OpinionsVillage Idiot SavantLose weight now. Ask me how

Lose weight now. Ask me how

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DAVAO CITY — Every new year, I promise to myself that this year – this year! – I’m going to get healthy and lose weight. As with other resolutions, that promise gets tossed aside and forgotten, lost among the piles of cupcake doilies and empty Coke bottles.

Oh, it wasn’t for any lack of trying: I enrolled in the gym, I got back to biking, I jogged in the mornings, but it all came to naught. My weight blew up to close to 200 lbs.

I tried to chalk it up to my being, you know, big- boned, but at some point, I just had to admit when I looked in the mirror that I was…fat.

Well, not anymore, or at least not as much. Over the past three months, I’ve shed more than 10 pounds, and trimmed a couple of inches from my waistline. I no longer look like a suman in my shirts. Pants, for which I had to suck my gut in before, fit comfortably now, and soon, I may have to buy a new belt.

Friends whom I have not met in a while compliment me on how much better I look when we see each other. I feel healthier, I haven’t been sick in months, and on the whole, I just feel better. And I owe it all to…diet and exercise.

Oh, I’m sorry. Were you expecting me to peddle a magic pill? Yes, there are those, but I chose to lose my weight the traditional way.

I’ll admit, though, that I had a bit of high-tech help, and this came by way of my Wii.

Now, in case you’ve never heard of it, the Wii is a gaming console from Nintendo, the same company that brought you Mario Bros. The Wii’s innovation is its wireless motion-sensitive remote (the Wii-mote) and Nintendo offers a variety of sports action video games that actually require you to move.

Based on a friend’s recommendation, I bought a Wii Fit accessory. The Wii Fit consists of a balance board and exercise software. The balance board detects shifts in your position based on your weight; it also doubles as a very accurate weighing scale.

The software, on the other hand, features yoga, strength training, and aerobics exercises. Perhaps the most valuable service the Wii Fit performs, though, is the daily record of your weight loss (or gain): it’s so sensitive it detects changes of half-a-pound. So yes, it will know if you had the extra serving of ice cream from last night.

If all this sounds wonderful, it is. But still, it’s no magic pill. For the Wii Fit to be effective, you actually still have to get on the Wii-Fit and get moving. I confess I bought the Wii-Fit over a year ago, but only in the last few months did I really take it seriously. Only in the last few months did I also get fit.

At a combined price of P19,000 (P13,000 for the Wii, P6,000 for the Wii Fit), the whole package sounds pricey. But consider that it’s about the cost of a decent bike, or a year’s membership in a high-end gym. I tried both alternatives before, but they didn’t take: I had a serious biking accident in Samal last year, one shredded my left hand to hamburger, and required stitches on my knee and both sides of my head; and the gym, after a while, feels too clubby. I think I prefer to exercise at home, away from judging eyes, and cap it off with a game or two of Mario Bros. after.

Besides, even with my bike and gym membership, I really didn’t lose weight. Come to think of it, I didn’t lose weight with the Wii Fit either. Only when I altered my diet did I really start to notice the changes. And the diet plan was simplicity itself: no softdrinks, and no rice.

It all makes sense, if you think about it. Softdrinks are loaded with sugar, and a high-sugar diet converts those excess calories into fat.

The same goes for rice. In the past, I could drink up to a liter of Coke per day (sometimes more), and take a cup and a half of rice per meal. Now I’ve effectively forsworn carbonated drinks of any kind, substituting moderate amounts of calamansi juice and tea instead.

At the start it was hard going: the body needs time to adjust to the new diet. But eventually, I got used to it. I eat so much less nowadays. It boggles my mind how much I actually consumed before, versus how much the body really needs to get by.

Heh, if we face another rice shortage, I can pretty much guarantee you it won’t be because of me.

Like I said, there’s no magic pill here. I may have trimmed down, but I know I’m still overweight. I still need a few months more, but slow and steady is the healthy way to go. Diet and exercise: heh. Who knew?

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