#6: On Exercising and Losing Weight with My Wii

#6: On Exercising and Losing Weight with My Wii

Two Christmases ago, my parents, knowing I wanted one to help me get in shape, surprised me with a Wii complete with Wii Fit Plus and Balance Board. I eagerly started my fun and sometimes frustrating journey into the world of virtual exercising by getting on the balance board for my first weigh in. I was graciously told by the charming caricature of the balance board on the screen that I needed to lose about twenty-two pounds, which was true, although I hadn’t wanted to admit it. I was then instructed by the cartoon balance board to enter a goal weight and set a date to reach it. I did and was soon on my way.

I quickly realized that playing with Wii Fit alone was not going to be enough, so I did some research and discovered EA Sports Active 2. It was the perfect game for me, a girl who thrives on challenges and competition. The program consists of nine week challenges involving four workouts a week. If I didn’t finish all thirty-six workouts in the nine weeks, it was too late. I couldn’t extend the time – unless I tricked the Wii by changing the date, something I would, of course, NEVER EVER do.

The workouts contained games where I was either competing with myself or virtual players. I found that I HAD to meet the challenges. And during each workout, I HAD to meet and exceed the projected calories burned, and perform each game or exercise without mistakes. It didn’t matter that the only one, besides myself, who would know if I cheated, quit or missed a workout was some virtual trainer on my TV screen. It was enough to keep me engaged and committed.

Unfortunately the game does have a few bugs which put a damper on my exciting, challenging workout experiences.  One is that the sensors do not always pick up every move, at which point the ever encouraging virtual trainer explains to me in a calm, slightly condescending voice, “you’re not quite completing your rep”. “OH YES I AM !!!!!!!!!!!” I yell back at her, standing a lunge position while waving a weight and the Wii remote in the air in front of the sensor. Another quirk is that the heart rate monitor doesn’t always pick up my heart beat, making it appear that I am burning fewer calories than I actually am. It didn’t matter that in reality, I am burning x amount of calories, I NEED it to show up on the screen and on my total calories burned count. This fluke often resulted in more irritated yelling at the poor virtual trainer.

Despite the snags in the program, I persevered and over the past year and a half I did the medium level a few times, despite having to start over twice; once due to a Wii ankle injury and once due to bronchitis. But by the end of the past school year, I had made it through the hard level twice. I got stronger. I developed muscles in my arms and my stomach became a little flatter. I could even do push-ups – WITHOUT my knees on the floor. All this time, I continued weighing myself through the Wii fit program and slowly, but surely found myself losing weight and getting closer to my goal weight.

Determined to actually meet my goal weight, when I went to visit my family in Florida for a few weeks this summer, I kept working out. Even though I couldn’t do the Wii workouts, I did get up almost every morning to either run/walk or work out with weights. I came home feeling pretty good about myself. I got on the Wii balance board to weigh in, expecting to be congratulated on more weight loss. Instead, I was greeted by this lovely, patronizing message “Is that Amy? It’s been 24 days since your last check in.” The message continued, “hmmmmmm, I believe the deadline to reach your goal weight has passed. Let’s see, did you reach your goal weight by the deadline?  Oh dear, it appears you did NOT reach your goal weight by the deadline.” I was only about 5 pounds away, but the Wii balance board did not care. It did, however, allow me to set a new deadline.  I have continued working out all summer to lose those last five pounds. I’m still not quite there, but I am close. And I am counting on my Wii to help me finish.

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