Day Thirteen: Unlucky Legs and the Urban Juror

The weight’s up by less than half a pound. I’ve alerted the media.

Wii Fit Weight - October 19th, 2009

The Wii Fit Age has let me maintain the illusion that I’m still in my twenties for just a little bit longer. The ennui is terrific.

Wii Fit Age - October 19th, 2009

Today commemorates the thirteenth workout of the project. An auspicious anniversary! Is it full of portents and omens?

I had jury duty today. The bus stopped a little less than a mile away from the courthouse, so I walked. After spending about an hour assembling all 100+ potential jurors in the courtroom, the judge told us all to go home and come back another day. I then walked about another mile back to the bus stop. Once I got home, I remembered that I had to do some grocery shopping. So I walked about another mile to Trader Joe’s. Difficult though it was, I was able to resist buying a mouthwatering tub of chocolate dunkers.

Today’s EA Sports Active workout was pretty thigh and calf heavy. I ended up getting a pain in my right calf that felt like a bruise, but didn’t leave any visible mark. Maybe a minor strain? At any rate, stretching and resting it for a bit seemed to improve things. The overall results of the workout weren’t too shabby, though I’m still a bit dubious of the calorie count.

EA Sports Active - 30-day challenge - October 19th, 2009

Following the EA Sports Active workout I did the arms and shoulders dumbell exercises from Daily Burn. I upped the weight to 10 pounds per hand, for a total of 20 pounds for most exercises. It doesn’t sound like much, but some of them were really tough. I wasn’t able to completely do the rear delt raise without dropping the weights down to five pounds. And I had to do modified close hand pushups rather than the real thing.

I was encouraged to find that I was able to do more reps with more weight than last week pretty much across the board.

I didn’t manage to record my food today. I cannot tell a lie, a pumpkin spice latte was consumed on the way back from the courthouse. Those are not especially good for you.

Day Twelve: Jogging with the Kitty Kats

No change in weight today. That’s better than an increase. I’m now within 1 BMI point of the normal threshold. That sounds really close, but it’s actually about 7.5 pounds away. Or, roughly 4% of me that needs to dissolve away before the balance board will stop playing the tubby elephant trumpet.

Wii Fit Weight - October 18th, 2009

My Wii Fit Age is looking good, for whatever that’s worth. 22 wasn’t my favorite year, but I’m sure I had some good times.

Wii Fit Age - October 18th, 2009

Since it was an EA Sports Active day of rest, I chose to dig into Wii Fit Plus. I had a surprisingly fun time with the Training Plus games, and before I knew it, almost an hour had gone by. I switched over to aerobics at that point and ended up clocking in an hour and half.

Wii Fit Plus Time - October 18th, 2009

The game seems to think I burned in excess of 300 calories. I’m not so sure about that. Some of the Training Plus games were really not all that intense. I’d be surprised if they were burning significantly more calories than sitting still. But the balance board has a more optimistic (and possibly delusional) point of view.

Wii Fit Plus Calories - October 18th, 2009

I discovered the alternate paths in Basic Run Plus, which make the experience a lot more fun. The game is as simple as can be. You hold the Wii remote and run in place to jog around Wuhu Island while a kitten guides you along a path. However at certain points a different kitten will cross paths ahead of you. At these moments, you can quicken your pace to pass your guide and join up with the other cat. The new kitten will then lead you on a different route through the island.

At the end of the jog, you are quizzed on what you saw along the way. Each kitten takes you on a different route past different landmarks. Some are pretty obvious; for example, 8-bit super mario pictures plastered on a pillar? But others are more subtle. How many puppies did you see? Who was the Mii standing on the roof? Which kitten did you finish with?

These questions force you to pay attention to your surroundings during the jog, which makes the experience a lot more engaging. What’s more, the alternate paths take you well off the trail; running along mountain sides and leaping off rooftops. This variety also keeps you more engaged, since you’re wondering what you’ll see or do next.

Overall I wouldn’t consider today’s workout to be very intense, but it was a lot of fun.

Day Nine: Progress and Respite

George and Weezie may have been content with movin’ on up, but not me. I’m movin’ on down. 1.5 lbs. worth of down. As always, I’ll believe it after a couple of days. But now I feel a bit more confident that this is a bona fide trend and not the capricious will of the tides.

