Three years ago, Nintendo released a videogame that would change my life.
On May 21, 2008, I went into the Nintendo World Store here in New York City to pick up my copy of Wii Fit, intending to do a series of weekly articles tracking my "progress" with the game as I attempted to see if it would have any effect at all. To be completely honest, I was not expecting much out of Wii Fit, and I figured that after a month or so, I would wrap up my short-lived series with one final post declaring that balancing on a small step accessory and waving the Wiimote around wasn't enough to actually make you lose weight.
Boy, was I wrong!
Simply weighing myself daily was enough to motivate me to make some changes, and while the exercises included in Wii Fit weren't exactly what you'd call strenuous, it was the perfect way to ease myself into physical activity from a mostly sedentary lifestyle. And as the pounds started to slowly melt off one by one, I realized that adjusting my diet would help speed up the process. I began to eat smaller portions and cut back on soda and sweets, and within a few months, I'd dropped a significant amount of weight. And not only that, but I felt better, stronger, and more confident. Plus, my crappy posture had improved!
Running in place in my living room with the Wiimote tucked in my waistband or pocket as a makeshift pedometer was great, because I could watch TV while getting my exercise. But a friend encouraged me to take to the streets, and knowing that I could easily run for 30 minutes in Wii Fit gave me the confidence to go out and buy a pair of running shoes (with her help) and take up actual running. I'd dropped 25 pounds by simply doing Wii Fit every day and watching what I ate, but alternating that with running brought my weight down another 15 pounds to reach my goal weight of 145. I couldn't believe it. Even more amazing? I started running races in NYC, and eventually built up to running the New York City Half Marathon in under two hours!
And almost as impressive as losing the weight in the first place is that I've been able to keep it off, even years later. While I may not do the Wii Fit exercises as often as I did in the beginning, I still use it every day to weigh in and log my outside activities at the very least. I've augmented it with Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for the Xbox 360 Kinect, and I've still kept up the running. Sure, I had some problems with my knees after the half, but nothing that made me stop working out entirely and put the weight back on. I know it sounds strange to say that a videogame can be life-changing, but that's exactly how I feel about Wii Fit. Without it, I have no doubt that I would weigh close to 200 pounds right now, and be more at risk for the heart problems that run in my family. Instead, I'm in the best shape of my life, and have a videogame to thank for that.
Who would've thought, right?