Fitness Challenge Blog

Maintain – Don’t Gain!

Keeping the Weight Off over the Holidays

December 1, 2018 by Joseph

In 2000, the New England Journal of Medicine found that the average person gained almost a pound from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. The good news is that this is less than the five pounds that was commonly believed. The bad news is that, according to a recent American College of Preventative Medicine Article, that extra pound is typically never lost after the holidays. Additionally, we are talking averages here so half the people in the study gained more than a pound. The point of the Maintain – Don’t Gain challenge is to provide an incentive to participants who maintain their weight over the holiday season.

Solution 1: Closest participant to zero with optional biggest loser

To create this challenge, my first inclination is to use the ChallengeRunner platform to generate a challenge that will accept weight data from participants and monitor that information and display a leaderboard of participants whose calculated weight difference is closest to zero. Setting this up with the ChallengeRunner system could be accomplished using the following method:

  1. Click Create a New Challenge button
  2. Select option Generate a Weight Loss Challenge and click Next
  3. Enter name of new challenge and click Next
  4. Enter the start and end dates and click Finish
  5. Use the Add Participants button to invite participants to your challenge

If you would like to show participants who have lost weight with negative numbers, add the following two steps:

  1. Click the Edit Challenge button next to the challenge name and select option: Display leaderboard with lowest value first and click Save
  2. Click the Edit Activity button next to the Weight in Pounds activity and select option: Percent Ascending: % change from first entry to last & higher num desired

The generated challenge will show participants on the leaderboard with anyone who has lost weight at the top of the leaderboard, those who maintain their exact weight in the middle, and those who gain weight at the bottom. Since the point of the challenge is to maintain weight, the participant(s) coming closest to zero weight change should be the winner; however, you could also add a secondary award for the participant(s) who lost the most weight.

Solution 2: Acceptable weight range with weekly drawings

An alternative method to determining the winner would be to determine the winner from anyone who is within a few percentage points, higher or lower, from their starting weight. The admin could either award some small award or recognition to everyone for achieving this goal or select a participant from this range for a weekly drawing. To more clearly mark the acceptable range, use the following steps in the ChallengeRunner system:

  1. Click the Challenge Milestones button next to the challenge name
  2. Click the Add Milestone button
  3. Enter a label such as Lower Limit in the Name box
  4. Enter a negative number in the Value box such as -2 for minus two percent
  5. Click Save
  6. Click the Add Milestone button
  7. Enter a label such as Upper Limit in the Name box
  8. Enter a negative number in the Value box such as 2 for plus two percent
  9. Click Save

Now, your leaderboard will clearly show which participants are in the acceptable range. If you want to do weekly drawings, make sure you have participants weigh-in at least once each week so the system has comparison data. For this type of challenge, the leaderboard will always show the difference between the first weigh-in and the latest weigh-in.

Using either of the above techniques can help your participants maintain their daily diets over the holiday season. If nothing else, it may make them think twice about going back for seconds!

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