In which getting fit is overrated

By Mir
January 12, 2009

It seems like just last week when I was singing the praises of my new Wii Fit, probably because that was just last week. I swear this is a product custom-made for sedentary hermits if ever there was one. I continue to be amazed at how perfect it is for someone like me.

The Fit commercial should go like this: “Are you approaching middle age? Does your job leave you sitting at the computer for most of the day? Do you hate to exercise? Are you not particularly fond of other people? Does leaving the house during the day seem overrated? Are you concerned that soon your butt might, in fact, eclipse Atlanta? THEN THE WII FIT IS FOR YOU!”

I’m pretty sure if they’d run THAT commercial, I would’ve bought one a lot sooner. I’m just sayin’. Anyway, it’s a match made in heaven, me and my Wii Fit. Sort of.

The first couple weeks were great, it’s true. I did yoga poses and strength exercises and balance games and I felt the burn. In particular, by the second day my abdominal muscles and calves had all turned to quivering jelly, thanks to my penchant for virtual hula-hooping. (In real life, trying to use a hula hoop most often results in some sort of eye injury for me. But on the Wii Fit, man, I’m a hooping SUPERSTAR. Not that I’ve let it go to my head or anything. But if you want my autograph, I would understand.) And I was unlocking new games right and left, on account of I was so awesome, and everything.

Anyway, I’m trying to use it every day. And I’m also modifying my diet, like I’m eating a lot less meat and I’m trying to limit the snacking after dinner, and when I’m hungry I have a cup of tea instead of eating something, usually. This is working really well to control my hunger, because it’s hard to rummage around in the pantry for a snack when you’re drinking twenty cups of tea each day, in-between bathroom stops to pee FORTY times a day. (It’s sort of like being pregnant again, only without the added problem of having another human inhabiting my body.)

The end result is that every morning when I get on the Wii Fit, it tells me it’s measuring, and then it tells me that I’ve lost some weight. And then I do a tiny little victory dance, and I’m motivated to go ahead and jog in place like a moron for a while.

Since first “registering” with the Fit—which was right before we left for our holiday trip—I’ve lost about four pounds. Which is about ten different kinds of awesome. Now, just to be clear: I was down two pounds from the moment we got back, probably due to my super fantabulous Christmas Eve, and have lost two pounds since then. So, just about a pound a week. Not exactly earth-shattering. But encouraging.

More encouraging is that I’m feeling good about the fact that I’m making an effort and getting off my butt. And also that some of my pants are looser, which is ALWAYS a good sign.

But let me tell you what is NOT encouraging. What is NOT encouraging is that I stepped on the Fit this morning, after taking the weekend off, and it insisted I’d gained two pounds. Which would make my net loss since starting my fitness regime… ZERO.

I went ahead and did my body test (and was mocked for my lack of balance) and my aerobics and my strength exercises and my yoga and everything, but my heart was heavy. I wracked my brain; had I cheated badly on my new, more restrained diet this weekend? I’d had a cupcake. And a donut. Okay, TWO cupcakes and two donuts. (Over two days. Shut up.) But our slug-like weekend schedule also meant I’d only had two meals each of those two days, and I thought I’d done pretty well with my intake, calorie-wise. What could it be? How in the world had I gained two pounds??

And then I realized that all last week, I wore exactly the same clothes while using the Fit. Over the weekend I’d realized that… hey… I worked out in those clothes for five days in a row… EWWWWWWW… and thrown them in the hamper. So today, I was wearing different clothes. Including a sweatshirt (it’s cold in here today), when all last week I’d been wearing a t-shirt.

I went back into the Body Test and instead of telling it that I was wearing “Light Clothing,” which I guess subtracts 2 pounds, I told it I was wearing “Heavy Clothing,” which subtracts 4 pounds. It assessed me and then announced that…

… I had lost three pounds since my last Body Test!

Let’s recap: I changed the amount it subtracts by TWO pounds, and after accounting for that, it decided I’d lost ANOTHER pound.

And that was when I realized that the Fit is totally mocking me. All this time I thought I’d lost a couple of pounds, for sure, but in weighing myself in the same clothes, half an hour apart, it came up with a difference of an entire pound. Which means I can’t believe what it tells me, ever.

(I should’ve known. Otto was looking sort of gaunt in a new pair of pants, last week, and I was so alarmed that I made him do a Body Test to check his weight. Because we don’t own a scale. It turns out that the new pants are just a different—roomier—cut, I guess, but the Fit accused him of having gained 8 pounds, which I’m pretty sure he did NOT. Somehow I just rationalized this as the Fit just messing with HIM, because surely the Fit loves ME, because I visit it just about every day, baby.)

