By Virna McKinney
One day last April I walked my son William to his classroom on the second floor of his school. By the time we got to the top of the stairs, we were both out of breath. In that moment I really felt like a failure as a mom. Walking to his classroom on the second floor was a struggle that William had to face five days a week, at least three times a day. I knew I needed to do something to help both of us, and that’s why I started looking for a way to make exercising fun.
I found Zamzee by doing a Google search for a child’s activity monitor. Since I had just joined Weight Watchers a few days before, I decided to get one for myself and both my kids. William was eight and Taylor was five at the time. They were both really excited to get started. When their Zamzees were fully charged, they started doing jumping jacks. My kids and I set challenges and ran in the backyard, or took walks around the block. During the summer break we spent hours in the backyard kicking and chasing the soccer ball. We also bounced on the trampoline, hula hooped, and jumped rope.
Pretty soon, Taylor joined a cheer squad and William joined a basketball team. Because they had their sports practice on two different nights of the week, I decided to take advantage of this time by walking around the track for an hour. But the surprise occurred when each child opted not to watch their sibling practice, but instead walk the track with me. Taylor didn’t actually walk. She ran. FAST. So that made me run too, to keep up with her. On one of our walks I set a challenge for William, without knowing he wasn’t wearing his Zamzee. When we got home I told him to plug it in to see if he had met the challenge. He said, “I forgot to put it on it but that’s ok. It’s not about the points anyway. I needed to walk.” That was a proud mama moment for me.
I really didn’t think about getting a prize until my kids mentioned they would like to have the Wii U. Even though they do the challenges, I knew it would take them forever to earn it. I decided to do my best to get it for them by Christmas. Because I am a stay-at-home mom, I devoted any free time to walking to earn “our prize.” When I dropped the kids off at school, I would walk the track located behind the school. I would arrive an hour before dismissal and walk again. Some nights we would have a dance party and just turn on some music and act silly. If I watched TV, I walked in place. I participated in my kids walk-a-thon to raise money for the PTO, and I did my first 5k walk for cancer with my church. My Zamzee stays on my shoe and many have asked what I am wearing. I even wore it to my class reunion in May, and some classmates joked that I was wearing a house arrest monitor. We laughed and I was really excited to tell them about the changes I was making to get healthy.
Since April (when I joined Weight Watchers and we got our Zamzees), I have lost 30 pounds. I have 10 more to lose to reach my goal. The kids and I enjoy exercising now, and I know Zamzee did exactly what I wanted it to do.