North Carolina couple loses pounds, gains financial bonus
HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — Lose the weight or lose the wager.
That’s the premise behind HealthyWage — a weight-loss challenge that allows participants to make a personalized bet, with real money, on their own weight loss — and one High Point couple cashed in big-time, losing a combined 122 pounds while earning a profit of more than $3,000 in the process.
“It just seemed too good to be true that they were gonna pay us to lose weight,” says Matthew Everhart, who took the HealthyWage challenge with his wife Brooke. “I didn’t understand how a business model could work that way, but we can tell you now that it’s definitely legitimate.”
Despite their skepticism, the Everharts decided to give HealthyWage a try after one of Brooke’s co-workers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center had successfully lost weight and earned a check from HealthyWage.
“The way it works is, you decide how much weight you’re going to lose, the amount of time it’s going to take you to lose it, and how much money you’re willing to bet per month,” Brooke says, explaining that an online calculator determines what your financial payoff will be if you lose the weight by the deadline you’ve set for yourself. “And then, if you don’t lose the weight, you lose the money.”
To be honest, the Everharts weren’t sure how they would do. Since getting married in 2006, when they were both at healthy weights, they had gradually put on pounds through the years. They had tried various diet plans, but they always seemed to lose weight and then put it right back on, plus a few more pounds.
“We might lose 10 pounds and then gain 15,” Brooke says. “It was always one step forward, two steps back.”
Then they decided to gamble, quite literally, on HealthyWage. Brooke, who weighed 193 pounds at the beginning, wagered $50 a month in betting she would lose 50 pounds in nine months. Matthew, who began at 267 pounds, bet $100 a month that he would lose 72 pounds in nine months.
To their delight, the plan worked.
“It just makes all the difference in the world having your money where your mouth is,” Brooke says. “You’ve set a hard and fast goal. There’s no wiggle room. There’s no ‘Oh well, I’ll start my diet in a month,’ or ‘I’ll start after this holiday’ — this takes all of that away. You have a hard and fast goal, and if you don’t lose the weight, you lose the money.”
To meet their respective goals, the couple made significant lifestyle changes that included eating healthier foods, tracking their daily calories, exercising and just generally being more active. In trying to reach their numerical goals, the couple achieved another of their goals, which was to set a better example for their daughter Mae, who was 4 when they began the challenge.
“That was a huge motivator in all of this, to be an example and hopefully instill a healthy lifestyle and an active lifestyle in her,” Brooke says. “That’s what we tried to emphasize with her — this is not about losing weight, it’s about being healthy.”
And it worked. Mae, who is now 6, enjoys being active and even exercising with her parents.
At the end of nine months, Matthew and Brooke had both met their weight goals, meaning they not only got to keep their wagers, but also earned their cash prizes — $2,952 for Matthew and $1,506 for Brooke. To celebrate with their winnings, Brooke bought a new wardrobe for her new, slimmer physique, and the couple extended an already-planned vacation trip to the Virgin Islands by a week.
Brooke is involved in another HealthyWage challenge to lose even more weight, and Matthew has become very involved in weightlifting. And as a family, they remain physically active.
“This is the family we want to be,” Matthew says. “We changed our focus from sitting around watching TV and eating to getting out and doing stuff. It’s a lot more fun now, because we can go do stuff and not be exhausted. Carrying around an extra 50 or 75 pounds with you makes everything harder.”
Information from: High Point Enterprise, http://www.hpenews.com