Just Went Clothes Shopping

I just went shopping, for clothes, in normal-size shops!

When I was home at the weekend, my sisters chided me for not wearing clothes that fitted. When I put on my running gear, which I feel is skin-tight, their reaction was “yea, that’s what I’m talking about!”. I suck at clothes fullstop, so it’s nice that they look out for their big brother :).

We had a bit of fun as I tried on my Dad’s clothes, and I surprised myself when I could fit into his gear. He’s not a slim guy, but he’s “much slimmer than I am”, which inspired me to head off to the shops this evening and see how close I am to fitting into high-street clothes.

It turns out, pretty damn close! The designer shops are a little further away, but give it a couple of months’ and the cheap-and-cheerful places will fit me. In fact, I bought a couple of shirts and jeans that are a little too small now, but which hopefully won’t be for long. This also acts as a yardstick for going back again (I loathe big retail parks): when these clothes fit, I know that it’s worth paying another visit.

If I could sit down,the buttons would go flying!
If I could sit down,the buttons would go flying!

Can’t post an in-progress picture without a before!
before_fishing

Not bad. I’ve got a way to go, but I feel like I’m hitting that “normal overweight” point, the sort of fatness where most people think “Holy fuck! I can’t shop in normal stores anymore ‚Äî I better lose some weight!”. I have only vague memories of reaching this milestone on the way up and I can’t remember ever finding shopping for clothes pleasurable. There was one time, when I was around 15, when I finally managed to find a pair of jeans that fitted baggy enough for that 90s baggy-jeans look; the memory is vivid: I did a fist-pump in the changing room and felt happy relief, immediately after paying I got changed in a McDonalds toilet!

I already know that as soon as I can, I will go crazy on clothes: I see bespoke suits and designer outfits in my future, there is 15-years’ worth of repressed fashionista waiting to be let loose on my creditcards!

Where’s the achievement?

A friend wrote to me recently, asking how happy I was with my weight loss. At first glance, that should be a no-brainer question ‚Äî of course I’m really happy ‚Äî but on deeper reflection, what exactly am I pleased about? I wasn’t comfortable bragging about my achievement because I couldn’t actually explain what it is:-

Congratulations, I no longer stuff myself and eat to excess!
Congratulations, I spend 4% of my waking life exercising!
Big fucking deal.

Where is the achievement in those things? What is so amazing about doing things that millions of other people do every day? In 20 years time, when I’m still doing those things, will anyone care? No, they probably won’t, but that’s what makes this an achievement right now. The remarkable thing isn’t the magnitude of what you’re doing, it’s the magnitude of the change. If you’ve eaten healthily all your life then it isn’t impressive when you eat healthy again tomorrow, but if you’ve eaten crap all your life and then switch to a good diet, then that is.

There’s also something to be respected about discipline. Whilst eating healthily doesn’t deserve a medal, the discipline required does, when you’ve eaten 5000 calories/day for years. The greater the swing in change, the more impressive the discipline require to maintain it is. If you give up red meat for a month that’s pretty impressive, but not as impressive as the guy who goes raw-vegan for life. Time is a factor too: maintaining a change for a month is better than a day, but there will also be a point where the impressiveness decays over time as the behaviour becomes habitual;

I think there’s a societal aspect too. The greater your behaviour deviates from the social norm, the more impressive it. Stand up for women’s rights in the UK no one cares, do that in Saudi Arabia and you get shot. I don’t know how much society really affects losing weight, but certainly ours is all about fast/processed food and a sedentary lifestyle. It isn’t normal for people to go running in the park or train for half-marathons, so I personally find that that part of my story impressive in itself, without the context of my weight loss.

This has been an interesting post to write and think about. When I next see my friend I know what I’ll say: I’m proud of my achievement; I’ve made a big change in my lifestyle which has required deep self-reflection, education and discipline to maintain.

I knew I’d look back and laugh about it

A couple of months ago I failed W5D3 of C25K (the jump from 8-minute intervals to a 20-minute run); I had to stop after 16-minutes. Tonight, I’ll go on a 40-minute run; this weekend I’ll push for a 1-hour run. Seriously, how freaking amazing is that? In two months I’ve tripled how long I can run for.

I can’t wait for +6 months. Ah man I so can’t wait. Losing weight and getting fit is awesome!

