Weight Loss Through Gaming

I used to be heavier than I currently am.  Then I lost weight and that was nice.  But a year later, I’ve put back on some weight and that’s not so good.  But it’s the New Year!  It’s practically required that I make some token gesture towards losing some extra pounds.  But while most people would do something silly like sign up for a gym membership or buy some jogging bottoms and trainers in bloody January, I am taking a much more sensible approach.

It’s the same approach that I took to lose the weight in the first place.

I am going to play games.

Obligatory reference to Final Fantasy XIV, one of the many games I play to lose weight.

Obligatory reference to Final Fantasy XIV, one of the many games I play to lose weight.

I should stress that this is not my entire plan of action.  In fact, it will be coupled with adherence to fewer calories eaten each day.  The real trick is the two complementing each other so perfectly.  It all begins with the understanding that losing weight is not as difficult for most people as it’s made out to be.  Growing up, it was drilled into me that losing weight was a challenge.  That it was somehow hard to accomplish.  Being naturally lazy, I wasn’t exactly inclined to put in much effort.

But it’s really not difficult at all.  It’s maths, plain and simple.  Calories in versus calories out.  Pay no attention to these fad diets or news reports or internet articles that say otherwise.  If you eat fewer calories than your body requires to maintain its current size, you will lose weight.  Nothing else matters for pure weight-loss purposes.  I’m not suggesting that you eat your entire daily calorie allowance in the form of bacon, because that would be stupid.  Delicious, but stupid.  Plus you’d be hungry as hell.

It’s the hungriness bit that’s the kicker.  If I’m hungry, it’s going to suck trying to lose weight because… well, I don’t like being hungry.  Luckily, gaming can solve that problem.

Ginger Nuts are one thing I can never resist, pangs or no.  I can and will eat a whole pack.

Ginger Nuts are one thing I can never resist, pangs or no. I can and will eat a whole pack.

We’ve all been there.  Absorbed in a game for hours on end, emerging after quite some time and wondering where the day has gone.  For me, it’s usually when my body starts making demands of me, normally in the form of input or output required, if you catch my meaning.  But the great part is that, as opposed to the stupid-ass fake hungry that my body will normally throw at me, this is the proper “no seriously eat something” hungry that normal-sized people get.

So gaming has a purpose as a distraction tool first and foremost.  Since I can quite happily spend my free time gaming fairly intensely, this is a win-win situation.  But calorie control and sitting on my arse aren’t going to cut it on their own.  I mean, they could, but that would involve eating much less than I am comfortable with in a day.  So the second benefit comes to the fore – the Wii Fit!

Don’t judge me.  Or it.  I fucking hate exercise, sports and a large portion of the outdoors.  Wii Fit gets around this by being technically a game (which I can get good at, have high scores in, etc.), has things that aren’t sports and is done completely indoors.  It’s effectively step aerobics, stretching and yoga in various forms.  I don’t touch the latter two myself, sticking solely to the former.  By playing this particular game, not only am I distracted, but I’m also burning calories that I can either choose to leave burned or eat back later on.

I have tried Hula and am excellent at it, but by GOD I look stupid.

I have tried Hula and am excellent at it, but by GOD I look stupid.

Living a fairly sedentary lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t get healthier.  You can easily rack up the recommended half an hour of activity per day on a Wii Fit.  For calorie requirements, meal and exercise tracking, I highly recommend MyFitnessPal.  Using this combination of gaming and a steady daily deficit of 500 to 750 calories, I was able to lose 4 and a half stone over the course of 9 months.  For those of you who use silly forms of measurement, that’s 63lbs or 28.5kg.

For anyone who dismisses this as being unhealthy?  Bugger off, it’s healthier than being fat.  Anyone who criticises its lack of strength training and oh god you need to eat protein or you will end up skinnyfat and- SHUT UP.  My only concession is that I do believe that calorie control was the defining reason I actually lost the weight, not the gaming itself.  But if it hadn’t been for games, I would certainly have had a harder time ignoring fake hunger pangs and I definitely wouldn’t have had any “exercise” beyond my walk to and from work each day.

I don’t claim to be a nutritionist or a doctor.  I don’t believe that this will work for everyone.  I fully understand that people will disagree with me.  But frankly, I challenge you to find fault with my results versus the amount of effort I put in.  It really is the gamer’s way to lose weight.  I did nothing but play games and eat less for 9 months and I lost a quarter of my body weight.  Suck on that, fad diets.

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About Chris Smith
A twenty-something gamer from the North-East of Scotland. By day, I’m a Computer Technician at a local IT recycling charity, where I fix and build PCs. Outside of that, most of my time is spent either sleeping or gaming, which I try accomplish in equal amounts.

  • SashimiSensei

    Those are very impressive numbers! Well done. 

    I tried a very similar weight loss regime, but instead of reducing calorie intake, I shook things up but increasing my intake of Indian takeaways, pizza and beer. My results were not as impressive as your own, sadly.