Wii Fit Weight - October 15th, 2009

The Wii Fit Age hasn’t budged. I’m okay with that. 29 was a pretty good year.

Wii Fit Age - October 15th, 2009

Today was a day of rest in EA Sports Active, and since I haven’t taken a break for the last eight days, I decided to limit my activity to some walking and some pushups. Tomorrow its back to the 30-day challenge and a shoulder and back workout on daily burn.

Dinner today was a nice chicken breast stuffed with basil and a little cheese. Some salad, asparagus, and bread. I also had a couple of beers.

Dinner - October 15th, 2009

All in all today hasn’t been the healthiest, but I don’t think it’s been a complete train wreck either. Taking a little break every once in awhile without going completely nuts is probably a good thing for gradual change and my overall sanity.

What do you think? When you’re trying to exercise regularly is it better to take a day off to rest once in awhile? Or do you think that it’s better to hit it every day to maintain momentum?

Day Five: Coke Cupcakes and Curious Calories

Hey, check it out. I’ve lost a noticeable amount of weight today. I don’t want to count any chickens, hopefully it’s an indicator that things are moving in the right direction.

Wii Fit Plus Weight - October 11th, 2009

The Wii Fit age is up a little bit, but the Mii is still looking pretty satisfied so I’ll take that as a good sign.

Wii Fit Age - October 11th, 2009

This was the second day of the EA Sports Active challenge. Again I played it at high intensity, but I didn’t find today to be quite so tiring as yesterday.

EA Sports Active - Day Two Results

I’m a little suspicious about the calorie count in this game. It feels a bit too easy to burn calories. For instance, the calorie counter continues to tick off fairly rapidly even during bicep curls and other anaerobic or minimally aerobic exercises. I feel like it would be best to treat the calorie count as a ballpark, and use it as something like a score rather than hard data. And for those purposes, it works just fine.

I followed the 30 day challenge with a few additional exercises:

Wii Fit Plus

  • Push Up and Side Plank (6 reps)
  • Single Leg Reach (6 reps)
  • Balance Bridge (6 reps)

Push Ups

  • 10 / 16/5

Modified Push Ups

  • 10/13/6/6

Dinner was an array of scrumptious turkey meatballs, broccoli, and roasted fingerling potatoes. Very tasty, and relatively healthy.

Turkey Meatball Dinner - October 11th, 2009

Today I also enjoyed some cupcakes using a recipe suggested by my sister. Basically you just take some store bought cake mix, pour in a can of diet coke, cook, and eat. It couldn’t get much simpler. The cupcakes were pretty good, and still kept me within my calorie goals for the day.

Coke Cupcakes - October 11th, 2009

Day Three: Lightweights and Ice Capades

Today’s weight difference was less dramatic than yesterday’s. Still around 176 pounds.

Wii Fit Plus Weight October 9th, 2009

I actually find these gradual shifts of fractions of a pound comforting. It seems to me that’s the way it should work. The days where I’m 2-3 pounds up or down are more disconcerting because it feels like the fluctuations are up to random chance or the whim of something I unwittingly did or ate.

The Wii Fit Plus age is still 28. Square in the prime of my pudgy Mii’s life.

October 9th, 2009 - Wii Fit Plus Age

I played 30 minutes of Wii Fit Plus, with most of that time spent in Advanced Obstacle Course. The advanced level introduces conveyer belts and ice. Since the there’s no way to come to a complete stop on the ice, you have to be more conscious of your timing so that you’ll slide to the edge of a platform at just the right time to make a jump to the next.

The conveyer belts speed you up, slow you down, or drag you to the edges of the platform. So you need to take this additional movement into account when dodging the obstacles.

I played four times, getting to the very end of the level on my last attempt but not quite completing it. The pacing and rhythm of the game really feels just like the original NES Mario Bros. games. I found myself missing jumps and cursing at the TV in just the same way (“Oh for f**k’s sake”), and getting the same sense of satisfaction at the end of a difficult sequence.

Today’s Wii Fit Plus session Included:

  • Advanced Obstacle Course (4x)
  • Super Hula Hoop (6 minutes)
  • Bird’s Eye Bullseye (2x)
  • Island Cycling
  • Palm Tree
  • Tree
  • Triangle

In addition to Wii Fit, I also introduced some light weight training. And when I say light, I mean it. Five pounds light!

