green's My Weight Loss Coach (Nintendo DS) review

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My Weight Loss Coach Review

My Weight Loss Coach isn't as much a game as it is a diet journal. It is useful as a way to keep track of your daily diet and exercise, however it does not give the user much incentive to keep up with the program. The game will do it's best to suggest healthier eating, shopping, and exercise habits, but it's obviously up to the user to decide which suggestions to follow. My Weight Loss Coach is by no means a miracle treatment for weight loss, but it can be helpful to people looking to find out just how many calories they're taking in or how much exercise is lacking from their daily routine.

The first time you start up the game, it will ask you for your sex, age, height, and weight. It will then calculate your BMI, tell you your daily required caloric intake, and tell you how many steps you must walk per day in order to experience health benefits. At this point, you'll meet your stick figure avatar and coach and begin your regimen. The game includes a step counter ( that hooks into the GBA slot) to help you keep track of all your walking. The counter is accurate as far as I can tell, but it's a little on the big side and I did knock it off of my belt a couple of times.

The game is separated into two sections, the Daily Session and the Backpack. The Daily Session is where you'll have to report all the food you eat, exercise you do, and steps you walk. Each day, your coach will offer you eleven challenges, of which you can accept up to six. This is good because it lets the user develop flexible a program suitable to their preferences, lifestyles, etc. For daring players, there is also a twelfth secret daily challenge that is only revealed after it's been accepted. Challenges range from walks in the park to researching ways to cook with less salt, and the game includes a decent amount of them.

The Backpack is where you can monitor and modify your stats. You can also access coaching sessions and mini games here. As a player successfully completes challenges, coaching sessions are unlocked. Each session consists of a ten question survey after which the coach will offer up new strategies that the user can choose to adopt. For example, in the early coaching session "Steps to Health", the user is asked if they enjoy walking as a form of exercise. If they do, they will be offered a new series of daily challenges that involve walking (e.g. walk through the park, walk until you see a yellow car and return home). This helps to personalize the roster of daily challenges and make sure that at least some part of the daily regimen is enjoyable.

Players can also unlock new challenges by completing various food and health related mini games, where you'll have to do things like find the fruit with the least sugar or identify the health benefits of walking on the heart within the time limit. It's a little generous to call these mini-games games, and they are certainly not a reason to pick this game up. They give you a 2-5 minute window of procrastination before you have to get off the couch and get those challenges done.

The real issue with My Weight Loss Coach is that it doesn't do all that much to keep you motivated. Each challenge and exercise you complete adds to your score, which is represented in miles (or KM). Your in-game avatar walks each mile that you earn and the game will congratulate you every time your avatar reaches a milestone, such as walking the length of the Great Wall of China. These milestones are not compelling rewards and don't really offer any motivation to the player.

The game is very supportive and won't scold you if you tell it that you caved and drank a soda that wasn't diet. It's primary purpose is to suggest and promote healthy habits, and that is what it does. The truth is that this game will not turn you into a fat burning machine, it will just give you the tools to watch what you eat, count calories, and make healthier life choices. I myself have lost fourteen pounds in the twenty one days I've had the game. The game didn't give me the will to lose weight or to make an effort, it just allowed me to see the small steps (or the 8000+ I walk per day now) I could make to improve my health.


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