Guest Post—J.R. Cook on the Wii, Weight Watchers, and the Queen of England

Right now I’m soaking up the inspiration at BlissDom, a blogging conference held at the a-MAZ-ing Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. So while I’m learning how to be a better blogger for you all, I asked a couple people to fill in for me here at Boogers and Burps. First off is my cousin, J.R. Cook, who is the founder of and was one of the very first to recognize the Wii as a fitness tool, you know, back before the Wii Fit and all. I’ll let him tell his story…

Paula approached me last week about a guest blog post and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what something like that entails or what I should even write about. Her site is about saving money and living life with her husband and 3 boys. I’m a 30 year old bachelor who works in the computer software industry and spends a lot of his free time on geeky things like video games and writing about them.

Being a 30 year old bachelor I thought I could write some interesting post about myself and see if any nice ladies would come flocking to my email box. I then realized the audience here is more than likely 30 something married mothers with kids so that idea didn’t pan out too well. So in that case, I’ll write about what it is that probably makes me single to begin with – being an overweight guy that plays video games in his free time.

A few years ago I took the video game interest and started a blog about how I could lose weight while playing video games. The Nintendo Wii had just been released and I thought it could be used as an exercise utility and with that I found a gimmick that I could blog about. I called it the Wii Weight Loss Plan and it actually worked.

In fact, it was working a little too well. I lost about 15 pounds and a PR guy found my site, this was the same PR guy who helped make the Red Paper Clip guy get international attention. Next thing I know he’s helping me out and I’m suddenly finding myself being interviewed by the local Omaha news station. A few weeks later I find myself on the front page of the Omaha World Herald and the Des Moines Register. Not too long after that I got a call from Good Morning America and it looked as if I would be hopping on a plane to New York City in the next couple days to be on the show. However, it got canceled last minute because the Queen of England was in town and evidently they thought she was more important than I was.

I hate the Queen of England.

My site was getting as high as 50,000 visitors a day. There were talks of a possible book deal, there was a company interested in doing a documentary with me, and I was doing 2 or 3 radio interviews a day. All of this attention over a few pounds lost, I hadn’t even gotten to my halfway point yet on my goal. It was insanity and that insanity made me realize something… I had started letting at the fame and attention and the readership go to my head and I wasn’t focusing on what was important at the time; I wanted to lose weight.

I got burned out quick because of this. I wasn’t happy with what the site had become. The PR guy was coming up with weird gimmicks for me to try and do that I didn’t want to do. This wasn’t me and I wasn’t enjoying it. So I stopped.

And the weight came back on.

More weight got added onto that.

Two years later and I know I need to do something. The first time around I didn’t really have any kind of plan. I planned to cut calorie intake and spend some time playing the Wii as a small workout. It did have good results though when I stuck with it.

This time around I’ve decided to take a more structured approach and joined Weight Watchers. I’m hoping this keeps me in check each day and week in keeping track of what I am eating and making sure I am staying within my “points” that I am allowed. I discovered I can use the Wii as my activity and for 30 minutes of playing Wii Sports or Wii Fit, I can gain back 2 points for that day to consume. I am then using my blog to inform people about the plan and to keep people up to date on my progress. The thing I like about Weight Watchers is the weekly official weigh in and the meetings. Now instead of me just telling people I lost 5 pounds, I have official proof!

Probably the coolest thing was in my first meeting we were talking about activities we could do. One lady said “I read this story about this guy who lost weight by playing Wii, which could be an activity” and about 8 or 9 other people in the room said they had read the same thing. They were all talking about me and had no idea I was the one they were talking about. I’m hoping to keep it that way – I do this because it’s what I want to do and I enjoy it. If other people enjoy it, great, but this is about me.

And that’s really the whole point of my long winded post here. If you don’t do something for yourself and you don’t enjoy doing it, then you won’t succeed in what you have set out to do. This goes for anything in life whether it’s weight loss, blogging, volunteering, etc. Having a mild amount of fame and attention could be fun and interesting for a while, but it won’t help you meet goals you have set for yourself. If you stay focused, have a little fun doing it, then amazing things can and will happen. For me that amazing thing is to get to my goal. My goal is definitely not to worry if the Queen of England will disrupt a future trip to New York City.


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