5 Pound Weights

Why so light? Well, in the past when I’ve started exercise regimens I ramped up to fast too early and ended up hurting myself. Which, of course, discouraged me from exercising. So I’m going to start with these 5 lb. weights and work my way up very gradually using a workout from Daily Burn. So today wasn’t very strenuous, it was primarily to see what I could handle.

Here was today’s workout:

  • Pushups 6/7/9/7
  • Dumbell Flys Flat – 10/10/10
  • Bench Press – 10/10/10/10
  • Stiff-legged dead lift – 10/10/10/10
  • Bent Over Row – 10/10/10/10
  • One Arm Dumbell Row – 20/20/20/20
  • Shrugs – 10/10/10/10

Incidentally, when I first started this project I was kind of parochial about only the Wii to exercise. I’ve since come around to thinking that such a point of view is limiting and self defeating. The Wii is there to make exercise fun and to get me motivated to do what’s best for my body. And there will be cases, like weight training, where the Wii just doesn’t offer anything for me.

Day Two: Further Adventures with Wii Fit Plus

Today’s workout consisted of just over an hour of Wii Fit Plus. Admittedly, I spent more time checking out the new games than I did focusing on strenuous exercise. I worked up a little bit of a sweat, but in total the whole hour felt more like a warm up.

To my surprise, I was down almost 3 pounds today. I hadn’t eaten anything before playing, so I’m guessing that’s the major difference.

Surprisingly immediate results!

Surprisingly immediate results!

Similarly, my Wii Fit Age is down as well. I feel like Plus has changed the way that age is arrived at, because I completely bombed the “mental agility” test, but still ended up a spitely 27.

Please excuse the double faces

Please excuse the double faces

Here are the Wii Fit Plus games that I played:

  • Perfect 10 (3x)
  • Driving Range
  • Obstacle Course (2x)
  • Tilt City (2x)
  • Rhythm Parade
  • Big Top Juggling
  • Table Tilt Plus (3x)
  • Balance Bubble Plus
  • Basic Run Plus

And here are the exercises and Yoga routines. These were chosen from the preset routines, and also by asking the balance board to put together a 15 minute routine in the “My Routines” mode.

  • Basic Step
  • Yoga Chair
  • Rowing Squat
  • Single Leg Extension
  • Advanced Step
  • Standing Knee
  • Plank
  • Sideways Leg Lift
  • Downward Facing Dog
  • Single Leg Twist
  • Lunge
  • Standing Knee
  • Balance Bridge
  • Torso Twists

It would be nice if these routines were more focused on specific areas of the body, and if they rotated from day to day. For instance, if I did a lot of arm exercises one day, I would like the game to recognize that and offer leg or core exercises the next. I don’t think Wii Fit Plus is that intuitive.

Despite being a bit random, the flow from one exercise to the next was much improved over the original Wii Fit.

For food today I’ve had some chicken breast, snap peas, salad, a slice of bread, vanilla yogurt w/ nuts and bran, water, water, and more water, and… a Three Musketeers bar.

When I first started this project earlier this summer I would have been freaking out about the candy bar. Now I’m approaching it with a different perspective. If I try to cut out all the “treats” at once, I’ll just start thinking about them more and resenting the fact that I can’t have them. Then when if I do slip up and have one I’ll say, “To hell with the whole thing” and start overeating.

Instead of doing that, I’m going to focus on eating better overall. And if occasionally I have a nagging craving, I’ll indulge it enough to make it go away, and then let it go. I think that’s going to work out a lot better than the all-or-nothing approach I tried earlier.

Day One – Progress Photo (Before)

I know we’ve already done the before picture. But since we’re rebooting it seemed like a good idea to start off with a new one.

Octoboer 7th 2009 progress (Before)

I think the “t-shirt tucked into cut-off dress slacks swaddling 30 pounds of spare meat” look is going to catch on. This image is my first salvo in a campaign against the fashionistas who claim people should attempt to look, as they say, good.

Is my posture really that bad? Maybe Wii Fit is on to something.

This is the longest pregnancy ever.

