Recently, I have had the privilege to chat with Tammy, 50, from North Carolina. Her story is incredibly inspirational and truly shows that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. I met Tammy through the Official Supernatural Community on Facebook. She was the 4th Supernatural athlete to reach 1 million cumulative Supernatural points! But more on that later, because her story starts long before VR was even on her radar.
Tammy’s Back Story
Three years ago, Tammy says that she needed a surgery, but was turned down by multiple surgeons due to her weight. She goes on to say that the 3rd surgeon was so blunt about it, that it brought out her stubborn side. “I looked him straight in the face and said I WILL lose my weight. And when I do, I will be back and you WILL give me the surgery.” He agreed, that if she lost the necessary 100 pounds, he would perform the surgery.
Needless to say, Tammy put her mind to it and started straight away. She started researching, finding that a healthy eating lifestyle would be the first major change. After research, she found that the keto diet was something that she thought would work well for her. With the help of her sister, she cleaned the pantry of everything that would not fit into that new healthy keto lifestyle. For the next year, Tammy worked hard to reach her goal. When she went back to that surgeon, he admitted that most times he doesn’t expect people to come back after setting a weight loss requirement for them. Tammy went on to receive her surgery, but her story doesn’t end there!
To date, she has lost an incredible 172 pounds! This amazing success enabled Tammy to do something else that she was told she could not do because of her previous weight: SKYDIVE! Last month, Tammy achieved her goal of skydiving. But this is just the beginning for her. “There will be many more adventures that I will enjoy. Plus, I believe I will be able to see them in a more grateful way because of where I came from. I think the best part is that after being told so many times that I can’t do this or that because of my weight , I was actually able to do the skydiving. Supernatural gave me the confidence in myself to jump.”
Benefits of VR For Overall Health
In October of 2020, Tammy purchased an Oculus Quest 2. She still has a goal of losing 40 more pounds, and is using virtual reality workouts to help achieve that goal. Her favorite calorie burning games are: Supernatural, FitXR, and Audiotrip. She says that Supernatural is “by far” what she prefers as her go to workout. She says she tries to play a couple of times per day, averaging around 4 hours total.
Before her weight loss, Tammy even had to use a cane to keep her mobility due to leg weakness. She says that the weight loss alone helped a bit with that. But she credits the strengthening in her legs and increased mobility mostly to Superatural. The focus on stretching and proper form with specialized leg workouts really helps to strengthen the leg muscles.
In addition to weight loss, Tammy sees benefits in her overall health and anxiety relief from VR. She says she has gained more strength and agility. In addition, she credits VR exercise with helping keep her out of the hospital while battling COVID in December of 2020. “I have scarred lungs from having atelectasis after a surgery that I had a few years back. I firmly believe that VR exercise helps keep my lungs as healthy as they can be with the scarring.”
Question and Answer
WeightlossVR: What are your thoughts on VR versus traditional gym workouts?
Tammy: I absolutely hate gym workouts. I had a gym membership, but never went. The oculus allows me to get up workout in my pajamas. I am able to workout longer. Supernatural combines great music, beautiful locations around the world, relatable coaches, stretches, and even guided meditations.
WeightlossVR: What keeps you motivated?
Tammy: The motivation for me comes from a place of stress and anxiety relief. It allows me to channel my anxiety and panic.
WeightlossVR: Do you track calories burned with a fitness tracker? If so do you have any numbers available on how many calories you burn during your VR exercise sessions?
Tammy: I use the move app (within Oculus) and also Fitbit. My calorie burn can be anywhere from 800-1200 per day.
WeightlossVR: What does a typical VR workout session include for you?
Tammy: A typical VR session involves a medium workout for my warm up, followed with several high workouts. If it’s a day that I am not up to doing much, I will just do a quick hit which are typically 15 minutes or less.
WeightlossVR: What do you love about using VR as a health and fitness tool?
Tammy: I love the accessibility and the endorphins. I feel like I am doing something good for my body. It also keeps me from sitting and watching tv all day, playing on my phone, or shopping. It keeps me focused on something positive mentally and physically.
WeightlossVR: What kind of options do you want to see in the future for new games/workout options?
Tammy: I am pretty content with the workout apps that I have now. However, I would love to see Supernatural roll out some type of multiplayer option.
WeightlossVR: Any high scores you want to share?
Tammy: I take great pride in the fact that I am number 4 globally to reach 1 million lifetime points in Supernatural. My goal was to be among the top 5. I also did it quicker than any other player, completing it in just over 5 months.
WeightlossVR: For those on the fence about whether VR is right for them, what would be your advice? If someone is just starting out in using VR for health benefits, what game should they try first?
Tammy: My advice would be to jump in! The Oculus Quest 2 is priced for the general public and there are so many different choices you have. There is literally something for everyone. I would recommend the trial version of Supernatural, do the 30 days and if you don’t enjoy it, you are under no obligation. There is a high probability in my opinion that you will enjoy it and decide to continue your subscription. I definitely feel like I get my moneys worth each month. If Supernatural is not for you, then I would suggeest Fitxr, Audio Trip, and Synth Riders.
WeightlossVR: Other than weight loss, have you experienced any other physical or non-physical benefits from VR?
Tammy: I have scarred lungs from having atelectasis after a surgery that I had a few years back. I firmly believe that VR exercise helps keep my lungs as healthy as they can be with the scarring. Also, I believe it aided in keeping me out of the hospital during the time that I was going through Covid. I also had mobility issues because of the weight and my left leg was super weak. I had to use a cane to walk. Supernatural has helped me gain a good amount of mobility and agility. As far a non-physical, it puts you into a more healthy state mentally as well. When you are doing something good for your body, I believe it comes with positive mental changes. The most healthy benefit for me is anxiety and stress relief.
WeightlossVR: Any other comments or stories you would like to share?
Tammy: Another great benefit of Supernatural is the community. The Offical Supernatural FB page is where the devs, mappers, choreographers, and coaches are very active, supportive, and receptive to any suggestions etc. They really do try to listen to their audience and while it cannot be a one size fits all, I would say they have something for everyone. Also, the unofficial Supernatural Community Events Facebook page hosts healthy competitions for anyone from entry level to the more advanced athlete. They also organize Oculus parties, where we can workout with each other in chat. We can hear each other, but not see each other. Sometimes we all do the same workouts, and sometimes we vary out workouts from each other. Either way, chatting with your friends while working out will always result in a longer, more enjoyable workout.
Hearing Tammy’s story has surely been an inspiration and motivation to me. I love meeting such incredible people through the VR community. It is such a joy to be able to share stories like these. I am looking forward to staying in contact with Tammy as we both continue on our journeys using virtual reality.
As the years go on, VR is becoming more and more accessible to more people. It may not be for everyone, but there are so many people who may be able to have both physical and non-physical benefits through the use of VR. I am excited to see how things continue to develop, and how many more people can use it as a tool for a healthier lifestyle.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my little blog, and as always, feel free to comment or get in touch via the contact form. Whether you want to be featured in a blog yourself, or just want to chat or ask questions, I love meeting and talking to new people!