The Wii is pretty popular these days. Nintendo has done an excellent job providing entertainment for just about anyone with this one device. Funnily enough, that includes fitness buffs. About 3 months ago (91 days, actually), Nintendo launched the Wii Fit.
The Wii Fit is one cool little device. It’s essentially a flat surface, about 3 inches tall, packed full of electronics. The board is broken down, internally, into four quadrants, each quadrant having its own scale. What this means is that when you stand on it, four scale simultaneously weigh you, resulting in both an accurate total weight, as well as a weight distribution that can be used to identify your balance. Thus they named the board the Wii Balance Board. Yeah.. Marketing.. They’re such geniuses.
So, 3 months ago, I went out and bought one of these beasts. Yes, I stood in line, at midnight, just to make sure I got one. Not a bad idea, apparently, as they have become somewhat scarce these days. At ay rate, I got one, and I started using it that morning. A lot has been said about the benefits of the Wii Fit, but I will tell you, from experience, that I’m damn happy I spent the $90 or so on it. I’ve missed weighing myself once since I bought it.
What’s so special about this thing anyway? Well, I’ve done a lot of thinking about that because I’ve fought with weight loss in the past, and I’ve always failed miserably. In fact, for the last 3 years or so, I’ve neither gained nor lost a pound. And while that may sound good, what you don’t realize is that I spent about a year and a half hitting the gym 2-3 times a week, I tried dieting, and I’ve tried casual exercise at home. Nothing seemed to work, and I was getting a tad frustrated. I wasn’t massively overweight, but my doctor did categorize me as morbidly obese. That puts my BMI over 30. In fact, my BMI was almost 38 when I started using the Wii Fit.
There are those that will argue that BMI is a bad measurement. I agree, to an extent. BMI is 100% a calculation of your body weight and your height. It does not take into account other factors such as muscle versus fat, or activity level. In fact, taller people tend to have an unnaturally high BMI, purely because of how BMI is calculated. Regardless, the intention of BMI is to provide a general idea of the optimum body weight for any given person.
Arguments aside, I wasn’t happy with my weight, or my BMI. I’m not the most active person in the world, and I don’t really enjoy exercise that much. But I had to do something, and the Wii Fit seemed, at least to me, to be a good idea. So far, it has worked out better than I ever hoped. I’ve dropped 35 pounds in 3 months, lowering my BMI to under 33. I feel fantastic, energetic, and a hell of a lot more confident. On the downside, though, I’m going to need a new wardrobe pretty soon.. Belts will only hold me over for so long. :)
So how did I do this? How did I lose so much weight in such a relatively short time? Well, first and foremost, I have to hand a lot of the credit to the Wii Fit. No, not because I use it to exercise, although that does help, but more-so because it tracks my weight. Seriously! Every morning I get up and weigh myself, and I immediately know where I stand. I know if I’ve slacked off too much, or if I’m on track to losing the weight I want to. It’s incredibly satisfying to look at the graphs every so often and see the curve of the line indicating the weight you’ve lost.
I do about 20-25 minutes of exercise on the Wii Fit 3-4 times a week. My schedule has changed a little recently, so one day a week I’m usually on the Wii Fit for a little over 30 minutes. That’s it for the Wii Fit! The rest of it is on my own.
I’ve reduced my food intake by a lot, which is probably the hardest thing I’ve done. I love food. I’m not keen on gorging myself, but I absolutely love my wife’s cooking. I also love pizza and chinese. I used to be able to eat half a pizza with no problem at all. So, reducing my intake was difficult. I cut out soda and candy right from the start. Occasionally I’ll have a soda, but not often. Reducing the rest was a matter of spreading it out a bit over the day. I eat smaller meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I usually have a snack or two during the day. That snack is anything from a handful of vegetables, to something like a handful of pretzels or a small bowl of pudding. I don’t watch calories or fat that much, but I am aware, somewhat, of what I’m taking in.
Next, I spend about 30 minutes a day walking. This is usually the first half of my lunch break. I’ll head out of the office, and walk around town for a while. I end up covering about 1.5 miles during that walk. It’s a casual walk, but at a somewhat brisk pace. I don’t make any lengthy stops, mostly just stop at street corners so I don’t become road pizza. It rains once in a while, and I’ll miss out on walking that day. That hasn’t happened too often, though, so I guess I’ve been lucky. My plan is to do laps up and down the parking garage if it rains for more than a day, though.
Finally, I do a little exercise before bed. It’s about a 5-10 minute workout routine. I spend about 5 minutes lifting barbells to strengthen my upper body, and then I do a series of abdominal crunches and finally I do the Plank for about 60 seconds. Occasionally I do an exercise I learned in the military called a butterfly, though I’ve only found it referenced online as a six-inch killers. It’s pretty simple, just lay on your back with your hands underneath your buttocks. Lift your feet about six inches above the ground and hold them there for 10-30 seconds, depending on your exercise level. Drop them slowly down, rest for a moment, and then start again. Another variant on this is to hold both feet at six inches, then move one foot up to about 12 inches. Switch feet, bringing one down and one up, sort of in a kicking motion. Each “kick” counts as half a rep. Do about 10 reps, then rest. The idea is to do a small set of exercises just before bed, enough to get the heart pumping, but not enough to work up a real sweat.
Overall, I do roughly an hours worth of exercise a day, and I usually end up taking the weekend off, though I’m always watching what I eat, and I endeavor to do my nightly routine every night. It’s working so far, and I truly feel great. I want to shave off another 50 or so pounds before I’m really satisfied, but I’ve definitely started moving in the right direction!