179 lbs. today.
36.5″ waist

Das Reboot: Relaunching Miniimize Me

July 13th, 2009 I embarked on a fantastic journey to lose weight, improve my overall health, and have fun doing it. The project would use the Nintendo Wii as the primary exercise tool, and take 90 days to complete. At the beginning of the project, I weighed 177 pounds. The goal was to reach 149.5 pounds by October 10th.

Today it’s October 7th. According to the plan, I should be within striking distance of my target weight; preparing to celebrate my triumph with a nice healthy carrot (which, according to the plan, I would have developed a taste for).

So, how far do you think I’m off by? Two pounds? Five? It couldn’t be as much as ten – could it?

Let’s try 29.5 pounds.

Why is that Mii smiling?

Why is that Mii smiling?

I’m actually two pounds heavier than when I began back in July! How could this have happened? I guess the simple reasons are:

  • I stopped being mindful of what I ate
  • I stopped exercising
  • And I stopped updating this blog

Ah. It turns out to be pretty straightforward.

I’ve been stressing out about what to do with this blog for weeks. I felt the options were:

  1. Scrap the blog and consider the project a failure
  2. Scrap all the old content and restart the blog from scratch
  3. Or, pick up from where I left off, acknowledging that I screwed up

I gave serious thought to all three.

Scrapping the blog would eliminate the gnawing feeling of guilt, absolving me from dwelling on how I didn’t follow through.

The balance board never forgets

The balance board never forgets

According to the stats for this blog, very few readers have visited since it first went up. Even fewer repeat visitors. I could have just thrown away all the old content and started fresh. A clean slate sounded very appealing. After all, who would know? I liked the idea of pretending the initial failure to launch never happened.

But the more I thought about it, the more I felt that plastering over my mistakes wasn’t the right way to go. For one thing, even if the readers didn’t know that I had failed the first time out, I would. And that would bother me. For another, failure is instructive. To pretend that it didn’t happen would be a disservice to the readers and to myself.

Lots of people start exercise plans and diets with the best intentions, but barely make it past the first couple of weeks. It’s hard to make a change in your life. You’re often working against deeply ingrained patterns in yourself and among your social group. It’s only natural that the friction at the outset is going to knock you around and make you screw up. But, I don’t think that’s a fault.

The fault would be allowing those early stumbles stop you from trying again, and again, and again until you reach your goal.

That’s why today I’m trying again. It’s Day One – October 7th, 2009. This is the soft relaunch of Miniimize Me, the 90 day Wii weight loss project. Now is the beginning of a fantastic story, I look forward to sharing it with you.

The Wagon – A Slight Slip From It

I have fallen from the wagon this week into a big pile of cow mess.

Dysentery Dystopia

I haven’t done any serious exercising since Monday, and even Monday is debatable.

There’s no good reason. No crushing demands on my time. No excuse for me to cling to. But in the interest of learning something from the experience, I will venture a guess as to what’s happened.

No Plan for this Week

Unlike weeks one and two, I didn’t start this week with a plan. That made it easy for me to cheat, since I didn’t have any specific goals. I had hoped to maintain the momentum from last week and simply stay in good habits, but it seems that’s not specific enough. I need to define clearer goals for the week, and maybe even day by day to ensure that they get done.


After letting one day slip, it was pretty easy to let the next one slip, and so on. Even though I didn’t have specific goals, I did have the overall goals from week one of exercising regularly and eating better. But once I had cheated and gotten away with it with no obvious consequences it was more comfortable to let the next day slide.

Willpower and Accountability

As I mentioned at the outset of this project, one of the reasons for doing this publicly in a blog rather than a private journal or spreadsheet was that I have very little willpower when it comes to things like diet and exercise. I had hoped that by tracking progress in a blog I’d feel accountable to the readers, and therefore I’d be more motivated to stay on track. But this blog is new and I haven’t really announced it anywhere yet, so there haven’t been any readers (that I know of).

So in practice it’s been like keeping a private journal but leaving it unlocked in a cupboard no one opens. Yes, someone could find it and read it, but the odds are pretty low. That means that if I slack off or cheat, I’m still accountable only to myself. That should be enough, but in the end I don’t think it will be.

To Do

So what to do now? It seems like I should start with the following:

  • Get back to 30 – 60 minutes of exercise per day
  • Don’t miss any days
  • Spread the word about this blog to some folks
  • Look to communities and other sites for motivation

Hopefully these corrections made now will be enough to get me back on track.

