Group weight loss creates a sense of community and even friendly competition when you organize a weight-loss contest. A contest involves more than simply weighing in once a week and awarding prizes to the leaders. An effective contest utilizes goals, motivation, teamwork and collaboration of weight-loss ideas so everyone wins.
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The numbers on the scale tell only part of the story during weight loss and healthy lifestyle changes. Each contestant starts at a different point in her weight loss journey. Some have lots of weight to lose while others might be working on those last few pounds. A contestant with lots to lose might see changes on the scale faster than a person who is focusing more on toning or nearing her weight-loss goal. Instead of judging purely on pounds lost, use BMI, percentage of body weight lost or inches lost. This gives a more well-rounded picture of progress and may level the playing field for contestants at different points.
Prizes motivate participants to stick with the weight-loss contest week after week. One option is to ask each participant to add a certain small dollar amount to the pot that is used as the grand prize for the person who wins the contest. If you have 20 participants who each pay $10 to join the contest, the winner walks away with $200. You could also divide that money between the top three people to spread out the earnings. Another option is to ask sponsors to donate health-related products as prizes. Give out weekly prizes for that week's top contestant in addition to the large grand prize for the overall winner.
A healthy approach to weight loss makes the process more effective and more likely to last. Include a health education component to your group weight-loss contest to encourage participants to make healthy lifestyle changes. This places more of an emphasis on the health aspect than the competition. Ideas include a healthy cooking class, exercise classes, group walks or reading a particular diet or exercise book as a group. Guest speakers from the health field also help integrate an education component into the contest.
A support system for your weight-loss competition makes the process more successful for many people. Instead of focusing on individual success, encourage one another as you work toward your weight-loss and health goals. Weekly meetings, healthy lunches and a message board or email list are ideas for creating a supportive environment for your contest.