Can a “Nuisance Fee” Help?

Okay, let’s play a little game… Admit what you would do under this scenario: You go out to a buffet dinner and there is a dessert bar present. There is no extra charge for indulging in the desserts, whether you only have one or have a bunch. By a show of hands, how many of you would likely take several desserts back to the table? My hand went up too. Now, let’s suppose there is a fee to partake of those desserts. If the fee were one buck for unlimited desserts, by a show of hands, how many of you would still go up there and bring back several desserts? My hand went up again. Now, let’s change the fee to $5 bucks extra for each dessert. First of all, I would bet the $ 5 bucks would deter many from going to the dessert bar at all, and there is very little chance that anyone would come back with 3-5 different desserts.

“Nuisance fees” would be considered to be come amount of money that is not astronomical, yet may give pause to people before spending this money. Insurance companies have to a large extent figured out what co-pays would dissuade people from going in to see their doctors.

So, how about a self-imposed “nuisance fee” to stop us from reaching for food/drink sources that we know will derail our weight control efforts? How about every time you go into the pantry for a high-carb snack or you pour yourself that glass of wine, you need to pony up $3-5 dollars into a jar in your kitchen. The proceeds cannot be spent on you, but rather, the money needs to be donated to some really good cause. This provides a “win” under either scenario….if you decide to derail your weight control efforts, some one else benefits. However, if you forego the derailing behavior patterns, there is a “win” in this for you.

The co-morbidities of poor weight control will ultimately cost lots more than a “nuisance fee”. Get that jar ready for your house and try to keep it empty.

Dr. Robert Posner One of the world’s leading medical weight loss researchers, Robert Posner, MD, operates his state-of-the-art weight loss clinic, Serotonin Plus, in the heart of Burke, Virginia, in the suburban Washington area.

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