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What I Learned From a New Years Weight Loss Challenge(source)

Being one of the many people who never complete their resolutions beyond the first few days of the year, when I realized I needed to shed a few pounds this year, as well as get stronger and healthier physically, I began looking for some ways to keep me faithful to the goals I was setting.

I’d read about websites before where you get “paid to lose weight,” but it sounded almost too good to be true. But money is a great motivator for my frugal self, so I finally looked into it.

I found a number of sites where you pay a certain amount to join a weight loss challenge. Those who successfully reach their goal weight split the money that was paid in the beginning. Ok, maybe this could work, I thought.

I looked at long term plans that help you lose, say, 10 percent of your body weight over the course of six months. (You pay a monthly fee to stay a part of these challenges.)

While I know that conventional weight loss wisdom says that weight is best lost and kept off if done slowly over time, I also think it’s very important to know what motivates you as an individual.

I personally am a better sprinter than I am a marathoner (metaphorically speaking; I only run if I’m being chased), so I knew that one of the short, month long challenges would be more my speed. No time to get bored with the novelty, or forget about what was happening. The added adrenaline of being in a hurry and having a close deadline. Much more effective for my personality! So I forked over my money and signed on.

What I Learned From a New Years Weight Loss Challenge(source)

I made a few mistakes. The first was choosing to do this during January, a month filled with work travel for me, so that I didn’t always have control over where or what I ate.

The second was not forming an early plan for how I was going to make this happen. I got half way through the month and realized that I had not lost anything. At one point, I’d even gained a pound.

But, did I mention money is a great motivator for me? Suddenly this nebulous, unplanned thing had become a real dollar amount in my mind. A dollar amount I would lose if I didn’t kick it in gear.

I joined another app challenge, Pact, where you are paid for keeping good habits or charged for breaking them and set myself up to count my calories each day. That simple act, while not necessarily the most accurate judge of the health of your food, has helped me stop and be more mindful about each bite that goes into my mouth, and the way it’s impacted by exercise. I saw a few pounds begin to peel away and began to gain momentum.

What I Learned From a New Years Weight Loss Challenge(source)

Now I know that weight loss is also not the only measurement of health. Many advocate simply eating a whole foods only diet and not worrying about weight or calories. And that makes a lot of sense to me.

But I’m still so thankful for this challenge because of what it’s taught me about myself. I’ve learned that I really can set a goal and follow through with it with the proper motivation. I’ve learned that mindfulness is so important. If you’re mindful about what you eat and drink and when you exercise, it will make a huge difference in your self care, and yes, even your weight. And finally, I’ve learned some things about how motivation works for me personally: short deadlines, high stakes (whether monetary or something else I stand to gain or lose), and public accountability really do help me accomplish things.

And gaining this kind of knowledge about myself is the greatest gift of all.


Note from Paula: You’ll hear me say this over and over – accountability is crucial. If you need support and encouragement to reach your goals, join one of our challenges and create a new you!


What motivates you to succeed at a goal? How did you figure it out? I’d love to hear what you think about this in the comments!

What I Learned From a New Years Weight Loss Challenge(source)

Bethany is a contributing writer for Whole Intentions. She's new to the adventure of whole eating. Originally a skeptic, one day whole food clicked for her. She takes a common sense approach to whole eating; essentially, if God made it that way, why mess with it? Though she'd love to raise a family, bees, and goats on a homestead somewhere, Bethany is single and lives in a tiny condo on the edge of Nashville where she's just starting to work on this thing called adulthood, and what a "whole life" built around God actually looks like. She's learned though that whole living and eating are possible even in the big city and loves to share how it's possible. Bethany blogs about her journey with whole living, eating, faith, and singleness at bethanyrossbrown.com.

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