Twenty kilos is not a heavy weight in the grand scheme of things. In olden day parlance it is just over three stone. If I go to the gym I can bicep curl twenty kilos without too much panting. I can leg press three times that much, same for leg curls. It's five times for squats.
But twenty kilos of fat is a different proposition entirely. It's not so much what it weighs, it's about the inconvenient places on the human body it chooses to lurk. Therein lay the problem. Time would tell you my weight can fluctuate, usually in direct relation to boredom and lifestyle. Given my current lifestyle which includes walking and cycling as a necessity for my daily commute, and at work traipsing up and down lots of stairs. My bodyweight loiters between 93 and 96 kilos (fifteen stone). As I am 178 centimetres tall (five ten) this means, despite a relatively broad frame, I can in the wrong light sometimes resemble Paddington Bear.
It has not always been like this. Something weird happened between the age of thirty eight and forty, something changed. I think mostly it was my attitude. Now I am forty two and for my last birthday someone kindly brought me a body mass indicator. I hold it in my hand now, it has just estimated my body fat ratio to be twenty eight percent. Which given all the above means I am currently carrying almost thirty kilos of fat (almost five stone).
Fat is a necessity for most species on this earth, it is padding for internal organs and a store for energy when food is not plentiful. But I probably don't need quite this much, neither do I have any desire to spend the next twenty years as some red faced and portly old duffer. So I have decided it's time for action. And thus is born an idea, a plan to shed twenty kilos and reach a weight of 75 kilos (just under twelve stone). Which this body has seen only once since the age of fourteen. I also want to do it before Christmas, just because giving it a timeline makes it more interesting.
Knowing the worst of weighing 95 kilos is an uncanny resemblance to Paddington Bear and not wanting to put you or me through the trauma of before and after photo's. I have decided to title this quest: Operation Brüno. This way you can immediately conjure some idea of the intended body image destination. I won't be wearing the make-up nor platform shoes of course. I am allergic to cosmetics and can get giddy at height.
At this point a chorus of voices would quite rightly proclaim this is just a mid-life crises, be happy in your own skin, you are what you are. And more importantly – How the hell are you going to do this? Well, that last one is actually simple, quite literally, because losing weight is simple. It's just nobody ever said it was easy.
I could of course lose weight by attending meetings for the binge eaters equivalent of alcoholics anonymous, and go to Weight Watchers. But this mind exists for the detail. I don't want points, I want calories, protein and carb ratios, fat and fibre content, GI ratings. I want to know how I'm going to burn my twenty kilos. Not just have twenty daily weight watchers points I could use to chow down six Mars bars.
Of course typing Diet and Nutrition into Amazon will get you over eight thousand results, mostly get thin quick fixes that rarely work and are very light on detail. As with the Weight Watchers points system, I didn't want quick fixes or to blindly accept a plan. I wanted to know about the human body's need for energy, how it uses it, obtains it, stores it and how to most efficiently burn it.
Which is why I have previously invested a great deal of time researching the human body. Mostly because I have been struck by the number of fad/beach/get a six pack/look good in a bikini/speedo diets widely advertised. And made positively dizzy by the rumour and myths friends and colleagues churn out. Why shouldn't I eat pasta? What is so evil about banana's? What is it about bread that makes you fat? Is Guinness really a good meal supplement?
That research began in 2003 and over the subsequent six years and on/off experimentation I have conjured a essay titled: Losing Weight is Simple, but nobody ever said it was easy.
This essay will be the basis on which Operation Brüno is built. Updates on the mission will appear here over the following twenty weeks alongside the essay, in easily digested chunks. Hopefully along the way body fat will be shed with a good many misconceptions.