My gym's 'diet challenge' can fuck off!

(69 Posts)

7 weeks ago I signed up to my (women-only) gym's 'Diet Challenge'. It's a tenner to enter and you get recipe ideas. Each week everyone gets weighed and their weight gets displayed on the wall. After 2 months, the person who has lost the most weight wins a facial, a blow dry and their nails done. Not too shabby.

30 of us signed up.

I worked my arse off. I attended the gym 5 x per week and was the strictest with food I've ever been in my life. I'm 5ft1. My start weight was 9st6. 7 weeks later, my weight is now 8st4. I have the highest percentage weight loss from the 30 entries. Some of the other entries began the challenge at 19 stone and did very well but have a lower percentage weight loss.

Now, because I haven't lost the most weight overall (one of the 19 stone entries lost more weight than I did - in sheer number), I win bollock all.

AIBU to think this is an unhealthy way for them to judge weight loss? I would have to have become anorexic to have any chance of winning over the 19 stone entries.

Whereisegg Fri 27-Jun-14 17:43:54

It seems like you only think it's unfair because you didn't win tbh.

magoria Fri 27-Jun-14 17:46:01

Isn't your prize that you are now an amazing 8st4 where as a 19st person STILL will have stones to lose?

MrsLettuce Fri 27-Jun-14 17:46:29

7 weeks ago I signed up to my (women-only) gym's 'Diet Challenge'. It's a tenner to enter and you get recipe ideas. Each week everyone gets weighed and their weight gets displayed on the wall. After 2 months, the person who has lost the most weight wins a facial, a blow dry and their nails done. Not too shabby.

Sounds like it was quite clear what you were getting into TBH. But, yes, to judge on % loss would probably be a better idea - best mention it to your gym.

wonderingsoul Fri 27-Jun-14 17:46:45

It does seem to look your throwing your toys out of the pram.

Fwiw... I'd count it the way they have to tbf.

Burren Fri 27-Jun-14 17:47:05

Well, unless the contest specified that it would give the prize to the person with the greatest percentage of overall body weight loss, YABU, surely. You can't think it reasonable that the gym wouldn't allow 19 stone people to enter because it was unfair on lighter people...?

Delphiniumsblue Fri 27-Jun-14 17:48:29

You got the best prize- you lost the weight!

CheeryName Fri 27-Jun-14 17:48:45

7 weeks ago? You still have a week left... Take some cakes in for the front runner. After all it's not over until the fat lady sings.

MarshaBrady Fri 27-Jun-14 17:49:19

It still sounds like the 19 stone put in a sterling effort to lose so much and deserves to win.

Fwiw... I'd count it the way they have to tbf.

Can you explain why? I want to understand. The gym won't explain (I've asked).

Whereisegg Fri 27-Jun-14 17:50:31

grin cheeryname

MarshaBrady How do you calculate 'effort' in order to reach that conclusion?

MrsStatham Fri 27-Jun-14 17:50:50

I think you have a valid point. However you win anyway because you're 8 stone 4 lbs. Congratulations.

MarshaBrady Fri 27-Jun-14 17:51:06

person obvs! missed out person.

TheCatsBollocks Fri 27-Jun-14 17:51:19

It was who had lost the most weight not the highest percentage.

MarshaBrady Fri 27-Jun-14 17:51:24

How much did they lose Womble?

MarshaBrady Fri 27-Jun-14 17:51:57

Losing weight is hard work, no matter where you start isn't it?

CheeryName I love you.

JellyStrawberries Fri 27-Jun-14 17:52:34

The whole idea of that competition seems flawed to me - what if you'd lost the most weight and been rewarded with the prize but damaged your health? I sort of think that, like Slimming World etc, they should only let people on that sort of programme if they are overweight to begin with - which it doesn't sound like you were. Rewarding people for losing weight isn't a good idea if they don't need to lose it. But this will probably be a great boost for the person who started off at 19 stone and needs plenty of encouragement to get down to a healthy weight. So I think the competition is unreasonable, yes, but not for the reason you state in your OP.

Whereisegg Fri 27-Jun-14 17:52:46

I agree that op has a valid point, but she didn't object until she found out she hadn't won.

Thanks MrsStatham. I'm just shocked at the message the gym is sending. Why did they take my money and let me sign up if they knew I had no chance of winning anyway?

dylanthedragon Fri 27-Jun-14 17:53:52

YANBU. They use percentages on the Biggest Losers TV programmes. It does seem unfair to do it on total weight loss given that to match the numbers of the larger entrants would take you into an unhealthy weight range.

Maybe they had seen it as more of an incentive for those who havery a lot of weight to lose. Not exactly fair on you, especially as you had you pay for the privilege of entering the competition.

