Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stephanie's Patent-Pending No-Fail Weight Loss Plan

I'm thinking I should write a book and apply for a patent. I have finally stumbled upon the most successful weight loss plan ever. And it's easy, too. Plus, it's free. In fact, you actually get paid for using this plan (quite a change from other plans). Here's the secret: move to Korea. Honestly, teaching kindergarten alone over here is like having exclusive access to a really effective gym. Just in the course of daily life here in Korea, I have lost eight kilos since March.

For weight-training, I lift little kids. Last week, for instance, I invented a new version of hopscotch with the younger class. Instead of the kids just hopping, I lifted them up to make them jump really high on each square while we shouted out letters of the alphabet. A few weeks ago, I did some strength-training by holding a struggling Harry in his chair with one hand while using the other hand to hold the storybook I was reading to the class.

Calisthenics and stretches are a piece of cake using kindergarten songs. "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" is usually a great option, as are "I'm a Little Teapot," "The Hokey Pokey," and "Shake My Sillies out." Of course, I invent motions to go with all of their songs (makes them more interesting and fun), so any song can be a mini work-out. "Here We Go Loopty-Loo" is another current favorite.

Of course, every work-out should involve some sports. I play more than one on a daily basis. My favorite is a variation of dodgeball, played on a bicycle. I call it "dodgecar." The goal is to make it all the way to your destination and back on a bike without getting hit by one of the hundreds of insane drivers, all apparently determined to scare the crap out of anything smaller than them. If you can avoid getting struck by buses and taxis, you get bonus points.

I also do obstacle courses on my bicycle. It usually goes something like this: Riding, riding...avoid the open manhole, over the speed bump, over another speed bump, around the pile of the car aiming for me...big BUMP, squeeze around the numerous cars parked on the sidewalk (seriously, Korea needs PARKING LOTS!!!)...try not to scratch the cars as I the car that decided to drive on the sidewalk...slow to a stop to avoid hitting the three adjumas (old women) walking leisurely across the sidewalk, ding my bell and wait for them to let me pass...decide that they are deaf and hop the curb, opting to risk it on the road for two more cars...go around the two small children, respond when they say hello...zoom across the street...VICTORY!!

Remember the old Atari game, Frogger? I play a version of that here, too. Whenever I'm crossing a street, I find myself relying on that same technique that once brought the frog to safety. So far, no splats for me. But you have to give the taxi drivers credit for trying!

A great thigh and lower leg work-out can be had from all the stairs in Korea. Honestly, I think that's the real reason Korean women are so slender and lovely. They put stairs everywhere! Temples, monuments, stores, restaurants, doctors' offices, apartments - stairs galore! On an average day, I climb a minimum of thirty flights of stairs. It's no wonder I've developed such awesome muscles in my lower legs!

So, if you're truly serious about losing weight, consider teaching for a year in Korea. Every day is an action-packed work-out!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"