Will Give You A New Reason To Lose Weight: Cold, Hard Cash

From juice cleanses to hot yoga, modern health fads are getting weirder and weirder. The latest example? Gambling to lose weight with the help of sites like CNN recently reported on a woman named Sarah Lugger who lost 140 lbs. with the help of the site — as in, she bet that she would lose weight, lost it, and then won a cash prize.

Whoa. And I thought doing 26 poses and two breathing exercises in a 110-degree room was strange.

With the tagline, “The most fun you’ll ever have losing weight”, or DietBet, almost comes off as some sort of joke — almost. The site’s goal is to turn something as boring as losing weight into a game, one where you can win money. Here’s what makes it seem legit: DietBet notes in their mission statement that it’s not just about the cash prizes, it’s about achieving your goals:

“There's money on the line but it isn't about making money. It's about believing in yourself, investing in your health, and sticking with your commitments.”

Ok, maybe these DietBet people are on to something.

By throwing the phrase “social dieting” — or, what makes your weight loss a “community activity” — into the mix, the site appears to be less of a joke and more of a support group, with the added bonus of cash prizes and cute graphics. Here’s how it works:

There are two different “games” you can play. The first option, DietBet4, nicknamed “The Kickstarter,” gives players four weeks to loose 4% of their starting weight. Whoever achieves the goal after four weeks is considered a “winner.” The winners get to split the pot. To begin a game you can start with a group or join a game. The second option, DietBet10, or as they like to call it, “The Transformer” is a little more intense. With this one, the goal is to lose 10% of your body weight in six months. With DietBet10, there are prizes along the way and “plenty of interim goals” to help get you to the finish line. Pretty civilized stuff for a gambling website!

DietBet also has a solution to cheating. Apparently, a team of “Referees” have to view a players photos to determine whether or not they accomplished their goal. They also have algorithms and an auditing system — which involves further evidence, including a “video weigh-in — on their side. This site is definitely not a joke.

Maybe we’ve been going about this whole diet thing the wrong way. Sure, cutting carbs and fad diets are an option, but when there’s cold hard cash on the line, who doesn’t want to make it happen?