You could argue that the % weight loss would be unfair to larger people because they would have to loose so much more weight than you to win... 5% of 9 stone is a lot less than 5% of 19 stone.

Glittertwins Fri 27-Jun-14 17:55:52

Maybe it should have been clearer that the winner would be the most weight off, rather than the greatest percentage lost. Personally, I would have expected the challenge to be the greatest proportion lost to make the challenge equal but evidently that wasn't the case here. You've still lost a lot of weight and are quite rightly pleased with yourself so take it on the chin and keep up the good work.

Billygoats Fri 27-Jun-14 17:56:48

YABU to be annoyed if they stated at the beginning that they would judge this way and not overall.

But YANBU in thinking its a crap way to judge weight loss. As in theory someone 19 stone would find it easier to lose 1 stone than someone at 9 stone.

fuzzpig Fri 27-Jun-14 17:57:19

I agree percentage would've been better but I would've asked to clarify that at the start of the competition or when signing up I think.

MarshaBrady Fri 27-Jun-14 17:57:22

Maybe they should have categories.

MrsLettuce Fri 27-Jun-14 17:59:34

You could argue that the % weight loss would be unfair to larger people because they would have to loose so much more weight than you to win... 5% of 9 stone is a lot less than 5% of 19 stone.

One could also argue that % loss would be unfair to lose with lower starting weights - someone of 20 stone could lose 50% of their body weight(although hopfully not in such a short period), someone of 10 stone simply couldn't match that percentage without becoming really rather ill.

CoffeeTea103 Fri 27-Jun-14 17:59:50

Each week when the weight is calculated in terms of stone and not percentage why didn't you question it then? Surely they have not mislead you if every week it's calculated the same way.

HawthornLantern Fri 27-Jun-14 18:02:22

I take your point OP and don't think you're being entirely unreasonable but the more I think about it from the gym's point of view I don't think they are either.

For sake of argument, say one person was 10 stone and one was 20 stone. In 7 weeks, it is feasible to shed 1 stone and that's 10% of 10 stone. But the 20 stone person would have to lose 2 stones in 7 weeks to match a 10% loss of body weight and even if that's possible it might not be a safe rate of loss.

So, no, I doubt the gym stopped to think that some of their competitors would have ended up losing a dangerous amount of weight if they won the "most weight lost in absolute terms" but they, perhaps subconsciously, thought the challenge of losing X or Y pounds was probably as equivalent a challenge as it could be given that everyone would have had a different starting point (and different limits etc).

Our work gym used to run an annual competition for teams of people to get fit and lose Christmas weight. The odd team would gain weight but most people seemed to find it fun and maybe having 4 person teams (self chosen admittedly) might have helped even things out - though one of my friends confessed that her last team was never going to do all that well as they had 2 super fit people with almost nothing to lose.

Maybe there need to be two categories and two potential winners.

WorraLiberty Fri 27-Jun-14 18:03:59

I sort of think that, like Slimming World etc, they should only let people on that sort of programme if they are overweight to begin with - which it doesn't sound like you were.

Of course she was. She has said so, unless you think you know better confused

You can still win, get your arm amputated

MarshaBrady Fri 27-Jun-14 18:06:26

What's your percentage and how many stone is that for the 19 stone person to win?

ShakeYourTailFeathers Fri 27-Jun-14 18:06:48

YANBU - we have a weight loss comp at work at the mo, and we do it by % of bodyweight lost. Much fairer IMHO.

GertrudeBell Fri 27-Jun-14 18:12:32

OP did you really go to the gym 5x per week and restrict your food intake to win a facial?

Or did you do it to lose weight?

If it's the latter, congratulations on achieving your goal. If it's the former ... hmm confused <lost for words>

curiousuze Fri 27-Jun-14 18:14:28

Yep you've been robbed, not fair! You really must have gone for it - impressive whether you won or not OP.

GertrudeBell Fri 27-Jun-14 18:14:40

Oh and it seems perfectly obvious to me that "person who lost the most weight" means "person who lost the most weight".


JellyStrawberries Fri 27-Jun-14 18:25:47

worra, I thought 9st6 at 5ft1 wasn't quite into the overweight category, but even if it is I think this kind of competition doesn't necessarily promote healthy weight loss but potentially crash dieting which may be damaging and unsustainable. I think a steady weight loss is better and more likely to be long lasting.

PurplePidjin Fri 27-Jun-14 18:27:13

Why did they take my money and let me sign up if they knew I had no chance of winning anyway?

Because they're a business trying to make money?

HermioneWeasley Fri 27-Jun-14 18:33:34

Agree with Gertrude - I don't see anything ambiguous about their wording.