In conclusion, I have no idea if I’ve lost any weight, but I sure could go for a cookie right about now.


  1. MomCat

    I’ll take an autographed cookie, please.

    I count vacuuming as aerobics (Hey! Stairs!), so I’m following your assessment of the Wii Fit with great interest.

  2. crockpot lady

    hahahaha! I love it!

  3. Brandy

    We have a digital scale. I can get on it, get off and get back on and my weight will change as much as a lb. All the scales are out to get us. Make us crazy :)

  4. Megan

    Which is why I use the how-do-my-jeans-fit method of self assessment. Which works beeeyewtifully if a) I don’t try to rationalize about things like jeans just having been washed and b) I never ever replace my current slightly elderly pairs. On the down side a month ago I did have to go to a real clothes store with real people in and I really did have to turn around and recognize that that thing wasn’t just closely following me and casting enormous shadows to frighten small children it was MY ARSE – a realization I had been happily putting off for quite a long time. On the up side it made me get off said arse, stop pretending to exercise (hiking every weekend! Nearly. Almost. Some hiking. On some weekends. Sometimes. And a lot of good intentions which are superb for the cardiovascular system), really exercise and find that I’m not doomed to be a large-arsed woman for the rest of my life (having never had an arse before at all there were a few rather dark moments but we’ve come to a new understanding and things are better now).

    Anyway – pffft to the ffffit and keep on hulahooping because you know it’s doing you good AND you get to call yourself a champion hooper. Win win.

  5. Barbara

    So the effect of ‘feeling good’ is not enough. You.must.have.numbers.

    Your story demonstrates problems with doing research (taking objective data) with human subjects. And, that your daughter is influencing toward the dark vegetarian side. You’re welcome!

  6. RuthWells

    This is why I cannot have a scale in my house. It is crazy-making.

  7. RuthWells

    But I also tend to need empirical proof, so I step on my mother’s scale once a month or so.

  8. Chuck

    Good luck with your Wii! I’d like to get one but I don’t need more reasons to stay inside. I’m trying out the gym thing; we’ll see how that goes…

  9. SoMo

    Ah! The mental screw that is the Wii Fit. I say that it is a game hell bent on making all of us tear our hair out and either develop an eating disorder to counteract the mocking or to just say “to hell with it” and eat ourselves into those flying chairs from Wall-E. Since I have become pregnant I haven’t stepped foot onto the Wii Fit, because 1. my energy is being sucked from me by this new alien invading my body and 2. I am in a frail state and don’t need to be told I am a fat ass.

    I am sure that once I give birth and feel my butt jiggle when I have stopped walking I will make my way back to the Wii Fit and then to the therapist for the mental anguish it will inflict. Visicious cycle that I glady plunked down $99 for. Those Japanese slowly torturing us Americans with their inventions.

  10. Mandee

    All I know is I read the title in my feed reader and said, “Preach it sister.”

    And, also, I could co-star in your commercial.

    The end.

  11. Sagey

    Ok, Mir. Here is the fact. You weighed yourself BEFORE exercising and AFTER exercising. If you worked up a good sweat and did NOT drink water, that extra pound is a water loss! SO in fact, the Wii is correct. Take heart, you are doing well. I did the Wii Fit test this morning and it told me my Wii Fit age dropped from 35 to 21 in just 3 short days. I amaze myself. :-) Keep it up and don’t lose heart, you are exercising and playing video games, what could be better?

  12. Wendy 2

    Oooo, a Wii Fit, my dream come true. I am still hunting one down, but once I get it I am sure I will be able to commiserate with the mind games I am sure it will play with me. my own digital scale does exactly the same thing, I can step on it 3 times in 1 minute and get 3 different readings, often up to a pound or two difference. It never has made any sense to me.

  13. Ani

    I stopped listening after it told me how great I was doing with the yoga…while i was sitting on my butt on the couch laughing at the idea that I could possibly contort my body into the pose they were suggesting.

  14. Sharkey

    Don’t you hate it when you step on the balance board and it makes that little “Whoa!” sound?

  15. ImpostorMom

    My best day with the Fit was the day it told me I was 23. I’m not sure I’ve done another body test since then. Why mess with it after that? :)

    Now I have the new Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum game. I suppose the Wii Fit mocking isn’t enough, I need to be yelled at as well.

