I’m not sure exactly how I stumbled upon the website. I think it had a lot to do with me freelancing and always looking into how to earn a little side cash while I worked to pick up more clients.
I came across the article for HealthyWage (HW) completely by accident, and it set into motion a major change in my life.
I lost 40 pounds and gained a check for almost $1,200 bucks. Technically, my take-home profit was a little over $600—that's because I had bet nearly $600, paid in monthly installments, that I could lose some of the unhealthy excess weight I had gained from sitting at a desk and eating badly for far too long.
I thoroughly researched the company before I gave them any of my money. You should too. It was a good fit for me because I know how I work.
Cash incentive and community weight loss (i.e., connecting with people who are going through the same thing you are) gave me the motivation I needed to make myself healthier/more energetic, so this was a perfect fit for me.
The HW Calculator helps you plan your bet. They won’t let you lose an unhealthy amount of weight too quickly, but you can play around with it a lot. You could bet $30 a month that you’ll lose 30 pounds in 9 months. Or you could go with a bit more of a challenge.
I bet about $80 per month that I’d lose 40 pounds in 7 months. It has a lot to do with your starting weight and height as well — but the payout varies depending on your bet.
For me, this was a no-brainer. Money is a huge motivator for me. And I know weight loss isn’t necessarily fun. Having someone pay me to lose weight like it was my job surely helped. If I treated it like my job, if it was going to help me pay some bills, feed my book-buying habit, and instill in me some healthy habits on top of that? Yes, please!
Here’s how it works.
- Calculate your bet online or with the HW app (how much you want to lose, the dollar amount you want to bet per month, and the time you give yourself to lose).
- Do a video weigh-in, which is verified within a week or so.
- Track your progress with HW’s app at least once a week.
- Reach your goal and verify a second video weigh-in.
Like everything, there are pros and cons to the program. Not everyone digs a hard deadline when it comes to weight loss. But for me, it was a fit. I needed to lose weight for my health anyway, so why not get paid?
Here’s a list of the pros and cons, from someone who’s lost the weight and gotten paid.
Pro: It worked. I lost 40 pounds, and HealthyWage cut me a check for nearly $1,200.
It’s been about a year since my bet, and I’m still recommending it to friends and family. I’m also still applying the healthy habits I picked up throughout the process. Not every day is perfect — that’s for sure. But I have faith in myself where there wasn’t any before. That’s worth something to me.
Con: Worrying about losing money was stressful.
Remember how much money motivates me? Of course, losing money also freaks me out.
It was always on my mind. For 7 months, I worried: Will I be a failure? Will I not reach my goal in time? Will I be out hundreds of dollars because the joy that is spaghetti forever tempts me? This kind of long game is not for everyone.
Pro: It provided the motivation I needed to alter my sedentary lifestyle.
I’m a writer. I work full-time as a copywriter for a large company, then I come home and try to pull the creative energy to write some of my own stuff. I sit down. A lot. Yes, I had them raise part of my desk at work so I can stand uncomfortably for hours, but I need a bit more. I need a few good workouts per week. I need some higher power outside myself keeping me from feeding my binge monster.
I’ve been there with the pasta, beer, brownies, and sitting all day. We all have our weaknesses, but putting faith in myself that I’d be able to change my bad habits was thrilling. I squeezed time in for runs during lunch breaks, cooked healthy whole foods a whole lot, and felt my body start to change.
Pro: Responsive and professional customer service.
This company has some solid customer service. It surprised me just how much they have it together. You can email questions and get a quick response. But — and oh, the joy — you can even call and speak with a real live human if you need to!
Once I lost my debit card and had to cancel it. There was all the expected havoc with my automatic payments, and this was right around the time my HW payment was due. The payment didn’t go through, and they let me know via email. I was able to call their customer service and speak with someone about it right then and there. The man on the other end was polite and worked with me to fix the issue, and within a day, everything was fine. If you check out their contact page, there is a phone number and email listed.
