The Biggest Takeaway from My $1500 Weight Loss Bet

At the end of June, I successfully won a $1500 weight loss bet. Here were the rules.

  • The bet started in the new year of 2016.
  • I had to get down to 165 lbs (down from 183 at my peak)
  • If I didn’t hit 165 lbs, I would have to pay three of my guy friends $500 each. I could not win money.

I won, and the feeling of hitting my goal on the very last morning was bordering on ecstatic. It was easily one of the happiest moment in my last couple years; I had worked insanely hard towards my goal and I’ll admit, coming in under the razor was pretty exhilarating too (although I wouldn’t do it that way again). Even better than the temporary feelings though, was the lesson I took away from it:

I was full of limiting beliefs and excuses. 

Before the weight loss bet, I had a strong idea of what I could and couldn’t do physically. I thought I couldn’t:

  • Do high intensity interval training. It’s too “intense” for me. I’d prefer to go on jogs or walks.
  • Do 3 workouts a day. What am I, my young, dashing, stallion self from college?
  • Work out 3 times a day while maintaining the same calorie intake. I would need the food to keep my energy up!!!

With $1500 on the line, my mindset completely shifted. It went from “I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do that” to “I have to do this”.  For me, $1500 was an unreasonable amount of money to lose on a bet. My mom raised 4 boys working two jobs, almost completely by herself, and we had few luxuries. We were raised to be pragmatic about spending. She would  have skewered and roasted me over a pit if she found out I had lost.  By the end of the bet, I was able to do every single of those things I thought was impossible.

Almost every excuse evaporated as well. Before, I had thought things like “I’m too tired” or  “I have no time.” For $1500, I was going to make it work no matter what. I ended up cutting most of my internet browsing/social media/video game time. Even if I had worked 12 hours that day, I would still find the energy to work out. As a nice bonus, I found that exercise actually made me more de-stressed than browsing the internet / video games do. It’s just way easier to default to the computer. The bet forced me to make the hard, but right choice.

I’ve always believed that most people are much more capable than they realize. And it’s a shame they don’t believe in themselves more. Before this bet, I was already proud of my accomplishments and I believed I’m a very capable person. But this bet showed me that I’m capable of even more than I initially thought – which is incredibly inspiring and motivating. For the next couple of months, I’m going to use a bet to keep me focused on attaining the future I want and to curb the excuses I make. I’ll also try to think critically about if the excuses I’m thinking of are BS or not.

In an ideal world, I would like for this post to inspire just one more person to reflect on their limiting beliefs and to challenge it. If this does happen for you, let me know. It’d definitely inspire me to write more and make my life more full.

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