Getting paid to lose weight? There's an app for that

By Melanie Lawson - The Morning Show anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - All of your hard work in the gym and kitchen can pay off in more ways than just losing weight. In fact, there are websites and apps that will pay you to shed the pounds and meet your fitness goals.

The grind of losing weight takes commitment, consistency and control. It's a struggle that Dr. Latisha Rowe is all too familiar with since giving birth to her son, Chase, seven years ago.

"I have been 30 pounds lighter than I am. I was at my happiest point in life. So right now, I'm exercising to be the healthiest version of myself that I can be. My goal is to lose 10 pounds this month," she said.

Recently, Rowe found another incentive to get healthier: cold hard cash. "Dietbet is amazing and money is an excellent motivator," she said.

Dietbet is an app and online community where users can bet on themselves to lose weight. There are challenges as short as 30 days and buy-ins starting at $20. Here's how it works: You either find a challenge already in progress or launch your own. Everyone contributes money and those who reach their goals get a share of the money raised.

If you're interested in putting together a team, you can join healthywage.com. It's a great way to help drum up team spirit and win a larger payout. Teams of five compete against other teams. The winning team scores the biggest percentage weight loss over a three- to six-month period. You can chip in as little as $25 a month and end up with a $10,000 grand prize.

Dr. Rocio Harbison of Advanced Endocrinology and Diabetics Clinic weighed in on the pay-to-lose trend, saying it could help motivate some people. Others? Not so much.

"I think a lot of people are motivated by money and finances. For some people, this might be the perfect choice, and for others, it might cause quite a bit of stress," she said.

If the stress of trying to win a challenge becomes too much, Harbison noted, it could actually have a detrimental effect and work against your weight loss goals.

"Stress does not let anybody lose weight. Don't let the goal at the end ... take advantage of that," she said.

Rowe said she's already lost five pounds toward her current DietBet goal and, to date, she's earned more than $10,000 for hosting and winning weight loss challenges using the app.

"Because money is a big motivator. So, when that's in front of you, you're going to want to stay consistent," she said.

For those already exercising and eating right, there's an app for that, too. Myachievement.com lets you earn cash for things like tracking steps, your meals and even your sleep.

Just beware of these apps. Some have negative reviews. For example, while many DietBet participants acknowledged getting paid, they had bad experiences with customer service when trying to cancel.

The bottom line is to make sure that you do the research before you make the investment. 

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