This is Tanya Jessen's story of how she lost 95lbs,
not through conventional diet and exercise but by playing dance video games. Tanya started playing dance games 4 years ago when she was 17 and enjoyed it so much that it became a regular activity.

I started playing Dance Dance Revolution™ (DDR) at the age of 17 with the very first version that was released to the United States, DDR Version 1.5. The first time I saw the game was at Gameworks arcade in Seattle, where tons of people were crowded around the DDR machine to watch different players dance. At this time, I was a senior in high school and weighed about 235 lbs. Four and a half years later, I now weigh close to 140 lbs and I would've never guessed how much that trip (OR a video game) would affect me with my health/weight, and in growing to be a better, more self-confident person.

Before I started playing DDR, I was a rather sedentary person. I was in bands, orchestras, drama, and played video games/Japanese animation, but I didn't regularly get out for exercise. I was really unhappy with the fact that I was at an unhealthy weight, but as it happens with obese people, you start losing hope that you'll ever be a normal person (because you have SO MUCH weight to lose). I looked to the Internet as a form of escapism so that I didn't have to face people. People don't judge your weight through Instant Messaging. =)

When I moved to Seattle for college, I lost a lot of friendships with people staying in my hometown and in moving I essentially had only 1 or 2 friends. Making friends through school had always been relatively easy for me but suddenly I was put in a position where I had to be more proactive in socializing which was very difficult. As my first year of college started, I became increasingly unhappy and my weight continued to yo-yo, always hovering around 235. In October, 2002, Konami of America® released a fun new game version called DDR USA that had a ton of new songs and I soon became addicted to the game. I'd be at Gameworks arcade everyday after school, before school, anytime I could, playing for hours and hours.

At one point I was introduced to a website which had a Bulletin Board where people would meet and talk about DDR and music games…after 2 months of watching I made my first post and quickly became friends with all the regulars. Through this I became part of a DDR Team called Team Seattle, and in this group of 10 people I found friends and knew that any area arcade with DDR would have a Team Seattle member playing there. These friends motivated me to play much more frequently and for hours at a time. During this time I lost most of my weight. In the first six months of playing after DDR USA came out I lost about 45 lbs with ZERO change in my diet. Once I saw that I could be less than 200 lbs again, I decided to make minor changes in my diet. I stopped eating fast foods (the staple of my college existence), started being a little more calorie conscious, and did little things like drinking nonfat milk instead of 2%. It was really nothing drastic, but as a result, between June 2001 and November 2001, I lost 20 additional pounds. I had newfound energy and confidence with my weight loss and joined a Kung Fu studio. I would have never done that before I lost weight because I never had the energy and I was embarrassed to even attempt it because of my weight. By doing little more than playing the game regularly and counting calories I've not only kept the 65 lbs off, but also lost 30 more since November 2001.

I've never participated in Atkins, South Beach or other diets and never had problems with keeping the weight off since I started playing DDR. The regular exercise kept me motivated, and it was so much fun that it never seemed like work… unlike jogging on a treadmill. =) If you exercise for 3 hours per day and it doesn't feel like work, of COURSE you're going to lose weight. Couple that with a balanced diet, and there's really no stopping you. I'd rather use my RedOctane Ignition™ Dance Pad and DDR for cardio exercise than going to a gym because not only am I at home, playing a GAME, something that's fun, but I don't have to worry about taking a shower, carting clothes along with me to change into, or the dread of staring at myself in a workout mirror while forcing myself to run 30 minutes on a treadmill. With DDR and a RedOctane Ignition™ Dance Pad, I can turn it on, pick my favorite songs, and I'm ready to go.

By sharing my story, I hope to help people understand that it really is that easy to lose weight. There is no end of the line when it comes to being overweight. With DDR, I've lost 95 lbs and kept it off over FOUR and a half years. I continue to lose weight and feel motivated about myself. I can't help but laugh when I hear people discussing eating NO carbs or really restricting diets. I KNOW. I've been through it. I never was able to lose weight before DDR. Now, I play a game a few times a week for a few hours a day (because I enjoyed it so much), and I'm a completely different person. It is possible - I'm not the only person that's done this. Everyday I hear about others who have lost weight playing DDR… my best friend lost 50 lbs because of DDR. Another good friend lost 40. It's a very simple and fun solution to an epidemic that is plaguing the country. I'm very happy to be able to work with RedOctane on the Get Up & Move! campaign to educate people on how easy it is to be active with this game and an Redoctane Ignition™ Dance Pad. After all, DDR was created as a game...which is probably one of the reasons that it's so easy to play for hours on end and just burn the calories away. It's truly become an unique game. =)