Weight Watchers is an RPG


27 Responses to “Weight Watchers is an RPG”

  1. Peter S. Conrad says:

    Would it be insensitive to call it “massively” multiplayer?

  2. Nobilis says:

    And in the online MMORPG “Mabinogi”, if your character eats too much, his avatar will gain weight and get thicker.

    The solution? Get more active (fight monsters) and eat lots of fruits and vegetables, in moderation.

  3. pAULbOWEN says:

    And would it be heretical in this context to suggest that an even better way of losing weight than turning WW into an RPG might be to quit gawping at a monitor and shake ones booty instead?

  4. Bobdotcom says:

    Too bad you can’t immediately lose a pre-determined amount of weight by rolling a natural 20.

  5. Cpt. Tim says:

    “if I eat a fruit-granola breakfast and an egg-and-romaine lunch, I’ll have enough points to survive a greasy hamburger dinner for a treat! ”

    This is the kind of attitude that keeps people from losing weight. Instead of the greasy hamburger dinner eat a similar amount of calories of good foods that aren’t loaded with grease and fat. You can eat the same amount of calories but if you cut out a lot of the fat and saturated fat calories you’ll lose weight quicker.

    Plus its easy to overshoot your estimates with food like that. You don’t want to know how many calories are in some of those burgers. Its more like “If i don’t eat anything for the day i can afford to eat this burger.”

  6. OM says:

    …Ok, so if Weight Watchers is an RPG, does that make Alcoholics Anonymous an FPS?

  7. mdhatter says:

    What’s your saving throw v. Bacon?

    Mine’s terrible

  8. pollyannacowgirl says:

    Cpt. Tim: That’s why I turn up my nose at WW.

    You can “spend” your calories or points or whatever on fast food? So technically you could live on potato chips, diet Pepsi and Snickers bars and still lose weight. Doesn’t mean you’ll be healthy or look good.

  9. Foolster41 says:

    Interesting analogy.

    Wouldn’t the points be more like mana? I know, not like D&D perse since it uses a spells-per-day system, but more more like computer RPGs. Damage is generally something to avoid, but mana is spent to cast spell as a trade-off. Yeah, I know I’m over thinking this. :P

  10. snackcake says:

    Can I lose weight and then sell my character?

    I think he’s onto something; there is a large untapped market with the pro-Obama Dungeons & Dragons crowd…

  11. pAULbOWEN says:

    OK, I’m off to Brick Lane for a salt beef beigel. Anyone else want one?

  12. drivers99 says:

    Worlds are colliding! As a regular boing boing reader and WW member currently working the program (with an interest in D&D, though no time to play it) this is an amazing post to see. At the risk of sounding cultish, I’d like to clear up some misconceptions in this thread.

    #14 wrote: “… quit gawping at a monitor and shake ones booty instead?” You earn Activity Points that you can spend the same day if you exercise.

    #15 wrote: “…You can eat the same amount of calories but if you cut out a lot of the fat and saturated fat calories you’ll lose weight quicker.” The formula for points counts against you for foods high in fat. In WW there are NO forbidden foods but eventually you figure out that McNuggets aren’t worth the points (2 points a piece) but then again, if you really want it and have the points for it, go ahead.

    #17 wrote: “…So technically you could live on potato chips, diet Pepsi and Snickers bars and still lose weight” Weight watchers has 8 healthy guidelines including 5 serving of fruits and vegetables, try to limit added sugar, choose whole grains, drink 6 cups of water, and so on. If you aren’t following the guidelines you’re not really doing the program.

    #19 wrote: “…how can ANYTHING be zero points? Doesn’t that mean you get to eat any amount that you want” No. Just because one serving is zero, doesn’t mean two servings is zero points because the calories add up to a threshold eventually, and the fibre stops giving you a discount once you reach 4 grams. (sounds complicated, but the points tracker calculates it for you.. I just happen to know the formula) And the truth is, a zero point food (like say lettuce) isn’t what makes people fat. 1 point per serving foods like fruits and certains vegetables could never make you fat either. Which brings me to the Core plan (the points refers mostly to the Flex plan). In the Core plan you eat certain approved core foods (fruits and vegetables, lean meat, soups made from core ingredients, and so on) as much as you want to feel satisfied without tracking points (you also have weekly points you can use on non core ingredients). But you are supposed to stay within a comfort range, never getting super hungry nor stuffing yourself. This plan is good for learning to recognize when those happen for you.

