A lean runner is a fast runner. While working out helps get there, a lot of being in good shape is about eating right – and it’s something most of us struggle with. I tried out a new strategy over the holidays – read about it below.
Crossposted from GameTheoryNinja.com.
The fun thing about Game Theory is that it can be applied to pretty much anything: buying decisions, Tic-Tac-Toe, traffic problems, etc. That means it can also be applied to dieting and weight loss.
That’s the premise behind DietBet. Here’s how it works: you bet $20 [or some other amount] that you can lose 4% of your bodyweight in a month. Other people also bet $20, and that money all goes into a pot. At the end of the month, whoever loses 4% splits the pot.
Early December of 2012, I decided to try it out for myself. I paid my $20, confirmed my weight, and off we went.
The psychology that’s at work here is called loss aversion: “people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.” More simply – I really don’t want to lose that $20.
Throughout the holidays, I thought about that $20. Eggnog? No thanks. Is that extra serving of turkey worth $20 to me? I don’t think so. Delicious, delicious chocolate cake? So tempting … but so is not losing $20.
I also thought about my anonymous competitors. If that guy who thinks a 20-minute workout is good enough wins, and I don’t … well, that would just be silly.
Over the course of the month, I exercised and watched what I ate. Having money on the line made it a much more compelling prospect.
At the end of the month, I weighed in – and made weight. I split the $3,000 pot with several other winners, and got back $52. Not a bad return on investment.
The idea of betting a friend, or a few friends, to create an incentive to change behavior isn’t new. There are a lot of weight loss specific games like this out there – FatBet, Stikk andHealthyWage.com, just to name a few. I picked DietBet because one of my friends posted about it on Facebook.
I’ve put down money for a January weight loss bet, too. It will be a little more difficult this time around, as the “easy to lose” weight has already come off. But the stakes are higher this time. For January, I reinvested $50 of my $52 winnings. Now, I’ve got $50 to lose.
The pot for this game is obscenely high – around $65,000 (you read that right). So the upside is enormous, too.
That being said, I saw a game with a $300 buy-in. That’s a lot of money to have on the line … it sounds like a good incentive, but maybe too stressful to think about for a whole month!
Check out DietBet at dietbet.com. Post isn’t sponsored – just sharing a fun story. )