Wii Fit Challenge: can videogames really make me lose 100 pounds?

Join Jason as he embarks on his brand new weekly quest: to lose weight through the power of Wii Fit...

Week Zero

To begin, let me reintroduce myself. I’m Jason Helton, and I’m a fat ass. (Hi, Jason!) Welcome to my little experiment.

It seems Nintendo thinks you can lose weight, get healthy and become happier by playing their videogame. And I’m going to put them to the test. This is going to be a pretty big challenge, for many reasons that I will go into shortly, but as a good journalist, I have no qualms about immersing myself into something for a good story (just read my article on Polybius!).

My weight and I have had a constant ‘love/hate’ relationship throughout my 31 years. As a little kid, I was tall and thin, a total beanpole. Then, after Christmas 1985, I was introduced to Nintendo. Big mistake. I wasn’t popular, so instead of going outside to run away from, I mean play with the little neighborhood bastards, I dove into games like Legend Of Zelda, Metroid, and others.

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In some strange rationale in my mind, I can almost blame Nintendo for my current fatness. Hmm, if some asshole can get millions for spilling McDonald’s coffee on themselves, I should at least get a few bucks from the Big N for making me a fat ass.

I can see it now, I’ll be rich, and the Wii will require a warning: “Caution: Extended play may result in massive weight gain, poor social skills, and an inability to get laid.”  Hmm…perhaps a call to my lawyer is in order!

Anyway, all kidding aside, I played more and more Nintendo, did less and less activity, and slowly got fat. So fat that, by the time I hit middle school, my nickname was ‘Rolls’. It took a lot of therapy and a growth spurt to get me over that, needless to say, and I hope all the little bastards who called me that are fat as shit.

So, I aged, hit a growth spurt, and miraculously became thin again. Puberty is a wonderful thing. Well, that and your parents making you join a swim team two nights a week.

High school came around and I was thin again, 6’ tall, and like 140 lbs. Then I got into martial arts, trained 3-5 nights a week, and became ripped. I actually had abs! And they were defined! Not like The Ultimate Warrior abs, but close enough.

Once college started, I was able to maintain. I wasn’t working out anymore, but my 18-year-old metabolism allowed me to devour food like the Blob, without the size increase.

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Then I entered the working world, and it all went downhill.

It all started when I took my first real IT job for a large pest control company. It was an easy job, but it required a huge amount of travel. Many times, I would leave on a trip Monday morning, and not return home until 9 or 10pm Friday night. Thus, I fell into the trap of fast food.

I would drive hundreds of miles in a day, going from office to office, and rarely did I have the luxury of a lunch hour. So, lunchtime effectively became drive-thru exploration, and I became very familiar with the menus at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC, White Castle and the rest.

Then, I found the wonderful world of per diem. It seems that work would pay for all of my food while on overnight trips. So, every time I was out of town, it was nightly visits to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, the local seafood joint, Sakura, anything that was available. The world was my oyster, and I was slurping that mo-fo down!

I was fat. It took a few years to get to that point, but one morning, I woke up, looked in the mirror, and saw that I was up to Condition 3 on my 6 level scale of personal fattiness. In fact, the scale goes like this:


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Condition Green:Target weight of 184 lbs Blaine from Predator

I’m a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus. I can eat lightning and crap thunder. I ain’t got time to bleed.

This condition has me locked, cocked and ready to rock.

Zero pounds to lose, prime condition.

Condition 5:20 pounds to lose Fat Lee Adama

I’m Fat Lee Adama, some weight around the face and a bit of an overhang in the waist, but at least it will only take a few weeks of hard work to get it all off. 

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It’s the winter chub.

Condition 4:40 pounds to lose Dynamo

Ok, at this point, like Dynamo, I’m fat.

The good news is, I’m still pretty active, can stalk Running Man victims, but need to be able to shoot electricity to kill them and have my own little deathmobile in place of a Hoverround.

This is getting bad.

Condition 3:60 pounds to lose Fat Bastard

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The man boobs commeth. I’m large, love to eat, and need a lot of training.

It’s going to take at least a good six months of work from this point.

Condition 2:80 pounds to lose Jabba the Hutt

I’m very large, mostly sedentary, eat, smoke and look at porn all day (or at least dancing green twiliks).

It’s at this point that I start to get depressed, start the crazy dieting, get bound and determined to lose the weight, until I go out for pizza, then that determination is gone.

Condition 1:100 pounds to lose Trapper Keeper

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Trapper Keeper, the largest I’ve ever weighed. I can now absorb food by rolling over it. I’ve crushed Kaori in my fat. At this point, I am considering weight loss surgery, attempt to start a diet at least once a week, kill said diet with a trip for pizza at least once a week.