  16. Lisa

    Wait – did I write this? Are you stalking me? Seriously, down to the happy dance…spooky.

  17. jennielynn

    It could be worse. I noticed a large (17 pound) discrepancy between the weight my Fit gave me and the number on my scale. Turns out you don’t get an accurate reading unless it’s on a flat, hard surface. So I’m back to being a big ol’ fatty pants. Damn that effin’ balance board.

    Someday, I’m going to video myself trying the tree pose, just so my readers can share in the laughter and mockery. Why should the Wii have all the fun?

  18. Heidi

    My suggestion is, don’t obsess about numbers on the scale.

    (1) Weight fluctuates quite a bit in a single day, especially if you’re sloshing with tea.

    (2) Muscle weighs more than fat–you’re building muscle, Missy!

  19. exile on mom street

    I do not have a fit. I don’t even have a WII (the horror, the horror!) but I too have been eating right and exercising and I’m down almost 5 lbs since the holidays.

    As long as I weigh myself on the same scale. At the same time of day. In the same clothes.

    Yes, I too will go to great lengths to do the victory dance!

  20. Karen

    You make it sound like so much fun! Really a friend of mine and I were talking about the Wii Fit and were wondering if it was a lot of hype or really the coolest new thing in fitness. After reading your post, I may have to invest in one.

  21. melanie

    I actually love my wii fit, especially when it’s telling me I’m losing weight. Of course, when I gain, it demands to know a reason. At that point, I just want to stomp on it real hard and hear it say “whoa” just one more time. My kids tell me the balance board has an unnatural affinity for me. Everytime they get on, it asks them about me. “How does mom look today?” It actually told my hubby to enourage me! It’s pretty freaky really! But as long as it tells me I’ve lost weight, I can deal with it’s fatal attraction issues.

  22. Susan

    I’m getting a Wii Fit soon… I’m just waiting for it to come in at Circuit City (who, btw, has it on sale right now for $89.99). My AWESOME sisters are buying it for me. Because I’m poor. And fat. I do tend to have a temper, though, especially when I’m dieting (which I am now) and not drinking (like now), so I’m really hoping my new Wii Fit doesn’t tell me I’ve gained. I might shoot it.

  23. Michelle

    I’m convinced that my Wii Fit is charting a conspiracy that has been going on in my house for quite some time. See, every time my husband, son and I use the Wii Fit together it will tell each of them that they have lost a pound, and then it will tell me that I have gained two. It appears that any weight lost in my house ends up on my ass. Oh, Wii Fit, what an abusive relationship we have.

  24. Lylah

    So, your Wii fit is really a Hii Hii Hii fit?

  25. Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck

    Yeah, I stopped checking my weight every day because it just fluctuated too much. Now I just check once a week. Or once a month, depending on how long I go between actual work outs. :)

  26. Katie in MA

    Wanna know what else will inspire you? Watch the new season of Biggest Loser. Not only am I trying to squeese in some quick jumping jacks during my trips to the bathroom at work (how long before I get busted?), but I’m constantly jiggling my legs up and down whilst in my chair. Hey, it doesn’t sound like much, but it has to add up at *some* point, right? Right?

  27. All Adither

    I just did a post on Hip Hop Abs. Talk about feeling like a fool.

  28. mike golch

    I guess that i should breakdown and get one.

  29. Kelly

    I like my Wii Fit but I do find it hard when it says ‘ohhh’ like you’ve hurt it when you step on. I mean is that necessary?

    Also – make sure if its on carpet you use the little leg-attachment things, otherwise it won’t weigh properly.

    And I’m sure you sweated off that pound. ;)

  30. tj

    Scales of any sort are not to be believed.

  31. Holly

    I *love* hula-hooping on the Wii-Fit. It cracks me up when my kids cheer me on so that I can reach the “top” level of hula-hooping.

    The thing I don’t like? The weighing and BMI measurement. I feel like my cheapy dial scale in the bathroom is more accurate. I know it was made by skinny Japanese people, but jeez! I also wish it had a setting on there so that you could tell your Wii that you are pregnant, NOT OBESE!

  32. dad

    You, of all people, should know not to believe everything you read.
    Stick with your exercise regimen. You will feel better and your troublesome, urban eclipsing butt will obediently shrink.

  33. Scottsdale Girl

    I am torn between saving up for a Wii and this Wii Fit crap or for more Pinot Noir from Trader Joe’s.

    Such a tough decision really.

