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A Twist on Motivation: Sponsorship to Lose Weight for Charity

Sonia is on a mission to attain and maintain a healthy weight for the long term. Here she shares her journey and motivation.

So, You Plan to Lose Weight and Have Others Give Money to Your Favourite Charity ...

... as your motivation to start dieting, stay on track and attain that, so far, elusive target weight.

Of course that's fine and very commendable, but do you ever feel somewhat of a nuisance or worried that (for the time being at least), you’ve exhausted the goodwill or pockets of everyone you know during previous sponsored endeavours. Or is it that you were thinking of asking so-and-so but found out that one or more others got to that person ahead of you with their own earnest sponsorship requests?

And on top of that, maybe in the past you have secretly felt it a tad draining to be approached by person after person asking you to sponsor them to do this or that for their chosen charity. It may well be a very worthy cause but if you’re financially challenged, it’s a request you may privately feel a little awkward about because you actually want to give any money you can spare to a particular cause that is closer to your heart.

So what can you do if you can relate all too well to the above, but still need the motivation that sponsorship can bring to help you stay on course and lose those stubborn superfluous pounds? If only there was an alternative way to incentivise yourself without your friends having to put their hands in their pockets at all?

Well There is Another Way!

Indeed, you can get that all important backing, support and, dare I say, a little admiration from others by actually putting your own money where your mouth is. That is, instead of asking your friends to sponsor you and dig deep (risking sponsor fatigue) you inform them that you are sponsoring yourself to lose weight for charity and that what you would like from them is a generous sprinkling of motivation, feedback and encouragement to help you to achieve your charitable fundraising and weight loss targets. In this article, we'll refer to this method as self sponsorship.

And, it goes without saying that you must follow through in giving over your money to charity (see below for how you might arrive at what amount to donate).

So tell your friends that you earnestly need their help in holding you accountable for the money you (not they) are promising to donate to your own favourite cause. Yes - when you pointedly reiterate that they are not being asked for money as you are sponsoring yourself this time around - guess what - they'll be tickled pink!

Whilst you're at it, get specific and give them permission to hold you accountable by way of gritty but constructive criticism and reprimands as well as praise and encouragement as your progress dictates. If you fail to meet the mark, shirk or go off course without a concrete reason and don’t lose any weight (or worse gain weight) tell them to please be in your corner and help you turn things around, spurring you along all the way.

Now whether or not you feel confident and bold enough to approach others to sponsor you from their own funds, it’s a distinct possibility that some of your friends or acquaintances will feel relieved that they don’t have to feel guilty about ignoring or pretending not to see yet another request for sponsorship - especially if it's a difficult time for them financially.

Those who are guiltily experiencing some degree of sponsorship fatigue may positively welcome the opportunity of giving you moral or emotional support to achieve your weight loss aims through self sponsorship. As such they will likely gladly receive and respond to you updating them, say every week or two, to report on how things are going knowing that you are not demanding or begging for any monetary contribution from them whatsoever, perhaps freeing them to support their own chosen charity that bit more.

We all understand that by making plans to lose weight public, and by linking it to raising funds for a good cause, there is much more incentive and, lets face it, pressure to keep on track so as not to disappoint yourself, your friends or the charity in question.

Notwithstanding the above, you may have misjudged your friends in terms of sponsor fatigue and when they know of your self sponsorship endeavours, they may indeed voluntarily elect to sponsor you financially to some extent or other, and of course that means more money for your charity - wonderful!

The Why and How of Motivational Self Sponsored Weight Loss For Charity?

Why? - Just think about it. You could get all the incentive and support you would have got (maybe even more) had you "twisted arms" to get sponsorship for losing weight in the more conventional way. And surely, motivation wise it beats going it alone in circumstances where you are too uncomfortable to ask others for money.