    If you’re still interested you can check out and even sign up for the forums for free. I go to the Guys on a Diet board (you don’t have to be a guy; it’s a great board for support because they’re focused).
    GoaD board

  13. Bodhipaksa says:

    Karma: life as a role-playing game.

  14. billgrove says:

    I can’t tell you how much delight these comments gave me this morning. It’s been so long since I’ve played D&D or any of the other RPGs. But seeing the “Natural 20″ comment and some of the others just put a sentimental smile on my face! Thanks!


  15. miss_ali1984 says:

    It’s so funny that I saw this today, because I have been thinking about writing an article about explaining weight loss to geeks for a while, and this is really similar to what I wanted to say. Among other geekery, I am sort of a diet and fitness geek.

    I also count calories rather than using points. I don’t get that stuff. I mean, how can ANYTHING be zero points? Doesn’t that mean you get to eat any amount that you want? That’s a dangerous thing to tell an emotional eater. In addition, I set my calorie goal way lower than I know it should be (by a few hundred calories) because I know I will mis-measure something or other in the course of a day, or eat something I didn’t write down. That’s just good strategy, if you want to “win the game”.

  16. sadam says:

    > Karma: life as a role-playing game.

    See Whuffie from Cory’s “Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom”.

  17. sigismund says:

    after “happiness is a warm gun”, “weight watchers is an RPG”…

  18. Cpt. Tim says:

    “I set my calorie goal way lower than I know it should be (by a few hundred calories) because I know I will mis-measure something or other in the course of a day, or eat something I didn’t write down.”

    Its also easy to be tricked by the “a calorie is a calorie” fallacy. Some calories take a lot more processing for your body to use, so you don’t actually get that amount of energy out of it, where as fats and saturated fats can pretty much be put right to work.

    I successfully lost about 50 pounds at a rate of 1.25 pounds a week, by simply trying to keep my intake at about 1200-1500 calories, with as much of that being non fat calories as i could. And then walking anywhere from 3-6 miles a day. That was easy for me since i work in san francisco, and getting outside for an hour at lunch in this gorgeous city wasn’t in any way a chore.

  19. Cpt. Tim says:

    when you can get views like this while exercising, who needs a treadmill?


  20. Caroline says:

    Marja, sure. But some people really enjoy the strategy of resource management as one aspect of the game — having that constraint makes the free-form stuff more fun, because you have a framework to start from. This takes that strategy and runs with it.

  21. absimiliard says:

    @Bill Grove in #6

    Hey Bill. I’m abs, and I’m a D&D evangelist, could I offer you a copy of our fine new Players Hand Book, 4th Ed.? It shows you how to live your life according to Gods’ Plans, assuming your life is fictional and your Gods are named Moradin or Bahamut or something like that.

    Seriously now, it’s never too late to start playing again. 4th edition is really quite fun, and pretty simple as well. It’s definitely fun, and it lets you thumb your nose at everyone who keeps telling you to “Grow up and stop wasting your time playing that D&D stuff.”

    -abs (who love D&D, and any other RPG as well, but is not inclined to try the Weight Watchers MMO, it sounds altogether too much like Real Life which has to be the crappiest MMO Evar.)

  22. k386 says:

    I’d say its more like an ARG than it is an RPG

  23. Marja says:

    Um, no. In an RPG, you create a character and develop his/her personality, skills, etc. in interactions with other characters and the setting.

    It’s an expressive medium.

    Resource management is only one means of expression, and rarely the most important.

  24. Caroline says:

    This is exactly what one of my friends said when he started WW. He said it reminded him a lot of D&D spell management. He’s had a lot of success with WW and I think it’s his RPG-loving side that keeps him on track — he enjoys the strategy of point allocation.

    And in accordance with Munroe’s Law, the relevant xkcd: http://xkcd.com/189/

  25. Cyberwasteland says:

    Now that makes losing weight a whole lot more interesting, too bad there’s no save point, though.

  26. kmoser says:

    Just recently I played this really cool MMRPG called “New York City Transit System.” You use real-world currency to buy a Metrocard that represents your strength, and as you traverse the labyrinthine underground dungeons you pass through turnstiles which act as “hit points” to reduce your energy. Smart players cast spells called “transfers” to allow them a free ride without losing any energy. Some cheat by jumping turnstiles, but they often get stopped by DM’s dressed as police officers who enforce the rules. Beware the wandering homeless minstrels who are always looking to take a few gold pieces from your pocket! If your Metrocard runs out of energy, expires, or if you lose it, you can always buy another. What a great game!


  27. RadioGuy says:

    ARG = Actual Reality Game?

Leave a Reply