In August 2013 I was at an all-time low. This was the month that my then-husband had informed me that he wanted a divorce. I was extremely depressed and extremely overweight. Here’s my story on how I turned my life around with video games.
Getting the bad news.
After my husband announced that he wanted a divorce, I went to see a doctor for a full mental and health checkup. This was when I found out how much I really weighed. I’ve always been up and down with my weight throughout my life, but during my marriage I ended up weighing the most that I’ve ever weighed. I was scared to see the number, because I avoided scales like the plague before this doctor appointment. I finally looked down on the paper that displayed my test results, which included my weight. It said that I weighed 247 pounds. I was in complete shock. I had never in my life seen such a high number for my own personal weight before.
The first step into the right direction.
So what did it mean to actually see that I weighed 247 pounds? It meant that I had to take action immediately! I’m 5 feet and 11 inches tall, so one could say my weight wasn’t that bad, but I was still considered to be obese regardless. It was time for a change. When I moved out of the apartment that I was sharing with my then-husband I moved into my parents’ guest bedroom. I’m glad I did because it changed my life. My parents fortunately have a workout room complete with an exercise bike, treadmill, and weights. With my dad being retired he was able to jump start my road to recovery. He and I would go to the local lake, Folsom Lake, and walk around the outer perimeter for about two hours every day during the week. This really helped me mentally, and I was slowly losing weight, but it wasn’t enough to make a difference just yet.
A “Sweet!” distraction.
I guess one could say that I got as big as I did because I played many video games. It wasn’t uncommon for me to play 5-6 hours a night of video games when I was married to my husband. Most of our time spent together was playing video games. I really cut back after moving out since he was the person I mostly played with. There was one game that I couldn’t give up though and that was Candy Crush Saga. I didn’t even start playing that game until a month before my husband said he wanted a divorce, so I was still very new to it. I was playing it on Facebook constantly, but on October 15th Candy Crush Saga changed my life. This was the day that it was first available for the Amazon Kindle Fire HD. This meant that I could take my candy swapping addiction with me wherever I went.
Before I would ride the exercise bike in the workout room for about 20 to 30 minutes while listening to music on my Kindle. Sometimes I would get bored of the same songs or couldn’t find any music that I really wanted to listen to. When Candy Crush Saga came out for the Kindle, things changed. I now had a distraction that would keep my mind off of the fact that I was exercising. Sometimes it would take me 10 minutes to finish a level and sometimes it would take me days. A couple levels took me a couple weeks to finish! Either way, the more Candy Crush Saga that I played, the more weight I lost. I had initially started riding the bike for about 4 to 6 miles everyday. Now that I was playing Candy Crush Saga I was riding for 12 to 15 miles everyday!
Sticking to a plan.
In order to keep the momentum going, I had to set “rules” for myself. I would only allow myself to play Candy Crush Saga while I was riding the exercise bike. This made me want to ride it. There were times that I ended up riding the bike for miles three different times during the day just because I wanted to play Candy Crush Saga! I knew I couldn’t have a life of just playing Candy Crush Saga and riding an exercise bike though, so I had to come up with some kind of schedule.
In the beginning, I didn’t really have a job. My parents were letting me basically take “time off” from finding a “real” job so that I could work on becoming healthy first. I did and do run online stores though, and I like to consider myself as a professional freelance writer. With that in mind I started to come to the realization that in order for me to be truly independent in life, I needed to find the right balance with everything that was happening in my life. This is when I came up with my schedule. I would make it a habit to wake up early and get dressed for exercise. I allowed myself 2 hours of riding the bike while paying Candy Crush Saga. After this it was time for a shower. After I was showered and dressed I made sure to work hard on all my online endeavors. I’ve always liked the idea of working from home. Being a painfully shy person it was always hard for me to interact with people at jobs and school so this new schedule really motivated me to succeed, and I did end up succeeding.
Results and where I am now.
After months of playing Candy Crush Saga while riding an exercise bike, I had great results, but I must be honest and say I didn’t maintain the schedule. Honestly, there came a point where I was losing interest of the game. The levels were becoming too hard for me and I wasn’t finding it fun to play anymore. I also increased my workload. I started waking up wanting to write right away and I wanted to work on my stores the moment that I had an idea for a new product. I was seeing that the more work that I put into my work the more money I was making. This was my new motivation.
I didn’t quit video games all together. In December of 2013 I actually ended up getting the new Wii Fit U for the Wii U. In addition to this new game I had also been actively playing games from the Just Dance series as well. In January I bought the Fit Meter accessory that goes along with the Wii Fit U. This meter is basically a pedometer that you wear away from the game. To this day I wear it on me whenever I go out. I feel these games are fun to me and I switch back and forth between them so I don’t get bored.
From August 2013 to now, March 2014, I’ve lost over 50 pounds. I feel more happy and have a better outlook on life now that I’ve lost so much weight. I think that sometimes people just need a distraction while they are working out. Sometimes thinking that you are specifically working out makes you not want to continue. I’ve found it’s best to not even think of it as a workout anymore. I play video games for fun. If losing weight and feeling great comes out of it than that is fantastic! I love hearing stories of people having a healthier life because of playing video games and now I am living proof of that.