Quick Update on Fatty’s 2019 Weight Loss Challenge

01.3.2019 | 12:58 pm

Hi there! If you’re one of the 46 (!!!) people who filled out my form expressing interest in the weight loss challenge, you should have received an email from my Gmail account with the subject line “First steps for Fatty’s 2019 Weight Loss Challenge.” If you haven’t gotten that, check your spam folders and whatnot. If you filled out the form and still can’t find it, leave a comment and I’ll re-send it to you.




Fatty’s 2019 Weight Loss Challenge

01.1.2019 | 3:45 pm

January 2 AM Update: 30 of us have filled out the “I’m interested” form so far, which is not the same as actually registering, but it’s still way beyond (about 3x beyond, to be honest) what I expected. Clearly, I’m not the only one who has gotten too fat for his fat pants.

If all of us actually pay up, that’s $1500 I’ll be donating to Camp Kesem. And since the company I work for does matching on donations, that will turn into $3000 for Camp Kesem. And that makes me super happy.

It’s not too late to sign up. Lose some weight, do some good!

Hey, Happy New Year to you. I hope your January is off to a splendid start.

As for me, well, I’ve kinda been taking it easy on the whole “diet” thing. By which I mean I’ve gotten about as fat as I’ve been in a decade. Maybe more. Specifically, a week or so ago I weighed myself and was horrified to discover I weighed 180 pounds. My reaction was to begin dieting immediately, by which I mean that I have eaten continuously, bringing myself into a perpetual food-induced stupor.

It’s time to turn this ship around.

If you’ve kinda let yourself go they way I’ve let myself go…well, maybe we can help each other get back on track with a little coopetition. Which is to say, if you’ve got at least 15 pounds you’d like to get rid of before summer and you think a friendly competition might help you do it, I think I’ve got just the thing.

Why I’m Doing This and Why You Might Want To, Too

I know I need to lose some weight. I also know a few other things about myself. I’m a competitive soul; I love to win. I’m also a cooperative soul; I love to help others win. I stay engaged — focused — over the long haul when I have accountability, incentive, a finish line, and the prospect of fun.

I think these traits are pretty common. So I’ve contrived a weight loss challenge that I think will keep me on track, will be fun, has serious accountability, has real incentive for me to not bail, and will do the same for the folks who join me.

Here’s How It Works

I’ve done a number of weight loss challenges before. The ones that have worked (for me and others) have had some common elements. They’re easy to understand. They have a carrot and stick. They require frequent accountability. And they do something positive, beyond the competition itself.

So here’s the basic notion of Fatty’s 2019 Weight Loss Challenge: between now and April 20, 2019, you vow to lose at least 15 pounds (if you have less than that to lose, you should find a different challenge). Every Friday, you log your weight in a spreadsheet every challenge participant can see. And if you don’t, you’re out of the contest. That’s the accountability part.

But there’s money involved — a $150 ante. Part of that will go to Camp Kesem — a charity that’s had life-changing results for my own children. The rest will get divided among those who hit their goal, or at least keep trying.

And of course, there’s a community aspect — I’ve set up a Facebook group for those who enter, where we can celebrate victories, encourage each other when we’re having a tough time, and complain about how hungry we are when we need to complain about how hungry we are.

The Rules

  1. To be part of the challenge, you must first apply using the form linked here, then once accepted, pay a $150 entry fee (Venmo or Paypal, I’ll email you the info when I collect the form) to show your commitment. I know, that seems like a lot. It’s meant to be enough that people won’t just join casually, and enough that it will be an incentive to stay in and keep trying.
  2. $50 of your join-in goes straight to Camp Kesem. I’m a huge fan of Camp Kesem, which provides free week-long camps to kids whose parents have (or have had) cancer. My own twin daughters have been to it every year since they were eight, and I’ve watched them be helped by it when they needed help. Now I’m watching them want to pay it forward, helping others.
  3. The first official weigh-in is January 12. If you’re not registered by then, it’s too late.
  4. You must weigh-in every single week by Friday, posting your weight on the Google Sheet I will share with participants.
  5. If you do not weigh in, even skipping just once, you are out. If you know you’re not going to be able to weigh in on a Friday, weigh in early. No excuses, no exceptions. Almost certainly, someone (maybe me!) will get hurt, or will have a family emergency, or something else. I can’t / won’t be making those kind of judgement calls.
  6. At the end of the contest (soon after the final weigh in on April 20), the remaining money (the money that did not go to Camp Kesem) will be divided up as follows:
  • 75% of the money is divided equally among people who hit their target weight
  • 25% of the money is divided equally among people who did NOT hit their target weight, but did not give up

Notice that I don’t have anything here about how to do your diet. That’s up to you.

An Example

As a thought experiment (and to help me make sure I have this thing imagined reasonably correctly), let’s walk through how this might work.

To keep math easy, let’s say 10 people enter. That creates a pool of $1500, of which $500 goes to Camp Kesem. Now the pool is $1000.

Let’s say that of the 10 people, 2 exit the contest — maybe they are embarrassed to post the fact that they are actually gaining weight — for some reason. They forfeit their entry, so the pool remains $1000 for the remaining 8 people to split.

Of the 8 people who faithfully post each week to the end of the contest, let’s say that half hit their goal (mine is 160, a 20-pound loss between now and April 20), and half don’t. The four people who hit their goal split 75% of the pool, meaning $750 gets split among the four people. They each get $187.50 back — a profit of $37.50.

The four people who didn’t hit their goal but kept trying split the remaining 25%, so they each get $62.50. Not as much, but they’re rewarded for trying, and they know that they made a nice donation to Camp Kesem.

Of course, there are some weird possibilities that occur to me:

  • What if everyone hits their goal? In that case, 100% of the pool gets divided equally.
  • What if only a small number don’t hit their goal? Suppose in the above example only 1 person doesn’t hit their goal while 7 do? The person who doesn’t hit their goal would make more money than those who do hit their goal. Well, I think the odds of that happening are slim, but it’s possible. I guess for myself I’d rather get less money back and hit my weight goal than not hit my goal and get more money.
  • What if people are dishonest? Your weigh-ins are honor-based; there’s no way I can stop you from lying from start to finish. That seems like a lot of work, however, to make a very small amount of money.

It’s not perfect, but I’m excited for it. And I hope that there’ll be about 5 – 10 more people who are interested in playing, as well (though honestly I’m OK with just a couple of us doing this).

If you want to play, fill out this form (it’ll take less than 3 minutes to do) and we’ll go from there.

Let’s have a fast and light 2019, OK?