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Lose weight with cheering fans

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

About 56 percent of Americans say they want to lose weight, including 18 percent who want to lose “a lot” of weight, according to a 2006 Gallup poll. Many of those people experiment with various weight-loss diets.

But diets rarely achieve lasting success. The pounds may drop, but they tend to inch their way back onto our bodies as we regress.

While there are many reasons people struggle to stick with a diet, the challenge gets tougher when individuals try to go it alone. That’s why a growing number of online resources have sprung up that enable a dieter’s friends and family to provide support.

Case in point: a new program called CarrotMe! from Wellfolio Inc. (www.wellfolio.com). After you sign up for the free online tool, you can track your progress in achieving your weight-loss objectives. To encourage you to persevere, you can enlist friends and family to pledge “carrots” on Wellfolio’s website—rewards such as spa treatments, gift certificates or other goodies that you’ll earn for surpassing your goals.

Your supporters’ cheerleading can pay off. Dieters who know that their friends and family are rooting for them are 22 percent more likely to keep at it than those without a fan base, a University of Pittsburgh study found.

Raise the stakes to lower the pounds

Cheering fans may flood you with good feelings and fuel your discipline to continue your diet. But for some people, negative motivation works even better.

An economics professor at Yale University, Barry Nalebuff, believes that a better way to lose weight is to risk sacrificing something that you value dearly if you fail. His theory is catching on. Some Yale colleagues started a website (www.stickk.com) with the slogan, “Put a contract out on yourself!”

Participants can decide what price they’ll pay if they do not meet their weight-loss goal. For ex-ample, their contract can compel them to donate to charity. Or, if they’re masochists, they can commit to donating a set amount to a presidential candidate that they oppose.

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