  34. Leandra

    Okay, first things first, don’t ever let Joshilyn get on your wii fit. It may send her mental illness numbers into stratospheric levels.

    Except for the weekly weigh ins at WW, I don’t weigh myself. It’s too depressing/confusing and I always wonder whether I can trust the scales. I just go by how my pants fit.

    But whatever wii fit tells you, activity is good. And you’re being active. Which is WAY more than I can say for myself.

  35. Keyona

    I’m looking forward to getting my Wii Fit with income tax. Now I’ll remember to always wear the same outfit…maybe.

  36. Flea

    The clothes don’t lie, girl. Your pants are roomy – go with that.

  37. Nancy R

    Yeah, BELIEVE THE PANTS! Except that pair you wore all week. Don’t use that one to judge.

  38. TheresaG

    I don’t have a Wii- have been saving up to buy one, but alas, I was lured by another gadget, the Kindle. The Kindle doesn’t require activity, and it will never ohh or ahh at my weight statistics. BUT if I’d had a Wii fit, I would have thought I’d lost a lot more, because unless I’m *nekid* I subtract 3lbs (or 4lbs if I’m wearing heavy clothing). I used to weigh myself once a week. One of the cats ate through some of the wiring on the scale (it was a cheap model) and so the scale started adding ten pounds. It couldn’t be that I actually gained ten pounds…the pants still fit. Sorta. If I breath deeply and pry myself into them…

  39. annette

    Well Mir, as I have always wanted to meet you,it is possible that my St. Louis eclipsing butt is actually touching your Atlanta eclipsing butt. That is not good:)

    I, too, am starting the eat right exercise thing again. I think I am going to have to breakdown and literally JOIN weight watchers so I get the official 1 x a week weigh in or I will never perservere. There, I will disrobe all that remains legal to squeek out an extra ounce of weight loss. Yes, this is my life. SIGH!

  40. Reagan

    Did you see the Wii Fit review in the AJC? It was pretty lame. Overall, do you think it’s worth the money/time/effort? I’m so tempted to get one…

  41. Jess

    The Wii fit has been known to completely freak me out, as, if she wiggles too much, it will say that my daughter has lost 4 pounds overnight. Now, she’s a teeny tiny little six year-old, and so four pounds is a LOT. She gets a little disturbed when I say, “No, no, honey, you have to weigh yourself again.”

    I’m not giving her body image issues at ALL. But at least I’m saying, “Honey, seriously, you need to gain some weight” rather than the opposite. ;)

    (Incidentally, she does the body test herownself, because she wants more stamps.)

    Exercise is always good, though. Have you tried the rhythmic boxing yet? It totally kicks my butt.

  42. Lori N

    You and your readers crack me up – between all y’all, everything I’ve ever thought about the Wii (& my own tush) has been said.

    I’m done here.

  43. Ariel

    The wii and my fat ass have a love hate thing going on…

  44. cacjohnson

    I am a thirty seven year old black female with no children obesity has not been my problem in last seventeen years of my life it has been just the opposite. I am often become disconcerted to hear people blab about being overweight all the time because they believe that being thin will solve all of their problems. I my varies from 90 to 115 on a good day most of my life people have told me that I am cute and just assume because I am thin with no children that I don’t have bad days. I first notice your blog in Redbook magazine, then decide to visit your blog to look a the design layout plus content matter. My behind is not as big as your could be the next blog title. Digressing from the topic,I have a website as a thin person being skinny is not the be all to the end all their is life after fat & before skin what is on the inside now that’s a topic for discussion.

  45. nil zed

    I want a Wii, but I have to wait until I move back to the states this summer, otherwise I’ll have to get another one. Stupid UK electrical standards with weird cord plugs.

    Trouble is, I want it b/c I want to look so much spiffy better when I go back to the states!

  46. juliness

    So, jacked up Wii aside – a pound a week is all you should lose. No more. A pound a week means you are making subtle changes that will last, not just shedding water weight. Or worse, losing muscle mass. The weight loss math seriously sucks though, which is why I switched careers to one where I HAVE to work out. :-)

  47. vanessa

    So, question. How does the WiiFit compare to, say, going to the gym? Because I can never do that. Or treadmilling at home? Because I suck at that, also. But the Wii Fit sounds like something I might actually be able to do.

  48. Giyen

    That pee thing? I am right there with you. 40 times is no exaggeration. Well, maybe a little.

