Rookie of the Year: The Biggest Loser (Part II: Presidential Fitness)



The following is the latest in a series of journal entries chronicling the author’s descent into next-gen gaming degeneracy – from getting his first television in years to trying to figure out why the @$@”$)@ you need two goddamn directional pads just to walk down a fucking hallway.


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Since I started this column, playing videogames more than I have in years and writing about them, my weight has shifted dramatically.

My pants no longer fit. My belt is a useless strap of leather. My gut is a constant concern, something I find myself glancing at in the mirror on an almost daily basis. Each time I weigh myself, it’s a new, even more shocking number.

As I write this, after five full months of sitting on my ass, storming castles and solving puzzles, I am not 10, not 20, not even 30 … but 56 pounds lighter.

Wait, lighter?


As I’ve explained in this space before, not only has gaming not turned me into a festering couch potato, it has helped make me the most slim and trim I’ve been in years – and has me halfway to my goal weight of 100 pounds down.

Games, believe it or not, are to blame.

I won’t rewrite my original biggest loser column, which lays out my weight-loss mission, but I’ll repeat here that my inspirations were an awesome iPhone app called Lose It! and the choices you make to better your character in Fable II – a life lesson I decided, for once, to start applying to my real, unpixelated life.

In a very real sense, gaming has become a driving force for me. Every day is a game – sticking to my calorie count, come hell or high water, and moving pieces around the game board that is my stomach to make sure I complete my goals efficiently, in good health and with plenty of hit points saved up for particularly tough challenges.

In other words, I’m playing Dungeons & Donuts.

And I’m winning.

So who thinks videogames are evil? While I can’t say teaching our kids to put their Wiimotes down and go outside won’t help in the battle to end childhood

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obesity, I almost wonder if exploiting their love of videogames – instead of chiding them for it – couldn’t be effective, too.

See how cute your avatar is in Second Life? How good it looks in the clothes you bought it and the hairstyle you crafted? How much more powerful and strong and quick you are in Final Fantasy with a few more experience points?

Now imagine you – the real you – looking as cute and feeling so badass. Not possible? It is. Just take those principles and apply them to your own life.

Put aside all the primping, pampering and powering up of your virtual selves for a bit, and focus on the actual, flesh and blood, mortal you.

Take the time to make yourself healthy and strong and up to the challenges of the real world.

Build your muscles, trim your flab, learn to kick and throw and jump and run.

Pretend you’re your own videogame hero.

Level yourself up.



Matt Marrone, like his character in Fable II, is slowly, but surely, beginning to see tiny hearts hovering over the heads of single women. Or at least floating “Like” buttons. Follow him on Twitter @thebigm.

Games, Rookie of the Year