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ABC15 Special Report: Shedding pounds & earning cash, company lets you bet on weight loss

Placing bets on how much weight you could lose is a popular trend for some. People have the chance to win thousands of dollars if they meet their goal (Liz Cooper/WPDE)

What if we told you, by losing weight you could earn some cash? Sound too good to be true?

Well one company, HealthyWage, is letting you put your money where your mouth is.

It's a company that offers wellness challenges and the chance to win cash prizes.

"We pay bigger prizes if you are losing more weight and if you’re heavier because it takes more of an incentive to make you hit your goal. Whereas someone who only needs to lose 10 pounds it’s less necessary to have an incentive as part of their weight loss program," explained David Roddenberry, the co-founder of HealthyWage.

HealthyWage allows you to bet on how much weight you want to lose, in a certain amount of time. Then you select how much you are willing to bet per month on the possibility of you reaching that goal. The choices are all up to you. And once you are locked in, the bet is on.

Wes Malone, from Myrtle Beach, started with HealthyWage in January. He said he's tried losing weight over the years and when he went to search for weight loss ideas, he stumbled upon this concept of betting money to lose weight.

“My initial reaction was there’s no way that somebody’s going to pay me to lose weight," said Malone. "But I got to looking at it and it made more sense and the format that it works its not just they’re handing out free money, you're actually a part of it.”

His goal is to lose 30 pounds by October. He's betting $60 a month. He stands to more than double his money he's putting in.

"Right at $1,200," he said, about his potential winnings.

So by now, you might be wondering, how does this all work?

Say you want to lose 30 pounds in six months, and want to bet $50 a month on yourself. In the end, you could win between $300 and $900, more than doubling your money. But let's be clear, if you lose the bet, they keep your cash.

"Be realistic for you. Try to find something that works for you and the money piece is really a key component to your success," said Roddenberry.

Roddenberry says so far more than a 250,000 people have participated.

"Almost everyone loses some weight. The average participant loses 10 pounds and the average person roughly doubles their money," said Roddenberry.

According to Consumer Reports, betting on your weight can have a catch. An article says with this type of concept, some people gain the pounds back shortly after, whether there was a payout or not.

Experts say that can depend on how people go about losing the weight.

"When you put your body in starvation mode it starts to hold on to all the nutrients that you do eat. So rather than using those nutrients and breaking them down, your metabolism starts to slow down and hold on to everything that you eat," explained Larissa Farnam, the clinical nutrition manager at Conway Medical Center. "So in the end, while it may be a short term fix to your weight problem, in the end sometimes people end up gaining more weight plus some."

Roddenberry says shedding the pounds is all up to you.

"If you are doing something to your body you've never done before then talk to your doctor," said Roddenberry. "Find what's right for you. We are the fun factor and we want you to be successful."

Experts recommend exercising, eating healthy and setting a realistic goal in order to succeed.

"You want to start with short term goals that are manageable. If you set something too big for yourself you may get frustrated you're not meeting those goals and then give up all together," said Farnam.

Malone says it's already a success for him. So far, he's lost 10 pounds in a month and he still has nine months left of his bet.

Malone and his wife plan to take a vacation with his winnings. He says his wife is helping him keep on track since they both will be benefiting from his weight loss bet.

Roddenberry says around half of their participants earn their cash prize and the highest amount you could win is $10,000 if you're willing to put big bucks on yourself.

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