These days, most people are pretty familiar with gaming.
In fact, we’re starting to see an entire generation of grown adults who probably aren’t able to remember a time before video games.
And whether you consider yourself a gamer or not, the fact is that games can teach a valuable tactic for helping to reach your weight loss goals.
The tactic is called gamification, and it’s a good way to make setting and reaching goals fun. When there are things that you may not like doing, you can create a “game” to make them more enjoyable while providing an incentive to accomplish the task at hand.
This strategy can help you stay motivated to accomplish long-term goals like losing weight!
Gamify Your Weight Loss
One of the primary concepts of gamification is turning negative reinforcement into positive.
Think of a grading scale in the classroom. Each student walks into a new class with an A, but every time they make a mistake their grade drops a little bit. Earning an A isn’t necessarily a reward for doing well, it’s what you get for not making mistakes.
Losing weight can sometimes feel the same way. We tend to measure success purely in pounds because we, as humans, like to quantify everything. The problem is that when the scale doesn’t change (and it’s not always going to change), or if it doesn’t change quickly enough for our liking, we get discouraged.
We don’t get to see the benefit of our healthy lifestyle because we’re so focused on the number on the scale. Yet every good choice that we make, such as pouring a glass of water instead of a sugary beverage, helps us become healthier.
So should we throw a parade every time we make a healthy choice? Well, no, but there should be a way to see how the good choices we’ve made add up!
We should be less focused on the scale and more focused on our overall health.
The point of gamifying weight loss is to help you highlight your healthy choices and help you recognize the good things you’re doing.
This can make the process of losing weight feel more rewarding, more enjoyable, and easier to stick to.
In order to successfully gamify your weight loss, there are 3 important questions that need to be answered.
1. What Does “Winning” Look Like
The goal of any game is to win. If you’re not trying to win, then what are you playing for?
But if you’ve ever played a game, you know there are levels, tasks, quests, or minibosses that must be overcome before you beat the game.
And as you accomplish each of these smaller goals, you’re winning the game one level at a time.
The same is true for weight loss, which is why you need to define what winning looks like.
For you, “beating the game” might mean losing 70lbs, or getting into good enough shape to run a marathon. This is your ultimate goal.
But along the way, there are smaller events and milestones to be accomplished, and each time you pass one of these levels, you are winning your personal game.
It’s important to remember that each of these small wins is just a single step of your overall journey, but they should be acknowledged and celebrated!
That’s why it’s important to define what winning looks like for you.
You’ll certainly have a big, final goal that you’re working toward, but make sure to recognize the individual victories and appreciate them for what they are.
2. What are the Rules of the Game
Every game has rules that must be followed, and since this is your game, you get to define rules for yourself.
When it comes to weight loss, there’s one underlying master rule that simply must be followed:
If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you eat.
There are many factors involved, but when it comes right down to it, it’s that simple.
In order to make sure that your calories in are less than your calories out, you can either eat less or exercise more.
With this principle in mind, you get to set the rules for your weight loss.
Examples of rules that you might set include no eating after a certain time in the evening, exercising a set number of times per week, intermittently fasting on certain days, and the list goes on!
Whatever you decide upon for your rules, write them down and stick to them.
3. What is the Reward for Winning
Establish a reward for each level that you pass along the way to reaching your weight loss goal, including a grand prize for when you eventually make it to the end.
Make sure that they’re strong enough incentives to effectively motivate you to work hard. That might be a day at the spa, a meal at your favorite restaurant, or a new item of clothing.
This is where I suggest bringing other people into the game.
It can be a lot more fun if other people are involved that you can compete with head to head.
Setting up a reward system where the winner gets something from the other competitors can make for some fun (occasionally heated) competition.
Benefits of Gamifying Your Weight Loss
The ultimate reason for making a game of your weight loss efforts is to increase motivation by delivering a number of benefits.
Competition- Competition can be a pretty good motivator, especially when you’re competing against your friends or family members.
Fun- You may not think of losing weight as being a particularly enjoyable thing to do, but gamifying it can make things fun!
Help in Setting and Reaching Goals- The practice of setting goals has a somewhat boring feeling about it. Setting weight loss goals in the context of a game can make it seem like more fun! Doesn’t “leveling up” sound so much more exciting than “reaching a goal”?