SKINNY THOUGHTS - Knocking down weight is no game -- but a little fun helps


The other day I was carrying groceries from the car to the house. I carried them all in except for the four gallons of skim milk huddled together in the back. There was no way I was going to be able to carry all of them into the house at once. While cursing myself for not being born into the Doc Ock family from Spider-Man, I made two more trips.

I started to wonder how much a gallon of milk weighed and looked it up on the Internet. I found that one gallon weighs about 8 1/2 pounds, the weight of a large newborn baby. Then I started to think about how many gallons of milk, or the equivalent in large newborn babies, I needed to lose in order to reach my goal weight. I plugged in the numbers and found that I needed to lose eight gallons, or newborns.

While still having the vision of the multi robo-tentacled Doc Ock in my mind, this made me think of Octo-Mom, the single woman from the tabloids a couple years ago who had eight babies at once while already having a carload of kids at home. That is a lot of babies!

I thought of making a Velcro chart with pictures of newborns attached, and every time I would lose 8¬? pounds I'd take off a baby. It made me laugh. I need as much laughter as I can get in this little weight loss adventure of mine.

The next day I turned on the Xbox 360 to start my exercise routine. Now before I explain the hilarious adventures of my workout sessions, I should probably explain what an Xbox 360 is for those of you who might not be technically inclined. This is a video game console. Don't judge.

We actually have an Xbox 360 Kinect, which does not require controllers. It uses a motion-sensing device along with voice activation; you can control the video game using your arms and legs.

My choice of weapon is "The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout." While I have never really watched the TV show that spawned it, I was intrigued by the workout program it offered. Two trainers, Bob and Jillian, show up on your screen in avatar form to take you through various workout sessions while educating you about health and fitness.

The first time I tried it out I had to complete a gamer profile. The device actually scanned my body into the system to determine which areas I should focus my attention. Pretty high tech, huh? I ended up needing to focus on my full body -- go figure.

After I went through the hoops of completing a fitness test to see what level I should start my program, it suggested I begin at the moderate level. This made me happy. At least I wasn't a complete wimp.

The work-out sessions are placed in the back yard of a mansion with a large swimming pool. I wasn't impressed with the scenery. My single-wide in the middle of a desert would have been much more desirable.

In the corner of the screen, I saw the silhouette of a fat little green leprechaun and realized that this nifty little Kinect device scans my real-time silhouette into the system to make sure I match what the trainer is doing. At first I was mortified by the sight of my silhouette, but later admitted to myself that it's pretty cool and I am looking forward to viewing a slimmer leprechaun in the future.

He also turns yellow and red if you aren't doing exactly what the trainer is doing, a feature that to me lies sometimes. But that might have to do with the fact I am training in the living room of a mobile home.

I also like that I can have my own personal workout session at home. If I were in a gym with real people, they might get offended from the high volume of curse words that come out of my mouth, plus the trainer might kick me out because most of them would be directed at him. The trainer in the video gives you unconditional positive motivation, no matter what you call him. He's great.

Once a week, you input your weight to check your progress. On the TV program, they make a big deal about this. The contestant stands on the scale while a variety of weights pop up on the screen, creating great anticipation for viewers as well as contestants about what their real weight will be.

They have this same idea on the Xbox program, but it's a little less exciting considering you had just plugged in your weight before that. I am embarrassed to admit that I pretend to have no idea what I weigh, and still feel excitement when I see what I had just entered on the screen 10 seconds ago.

It's the little things that count, like the Velcro babies.

It's good to laugh.

Heather Usko is a Prescott-based writer whose columns are about her quest to get down to a healthy weight. She can be reached at


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