Felicia Shelley, 39, from Oklahoma, is yet another shining example of the benefits of virtual reality. Felicia credits the VR fitness app Supernatural for changing her life. She is also the one who first recommended the app to Tammy. (Whose story you can read here.)
Felicia’s weight loss journey started five years before being introduced to VR. In that time, she says she lost 67 pounds. But she also had many other hurdles to overcome before continuing on her path to a healthier life.
In early 2019, she underwent her second spinal fusion. In fall of the same year, she had to have surgery to remove the hardware from the spinal fusion. Due to this, she found it very difficult to get around. Then, in January of 2020, Felicia had to have a a stomach repair, resulting in the need for a feeding tube into her stomach for 6 weeks. “I spent a lot of time in bed, and felt like my body had failed me…and I failed it”, she says.
As 2020, progressed, we all know what came next: the pandemic. Like many, Felicia suddenly found herself “stuck at home, without any social interactions, and no real escape.” At the time, her son already had an Oculus Rift S. He pushed her to try it out and eventually, Felicia decided to give it a shot.
“I was instantly hooked. I realized that I was stealing his enough that I needed to buy my own.” Felicia did not have a gaming PC, so she decided the Oculus Quest was the option for her. After getting the Quest, she stumbled upon the fitness app, Supernatural. She wasn’t super serious about it at first, but joined the Official Supernatural Community and Supernatural Community Events groups on Facebook. The Supernatural Community Events group is a great place for user-created events and competitions.
One such competition is the Team Competition. For this, anyone who wants to join can do so, and they are placed on a different team, where they compete as a group with other teams. For the first team round, the group did a captain call to get a captain lined up for each team. This is when Felicia realized that Supernatural could be a literal game changer for her.
“I’ve never really done anything like this before, and I haven’t been any kind of leader. But I volunteered (to be captain). That was so out of character for me. But I just loved Supernatural so much and I knew that’s what I needed.”
Now, there have been 6 rounds of the team competitions. Felicia is still one of the captains. I even had the pleasure of being on Felicia’s team for round 6. Which was my first of the team competitions. Being new to them myself, Felicia and the other veteran players really made it a welcoming and encouraging group. It was a joy to participate!
To date, since starting Supernatural, Felicia has lost a further 21 pounds. She now feels so much more healthy and active. She has been able to combat severe back and knee pain. And she has created a healthy and fun lifestyle.
“My one-year anniversary with Supernatural is coming up in June, and I have to say that it has literally saved me. It’s helped me grow so much as a person. And as an added bonus, I have made the greatest friends I could hope for, and I know I’ll have them for life.”
It is so nice to find and network with so many people through the VR community. Felicia’s story is so inspiring, and I look forward to keeping up with her via the facebook groups and her TikTok (which you can follow here!)
Question and Answer
WeightlossVR: Which VR games/titles are your favorite for burning calories?
Felicia: Supernatural, Audio Trip, Synthriders, & Fitxr
WeightlossVR: How long is your average session/workout? What time of day do you usually play?
Felicia: I usually play daily and my workouts are between 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on the day. I love getting my workouts done in the mornings or early afternoons.
WeightlossVR: Do you use VR exercise for weight loss? Have you made any diet changes, as well?
Felicia: Before VR I lost 67 lbs in about 5 years and with it I lost 21 lbs. My ultimate weight loss goal is just to be healthy and fit which my Doctor has said I am now. As for my diet it has changed some by not eating as much out of boredom. I try to choose healthier options now so I don’t feel so groggy.
WeightlossVR: What are your thoughts on VR versus traditional gym workouts?
Felicia: To me, VR is much more convenient. I’ve had gym memberships and I always hated going. But with VR I can’t wait to get out of bed, get ready, and smack some balloons or whatever.
WeightlossVR: What keeps you motivated?
Felicia: Trying to be here as long as I can for my family. Plus, knowing that if I stop doing what I’m doing I can go back to where I was before…which was bedridden because of severe back and knee pain.
WeightlossVR: Do you track calories burned with a fitness tracker? If so, do you have any number available on how many calories you burn during your VR exercise sessions?
Felicia: I use an apple watch, the move app on oculus, and the yur watch. So today, I did about an hour in Supernatural and burned 403 calories.
WeightlossVR: What does a typical VR workout session include for you?
Felicia: Some mornings I may do a mediation in Tripp and then around 11 or 1 depending on if I do a group workout or not, I’ll do Supernatural. I usually try to do group workouts on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and even more of them if we do a competition.
WeightlossVR: What do you love about using VR as a health and fitness tool?
Felicia: More than anything I love how convenient and portable it is. I literally take my headset with me everywhere when staying overnight.
WeightlossVR: What kind of options do you want to see in the future for new games/workout options?
Felicia: I would really like a good yoga VR game or have it be an addition to Supernatural.
WeightlossVR: Were you a gamer before VR or did VR bring you into the gaming community?
Felicia: I was definitely a gamer before, and have been since the original Nintendo. One of my all-time favorite games is Super Metroid for SNES and my favorite PC game was and always will be World of Warcraft.
WeightlossVR: For those on the fence about whether VR is right for them, what would be your advice?
Felicia: My advice would be to just try it. You’ll either love it the first time you put it on or absolutely hate it. The first time I finally tried it I was hooked. My son begged me for months to try it and I never would and then he begged me to stop hogging his Rift S so that’s when I got the Quest.
WeightlossVR: If someone was just starting out with VR, what would you tell them would be the first game they should try?
Felicia: I think it would depend on the person. I have one friend who really like Beat Saber and another that I knew would love anything Star Wars so he tried the Vader Immortal.
WeightlossVR: Aside from weight loss, have you experienced any other physical benefits from VR?
Felicia: Definitely got a little more toned so I decided to take it further and start resistance training a while back. I’m really aiming to be able to do a 1 full pull-up before the end of the year.
WeightlossVR: Have you experienced any non-physical benefits from VR?
Felicia: Yes. I have made some of the coolest friends and it has also made me a little less introverted. Back when the competitions for Supernatural started and they were looking for captains I volunteered and that was so out of character for me but I just loved Supernatural so much and knew that’s what I needed. I’m still one of the captains and we just finished Round 6 a couple of weeks ago.
Looking for more inspirational success stories of people using VR to better their health? Check out other Subscriber Stories here or My Stories here! Thank you so much for reading, and as always, feel free to get in touch with any questions, or to share a story of your own!