August 15, 2008

Further Adventures in Fitness Trauma: In which Wii Fit makes me cry

Our shiny new copy of Wii Fit, Nintendo’s so-popular-you-can’t-find-it-to-buy-it exercise video game, arrived in the mail today. Within the first five minutes of using it I had burst into tears like a 5-year-old who’s just seen Santa Claus eat her puppy.

Before you can begin the actual getting fit part of Wii Fit, it has to tell you where you currently fall on the fitness scale. It does this by calculating your height and age and having you do some balance tests and by weighing you on its handy dandy Wii Fit balance board of DOOM. This way I guess it figures you can’t lie about your weight.

The representation of you on the screen during the game is called a Mii. It’s the same little cartoon avatar you worked up for yourself when you first got a Wii game system. Mine sort of looks like me if I had darker hair, a smaller nose, and was really angry all the time. So Wii Fit let me choose this existing Mii, which despite being imperfect I felt was at least a decent facsimile of me (in as much as the options let me design something that looks like me). It isn’t tall or thin or blessed with a large buoyant bosom–it’s average in height and on the roundish side.

So when Wii Fit tallied up my BMI to weight to height to age to favorite color to first movie star crush ratio and declared me to be not just overweight but obese, I was devastated. But not as devastated as I would be a second later when it helpfully inflated my Mii to more accurately represent my actual appearance, which apparently is roughly the same as a Mr. Potato Head doll. An angry Mr. Potato Head doll.

This was the bit where I burst into tears. I mean, it’s no great shock that I’m chubby or out of shape, that’s half of why we got Wii Fit, but according to every other system I’d ever consulted I always fell firmly in the overweight but not obese section. And the ballooning of my Mii was just cruel. Especially given that they put my Mii in white exercise pants. What chubby girl in her right mind wears white exercise pants? I may as well wear the Goodyear Blimp.

The program itself is good. It has aerobics, yoga, strength training, and balance exercises. And oddly, the male Wii Fit yoga instructor sort of looks like a buffer version of Larry. But I tell you what, I’d still like to give the people at Nintendo a good smack upside the head because the way I see it, the last thing you want to do to get someone started on the path to fitness success is make them feel like a big, fat loser.

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