Stat-Tasticks! July 27th, 2009

Weekly Weigh-Ins

Startling Undulations

Startling Undulations

Over the last two weeks my weight has formed something that looks a bit like a letter “W” written by a dying man.

I can’t really explain the wild dips. It may be that I’m not weighing myself at the same time every day (I’m not), or it may be that sometimes I weigh myself before eating and sometimes after. But you wouldn’t think that these factors would lead to such major differences day to day.

Foolishly I took this photo after today’s weigh in, so Monday the 27th appears on here even though it’s technically in week three. While I’m pleased to see my weight crashing below 170 today, I honestly can’t account for how it got there.

This Week’s Weight:

Monday: 176.6 pounds
Tuesday: 176.1 pounds
Wednesday: 174.4 pounds
Thursday: 173.9 pounds
Friday: 175.3 pounds
Saturday: 176.6 pounds
Sunday: 172.8 pounds

What a puzzling roller coaster.

A more sober assesment

A more sober assesment

Whereas my weight was blown this way and that by the wiggles and gyrations of the scale, BMI is a stolid Yankee reacting to only the greatest shifts in weight with a gentle downward slope. While there’s no accounting Sunday and Monday’s sharp declines, it is heartening to see the line dropping toward normal as rapidly as a stock market crash.

This Week’s BMI:

Monday: 26.76
Tuesday: 26.70
Wednesday: 26.43
Thursday: 26.36
Friday: 26.56
Saturday: 26.76
Sunday: 26.20


This week’s measurements aren’t significantly different from last. It seems that if I’ve lost weight, it’s come off my butt. I’m okay with that, since my butt is extremely efficient at storing fat. My ability to do push ups, crunches, and squats has also improved. With both the crunches and the squats, I wonder if I’m doing them wrong. The number I’m able to do before my form goes to hell seems surprisingly high. My upper body is still too weak to do many push ups or complete a decent chin up. Unfortunately I don’t have a real chin up bar, so I’m using a loft bed which is less than ideal. Maybe that’s contributing to my failure, or maybe that’s just a convenient and ready excuse. Who’s to say?

This Week’s Measurements:

Height: 68″ (=)
Head: 22.5″ (=)
Neck: 15.5″ (=)
Shoulders: 44″ (=)
Chest: 36.5″ (-)
Bicep: 12″ (+)
Elbow: 11″ (+)
Wrist: 7″ (+)
Belly: 35.25″ (-)
Waist: 35.75″ (-)
Butt: 39″ (-)
Thight: 22″ (=)
Knee: 15″ (=)
Calf: 15″ (-)
Body Fat % Measured by Calipers: 22.1% (=)
Resting Heart Rate: 60 (-)
Max Push Ups: 25 (+)
Max Crunches: 110 (+)
Max Squats: 75 (+)
Max Chin Ups: 0 (=)

This Week’s Paunchy Photo!

July 27th 2009 Progress Photo - Slightly less colorful than last week!

July 27th 2009 Progress Photo - Slightly less colorful than last week!

Despite the wild ride my weight has been on these past couple of days, there isn’t much in the way of visible progress. I still have the pregnancy bump and need of training bra. When I was gaining weight I became bulbous so gradually that I didn’t notice anything was changing. It makes sense that the rate of change will be similar when losing weight. I probably need to lose a fair amount of fat before anything starts to visibly change. Still, it would have been nice if a couple of hours of waggle had translated into a completely transformed sack of me.

Wii Fit Age

If you’ve ever done one of Wii Fit’s body tests, you know that at the end of the test you are given a Wii Fit Age. The lower the age, the better. If this number was used to track your weight and activity level to form an index of your overall health, it could be very useful. Instead what it does is take your weight and your ability to stand perfectly still, and then adds to that two arbitrary tasks involving shifting your weight or standing perfectly still again.

Theoretically it’s measuring your posture, and this somehow relates to health. Practically, it’s not very useful. Nevertheless I’ve been tracking it. As you can see it is a capricious beast. But the overall trend is downward, which is apparently a good thing.

Numbers with something and nothing to do with overall health

Numbers with something and nothing to do with overall health.