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How I managed to lose weight by playing computer games

April 1, 2016
Twinkly Tanya ~ How I managed to lose weight by playing computer games | Weight Loss | Healthy Life Style

Imagine being able to lose weight by playing computer games. Wouldn’t that be the perfect world? No more awkward feelings in the gym anymore, panting and sweating among all those muscular bodies. No more tedious boot camps in the park, where every citizen sees you fail to do that fiftieth fifth push-up. Instead, you’re having loads of fun on your PlayStation (or Wii, I’m no playsist), while saving money and losing weight in the process. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Yet I did just that. This month I managed to lose weight by playing computer games. Read on to find out how.

Losing weight is a continuous battle. I found that out the hard way a couple of months ago, when I started gaining weight every month instead of losing. All the hard work I had done in the months before seemed to be undone by making a few bad choices. Last month I got back on track again, mainly because of a very inspiring quote I had found:

Three months from now, you will thank yourself.

Making the right choices got easier with this mantra in mind. Finally I saw my weight drop again. However, the goal I had set for myself 1,5 years ago was to have lost 30 kg by August 2017. In order to achieve that goal, my weight should be 81,5 kg in the end. Which meant I had to step up my game a bit more. Losing 1 kg per month is nice, but it wouldn’t let me achieve my goal in time. So I started playing computer games.

Lose weight by playing computer games

Wait, wut? Isn’t playing computer games the exact opposite from what you should do in order to lose weight? Well, yeah, if you’d just snuggle up on the couch with your controller playing Assassin’s Creed it won’t be doing you any good (in the weight loss department that is, in other aspects I see lots of things being right about this image). You thought I meant games like that? Sorry for bursting that bubble, that is never going to happen.

The games I am talking about are DDR games! If you’re not an übernerd like me, these are dancing games. Instead of a controller, you use a dancing mat with arrows to step on. After choosing a song, you will see arrows appear on the screen. You will have to step on them on the exact same time they hit their target. If you do, you get points (and a cheering audience, which is always nice encouragement while working out). The better you’ll dance in rhythm, the better your score will be. You’ll even get a grade afterwards!

I hear you thinking: stepping on a bunch of arrows, can you really compare this to dancing? And will it really help me lose weight? Yes! And Yes! If you choose the right difficulty level, you’ll be sweating your pants off, I promise. Whether it will look like dancing, depends on which game you are playing. I’ve tried out several dancing games I had laying around, including the non-Konami ones. I was definitely not a fan of Street Dance and Dance Fest. The arrows were often not arranged in a very logical way, or they were not synced within rhythm at all. Very annoying. Flow Urban Dance Uprising was slightly better. I felt like dancing, but the songs were incredibly boring. Actually, they were not songs at all, but just sequences played over and over again. Boo. Dancing Stage Fever however made my heart beat a little more faster. And not only because it was a great work-out that actually raised my heart rate. Also because I loved the songs! Especially the Konami originals. And the arrows were programmed in a way that really made me feel like a dancer. Don’t expect to become the newest Tango sensation of course. It is more Zumba-like, but better.

I actually used to do this game a lot when I was a teenager. (Only then it had the name Dance Dance Revolution, hence the abbreviation DDR. Actually, the newer games also go with the name Dance Dance Revolution again, it’s confusing.) I used to be pretty good too. I loved competing with my best friend. At one point I believe we played it daily. But somehow I stopped doing it. Maybe because my room was small, although you don’t need that much room for one dance mat. I’m not sure. I was very much looking forward to start doing this game again, as I could remember all the fun I’d had with it.

When I started a month ago, I was surprised at how difficult it was! I could hardly keep up and my legs would hurt so much after just a few songs. My condition had become pretty bad… Luckily that changed quickly. After a few days of dancing, I noticed my scores went up and I had so much more stamina. After two weeks, I could even complete Paranoia and Trip Machine (fellow nerds, please applaud). These are the most insane DDR songs ever!

Twinkly Tanya ~ How I managed to lose weight by playing computer games | Weight Loss | Healthy Life Style

A month of daily work-outs

I didn’t only do DDR as an exercise. I also took 30-minute walks sometimes and I tried some Zumba work-outs on YouTube. But nothing got me going that much as DDR did. I was not focused on exercising or losing weight at all. I just wanted to beat my highest score and complete more difficult modes and have the crowd cheering for me. I mean, if you’re running 30 minutes on a treadmill, who’s cheering for you then? There’s no reward, except for your intrinsic motivation and perhaps your measurements after a while. Whenever I am on a treadmill, the only thing I can think about is when the horror will be over. But while doing this game, you’ll get a reward every few minutes for having finished yet another song. That is super motivating and only made me want to play more!