New photo

July 2010

now

I love this.

For years I ribbed some of my vain friends, who would obsess over every strand of hair before a night out; I just didn’t really get it. I understand wanting to look good, but for me, having a nice haircut was the least of my worries: no matter how much you polish a turd, it’s still a turd.

I’ve posted before about my NSV with having my haircut:-

Yea, I’m definitely getting a little too excited about a haircut, but to me it’s way more than just that: it’s about enjoying being pampered, caring about my appearance and sitting in front of the mirror and liking the person you’re looking at. Something that I used to hate has been transformed into something that I really enjoyed, that’s priceless.

Since then Charlie has been guiding me on my style and I’m loving the results. I’ve definitely reached a tipping point in my perception of my appearance, I enjoy looking at pictures of myself ‚Äîthe cringing and embarrassment has been replaced by awe. As I typed “awe” I was going to write a sidenote mocking myself: “dude, did you really just say you look at yourself in awe?”; but actually I think that’s pretty true! (Dude, did you really just write a sentence affirming how, truly awe-inspiring you are? ;)).

This is a huge deal though. I hated having my picture taken and its inevitable tagging on Facebook (where as a matter of principal I don’t de-tag myself). I’m pretty sure all obese people feel the same and getting here feels like a major milestone. It feels great.

For a comparison here’s a before picture from NYE 2007:-

NYE 2007
NYE 2007

Bleugh!

Not the fattest guy in the room

I’ve got a new game, it’s called “Look! That guy’s bigger than me!” :D.

There are not many guys in the UK who are 30-stone/420lb+ and the chance of seeing them out and about is slim. It was rare that I would ever see someone bigger than me, making me the biggest person in the room, everywhere I went. But not any more! I’m still a fat bastard but I’m no longer the fattest bastard ‚Äî haha.

A few months ago I wrote about My Three Chapters and I can feel myself closing in on the first goal. “Not being the fattest” is a part of it; so is buying clothes from standard retailers; running in the park; enjoying catching my reflection or having my photo taken; comfortably sitting in a train seat. By no means is this the finish line, but my quality of life has markedly improved. It feels great.

OK – so In this pic I am the biggest in the room ;). This is a shot of the team I work with at the moment (I’m leading the development of their flagship product). I thought I’d share/show-off because the company was featured on the 37signals blog last week, which is cool.

http://37signals.com/svn/posts/2409-bootstrapped-profitable-proud-smartassess

CIMG2728 (1)

In case you’re not sure, I’m the tall, slim chap in the back row.

Weigh-in #37: 1.4lb loss

Peak: 435 lb
Previous: 318.6lb
Current: 317.2lb
Loss this week: 1.4lb
Total Loss: 117.8lb

Exercise this week was 3x C25K runs and 1x weights session. I didn’t count my calories but I did eat vegetarian for 6/7 of the days (as in I didn’t eat meat, not that I was eating vegetarians). On saturday I had some chicken, but felt like I was doing so because I could (and hence should), rather than because I really wanted meat. Afterwards I had buyer’s remorse, the same feeling I get after eating some high-calorie treat: “Is that it?” As with most food, the “pleasure” was short-lived.

Having already made huge changes to my diet, ditching meat seems trivial in comparison, but it scares me a little that I could become a vegetarian. I thought I was a card-carrying meat lover, the sort that would chastise vegies for being pussies: it turns out I might be one of them! The mental shift concerns me, my core values are changing, I feel like I’m becoming a different person; not that I dislike the new me, far from it, but being conscious of the change is weirding me out a little.

We can change, both physically and mentally‚Ķ and we’re allowed to.

How did we eat so much?

I’m aiming for 2000 calories/day this week, which is probably more than I’ve been eating most days but still well below the BMR number. It’s amazing

This week I’m aiming for 2000 calories/day. That’s probably more than I’ve been eating most days but still well below the BMR number – I want to try and eat a little bit more and see if that helps get the scale moving again.

Today I’m checking in with 2005 calories and it felt like I had to eat a lot to get there. I drank a pint of milk, had extra fruit/nut snacks and bought myself some turkey breast just to hit 2k, in addition to a decent-sized breakfast, lunch and dinner. And that is still 500 calories below the RDA.

No wonder “normal people” can stay in shape yet appear to eat what they like: it’s not hard to eat well yet keep the calories down. ¬†*sigh* – I was such an idiot to let myself get this way.