  • To begin with, do your research and decide on a sensible weight loss plan.
  • Set yourself a realistic and healthy amount of weight to lose, based on what is officially considered a healthy weight according to you age, gender, height etc.
  • Set your start and end dates with interim targets as necessary
  • Weight yourself and keep a note of it
  • Even better, write your weight down and display the dates, your plan etc somewhere at home and/or work where you will see it on a daily basis so you don’t “forget” about your challenge. Additionally you might opt to share your targets and progress on social media for all to see.
  • As is always advised, and rightly so no doubt, do check with a doctor or physician who knows your background and health issues before you get started on changing your food intake.
  • Choose a local, national or international charity that you feel passionate about and set yourself a target for how much money you want to donate – obviously if you want to give £20.00 and your target is to lose 20 lbs in weight, they you would sponsor yourself to give £1.00 for every pound lost.
  • Make a list of those you want to approach and briefly but clearly explain what you are doing and why, emphasising that what you need for this particular challenge is not money but backup and support. Let them know your target, your time frame and importantly the frequency of updates you will be sending. Don't just say you'll let them know at the end!

More on Putting Your Own Money Where Your Mouth Is

In selecting an amount to donate, you can simple choose an arbitrary amount but better still how about pointedly assessing your income, planned essential and incidental expenditure and come up with as realistic and generous a figure as you can adhere to. Try and make it as substantial an amount as you can reasonably afford during the time-frame in question. Another option would be to give, say, 10% of your income for the duration of your weight loss plan.

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Deliberately and carefully contemplating how much you can give to the charity of your choice is another way of making yourself more accountable in this quest to self-sponsor your diet.

Motivation wise, arguably the best part is ...

if your friends are aware that you are stretching yourself (sensibly and not recklessly) to give as substantial an amount as you possibly can, they in turn will be more motivated to offer up constructive, consistent , heartfelt support and encouragement to spur you on in your quest to get lighter, healthier and hotter!

Self Sponsorship to Lose Weight – What’s in it for you?

  1. Supporting a charity to continue their good works - the feel good factor comes into play because you know there are people and causes out there that desperately need the help and you are playing a part to assist in making things happen or change.
  2. Motivation from others without insisting they give money on this occasion
  3. Less risk of possibly being somewhat of a nuisance to others who may have been approached on a number of occasions within a short space of time
  4. Helps divert you from self sabotage or abandoning your diet prematurely because you don't to let anybody, or yourself down
  5. Having to be accountable and report back to others can be just the boost you need to keep going (NB: you might also write to the charity and tell them about your plans if you feel this could help)
  6. Satisfaction and pride on meeting goals and giving yourself a pat on the back in the process

What’s in it For Others

For your friends and acquaintances, they get to support your charity without any financial outlay on their part. This way they can feel good about supporting you and perhaps also give more to their own chosen charities than would have been the case if they felt morally bound to support you and others like you, but had limited funds available.

For the Charity, no doubt, every penny counts and they get to continue their good works.

Don’t we all love a win/win all round!

Although It's For a Good Cause

All That Said, Let’s Get This Straight

It's important to stress that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking others to sponsor you financially to do something for charity, and supporting others in this way is likewise absolutely the right thing to do whenever you can. If you’re comfortable to ask others that’s fantastic as no doubt there’s potential to raise much more money if you have a sizeable group of people sponsoring you than just you sponsoring yourself (assuming you haven’t just yet won the lottery!) So, please do go ahead if you comfortable with a group fundraising method.

This page simply gives you an alternative which might come in handy at times.

And listen - if you do go the self sponsorship route suggested here, you don’t have to restrict yourself to just self sponsorship. You can have the best of both worlds as it’s entirely up to you if you want to singularly sponsor yourself or ask your acquaintances to support you at the same time as you sponsor yourself. It's your call.

Other Stuff to Consider

You might elect to take before and after photos – or take a shot of yourself standing on your weighing scales with your current weight clearly visible on the scales (like a shot of your feet and the scale reading) and send this to your friends and family with each weekly/bi-weekly update.

You need to put this in your own diary and maybe ask them to put it in their diary too so that if they don’t hear from you one week they can get in touch to say hey what’s happening/why no update/keep going/give words of encouragement/gently or vehemently chastise you. Whatever you want them to do to encourage you when the going gets tough, you can let them know at the outset.

And Here's Another Twist (perhaps as a thank you)

Albeit this is a great opportunity to support a charity of your own choosing, another thing you might consider is asking a friend or relative for the name of their favourite charity and split your self sponsorship money between their cause and yours.

You might explain to the friend that this is being done in appreciation for all their past help in whatever area they have may have assisted you or indeed others. This might make things more relevant for your friend, and for you it could motivate and drive you that bit more because you won’t want to let your friend or their cause down.