  49. MaryP

    (It’s sort of like being pregnant again, only without the added problem of having another human inhabiting my body.)

    Which made me snort MY tea out my nose. Because, Mir? I do the exact. same. thing with the tea-as-food-substitute (self-talk: “You’re NOT hungry, you’re bored. Have some tea”), and I’ve had the exact same thought about the other human not inside me.

    As for the peeing? I’ve been known to race a toddler up the stairs so as to get to the toilet FIRST.

  50. Brigitte

    Megan’s comment made me laugh, because it made me think how many times I’ve knocked over my own poor daughter with my Big Fat BUTT.

    To Cacjohnson – I have a congenetally skinny sister who has trouble keeping her weight UP to a healthy weight, so I know it doesn’t solve all problems. But it would be pleasant to stop fearing I’ll have a massive coronary (or reduce the chances, anyway) and leave my daughter an orphan, it would be nice to be able to jump up and down and run with her, it would be nice not to repulse others in public with my appearance, I’d like to more comfortably turn around in a bathroom stall or not feel squished in a stadium seat and it would be nice to find clothes other than Omar’s Tent that actually FIT.

    I love your description, Mir: “Are you approaching middle age? . . Do you hate to exercise? Are you not particularly fond of other people? Does leaving the house during the day seem overrated? Are you concerned that soon your butt might, in fact, eclipse Atlanta? THEN THE WII FIT IS FOR YOU!”

    That’s ME!!!!

  51. Laura


    I totally hate the little “Whoa!” sound. It sounds like, “Whoa get the elephant off me.” Then I heard it do that to my uber skinny 6 year old.

  52. Lindy

    Let me give you some advice from a former adrenaline junkie who got her kicks through exercise (Hey, I raced half marathons), and whose ass exploded somewhere between trying to finish college and marrying a body builder, and now she’s trying to get it back under control…

    1) Don’t weigh yourself every day. It’s not accurate and it’s disheartening. I weigh myself once a month at the gym, on the same day. Weigh yourself before the workout because afterwards you’ve probably sweated a lot of water out which can be deceptive.

    2) Muscle weighs a lot more than fat. Trust the pants. Trust. The. Pants.

    And also…

    If you really want to lose weight and get in shape, you have to watch what you eat, which you said you’re doing. This is very important. You said you’re cutting back on meat, which can be good or bad. Protein is very important to building muscle and is great for energy, but if you’re getting protein somewhere else, more power to you. If you’re like me and just can’t give it up, I suggest lean protein like poultry and fish. Before you work out, eat some complex carbohydrates like bread and fruit. Don’t starve yourself. Eat something not long after a good workout because at that point your muscles are still stimulated and burning more calories than usual. Eating a small meal afterwards can actually boost your metabolism. I suggest eating protein. Burritos are awesome. Beans, rice, chicken maybe, tomatoes, a little cheese, whatever you like. As long as you don’t drown it in sour cream, it’s not that fattening but has all kinds of good stuff for you and tastes awesome.

    Second thing, I know this is nearly impossible with kids sometimes, and this is my biggest problem, but make sure you eat. Not eating screws up your metabolism. Try to eat like six (or whatever works for you) small meals a day, if you can.

    Sugar isn’t all bad. The sugar in fruit and stuff is good for you. Eat all the fruit you want. But if you’re going to eat something high in sugar (natural or not), eat it earlier in the day so you have plenty of time during that day to burn that sugar off. Sugar turns straight into fat.

    And don’t feel bad about cheating every now and then. Make a scheduled thing out of it though. Eat really well all through the week, and tell yourself if you do and don’t cheat, then on Saturday you can have that piece of cheesecake smothered in chocolate and bacon (or whatever). There is science behind this that I still don’t understand, but somehow eating really well for weeks and then once a week cheating and drowning yourself if delicious fattening sugarry goodness actually boosts your metabolism. Still don’t understand it, but I’ve seen it work.

    And if you want to burn fat, do cardio.

    Ok… guess who had four cups of coffee this morning, eh? Time to get to work. Cheers.

  53. Christina

    I just tried the Jillian Michaels DVD 30 Day Shred today, and I think I’m going to crawl back to my Wii Fit and beg it to take me back. Hula hooping is far more my speed.

    I don’t do the body measure every day on the Wii Fit, because I don’t like seeing the daily fluctuations. Eating too much salt the night before can result in a weight gain.

  54. Holli

    I thought the only person in the world that can do the tree pose is the trainer.

    I got Wii Fit for Christmas. I love it!

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