This year figured to be yet another long battle with dieting and exercise. On January 3, 2013, I saw a timely article on MSNBC about a different incentive program to help people lose weight. Entitled “HeathyWage” (http://www.healthywage.com), it uses money as a motivator. You put up $150 up front and get an official weigh-in. If you lose 10% or more of your weight in the next six months (and follow a few simple rules), you get paid $300.
I did some additional research which seemed to show this company was legitimate, so I decided to give this a try. Normally I am the skeptic who is extremely cynical about claims made on the Internet, but I knew I needed a good motivator to lose weight. I don’t just throw my money around (yes, friends and family say that I am frugal), but I took a chance on this one.
Since I am in Morgantown frequently, on January 6 I visited a local fitness club there that is listed on the HealthWage website as an official weigh-in site. That provided my starting point, and I knew I had to lose 10% before July 6 to get my money back. I had to get a picture taken of what I looked like at the start, and I had to create a profile on their website to provide regular updates of my progress (you only need an official weigh-in at the start and at the finish—the intervening time you self-report your weight).
I tried to work out a few times each week after work, primarily using a rowing machine and a stationary bicycle. Once the weather got better, I started walking a lot in City Park and around town. I began walking or bicycling to and from work (more than five miles round trip) as often as possible, as well as walking at lunch, including the Quincy Hill steps. I entered a couple of 5K walking competitions (my best time was 36:25), and did some long distance bike riding on the bike trails.
Using a phone app, I tried to track my food intake, although after several months I eventually dropped this habit. However, it helped me attempt to keep my calories under 2000 per day. It also tracked my exercise so I could see my net total of calories. This dieting and exercise regimen is not something new for me. I have been doing it off and on for several years—I just seem to do it better during the first half of the year than the last half of the year.
Work is where I am best able to limit my calories. I generally bring my food with me each day and “graze” at my desk. I eat a lot of fresh fruits (bananas, oranges, grapefruits, apples, etc.) and veggies (snow peas, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, etc.), along with boiled eggs, nuts, yogurt, cheese, and other healthy items to keep the diet from getting too boring. I also drink lots of liquids to stay “full.” It might not work for everyone, but it is my method to eating smart (especially in the summertime when I’m getting some of my food from the local farmers’ market).
I had a few ups and downs, but as the end of the six months neared, I knew I was going to make it. On Friday, July 5, I returned to the fitness center in Morgantown for my final weigh-in, and indeed, I had ended up losing more than 10% of my weight. Because of my success, I had to provide HeathyWage with a photo of myself after the end of the six months.
At this point, I figured they would find some technicality to avoid paying me. However, to my surprise, there was no hassle. Since I don’t have a PayPal account, I chose the option to have them mail me a check (which takes a bit longer), but I recently got my $300. I’m not a betting man, but it was a great feeling to win this wager. It was a good motivator for someone who doesn’t like to waste his money! When you consider the low interest rates on savings accounts these days, this was an incredible return on my investment!
My final check is shown above. Note that this is not an attempt to brag, but merely to present this information to others who might benefit from this program.