Christmas dinner (Image: vivienviv0 / Pixabay)

For many Americans, the holiday season poses a dilemma. Do you dive into the delicious foods, including cookies, cakes, and all the tempting but fattening side dishes that make their way to the holiday table, resolving to drop the gained pounds in the new year? Or do you fight the urge to indulge in the most indulgent foods?

If you are in the latter camp and are girding for the struggle, a company called HealthyWage is offering to help you meet your goals. How? By sponsoring what they call the Holiday Stay Strong Challenge,” a contest that could put cold hard cash in your pocket just for sticking to your guns.

The challenge, which runs from Nov. 22 to Dec. 26, is open to everyone. Upon completion, one randomly selected person will receive the whopping $12,256 jackpot for losing any amount of weight, or just for maintaining their weight with no more than a 2% weight gain, over the 5-week challenge period that runs through the notoriously trying holiday gluttony season. Participants only need to submit two verified weights: once at the start of the challenge and once at the end of the challenge. Participants can sign up for the challenge online at and then quickly and easily submit verified data weight via the company’s mobile app, which is available on both iOS and Android. To up the odds of winning, every participant can earn additional sweepstakes entries toward the $12,256 grand prize drawing in various ways, including weighing-in weekly.

So far, the company has paid out $6 million cash in 2021 to winners who have collectively lost over 434,000 pounds. Since company’s inception in 2009, it has paid out $55 million.

Caveat Emptor

If you read some of the reviews of HealthyWage, you find unsurprisingly that some former participants are unhappy with their experience. One feature of the program, which allows you to “bet” on your weight loss outcome, receives much of the criticism. The Better Business Bureau chronicles the complaints that have been filed against the company, each followed by HealthyWage’s response.

At the same time, a number of major media outlets appear have endorsed the program. CNN has an article that recounts the adventures of a family who won $10,000 after losing 255 pounds. And Fox News, in a feature that examines the effectiveness of HealthyWage and similar sites, writes, “The effectiveness of the program is in line with the Mayo Clinic study: money talks when it comes to weight loss.”