How could they know there wasn't a chance you woukd win? How could they know what sort of discipline and commitment the entrants would all have?

steff13 Fri 27-Jun-14 18:34:50

Because they're a business trying to make money?

I would have thought the money collected would have gone to fund the prizes, not profit for the gym.

I think regardless how they calculated the loss, it would have been unfair to some people. # of lbs. lost seems unfair to the OP, but a % of weight lost may have been unfair to a heavier person. The most fair thing, IMO, would have been to have two winners, one who lost the largest number of lbs., and one who lost the largest % of weight.

That said, it was just a contest for fun and motivation, I wouldn't be too upset about it.

A facial, blow dry and manicure won't cost £300. I bet the gym keep the change

Darkesteyes Fri 27-Jun-14 18:43:10

I go to a Slimming World group and this week they mentioned "healthy competition"

This is why I don't always stay to class and I only go once a fortnight. Its taken me ten months to lose 2 stone 4 and I started off at 16 stone 8 so you don't always lose it faster just cos you are bigger (ive done sw before and lost 10 stone but that was starting off at 21 stone) I don't like all this competition bollocks. Its a breeding ground for eating disorders IMO.

And over the whole of last December I only put on 3 pounds and lost 4 in the first week of Jan then my weight loss slowed down again Same with my recent birthday ... I only put on a pound and I had Domonos cake and biscuits before going back on plan.

Because the slower the weight comes off the less easily it goes back on.....I will settle for that deal

jessiemummy28 Fri 27-Jun-14 19:22:32

% weight loss is definitely the most sensible way to judge a competition like that! DH and I went on a diet last year, he was overweight, I just wanted to trim down and tone up. He found it quite easy to lose weight whereas I didn't have much to lose it was much tougher. Judging on lbs lost seems pretty ridiculous to me!

steff13 Fri 27-Jun-14 19:30:18

Men generally lose weight more easily than women.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 27-Jun-14 19:37:13

worra assuming the figures the OP gave are correct, she started of with a BMI of just less than 25, so she wasn't overweight at the start of the competition.

JellyStrawberries Sat 28-Jun-14 07:33:55

That's what I thought, Rafal and I do think it's irresponsible of the gym to have the competition set up like this. The OP says she has done intense daily workouts and severely restricted her food which sounds like a punishing and unsustainable regime. I don't believe that's a good idea for the gym to be encouraging - sensible and steady weight loss is a better idea and exercise which is manageable and enjoyably challenging.

Cabrinha Sat 28-Jun-14 07:50:31

She didn't say she restricted food, she said she was strict with it.
You can't judge whether her weight is OK or not, only she can. I'm 2" taller and at 9st 6 I would have a big belly overhang, a roll of fat under my armpits / bra and a wobbly spotty arse! At 8st 4 I'd be super trim and really any more loss is be bony. In terms of actual health, 9st 6 might not be affecting my organs, but I'd be unhappy with the wobbling bits!
Her actual weight is her business.

But as for the competition... YABU. Rules were stated. They took your money because they're a business. You got the weight you wanted. They didn't force you to have an eating disorder. So...your issue is what exactly?!!

Montybojangles Sat 28-Jun-14 07:59:43

Seriously? You are nicely thin, and clearly very fit now. The people starting at 19 stone still have a long way to go to get to where you are.

It's hard to stick at it consistently when you have such a ways to go. Why would you want to take this away from them? They lost the most actual weight, and as you yourself say, every week it was the weights that got displayed on the wall.

It wasn't an even playing field to use % as a measure. At 19 stone to lose the same percentage weight as yourself they would have to have lost well over 2 stones. Totally unhealthy in 7 weeks and not sustainable or fair.


ForalltheSaints Sat 28-Jun-14 11:31:14

I think that the Duckworth-Lewis method should be used to judge the winner.

As the competition was set up, it doesn't matter which way the winner was calculated, it was always going to be unfair to one group or the other.

It's like running an art competition or a running race or a spelling bee for children aged up to 16 - the older kids have a far better chance of winning than the younger ones - which is why competitions like this are split up into groups, so the competitions are fair - or as fair as can be.

In the same way, wombles' gym could have split the competition up so that people like her, with only a small amount to lose, weren't competing against the 19 stone people, who would find it easier to lose more, numerically speaking. Perhaps they could have two or three 'classes' in the competition, if they hold it again?

It might be worth suggesting this to them - I think they are more likely to listen if you have a sensible suggestion, than if you just look like you are suffering from sour grapes (it could appear that way - I am not saying that is what I think). It might also be worth pointing out that people with only a little weight to lose could be put off from entering the next competition/diet challenge, if this last one is perceived to have been unfair to that group.

fascicle Sat 28-Jun-14 13:06:46

Implied acceptance. You signed up for this, parted with the cash, attended the weigh-ins and presumably checked on the figures on the wall as the competition progressed. I think you would only have grounds for complaint if there was ambiguity - e.g. if weightloss as a percentage of body weight was also included in the weekly stats.