So have a good think about this twist as your friend will probably be quite delighted and uplifted that you think enough of them to put yourself out a bit to give a half (or even all) of your self sponsorship funds to their favourite cause.

Speaking of Alternatives - Twisting the Twist!

Now what if you want to go it alone with sponsoring yourself and not involve those closest to you. Some people need a private challenge. Maybe they have asked for support in the past and that support has not been forthcoming for some reason, or maybe they just want to surprise friends at the end of the challenge but still need "anonymous" motivation along the way.

If that’s your position right now, or something similar, feel free to post a comment on this page at regular intervals and the writer, and hopefully others who visit this page, will respond and give you encouragement in your personal self sponsorship charitable weight loss challenge.

If you choose to try this route, as a guide, your first comment might include some of the following info

  • Your name/nickname, how much weight you want to lose, the weight loss time-frame, how much you want to raise. You could include the name of the charity and/or anything else you deem relevant.
  • Feel free to briefly give info on any particular challenges/obstacles you are striving to overcome in your weight loss battle as this can help others to target their advice and encouragement. It’s optional if you want to include your actual weight or just state how your weight differs from your first or previous post.
  • Last but not least, as you post your initial comment and subsequent updates, do have a scan through other comments and see if you can give some encouragement or tips to keep on track. It's all good.

Knowing Your Weight Loss Sponsorship and Motivation Options

To recap and to be very, very clear, this page is definitely not about knocking the tried and tested models for charity runs and the like as these are fantastic ways to support worthy causes and interact with like minded others. This page is about options for those who for any reason are unable, uncomfortable or not wanting to participate in this way, but still want motivation and support from friends or others to get healthier through reducing their weight at the same time as giving financial support to a worthy cause.

So, are you now ready to do yourself, your charity and your friends a favour? Then do use the two sets of bullet points above to guide you on getting on board with the objectives and twists outlined.

July 2017 Update

Well folks - the 12 weeks are up and £18 has been donated to Medecins Sans Frontieres and likewise £18 to WaterAid the two charities chosen for sponsorship (the images relate). Of the 16 lb intended weightloss, 11.5 lbs was lost, so good and not so good new there.

However, the challenge will continue and fingers crossed that pretty soon there be another donation to each of the chosen charities, as per the original aspirations.

Overall, a very worthwhile exercise in self sponsorship as it's the most weight the writer has lost in such a timeframe which is very encouraging. See the comments section below for how things progressed from the outset to the end of the original timeframe.

Watch this space. More weight-loss and funds to charity will follow.

Water Aid Donation

Water Aid Donation

Medecins Sans Frontieres Donation

Medecins Sans Frontieres Donation

Post Challenge Update - September 2017

Yippee - I reached my target weight. :-D

I feel fitter and more energetic. Clothes which were tight and uncomfortable now glide over my hips and look so much better - even if I do say so myself. I'm chuffed and proud that I continued with my eating plan even though I didn't reach the target weight right on time - more exercise would have helped but I did do some.

This method of motivation certainly works for me - I've learned from it (and am thinking about how I can apply it to other challenges too). It's a win win for both myself and the charities supported (am sending the second installments to them now.)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Sonia Sylart

Share Your Self Sponsored Weight Loss Challenge for Charity Experience Here

Sonia Sylart (author) from UK on July 28, 2017:


I'm elated that I feel healthier, fit into my clothes better and have stuck with the plan and handed over donations to two extremely worthwhile causes - Water Aid and Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Although I didn't manage to lose 100% of the weight loss I had in mind, I did achieve around 70% and I will definitely be continuing this endeavour as I want to reach my target and donate again to both these charities.

I'm really happy to be 11.5 lbs lighter. I feel better for it and self sponsorship and updating here has turned out to be a very good way of motivating myself to keep going, even when I hit a dreaded weight loss plateau.

Of course for some this might not seem a huge amount of weight to have lost but for me it's great as, since being out of my twenties and thirties, losing weight has stopped being easy for me.

Sonia Sylart (author) from UK on July 10, 2017:


Over the last 2 weeks I shed 1 lb which is a little disappointing but most certainly I'm still headed in the right direction.