Right, time to pump some iron, this fat ain’t gunna burn itself!

I found a lump

I was doing some prodding around my body recently and found a strange lump. Turns out it was my hip bone ;). Hello again!

The last few days have been good ones. On Monday evening I attended my first cookery lesson (breads and soups). I’m not sure what I expected, but the kitchen we used was really cool; 8x Rangemaster double ovens, massive stainless steel work surfaces and loads of Le Creuset gear. It even had a camera built into the ceiling which could tilt/pan in order to record demonstrations (kinda like a TV cooking show). We make forcaccia (with diced onion), granary bread and a simple carrot coup.

I try not to eat much bread but I do sneak a few rolls for quick¬†sandwiches, or with a poached/scrambled egg at breakfast. I think I could justify the effort of baking myself a loaf each week :). The soup was simple but tasty: carrot, onions, leek, celery cooked up with a bit of butter and flour (a roux, don’t you know, that we turned into a velout√© with some stock!). This lesson was a great introduction and I can’t wait for more; I’m particularly looking forward to learning how to bone a chicken and how to fillet a fish (+ a 3hr lesson dedicated to chocolate!).

I missed my gym session on monday because of the lesson. A weak excuse considering I knew it was happening, but I’ll fix it for next time. Yesterday was cardio (check) and today was Lower2 (check). I’m all over my decision making this week, so far good food and good exercise :).

In addition to getting healthy, the new me is also trying to kick my favourite past-time: procrastination. I have a list of NYE resolutions / goals and every day I’m making progress on at least one of them ‚Äî this is a major win for me and I feel in control of my life. There is nothing I’d rather be doing than what I am right now, and that makes me feel happy.

2010 musings, a paradox and increased horizons.

One of my new year’s resolutions is to not talk about the things I’m planning on doing; instead I want to tell people about the things I’ve done. I often talk-the-talk but then fail to follow through with action. It frustrates me that I have ideas or dreams that I’m too lazy or not driven enough to accomplish. 2010 is going to be a year of shutting up and/or putting up. I only mention it here because of it’s paradoxical nature, which makes me smile :).

Like everyone else I’ve been mapping out the things that I want to do this year and setting myself some goals, weight related and otherwise. Some of these things rely on me losing more weight, they are activities that I wouldn’t attempt at 435lbs nor even right now, but perhaps in 6-9 months time I think they are reasonable (with more weight lost and increased fitness). I’ve started planning my life as a fit and healthy person; I’m picturing the “new” me and the things he’s going to be doing.

This is a profound change in attitude. Something I struggled with earlier this year was trying to define what I wanted out of life. If someone gave me ¬£100m, and I had the resources to do anything I wanted, what would I do? The clich√© answers depressed me: sitting sweating on a tropical beach isn’t attractive; I’m not sure Scuba diving equipment would fit me; travelling around the world as a Fat Guy would suck, even in 1st class; I’d love to buy a Ferrari to pose in, but could I get in the door? This was when it really hit me: even if I won the lottery I still wouldn’t be able to enjoy my life.

Reflecting on it now, that thought is the source of my motivation and willpower: forget everything else, until I get fit and healthy they are all secondary priorities.

I’m now starting to get those dreams back again however. Next year I will go skiing with my friends; I will hit the tropical beach and do some scuba diving; I will drive a Ferrari (well, maybe just for a day ;)). This year is going to change everything.

I got drunk, and the world didn’t come crashing down!

Woah, I SO didn’t listen to my own advice about my Christmas Party. The night was full of boozing and enjoying the food! Guess what though, the world didn’t come crashing down and I didn’t regain 50lbs. Instead, I had a blast with my friends and got back on the wagon the next day (with a workout whilst hungover).

On reflection, my fear was irrational. I could have had 10 pints of Guiness for¬† +2100 calories whilst “putting on less than a pound” (given the 3500 calories in a pound equivalency). In the past, when I’ve stopped eating well and¬† binged it has been the end of the campaign: it’ll lead to another binge and another and so on. This time around I just don’t feel that way; my healthy lifestyle is really becoming ingrained in how I live. It almost isn’t a case of “getting back on the wagon” because eating well is the default position.

It feels reassuring that I can still have nights like that and stay on track.