My Motivation Fund Story


By Justin Maner

October 29, 2019

The problem

My journey started with my pants ripping as I bent over to pick up something off the floor. That’s when I knew that my weight gain was finally at a point that I either had to accept it and start buying larger clothes or fight it and learn how to maintain a healthy weight. I chose to fight it. Like many others, I started trying all kinds of different programs from going to the gym to depriving myself of my favorite foods, all to no avail.

I grew up skinny as a bean pole as my parents would say and I never had to worry about how I ate. My favorite after school snack was grabbing a bag of tortilla chips and a quart of homemade salsa, finishing them both and then going on to eat a full dinner. My mom could never figure out where I was packing all of it.

But as I got older, with an office job at Amazon and several kids, how could I fit in time to exercise and use any of my mental capacity to think about eating right?

The goal

I finally stumbled on one solution that helped me lose 35 pounds over two months. I reasoned weight gain is just an equation of how many calories you eat and how many calories you burn. I decided since I’d eaten too many calories over the last few years I would just stop eating until I was back down to my healthy weight. For somebody like me who kind of likes the extremes, this really resonated, but I knew my wife would never let me go for it. So instead, I decided to cut out all of my indulgent sweets and snacks until I got back down to my healthy weight. I was 100% black-and-white about it and it really motivated me to cut back on my calories to be able to eat all of my indulgent foods again.

This worked great to get down to my healthy weight, but then I couldn’t keep the pounds off. I would let myself eat my indulgent foods again, gain weight, and then have to cut them out again to lose the weight. With each cycle it became harder and harder to do.

The research

Over the years I did a lot of research, experimented with various things, until one day Amazon had a conference where John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, explained his Whole Foods diet. The science-based approach to the ideal diet for humans for not just weight, but overall health really resonated with me. It seemed so logical and natural and something I could do for the rest of my life.

Getting to the reward

However, knowing what I wanted to do and finding the motivation to consistently do it day after day was really challenging. I needed to commit myself to new habits and a new identity. Around this time, I had a friend who was doing a 1 year no sugar challenge with his family with the reward of going to Disneyland at the end if they succeeded. Another friend was doing a 100lb weight loss challenge with $10,000 at stake if he did not achieve the goal. Both were successfully achieving their goals. That is when I discovered that there is something around fully committing yourself with a substantial reward and consequence when you feel highly motivated, to help you get past the slumps when you fall back into your old ways.

And so, I set out to create an app that would make this commitment to yourself as easy as possible. Hence, Motivation Fund was born. I hope you find it as helpful as I have in achieving whatever goal you really want to achieve.