Again I think I need to be more active but this is easier said than done. At this rate it'd be a miracle if I meet my target within my desired timeframe but I'm carrying on regardless, even if I have to extend that timeframe to get there.

For the final push (2 weeks left officially) I want to increase the amount of water I drink, and exercise more. I'm still getting loads of encouragement from my lovely daughter - I couldn't have got this far without her help and would likely have given up when I hit the plateau a few weeks back so many thanks DD.

Sonia Sylart (author) from UK on June 26, 2017:


Phew - finally the scales have shifted, and in the right direction. I read up on breaking a weight loss plateau and, in a nutshell, I decided to try upping my daily protein intake and doing more exercise (I'm far too sedentary generally).

This seems to have done the trick and over the last 2 weeks I have lost 2.5 lbs, having been at a standstill for the previous few weeks. It's been really hot in the UK recently and so it was a real effort to make myself do the exercise (HIIT) but I managed 9 sessions in total over the last two weeks.

This is the quickest I've ever managed to break a weight loss plateau - actually it may even be the first time I've managed to break one!) I must say that knowing I need to update here on a regular basis is a tremendous incentive for me and I intend to carry on :-D

Sonia Sylart (author) from UK on June 13, 2017:


:-( For the last two weeks the scales have not move an iota !

I'm still eating right and so it's daunting, to say the least, when the scales won't budge. After noting the stagnation at the end of week 5, I was hoping that some exercise would do the trick but obviously the two HIIT sessions I did last week wasn't enough. Drat!

On the bright side I haven't actually gained any weight and in general I'm feeling a lot less bloated than I used to. Right now I'm off to do a bit of research as to how to conquer a weight loss plateau as I'm determined to get over this hump sooner rather than later and keep moving towards my goal.

Sonia Sylart (author) from UK on June 03, 2017:

Hi Chin Chin

I'm trying to be a bit more active to help with the weight loss. Many thanks for your encouragement.

Chin chin from Philippines on May 28, 2017:

Hi Sonia. This is the first time I've read about self-sponsorship to lose weight. It's indeed one great way to get motivated.

You've done well for the past 4 weeks. Don't stop. Keep on going until you reach your goal.

Sonia Sylart (author) from UK on May 28, 2017:

This is my end of WEEK 4 UPDATE.

In total I've lost 7 lbs. (That is 4.5 lbs the first week, 1 lb the 2nd week, 1 lb the third week and 1/2 lbs (half a lb) the 4th week.

I so happy to have lost half a stone so far but I have to say that right now is a critical stage for me as, because the weight loss is trailing off, I'm concerned about reaching a plateau and not losing any more, even though I may keep on track.

This has happened to me in the past - I get to a plateau and stop losing weight for a couple weeks and then I get more and more disheartened and eventually give up on the diet.

I'm afraid I'm approaching the point where I absolutely need to be positive rather than negative and darn well make sure I don't give up this time - got to remember I'm not purely doing this for me!

Sonia Sylart (author) from UK on May 16, 2017:

Many thanks Nell - I'm resolved to staying on track.

Nell Rose from England on May 15, 2017:

Nice one! and something I would never have thought of. to sponsor yourself is different, and I wish you all the luck in the world, go girl!

Sonia Sylart (author) from UK on May 15, 2017:


In total thus far I’ve shed 5.5 lbs so I’m on the way. Although most of loss took place in the first week, (only 1 lb lost in week 2) I’m still headed in the right direction which feels good.

I particularly welcome my daughter keeping an eye on me when I get tempted to have just a taste stuff that I shouldn’t really be eating. I’ll say I’ll have just a slither and she’ll give me that disapproving look! This helps lots as I guess we all know how just one slither of something moorish leads to eating a whole heap.

Sonia Sylart (author) from UK on May 15, 2017:

Many thanks for your encouragement Linda.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 09, 2017:

What a great idea! I love your plan. Good luck with your weight loss, Sonia.

Sonia Sylart (author) from UK on May 05, 2017:

Hi I'm Sonia and I'm looking to lose 16 lbs in total, giving myself a 12 week time-frame to achieve this.

When(!) I meet my target I'll be giving £50 to charity which averages out at approximate £3 per pound lost. This is to be split between Water Aid (my daughter's choice) and Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Here I go...

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