Thursday, March 22, 2012


Mom, today I learned they make cards for people who want to almost laugh. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Mom, today I learned that moving sometimes reveals a different side of one's children. 

First things first: a weigh in.  For the last several months, my weight has fluctuated between 217 and 222, most often settling somewhere in between.  I haven't had any moments of major weight loss since our family's medical drama began, but I haven't had any moments of weight gain, either.  Go me!

I can't tell you how much I weigh at this exact moment because I haven't managed to work up today's portion of courage yet.  I know I haven't gained anything, so it's not fear over what the scale will say.  I just don't like the way the scale says it to me.

"The scale" in this case is actually a Wii Fit balance board, and if any of you in my readership possess this condescending instrument and the patronizing Wii game that accompanies it, you probably know exactly why it's hard for me to step on it.

Before I talk about the shame factory that is Wii Fit Plus, I would like to address what I like about it.  It's actually quite awesome.  It's kind of the coolest thing I've ever owned, the downsides notwithstanding.  We got it as a family Christmas gift from my mom, and the first time we used it, Richard happily exclaimed, "It's like we're in the FUTURE!"

Now, I'm well aware that the Wii was released in 2006, so it's really like we're in the past.  I'm also aware that the Xbox Kinect makes the Wii look like an old school Atari.  I'm just not the type of person who buys things when they're new.  It saves us money, but it also means your past is my future.  By the time we buy a Kinect (if that day ever comes), you'll all be hovering around in your jet packs and booking your moon cruises, and I'll be playing dance games and feeling like it's the year 2100.

I love Wii Fit Plus for several reasons.  It provides games the kids can play that are less sedentary.  It provides me with a way to check my form and balance as I do yoga and strength training workouts.  It's a pretty accurate scale (right on with my doctor's pricey version), and for the most part, it's fun and engaging.  I love the boxing and Kung Fu workouts, and the step workout is pretty good.

Unfortunately, Wii Fit Plus also thinks I'm a big, lazy fat person who has no feelings.

I know it's trying to motivate me, carrots and sticks and all that, but I'd really like it if the makers of this game had thought about infusing it with a tad bit less attitude.  If you're an overweight user, you're going to hear about it, and not in a clinical, computer readout kind of way.  Wii Fit Plus tsk-tsks and snickers you into lowering your BMI.  It may be effective, but...well, let's just say that if Wii Fit were a workout buddy, I'd accidentally kickbox it in the nose...repeatedly.

An example:  The body test measures your BMI, weight, and overall body control.  This is what you see if you have a "normal" BMI.

Awww. Look at how happy that mii is! Did you hear the encouraging music? It's like Wii fit is happy too!  Yay for the normal mii!  Yay for the arbitrary number that ignores the effect of muscle weight and pretends everyone has the same body type!  Hurray!

Of course, if you're obese like me, your experience is more like this. (Results at 1:10. Make sure your speakers are up.)

Thanks, Wii Fit. It's not bad enough that you're showing me my high BMI. You have to accompany it with comically dumpy music and a chipper voice telling me what I already know.   Blowing up my mii character like a balloon? Nice touch.  I'd had a small scrap of self respect leftover, but you got it.

When you haven't been on Wii Fit for a while because, you know, life...the game needles you by putting your mii character to sleep.  Because people who don't work out are lying around all day.  When you step on, it tells you how many days its been since you last engaged it.  Occasionally, I see, "Too busy to work out yesterday, eh Sarah?"  My response to this varies.  On a good day, I just roll my eyes.  On an honest day, I nod my head and affect a sheepish expression.

On a day in which I've had it up to my obese neck with life, I'll look the screen square in the eye (or whatever my fat woman rage believes is equivalent to an eye) and scream, "No, I was NOT too busy to work out yesterday.  I just so HAPPENED to walk three hard miles on my treadmill at an incline while I watched 'Once Upon a Time'.  You're not the only workout option in my life, OKAY!  And what if I didn't? I don't have to work out just because YOU think I should! I'm a strong, independent woman, and I don't need YOU judging my every action!"

Of course, Wii Fit Plus is not actually a person, so it doesn't hear any of this and remains silent after this tirade.  That makes it all the more infuriating.  It's like the passive aggressive friend who shoots a tartly worded barb your way and then holds a hand up to end the conversation.

Similar exchanges occur when I try to navigate my way through a new balance test. My Wii Fit age for that day will be partly based on this test, but the instructions might as well say, "Move your body to choose the numbers in ascending order while keeping your balance in the yellow sensor with your eyes closed, your hands on your head, and one knee typing the complete works of William Shakespeare."  I blunder my way through the test as best I can, usually figuring out the requirements on the last try.

"This balance test is really not your forte, is it, Sarah?" smirks Wii Fit Plus.

Cue fat woman rage.

There are other things.  The way the boxing game hits me no matter how low I duck.  The confused, "Oh!" the game emits when I step on the board no differently than the time it said, "Great!"  The disgruntled "Hey!" I get from my trainer when I have no choice but to give up on the plank exercise in order to avoid dying a Wii related death by drowning in my own inadequacy.

And there's the piggy bank.  It collects coins that represent minutes, keeping track of all the time spent on Wii Fit Plus working out.  And it's a pig.  I understand that coin banks in the shape of pigs are not a new thing.  I DON'T understand why the pig looks at me, wiggles its nose, and grunts if I stand still for too long.  (Okay, maybe I do understand why.  This only helps prove my argument.)

Glutton for punishment that I am, I keep going back to the Wii Fit Plus like a codependent goes back to an addict.  I think more than anything, I go back because I own it, it was free, and it does actually help keep me motivated.  When the game feels the need to put me down, I just give it what for in the boxing ring.

It sucker punches me in the side when I fail to dodge correctly, but apparently, that can't be helped.