A while ago I spent a pleasant evening trying on old clothes that I've kept for five years, hoping I will someday fit back into them. For the most part, it was a highly gratifying experience - "ZOMG I HAVE THE SAME WAISTLINE I HAD FIVE YEARS AGO!!1!". I did a pretty large wardrobe cull, ditching the sort of clothes I bought because I was both fat and poor - in other words, they're shit but they're all I can afford with a BMI of 37. Now that I have a job and a BMI of 29, I can buy clothes because I'm fat but have a regular income (although 13kg is a highly respectable loss, it means I'm now just overweight as opposed to morbidly obese).
It wasn't all streamers and party favours. I tried on my favourite plain black linen dress that made me look fantastic... only to turn around and realise that the bum had been almost entirely worn away. I went commando for this exercise so there were great big pink patches looming out of the holes. I don't think I've ever gone from "Awesome!" to "Shittang!" so fast.
The other sad loss was my party dresses, two gorgeous flowing retro gowns from the late 60s or early 70s which are size 22. Yes, I could get them adjusted... but it's as if it would ruin their authenticity. (Also, I have a long and sad history of getting clothes adjusted, never to wear them again.) Ever had a beloved relative's wedding ring re-sized? Just doesn't feel right, does it?
Aside from doing a very public happy dance, the other reason for this post is to give props and point readers towards some of the online tools I've used for information and general prodding.
I've written about Stumptuous before, and I tend just to read the blog these days, but the articles were very important in my original education - learning about why it's usually better to use free weights than machines, the interaction between weight training and cardio (I could throw yoga in there as well, but I just can't be arsed), some simple dietary tips.
The other major benefit I got from Stumptuous was Krista's Stumptuous Fitness Model contest. The winner, Deb, was fatter than me, older than me and had more personal responsibility than me (kids, work), and she lost 40+ kg over 2 years and is now a triathlete. That's not my preference - I'm just trying to get laid - but it does blow away excuses like "I'm too old, it's too late in life, I'm too busy". Read the other entries in the blog - they're all quite amazing.
CalorieKing used to cost money to subscribe, and I really do think that Borushek and co. should get some sort of tax break for making it a free to public service (their business model is supported by the sale of the ever-popular Calorie Counter book as well as software and gadgets). I hate to sound like a late-night infomercial, but it really has made a huge difference to my progress.
The way it works is, you enter the food you've eaten and the exercise you've done into your personal database, and you can see how much over your suggested calorie target you are. You can set the calorie target yourself and choose your weight loss goal. If you enter the information reasonably accurately, it will show you exactly why you're not losing as much weight as you could (yes, a skinny latte in the morning is just what you need, but three of them? They're not THAT skinny). It's good not to take it too seriously - my fat intake is way over the recommended 30g per day, yet it makes up no more than 35% of my daily calories and it certainly hasn't delayed a very satisfactory weight reduction. (It's supposed to be 30%, but then people who lift weights are supposed to have a bit more... see why you shouldn't take it too seriously?)
It's fun to stay at the YYYYYYY, M C A... whilst there are certainly attractive gay men at my club, the main attraction for me is the staff (gay or otherwise). They have been absolutely invaluable in helping me shake up my routine so I don't plateau (I did plateau in September and October, but that was because I decided to take some time off to volunteer for Melbourne Fringe and then go to a wedding - considering the amount of lard and booze I inhaled, I'm lucky I just flatlined rather than porking out again). They'll prod you to do better but not in a stupid way (hint: Learn to tell the difference between "argh I'm fat and lazy and don't want to do this" pain and "oh fuck I just ripped out a tendon" pain, it will help).
I was originally using an iRiver T10 to listen to music, and whilst I'm very satisfied with the sound and quality of iRiver products (provided you don't need luxuries like "documentation"), it was quite a large unit by the standards of MP3 players, and you had to use a highly dodgy standard lanyard attachment which wore out in two seconds under athletic conditions. To make matters worse, it would bounce hilariously from F-cup breast to F-cup breast if I did anything more difficult than stretching. (Aside from needing to replace my wardrobe every five minutes, the other major downside of losing so much weight was having my cup size go up as my backfat disappeared - I went from an easy-to-buy 18E to a Lord Lucan 14G. Did you know cup sizes go up to K???) So I bought an iPod shuffle that I could clip to my shirt.
This bit isn't really so much a hand job for Steve Jobs as a chance to introduce you to some excellent treadmill music. (Interestingly, I don't seem to need music as much for lifting weights - it's nice, but not necessary.) Although I try to mix it up, the fact is that some songs are just essential to endure the horror that is hateful, hateful cardio. Have I made it clear that I hate cardio? I hate cardio.
Kickstart My Heart, Motley Crue
Surely the greatest piece of jock-rock ever released. I don't think this song even has any other purpose except to cover re-runs of sportsmen getting severely and hilariously injured.
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, Daft Punk
Not into metal? Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger seems to have just the right BPM to shift from easy to intermediate to run like you stole something in the space of 3 min 44 secs.
Gimme Some Head, GG Allin
I remain helplessly addicted to GG's catchy, offensive punk rock. This is just what you need to get into that 80% maximum heart rate... that's the level of effort where you can talk but can't sing, and thank Christ for that. Some girls really stiffen my tongue, so spread your legs, I'm gonna get me some...
Girl in the Sweater, The Hard-Ons
One of the best things I've ever seen on television was a news report back in the late '80s or early '90s where a cute young female newsreader, very clearly reading an autocue, announced that "Aussie acts are making great strides overseas, with bands such as the Hoodoo Gurus, InXs and the - Hard-Ons????" (face collapsing as she tries to hold it together). It was so obvious that the only reason the news report was even scheduled was to make this girl lose it. This song is awesome because it has a chorus that goes "woah-oh-oh-woah-ohoh", which as we all know makes a good song excellent.
Some other faves -
Whisky In The Jar, Metallica
Dance Commander, Electric Six
Be My Guru, The Hoodoo Gurus
Outta My Head, Spiderbait
Why Does The Sun Shine?, They Might Be Giants
Black Math, The White Stripes
Feel Good Hit of the Summer, Queens of the Stone Age
Toxic (Peter Rauhofer remix), Britney Spears (what? I got it off my ten year old niece...)