Let’s acknowledge that I bought a Wii Fit primarily for two reasons. Firstly, it’s cheaper than a membership at a gym. Purely pragmatic: why dump money on a gym membership when to this point in my life I’ve shown no compulsion whatsoever to take even the down staircase instead of the elevator. In this light, the price tag makes sense.
Yet the second reason is more important. Fat guys have just as many insecurities as overweight women1 and I guess I can’t speak for everyone but pretty much my entire life revolves around jiggling as little as possible in public. Exercise makes me jiggle2 and if I could jiggle around other people who were also jiggling I’d be pretty much okay with it.
Yet I only ever see skinny people working out at the gym.
When I’ve gone to the gym3 all I’ve ever seen are slender young things working their slender young things. Usually in slender young clothing. If I’d ever walked into a gym and seen a fat guy in sweats on a treadmill with that cheese-puff powdered cheese smeared on his oversized hoodie, I would have joined right away and gotten that guy’s work-out schedule and fit my life around it. Maybe even dipped into his bag of cheese-puffs if he were on the treadmill next to mine.
I’ve never seen said fat guy in a gym. And never will.4
So instead I bought a Wii Fit Plus. And I “work-out” in the living room.
Let’s also acknowledge that working out on a Wii Fit is not like working out for real. I do not expect to get thin. I do not expect to bulk up. I do not expect to lose much more than my dignity.
Because that’s what happens. This machine, which knows me not at all and never would have become part of my life if I hadn’t traded legal tender for it, presumes to know what’s best for my body. As bad as that is – as presumptuous as it is – I can do little more than acquiesce to it. This is fact simply because no matter how foreign this machine is, I have to assume that it’s better for me than my own knowledge and instincts.
Because, as veteran AA members will say: my best thinking got me here.
This is what I think as I face the television and step onto the balance mat, feeling positively unbalanced as a cute-as-ever digital voice preps me for my workout: my best thinking got me here.
That’s where the shame lies. I have to trust the suggestions of digitally created avatars because they can’t be worse for me than I am for myself.
Yes, it’s not a real work-out. Yet I break a sweat.5 Yet after a few days I am sore in a few spots that I’ve concentrated on. While I’ve surrendered my dignity, I yet feel just a smidge better about myself.
Sure it’s not a real work-out. But I’m doing something about being so large.
I’m tired of it. I’m tired of having to make fat jokes about myself before someone else can because of someone says it first it’ll hurt. I’m tired of paying two dollars more for my shirts. I’m tired of my t-shirt-and-jeans routine that became a routine because it’s about the only thing I feel comfortable in and don’t look like an anthropomorphic whale.
All I really hope for with the Wii Fit is to establish a routine. To drop my fear of exercise and pick up a good habit.
This is what I hang onto when I find myself cursing myself for cursing a digital avatar that’s pushing me for just another ten-seconds of planks.6 When your planks are more like a warped two-by-four, that’s all you really have.
- And unlike the BBWs out there, our big boobs are not a plus, not a way to attract a mate.
- Often in places in which the human body shouldn’t be able to jiggle.
- As in for a tour. Not as like ‘going to the gym.’ If that phrase were part of my normal parlance I wouldn’t have to worry about the prenominate jiggling.
- Unless, ironically, I joined a gym.
- Of course, I sweat if I think about it hard enough. I am large; I sweat multitudes.
- Though it pushes oh so encouragingly. Really. This thing is like the Blues Clues of the video game world – all about building self-esteem.