With this game and the occasional walk, I managed to complete one of my 101 goals! I worked out 30 minutes a day, five days per week for an entire month! I must say, five days per week is a bit much. I do want to continue exercise regularly, but I am thinking about three times per week. I haven’t worked out yet after completing the goal (oops), but I do want to incorporate it into my weekly schedule. I already set up a habit tracker app on my phone to help remind me to exercise.

This game is super popular on game and anime conventions, events which I love to attend! I will actually go to an animecon next week. I am planning on practicing a bit more beforehand, so I could try to shine on a real arcade machine next week. Wouldn’t it be great to have a real crowd cheering for me?

The effects on my weight

I think having a work-out that you actually love is absolutely important in order to keep up with it. I am so glad I’ve found one! But of course, I also want to see results on the scale. Well, I can tell you, the results were positive. Please keep in mind that last month was Easter and I did not cut back on eating chocolate eggs. But this morning my weight was 107,6 kg, which is a loss of 1,1 kg compared to last month! I did well! Imagine what I can do in a month without chocolate eggs!

I am so glad I am finally back on track. And I am so amazed that all it took was a video game (well, and let’s not forget the powerful quote I told you about last month). I really want to expand my collection of DDR games now. Next on my list is Dancing Stage Supernova, as it contains three of my favorite songs not in the Fever edition (for you fellow nerds who know them: they are AM-3P, Afronova and Dead End).

Have you ever played one of the DDR games before? What did you think of them? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Also, if you would like to know how much weight I will have lost after my next month of video gaming, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog. I’m aiming for losing at least 1,5 kg next month! Do you think I can do it?

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  • Reply candy April 3, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    Very interesting read, wasn’t sure what to expect, great work.

    • Tanya de Kruijff
      Reply Tanya de Kruijff April 4, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Reply Kaylyn Henderson April 4, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Love this. I have a lot of dance games at home too. I just don’t use them enough.

    • Tanya de Kruijff
      Reply Tanya de Kruijff April 4, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      Oh, you do? What’s your favorite? I hadn’t used them for so long either, but it’s so much fun! I can’t believe I’d let them collect dust for so long.

  • Reply Lyndsay April 6, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    God, I haven’t played DDR in YEARS, I was addicted to it as a teenager though, it’s so much fun. I have Zumba for the Wii now and thats great too for weight loss.

    • Tanya de Kruijff
      Reply Tanya de Kruijff April 6, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      Ah, good tip! I have a Wii, so I’ll look into that!

  • Reply Jess April 12, 2016 at 11:05 am

    What a great idea – I’d forgotten all about them and I bet it makes exercise fun! My problem is I literally have no rhythm so I’d still be useless at it haha. Keep up the great work!

    • Tanya de Kruijff
      Reply Tanya de Kruijff April 12, 2016 at 11:18 am

      I suppose a bit of rhythm is required, it would be less fun with all the people booing. 😉 It is fun to do though!

  • Reply Sarah April 12, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I used to play video games all the time but not this kind hehe. Makes me want to get back into it though.

    • Tanya de Kruijff
      Reply Tanya de Kruijff April 12, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      You should try it. It’s so much fun!

  • Reply Pamela April 14, 2016 at 1:58 am

    This is great! I find it hard to get to a gym as I have two young kids. I’ve just been thinking about working out from home. I’m going to look into this! Thanks for the tip! 🙂

    • Tanya de Kruijff
      Reply Tanya de Kruijff April 15, 2016 at 2:17 am

      Yes, this could totally work! It’s easy to do a few songs when you find a bit of time. Glad I could be of help!

  • Reply Jean-Marie Lawrence April 14, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Love it! I use Zumba on the Wii and enjoy it SO much more than my other workouts. More fun and I get cute little medals for each level I complete!

    • Tanya de Kruijff
      Reply Tanya de Kruijff April 15, 2016 at 2:14 am

      I really need to look into this Zumba game! You’re the second one who recommends it to me now.

  • Reply Fabiola Rodriguez April 15, 2016 at 3:09 am

    Actually, I managed to lose a good 10 pounds doing exactly this. It really is a good workout! Specially if you’re not into exercise and workouts and repetitions and such. You’ll be having so much fun you won’t believe you’re doing a workout!

    • Tanya de Kruijff
      Reply Tanya de Kruijff April 15, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Wow, you did? Fabulous! Isn’t it the best game ever? And they say playing computer games isn’t healthy.

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