My doctor has told me that I am ‘morbidly obese’, have sleep apnea, high cholesterol, am borderline diabetic, and need to get the weight off now before I get fatter, have a heart attack, and die.


Now, I’ve lost this weight before. When I was at Condition 3 (Fat Bastard), I joined the Army, and had the shit kicked out of me, literally. I worked my way back down to Condition 5 (Fat Lee Adama) when my military career came to an end, but without constant daily PT, getting married, having kids, getting divorced, and getting remarried, the weight is back, and then some. So. here we are. 

I’ll be honest, I don’t think I can do this. I don’t particularly like working out for the sake of working out (sport is ok, but I’m too fat these days to play). But I like videogames, so I guess we’re going to see if a fitness videogame can keep me motivated to get this weight off, change my lifestyle, and get me healthy before it gets worse. But, there is a ton of obstacles in my way:

I hate the Nintendo Wii.  I know, everyone is going to flame me for this, but I hate the Wii. I had one for reviews right when it came out, and the novelty wore off after about two months. During the height of their popularity, I traded it for a Golden Tee Arcade cab that I converted into a MAME arcade machine. Best trade I ever made. It’s not that it’s a bad system; it’s just that I never enjoyed the games past their novelty. I finished Red Steel, and that was a frakking chore. But in my efforts, last week I tracked down the Wii and the Wii Fit for my wife (who initially wanted it, and has inspired me to do this. Thank you, honey.) 

I hate working out for the sake of working out. I love to play sports. Hockey, laser tag, paintball, football (European, I refuse to call it soccer), fencing, you name it, I usually love it. About three months ago I got inspired, and decided I was going to start playing hockey again to lose weight. Problem is, I’m too fat to fit in my pads. Perhaps when the weight comes down, I can supplement Wii Fit with hockey. 

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I love to eat. I could literally snack non-stop. I love food. I love to try new restaurants, and though my cooking is horrendous, I still experiment in the kitchen. Here in the States, we eat terribly. I could eat fried food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, bedtime snack, and late night snack (I really don’t eat that much, but it feels that way sometimes). We fry everything. And I still travel for a living, which explains the large amount of carryout trash in my car. 

Fact is, I love to eat, and like Meatwad, my stomach is like ThunderDome, except two men enter, no man leaves.

I’m a stress eater. When I get stressed, I eat, and, shit, if I’m not stressed. Between work, kids, family etc, I’ll be surprised if I have any hair left by the end of the year. But when I’m stressed, or bored, or sad, I eat. And that’s a bad thing. 

In order to get everything accomplished in a day, I will need a TARDIS. So, I work at least 50 hours a week, have three kids, one dog, one moose who thinks she’s a dog (a Great Dane), one cat, a replica of Devil’s Tower made out of dirty laundry (this means something! This is important!) and an ex-wife. 

I am a busy mo-fo, hence why this is my first article here at DOG since the start of the new decade. I don’t have time for a gym, or for long walks with the moose around the neighborhood.

I need a system where I can work out in the comfort of my own house, preferably in my underwear (sorry for that visual), that won’t involve performance-enhancing drugs.

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Now, I’ll be honest, I’m exaggerating a little with my descriptors. I don’t really look like Trapper Keeper. But the sad fact is, I feel and think I look like Trapper Keeper. So, by no means is this meant to be an insult for people who could be larger then me. This is just a descriptor of my own self-image.

The fact is, at 6’1” tall, the recommended ideal weight for me is 184 lbs. That gives me a goal of 100 pounds to lose. But I’m putting some rules on this program. Think of them as the rules of Fat Club:

1. You do not talk about Fat Club. 2. You DO NOT TALK ABOUT FAT CLUB. 3. You can quit at any time, but you have to announce it to the public,    and have to suffer the consequences, and potential flaming that would ensue. 4. The primary workout method is using Wii Fit. This is an experiment,    so it is imperative that Wii Fit be the primary method for weight loss.    Other things like sports can be added in as the experiment progresses. 5. Nothing unhealthy, as in no ‘roids, diet drugs, starvation,    at-home liposuction with a Shop-Vac etc. Just diet and Wii Fit. 6. Though rules 1 and 2 apply, you can blog about Fat Club. 

So, the game is on. Week 1 will begin sometime before the end of the upcoming weekend. I will be posting my starting weight and ending weights each week, and I will be taking a before picture at the beginning of the process, but I won’t post it until I quit.

So, the game is on, can Wii Fit by Nintendo really make me thin, or is this just an upgraded Power Pad? I guess we’ll find out.

You can send words of encouragement or flames to Jason@ironotaku.net

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Now, off to enjoy one of my last cheesesteak subs. Oh, how I will miss them.