Well, that may not be entirely true. There were plenty of factors at play behind me losing one stone, or 9.7 kilos, or 20 pounds, since I started this lifestyle change around February 1. But the point is, this Niantic Labs game, loved now by far fewer and despised by many – with its own share of chaos and freaky news headlines since it came out last July - can help you shed those pounds.

Having a dog certainly helps with my Pokémon Go obsession. After all, the dog needs to be walked at a minimum of three times a day. And I live only a five-minute walk from Fig Garden Village, which happens to not only be the nicest shopping center in town, but is also the best Pokémon spawning ground in all of Fresno, if not the entire San Joaquin Valley. I can easily fit in three 45-minute walks a day, sometimes more depending on my schedule and the weather. During the hot summer days, I’m usually taking longer walks, but earlier or late in the day, obviously.

They key to incorporating your Pokémon Go routine is to keep moving. Don’t be one of these trainers who stops every time he or she views a Pokémon. First, of all, you’ll look ridiculous. Second, you won’t get that long interval of activity that your heart needs to keep the blood pumping and keep those muscles toned. And for heaven’s sake, get in the routine of keeping your phone to the side when you cross a street. This is especially necessary if you are in Fig Garden Village, where the typical visitor is a righteous octogenarian who feels entitled to the road and either cannot, or will not, turn his or her neck while driving.

Getting back to playing Pokémon Go, walking the dog and getting that exercise at the same time. I have a certain method to the madness that has allowed me to reach level 35, without cheating or spending a dime on the game (sorry, Niantic). As I’m moving about, I tend to only go for Pokémon that are around 200 CP or lower. Obviously, if it’s a rare one, such as the rare Snorlax or Mareep, I will make sure I catch that sucker. But let’s face it: while Pidgeys are annoying, you only need 12 candies to evolve, which means those 500 points, which means you get close to your goal of leveling up, etc. etc. Forget about those annoying Ratatas, Pidgeys or Parases that are of a higher CP unless you have a surplus of balls. First, it’s dangerous to catch and walk at the same time with a dog on your leash. Second, you’ll lose your balls (literally and figuratively, if you’re not careful), and all of us trainers all know what it is like to be out of balls. So catch those lower CP, use less balls, level up faster and most importantly – keep that weight down.

Some of the other tips I am about to share are already obvious. Make sure you have a battery pack so you can keep charged if you’re out a while – especially if you’re a “battle girl” that is keen on taking down gyms time and time again (and while you’re doing it, don’t just stand there – at least do calf raises and stretch while you’re taking down one Dragonite after another!). Yes, I admit, I have two, in case I am on the road.

If you have a favorite spot where there are three or four Pokéstops close together, make that your regular spot – the Starbucks at Fig Garden, thanks to a fluke, actually has two stops, so I can nab my iced tea while the dog and I both rest – and most importantly, I stock up on Pokéballs. (And be a compassionate dog owner – bring water and snacks for your dog, please. He’s probably annoyed enough with your Pokémon Go trainer lifestyle, an he needs his rest and treats, too).

Of course, other factors are at play behind my weight lost. The ketogenic diet helps, as I no longer eat legumes, breakfast cereal, pasta, rice, grains or bread. No longer am I noshing on breakfast sandwiches at Starbucks (which I mostly did to rack up stars during promotions, anyway). Iced tea is the norm. Bring high protein snacks with you, by the way, so you don’t fall victim to carb temptation.

Plus, you need to keep tabs on what you’re eating and burning. I monitor my calories and exercise as best as I can by using an app such as MyFitnessPal. Using an app is important as I often have days where I ingest more calories than the combination of how many I need for my height in addition to those I burn off when exercising. Plus, you learn little tricks – that ounce of peanuts may be plenty to satisfy my hunger, so I pare down to 2/3 of an ounce . . . which, if you do the same with other foods, means less calories ingested over the course of a day.

But as I tell everyone, diet alone is not enough to shed pounds. You have to move. And to Niantic’s credit, Pokémon Go has dragged me out of the house more, scoring more exercise and quality time with my dog. And, of course, if I dare be vain, I get remarks on my looks – instead of being marked by my clothes.

Image credit: Leon Kaye

Pokemon Go, Fresno, Fig Garden Village, Fig Garden, San Joaquin Valley, health, Niantic Labs, dogs, Starbucks

You gotta catch em all - and lose some in the meantime

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he specializes in social media consulting and strategic communications. A journalist and writer since 2009, his work has appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Areas of interest include the <a Middle East, sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (Leon Kaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). Since 2013, he has spent much of his time in Abu Dhabi, UAE, working with Masdar, the emirate's renewable energy company. He lives in Fresno, California.