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Do Weight Loss Competitions Really Work?


Fat ManMore often than not, weight loss competitions are successful. When ever I have participated in a weight loss challenge I have lost weight. This may not apply to everyone though. It takes determination and a desire to compete.

A great thing about weight loss competitions is that every one wins. There may be one overall biggest loser, but every participant usually loses some weight. If you follow the rules of the competition correctly and lose only one pound, then you are a winner in my book. So what makes weight loss competitions so successful? I think it has to do with the team/community and the competitive aspect that is fostered.

Having played sports I am accustomed to exercising with my fellow teammates. It took me years to break the habit of needing to work out alongside someone. After I stopped playing team sports I joined a gym so that I could workout with other people in the room. I have since then gotten used to working out alone, but it was very hard for me to build a consistent routine. It also helped that I got so fat and uncomfortable with my looks, that I did not want to workout in front of other people. I had to make a choice: either workout alone at home or go to a public gym and feel embarrassed. I chose to exercise at home and it has worked.

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I am a big fan of having support in everything that you do in life. I wouldn’t have been able to lose the weight I have so far without this weight loss blog. This blog has helped me build a virtual support group. A community of individuals that are helping me along my weight loss journey. That’s why I think competitions are successful. They bring together a group of people with the same goal in mind. What better solution is there then to team up and tackle ones problems?

I was recently contacted by Tristan over at the Angie’s List to give some feedback on how communities can help with weight loss. We spoke for a bit and he added me to their List-en up! podcast. I think it covers a good topic and is worth a listen . Head on over and listen to it. There is also a transcript of the entire podcast for those that don’t/can’t tune into it or for the hearing impaired.

To listen to the podcast visit this page and use one of the options made available. To read the transcript visit this page.

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About the Author

My name is Israel Lagares. I used to be the kind of guy that was always in shape, but over the last few years I've fallen off tremendously. This site is my final attempt to get back into shape. So far I've lost 70.4 lbs. Check out my weight loss chart, weight loss videos and progress pics. Follow my journey, those of others, and read our thoughts on various health topics. Share your thoughts, experience, and journey here on FMU.

Community Thoughts (19)

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  1. My brother and I have a weight loss competition going on and it’s really working well for us! I’ve lost over 23 lbs in about 6 weeks. Having an “opponent” is good because it gives you extra incentive not to skip workouts or eat crap food. Having prizes on the line that I will have to pay for if I lose is also a boost. But more than the fear of losing, having somebody to be there with you every step of the way, with the same goals as you, is very motivating.

  2. TristanNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the shout out, Israel!Until I started researching the “Biggest Losers” podcast episode, I hadn’t thought about how much other people could help you lose weight. But that support is obviously a huge (no pun intended) motivating factor for thousands of people. And as my coworker Eric mentioned, weight-loss contests work quite well for people who are naturally competitive.Love the site, and best of luck with your continued weight loss!

  3. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    I’m a fan of the occasional competition. I’m in 2 right now. I see them as a means to kick the process into gear. I had been in a kind of plateau, but competition has been a “plateau buster”.

    btw… how you doin’ in the challenge?

  4. TommyNo Gravatar says:

    I think they do work, a little extra motivation.
    I’m not in any competitions now , but I do feel like I compete informally, with other people trying to get in shape

    • IsraelNo Gravatar says:

      I understand, when I go for runs alone, I usually make believe I am running against some other marathoners and am the winner. I even raise my arms in victory when I’m done.

  5. TristanNo Gravatar says:

    I used to think visualizing your goals in competition was kind of a crock, but I’ve come to find that it’s quite the effective tool, whether you’re trying to lose weight, do well at school/work, win a game, etc. I think visualizing positive outcomes is a way of setting quick, effective mental goals. You could say it’s just using the Force for your desired outcome (if you’re a Star Wars fan) :P

  6. I think they’re a great idea to give people something to work towards.

  7. Great post; competition works because any form of companionship creates accountability not only to one’s self but also to the person who’s right there with you.

  8. carlaNo Gravatar says:

    man, it is ALL ABOUT the virtual support system.
    so many people dont get that!

    M.

    • IsraelNo Gravatar says:

      Indeed. I just read someones blog and they say they may be giving up on the blogging because they have gotten to a point where they dont need the blog anymore. Then later in the post, she says she had a terrible eating day…

      Go figure.

  9. Bingo; in the same way that friends and companions influence your personality and actions in some way, so too does your support (whether virtual or physical) influence your ability to maintain your fitness.

  10. it definately gives you a target to work towards. A goal if you will.

  11. Weight LossNo Gravatar says:

    The best way to lose weight is to have a balanced diet. I don’t think dieting (as in eating less) is the solution. The best thing to do is to do exercise. We just can’t be lazy. Even walking can burn alot of calories. If we can’t make ourselves go to the gym then at least walk one hour a day.

  12. I think someone who is joining an competition or makes a blog to lose weight then he has an target, a misson or a goal he want to reach or achieve. I think that is the best way to lose weight on a properly and reguraly way.

  13. If you like competitions you can compete not only who loses more weight but who has the record in EyeToy Play (1,2 or 3). It’s a good exercising, it’s fun and if you are competitive then it’s another reason for you to play.

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