getting active

Losing Weight through Weight Loss Competitions

The HealthGal Health Guide December 29, 2010
  • A new phenomenon seems to be growing among the legions of people trying to lose weight.  Possibly feeding off shows like The Biggest Loser, or possibly developing in a more organic fashion, people who want to jumpstart the process of losing weight are setting up competitions with friends or family members who want to also lose weight.  The competitive factor amps the desire to lose weight by adding the "I want to beat you at this" factor to the situation.  On the one hand, a little competition can do a body good.  On the other hand, engaging in obsessive or unhealthy behaviors in order to reach goal weight is not such a good idea. 

     

    Serious competitors can wear heavy clothing while exercising before a weigh in to sweat more and come up with a lower weight on the scale, skip meals, use colonics, and diet and exercise obsessively.  Then there are the penalties if you gain weight.  Donating money to a good cause is a good way to assign a penalty and have a good thing come from it; penalizing someone whose trying to lose weight by having to eat 10 tacos, not such a healthy idea.  Among men, this competitive dieting seems to have gained a stronghold, especially among the type-A professionals in the New York legal and financial districts.  Some of these competitive dieters and exercisers interviewed in a New York newspaper column confessed that "as soon as there is something at stake" they usually do better and stick with a challenge or commitment longer.  It's really an extension of other games men play like fantasy football and weekend ultimate Frisbee.

     

    Boot camp exercise programs have actually been using this popular tool for awhile, sometimes separating a class into two competitive teams.  When someone decides to skip a class for various reasons, they can be met with harsh treatment by their peers the next time they show up - especially if a team weigh-in is at stake.  So the competition requires everyone to really commit individually, since a group goal is at stake.  It should be noted that quite often, men competitors celebrate the victory by.....overeating and drinking, which can fly in the face of hard-learned habits.  Facebook has been another competitive dieting center where competitors can post daily meal plans, weigh-ins, photos showcasing weight loss, and supportive messages or dares.  Most experts feel that a bit of competition can be a healthy way for people to lose weight, using camaraderie and friendly support to spur weight loss.  If the competition however inspires less than healthy methods for losing weight, then maybe the concept is not such a good idea.

     

    Tried to lose weight in a competition or think this might work for you??