Editor's Weight Loss Notebook: Episode Three, Keeping Up with Super Will

Plus, the most ridiculous workout routine ever created by anyone.


Local Editor: Stephen Schmidt
Age: 30 
Weight: 176 pounds. (182 to begin)
Goal: 25 Pounds lost by...eventually. 

The weight loss journal journey continues... tune back every Friday for more.

Happy Friday! I'm back again, and currently six pounds lighter than two weeks ago.

Is that good? I don't know. Ignorance, you see is a prevailing theme of this particular journal and this post will be no exception.

As the Scale Turns

The truth is at the beginning of this week I was preparing to write a different journal, for when I stepped upon the electronic scale after writing how I had lost four pounds I found, to my surprise, that I was back up to 181.5, just a half pound lighter than when I had started.

Not to panic, I thought, every good story needs its share of failures, and I'll just write about how weight loss is a long journey full of potential setbacks-- the key to success is persistent and focused effort. But, after a week of measuring, it turned out that this weight was just an anomaly, and I dropped back into the 178 range, to eventually carve off this week's two pounds through proper diet and exercise.

The theme still stands, however, that not only can scales lie, your weight can lie to you on any given day. The key is keeping the trend heading in the positive direction. Just keep your head down and keep working and good things will come.

My Ridiculous Starting Workout, Inspired Partially by My Nephew, Will

I was going to try to delay you all and craft a formal, impressive workout that I could share later on that you might find useful. Instead, I am going to share my workout routine in its embarassing early stages, hopefully to provide an inspiration to you to get moving as soon as possible in any way you can manage.

You see, I've known I've needed to start working out for a long time. But I kept putting it off, over and over. Partially because I was busy, partially because I fell into the trap of wanting to develop the perfect workout before I ever got started.

Should I do yoga? Or Pilates? Should I join a gym? Should I buy home exercise equipment, and if so, what? I don't have a lot of room, how can I do cardio consistently without being able to go outside? 

I let these questions bounce around in my brain, and instead of getting down to work, they ended up becoming another reason for delay. And the weight kept piling on.

Meanwhile, over the holidays, my two-year-old nephew Will came to visit. Now everyone has a role in a family, and when Will comes to visit his job is to be the inexhaustible center of attention, and my job is to play with him to give his parents a break and try to get him tired enough to go to sleep.

That's why I'm known by my sister-in-law as Uncle Fun, or as Will calls me, "Teeve," as in "Come heeeere Teve" and "Teeeve, whar are you?"

Have you ever tried really and earnestly to play with a 2-year-old child until they are exhausted? Not just throw a ball and watch them go and get it, but actively throw yourself around for their amusement? You will learn your fitness limitations fairly quickly.

Among the things I pulled out randomly to entertain him on his visits were frog jumping (all the way down, as a frog would jump) and crab walking. I learned soon, especially the day after, that these two exercises are really exhausting, and work muscles you don't normally use in daily life.

So as I was about to begin my exercise effort, I decided that instead of coming up with a formal routine before starting, I would just make it up on the spot much like I did while playing with young Will, add more exercises later, and salt to taste.

So, in addition to a more traditional work out (which I'll talk about later) I now have implemented frog jumping, crab walking, and jumping jacks/dancing into my workout routine. The jumping jacks will eventually probably become jumping rope when I become better, but for the moment they serve me well, and the dancing in between sets lets me keep my heart rate up while I let my legs rest between sets. 

My dancing incidentally is mixed with an exercise called snakey spine that I learned from a University of Iowa movement teacher, in which, like the name suggests, you mimic the movements of a snake with your spine. He told me at the time that "You are only as old as your spine," a saying I have since tried to take to heart, and keep my spine young and flexible, despite my persistent sitting.

So my dancing ends up resembling a cross between the ginga in Caporeira and a breakdancer having a seizure while top rocking.

Do I look silly when I do this stuff?


But there has also been something liberating about trying something I made up from an outside inspiration, and then trying it for awhile to see if I like it. In this way, working out this time has become less a chore than a chance to learn something new. To beat back the baggage of trying to attain the perfect workout, and to infuse it with the improvisational aspect of play. And maybe even, through this process, accidentally have some fun.

Plus, with these exercises and changing my diet, I, idiot that I am, have somehow managed to lose six pounds so far (knock on wood). So clearly you should be able to do it, too. That's why I wanted to share my workout in its early stages before it became polished, embarrassing as it currently is.

And when my nephew comes next time, Uncle Fun is going to be ready.

Do you have any fun or unique exercises that you do? Share them with me in the comments section below.

Tune in next week for another Iowa City Patch weight loss journal.


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