Before you sign up, you can call, pose your questions, and discover the legitimacy of the program for yourself. I know the phone gives some people major fear, but why not give them a call if you want to be sure they are good to work with?
Con: You might gain some weight back after you get your payout — like I did.
Old habits die hard, right? I want to be completely honest — when my wager ended, I rebelled against rules and structure and let myself do whatever I wanted. There were times I did this during my 7-month wager as well — I allowed myself cheat days. Of course I did! I’ve read a lot about why you should enjoy cheat days — it revs up your body’s metabolism, which slows when you take in fewer calories. It also gives you a little mental break (we all need mental breaks). Trouble was, I had tons of cheat days after my wager and gained some of the weight back. This is something I could have handled better, looking back on it, like betting again with a yo-yo challenge (see next pro).
Pro: HealthyWage has a yo-yo rule to keep people from bouncing up and down after a wager — like I did.
If you have more excess weight to lose, and you want to go again, you’ll have to start your next challenge at the same weight. Let’s say you lost 50 pounds and won $1,400 — you can’t gain 30 pounds back and bet money to lose it again. This helps us avoid the unhealthy habit of going up and down constantly.
Pro: I learned that I was stronger than I thought.
Even though I gained some of the weight back, I pushed myself past mental and physical limits I never thought I’d reach. I ran for up to 8 miles at a time — and loved it. I learned new recipes that I still use. I still eat tuna out of a tomato, and it is scrumptious.
I felt proud of myself — proud of my mental and physical success. Plus, even if I do yo-yo, I now know I have the strength and knowledge to get back on track. When I see myself going in the wrong direction and falling back into unhealthy habits, I know I can rely on myself to turn it around.
Con: The HW app needs work when it comes to community engagement.
Surprise con within a con — you’re kicked off the app’s weight loss forum once your wager is complete. I actually made my own FB group and invited people there, and it’s still growing. We need a place to connect even if we aren’t in a bet. The game afterward is to maintain, and that’s a whole new challenge.
Pro: The app is always improving, and there are some very helpful aspects, including a nifty tracker.
I’m a visual person, so this app really helped me when it came to long-term progress. If your weight loss tracker is in the red, you’re way behind. If you are in the green, you are where you need to be. Yellow means that you're slightly off track to your goal.
Con: I had to use most of this to fix the car.
First, my partner’s car needed 4 new tires and maintenance. Then mine did. Most of my hard work went to car tires — but hey, what if I hadn’t had that extra cash around? Then I’d be eating those tires, figuratively speaking…
Pro: Other people don’t have to lose in order for you to make money.
Some diet bet programs rely on a group pot, and you have to beat out the others to get the prize. HealthyWage doesn’t work like that. They simply pay out if you reach your own personal goal. The company has been around for a decade, since 2009, and they’re still in business. In my research phase, I read that one way the company pulls in money is through large corporate and government sponsors who have an interest in new and creative solutions to weight loss. Of course, another way they make money is if people do indeed lose their personal bets…
Con: Some people lose and they probably feel horrible about it.
But, there is a hidden pro built into this con! I’ve talked with people who have “lost,” and they still took away so much and don’t regret making the bet one bit. Imagine paying, say, $25 per month for 6 months. You don’t reach your goal of losing 20 pounds, but you do lose 15 pounds, your blood pressure is down, and you are still going strong with a whole new healthy lifestyle. That’s worth more than money to a lot of people.
Pro: This helped me save money — and showed me I was brave enough to invest in myself.
I was paying in a certain amount per month and couldn’t touch it. It was a nice little savings account that relied on me being healthier. The main reason I went for this bet was my health. High cholesterol and high blood pressure run in my family. I have a history of binging and purging. And, I knew if I continued on the path I was on, I’d be putting myself in danger. I was putting away money every month and working toward a healthier lifestyle, knowing I’d get a nice little ROI. It just clicked for me.
The bottom line? If you're interested in earning money to lose weight, research HealthyWage and see if it's a fit for you.
You have to read all the rules, all the disclaimers, all the fine print, and do your due diligence. Then, if you like what you learn, go for it.