How to host a weight loss challenge

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A little competition can be a great motivator for people working toward an intimidating goal, as well as an invaluable source of support. Gather a group of friends, family or coworkers and organize a little game for getting rid of those unwanted pounds.

Host a weight loss challenge in 5 simple steps.

Step 1: Establish ground rules and a prize.

Begin by outlining the details of your challenge in writing. Having the basic rules spelled out can help avoid any potentially awkward situations down the road. State the entry fee (if applicable) the guidelines for weigh ins (use the same scale, same time of day, etc.), dates of the challenge, the criteria used for determining the winner (overall pounds lost, highest total percentage of weight loss, etc.) and the prize (jackpot, gift card, trophy). Keep group specifics and professionalism in mind when establishing your parameters. For example, a cash prize might not be appropriate for your corporate culture and some other sort of treat or certificate would be a more appropriate thing for the winner to receive. Perhaps your group of girlfriends is spread out across the country and you decide to upload pictures of the number on the scale each week. Take all of the factors into consideration when planning your challenge.

Step 2: Send out an invite.

Sensitivity is important when it comes to gathering participants. We would suggest either extending an invitation to everyone in the group, or only to those who have expressed interest in a weight loss challenge. Never assume someone will be interested. Share your written guidelines and give a deadline for entry as well as details for the initial weigh in.

Step 3: Have an initial weigh in.

When establishing a weigh in routine, different situations work for different people. Some groups prefer the accountability of weighing in in front of everyone and bring a scale in to a shared location. Some prefer a little more privacy. Whatever structure your group agrees on, making sure everyone is comfortable and feels free of judgment should be top of mind.

Step 4: Have a weekly weigh in.

Now that the first benchmark weigh in is out of the way, it’s time to establish a recurring time of day and scale to ensure consistency. Ideally, everyone in the group should use the same scale and weigh in within a few hours of each other. Make sure someone is responsible for recording the measurements and keeping participants on track. It’s also important during this time to send encouragement and healthy tips. After all, these groups should be about support as much as they are results. If possible, create an open forum for contestants to share thoughts, feelings and victories along the way, and even coordinate workout buddies and walking groups.

Step 5: Have a final weigh in and calculate the winner.

Schedule your final weigh in and find a way to acknowledge everyone’s efforts over the course of the challenge. You should have the guidelines set for what criteria determine the winner. If you chose to award the player who shed the highest overall percentage of weight, the most popular option, the formula to calculate your results is pounds lost divided by starting weight, multiplied by 100.

For example: 6 lbs/155 lbs x 100 = 3.87%

Have fun, encourage support and enjoy the journey toward a fitter, healthier you.