You have got a point, but the time to raise this was before the challenge started.

MyFairyKing Sat 28-Jun-14 13:09:32

"You can still win, get your arm amputated."

I sniggered. grin

bragmatic Sat 28-Jun-14 13:10:44

I completely agree. It's a ridiculous way to measure results.

Trillions Sat 28-Jun-14 13:27:55


WorraLiberty Sat 28-Jun-14 13:35:49

worra assuming the figures the OP gave are correct, she started of with a BMI of just less than 25, so she wasn't overweight at the start of the competition.

Oh I see. I forget that most people tend to judge by their BMI nowadays.

I never go by that as I prefer to 'eyeball' it if you see what I mean?

There are fat people around whose BMI doesn't necessarily reflect their 'figure' and at 5ft 1" weighing 9st 6lb, the OP could well have felt she was one of those people.

I'm 5ft 3" and as soon as my weight hits around 8st 7lb, that's when I know I need to cut back because my zips and buttons start to get tight.

differentnameforthis Sat 28-Jun-14 13:41:56

The winner was the person who lost the most weight. Not %. Actual weight.

You are trying to find a loophole that doesn't exist.

But urgh at the price. Does everyone think that all women want are facial, blow dries & pretty nails?

NoodleOodle Sat 28-Jun-14 13:47:31

Take it as a bit of fun and be thankful that it worked as a good incentive for you. Give yourself a prize of facial, nails, hair. There's nothing else you can do really as they've followed the rules as they stated them so to complain WBU.

In future, suggest categories and % loss,, if they can find enough people to sign up.

sharonthewaspandthewineywall Sat 28-Jun-14 13:50:50

Just because your clothes get tight doesn't still make you fat Worra. If you were wearing a child's size they would get tight doesn't meant you are fat

differentnameforthis Sat 28-Jun-14 14:11:35


WorraLiberty Sat 28-Jun-14 14:12:43

Hahaha! grin

I'm talking about my adult size 8/10 clothes. I'm not in the habit of wearing kid's clothes...

When they start to get tight because I'm gaining weight, I reign in the not so healthy food and start exercising more.

My point is, when I start to get fatter around my stomach (mostly) my BMI doesn't reflect the fact I need to lose some weight.

carabos Sat 28-Jun-14 14:22:31

My gym did the same thing during a 12 week boot camp. They explained by saying that their main goal for boot camp was to attract and motivate people who needed to lose weight - give them an initial boost which would carry them through a longer programme. Other people with little or no weight to lose were welcome, but knew they were unlikely to win a prize.

Two main differences - the competition was included in the price of the boot camp, and the prizes were things like T shirts and water bottles - tokens and a bit of recognition rather than making it all about the prize. They wanted the main reward to be the successful weightloss and sense of achievement.

I would wonder about the reasoning behind this type of competition, tbh.

I hated this when I went to WW, whilst breast feeding and after being on steroids.

But, WW reps aren't qualified in what is healthy etc, gym instructors supposedly are.

I would question if they knew anything about effective weight loss and they wouldn't be someone who I would want dietary advice from.

That isn't something I'd want from a gym I am paying for.

itsbetterthanabox Sat 28-Jun-14 14:45:41

Your annoyed that you didn't win a weight loss competition. I assume the point is to become a healthy weight. Which you already were... So you just wanted to look thinner whereas other people were actually aiming on becoming healthier. I don't think giving you a prize for becoming thinner would be a good thing tbh.

Scousadelic Sat 28-Jun-14 14:51:41

As someone who has been 19sone in the past I think YABU. Do you have any idea how much courage it takes to even go into a gym at that size? Have you any clue how hard it is to exercise when you are carrying all that extra weight? So it is not necessarily easy for them.

The terms of the competition were very clearly set out, you didn't win and are now being a bad sport

Darkesteyes Sat 28-Jun-14 15:05:03

Birds the diet industry badly needs regulating.

busyboysmum Sat 28-Jun-14 15:10:43

Yanbu. The Biggest Loser programme started measuring weight loss like this in the first series. Then it was pointed out that it was a ridiculous way to find a winner as clearly those who started off the heaviest would always win. So they changed it to percentage of body weight lost which is clearly the better way to do it. Sounds like they haven't thought it throughpproperly at your gym.

busyboysmum Sat 28-Jun-14 15:13:06
Darkesteyes Sat 28-Jun-14 15:19:18

Do drug and alcohol counsellors hold competitions to see which client can stay clean or sober the longest. No? Then why is it ok to do it to overweight people.

Why is it done AT ALL!

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