Ideas for Weight Loss Contests
A weight-loss contest is a great way to incorporate support as well as add a little good spirited competition to help weight-loss efforts. Before beginning, make sure to consult with a physician to ensure the safety and health of all participants. The ideas for weight-loss contests and the variations available are nearly endless. You are sure to find one that will fit your needs.
This contest starts out with every participant holding a set amount of coins or bills -- for example, 10 dimes. During weekly weigh-ins, if a participant loses weight one of their dimes is then put into a larger jar that will be the “winner's jar.” When each person’s dimes are gone the contest is over. The participant who has lost the largest amount of weight wins the collection. A variation of this contest is to have the winner be the person who has lost the largest percentage of body weight. This option can be helpful if your participants have a wide range of weight-loss goals.
If your group wants to focus on sustainable life changes, this may be the contest for you. Instead of simply recording pounds lost, this contest relies on a point system for the overall habits of its participants. For example, assign points for ounces of water drunk in a day, daily entries in a food journal, time spent exercising and other healthy habits you might want to include. Points can be subtracted for things such as gaining weight, skipping exercise or indulging in unhealthy foods. The participants can pool together at the beginning of the contest to purchase the prize, such as a basket of goodies, a one-month gym membership or a trip to a day spa.
Contests that incorporate the support of peers and some peer pressure may help your participants stick to their goals. Break everyone who wishes to participate off into teams and weigh each team together. Each week, measure the overall weight changes and calculate the percentage that team lost. This type of contest can be judged in several ways, including by the average percentage, overall percentage, average weight loss per week or overall weight loss. Keep in mind when choosing teams that those participants with a larger amount of weight to lose will tend to lose faster in the beginning. It is a good idea to have participants with a wide range of weight-loss goals in each team in order to keep the contest fair.
Losing to Fundraise
Keep your participants motivated to lose weight by doing it for a cause. Agree on a charity beforehand and have participants collect pledges, such as a predetermined amount for every number of pounds lost. One idea may be to pick a food-based cause, such as a local food pantry or soup kitchen. Celebrate the final donation by delivering it to the charity as a group or serving with them for the day.
Skinny Pants Challenge
Using progressive changes in clothing to measure weight loss creates a fun contest dynamic. Measure current pant sizes of your participants and record any changes weekly over a predetermined time, such as a six-week contest. Create a collective exercise and diet plan with which everyone will comply to discourage unhealthy habits. Offer prizes to first, second and third place that include gift cards to local stores where they can buy a new pair of pants or an outfit to celebrate their loss.
Tony Myles is a pastor and national speaker on youth culture. He has been writing professionally since 2000, has a weekly health and fitness newspaper column in the Cleveland suburbs, reviews for "YouthWorker Journal" and was a featured reporter for the "Kalamazoo Gazette." He holds a Master of Business Administration in adolescent development from Indiana Wesleyan University.