By Cheryl Hansen
I grew up in a family of (healthy) gamblers. My uncles, my mom and dad, my brother and I all liked to play cards at holiday gatherings for as far back as I can remember. My dad built a craps table in our basement. And when I was 21, my parents celebrated by taking me to Las Vegas. I loved playing blackjack alongside my mom (she taught me how to double down).
So when I came across a website that lets you bet on your own weight loss, I was naturally excited. I was so confident in my own transformation journey that I signed up on the spot. I thought, “This is perfect! It’ll add some incentive to my process and I’ll know that on Nov. 2, I’ll be at my goal weight.”
With four days to go, I have about 15 pounds to go. I think it’s safe to say I won’t be cashing in on this one. I’m disappointed. I’m embarrassed.
And I knew better.
I don’t respond well to pressure. It’s why I never really competed as an athlete. I could run for miles until a coach paired me with someone and I’d shut down in mile one. I didn’t even dig group glasses (until YogaPod). I was cocky, too, just sure that all I needed was a little incentive. But after a month or two, that incentive felt a lot like pressure. Although I’ve been making steady progress, the realization that I wouldn’t meet my goal nearly derailed me.
It’s not over. My intention for transformation was to create lifelong changes. And the bright side to losing my bet (it even hurts to type that) is that had I reached my goal—and I pondered all kinds of crazy ways I could do it in these last few weeks—I would have declared “game over” having learned nothing at all.
It never mattered WHEN I hit my goal. Just that I did it. And what’s with this “goal weight” anyway? I want to feel good and strong and healthy. There’s no specific number attached to that—or at least there shouldn’t be. Maybe this bet has bigger rewards in store for me than a little extra cash. If this marks a change in patterns for me, if this shows me once and for all that creating a deadline for weight loss is a bad bet—that setting a number is self-defeating, then I guess it’s worth it after all.