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My Weight Loss Coach

The helpful coach in My Weight Loss Coach is represented by a squiggly stick figure with a penchant for giggling. I doubt he (or she, if you wish) has a mean bone in his body. I was supposed to check back everyday to let him know how I was progressing. After a particularly exhausting day, the coach asked me if I completed any of the daily goals that we set the night before. None of them were particularly time consuming, but I just wasn’t in the mood to walk through the park at all. I was about to tap on the yes option. I paused for a second. I thought abut the coach, with his gentle manner and corny jokes. I accepted the truth and clicked no. The stick figure wasn’t upset when I hardly made any progress for the day. He just told me to keep at it and come back tomorrow.

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When the “game” is first loaded up, your height and weight needs be entered. Perhaps it’s more appropriate to refer to this product as a program instead. Anyways, your body mass index is then calculated, but the science behind this is flawed. Fat versus muscle has no way of being calculated here, so you could be a jacked professional wrestler and the game could say that you’re obese. The opening screen acknowledges that the things in My Weight Loss aren’t exactly scientifically proven. Despite that, the program provides some quality advice that never really goes past basic fitness and dieting.

My Weight Loss Coach is meant to be played once a day, preferably late in the evening. There are a number of short term goals to set in each session, from completing some basic challenges to registering enough steps on the pedometer that comes packaged with the program. Up to six challenges can be accepted each day. Some of these challenges involve doing a number of sit-ups in a minute, but others are more bizarre. One asked me to sharpen my cooking knives. Another asked me to call a friend and ask them to go for a walk. Since some of the challenges are mostly useless, it’s a relief that there is a pool of different ones to pick and choose from.

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New coaching sessions are unlocked after a certain number of challenges are completed. These were my favorite part of the game. The topics include eating smart and staying active. The coach asks a bunch of questions and then assigns advice based on how they are answered. The questions, only some of which were bizarre, perfectly reflected many of my good and bad health habits. There are ten different sessions, which provide decent incentive to keep on playing if you’re seriously concerned about becoming healthier.

The pedometer that comes included can be plugged into the GBA slot in the DS, which is a nifty idea. There are some problems though. First, while the pedometer can record walking steps, there is no way to accurately gauge running. This has always been a problem with these products, but it still seems counterproductive to walk when you can run. A problem exclusive to the pedometer included with My Weight Loss Coach is that is the bulkiest one I have ever seen. It’s more than twice the size of some models and it looks like it could be one of the earliest pagers released to the public. It’s honestly a little embarrassing to be wearing such a bulky contraption.

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Despite its size, the pedometer is still more worthwhile than two of the other tools in My Weight Loss Coach. There is a mode where you can manually input the types of food that’s been eaten during the day. The problem with this is that it can be time consuming. Also, it isn’t particularly accurate since only the most basic foods are available to choose from. There is a streamlined option that takes far less time but proves to be even more inaccurate. This is the same problem with the physical activity calculator. Sure, you can say you played basketball for half an hour, but there’s no way to say how hard you played or if you even tried. The calorie numbers assigned for the activities seems arbitrary. It would take something much more advanced to effectively gauge calories gained and lost throughout the day, but it at least this makes you think about what you’re doing health-wise. Best of all, none of this is required, which is the strength of the program. It never forces you to do anything, which prevents frustration and burn out.

If you’re somebody with absolutely no idea how to get healthy but has the desire to do so, then My Weight Loss Coach is a perfect way to kick things off. It’s never complicated or difficult, but it does lay down some groundwork that should be expanded upon through more comprehensive research. Spending ten or fifteen minutes a day with that jolly coach is just a small investment in time that could pay off dividends. All of the information and progress is efficiently stored, which beats writing things out by hand. Alternatively, running for a while and checking some forums could be just as effective for many people.

5 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003. Get in touch on Twitter @akarge.

Gentle persuasion

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