

  • Dom Wells
    Dom Wells

    Lose pounds and gain dollars! Sounds like a win-win to me! Go for it.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *