Dieting is generally decried as a method to lose weight. The right way to do it is to adapt good nutritional principles and exercise regularly to avoid any ‘yo-yo’ effects. Dieting generally tries to get desired results within a limited time frame, often by introducing extreme, dogmatic restrictions – no this, no that. Smart lifestyle decisions are like financial investments – it’s best to take a long view.
Something called Dietbet came along a little while ago. The premise was simple: put money down on the idea of you losing weight. The goal is to lose 4% of your current body weight in 4 weeks. Somebody smarter than me decided that was realistic and within healthy limits. You can not ‘weigh out’ early, and there is a system to date-stamp the weigh-ins using pictures and ‘words-of-the-day’. The pot, which is the sum total of everyone’s bet buy-in minus the administration fee is split by everyone who makes the goal.
The idea caught on like wild-fire; having cash on the line seems to be a great motivator, and it also taps into our social instincts like wanting to be part of a group and competitiveness. I’ve had several opportunities to join Dietbets with other fitness bloggers, but I’ve always turned down the opportunity. There’s the anti-diet reasons I mentioned above, there was the lack of real desire to lose weight and the knowledge that with life being as it is, I wouldn’t stick to all the restrictions I’d need to in order to achieve the goal.
I signed up for a bet that started April 17th. Why? Tell ‘Em Jerry!
Long story short (on details at least), I had an old friend let me know he felt I was letting myself go, and while I first accepted the message as heartfelt concern, the razzing and jokes that preceded that and followed it got on my nerves. You can rib me, and I will let it roll off my back and laugh along, or you can speak earnestly and have me listen to what you have to say, not both. So I’m going to let my annoyance be my motivation; the best revenge is, as they say, living well.
Furthermore, I know there’s going to be a period where I’m going to deviate from the nominally healthy long-term lifestyle in the other direction. On vacation for example, there will be less workouts, less intensity, and more calories. It’s a fact of life, so why not swing once to the skinny, then to the not-so-skinny. My life just has a certain amount of variability, and while that can be stressful both mentally and physiologically, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You can follow the bet here, but I won’t be posting about it on the blog that much – I simply don’t find the topic of weight loss to be that interesting. If you’re thinking about joining a game, I can recommend Katy from Fit In Heels, hers is starting in a few days.