In an ill-concieved bid to spark an interest in science, my fourth-grade teacher had us all do science projects. I applaud her gumption for trying to kick-start the motivation of self-propelled projects, research and study for 30 kids who were the first wave of the Nintendo generation, but it was something of a doomed enterprise. Ironically, given my current, adult obsession with raccoons, I CLEARLY remember my project ‘How Do Raccoons Respond To Music?” and consisted of playing Hooked On Classics, Micheal Jackson, and Dead Or Alive and recording my data. If asked the same question now for a science experiment, I’d answer that it depends entirely on who was on the decks in direct correlation to how much alcohol I’d consumed after self identifying as ‘The Raccoon’.
However, the seed was nevertheless planted and I have taken something of an interest in the body of science. or more specifically, my body and science. After leaving the role of a touring performer, I found my physical self someone… lacking. Not to say I had experienced a severe weight gain but I had been self medicating with alcohol to battle the depression I felt on these tours. While I’m still something of a lush, I’m drinking out of joy de vive, not out of a desire to anesthetize myself which is much more pleasant. But the desire to change and to push myself still sat heavy with me, and I knew that a transformation was due.
Enter 2012, Year of the Dragon. There were some changes to go down… tow big things happened that rocked my world. Firstly, I decided to give the waist training thing a serious go. After wearing corsets for the last eight years on and off anywhere between 10 to one hour a day, I decided I’d keep a diary of how often I wore them, what style, and for how long. This would serve only as a yardstick for myself to measure the changes in my body, the possible health benefits, and see how possible it was to live life in a corset in the modern day Vancouver. My other revelation was that I needed help. Long past since my gym routine had become stale and I needed a challenge and a kick in the ass: enter Slave Master J.
Slave Master J’s acquaintance I had made through Crystal Precious, my longtime Sweet Soul Grrl, rapper, strip-hop emcee and partner in sass. She had recently made some lifestyle changes and I had heard about SMJ and how he had earned his nickname. So I booked some sessions with him. I figured the end of the summer festival season (aka I’ve not eaten all day, drank a bottle of Marker’s Mark, and might have ingested some funny tablets) was a good time to flip the record, start from scratch and get back on the ‘what the hell am I doing’ train. He had me keep a food diary, stick to a program and had me in weekly for ass-kickings/cursings/pride injuries. But since September I can say that it’s been worth it, I’m addicted to the good living now, and the gym is my drug of choice.
(Hey, how ELSE will I have the stamina to dance all night at Bass Coast with those nubile 21 year olds when summer hits? Gotta TRAIN for that when your in my advanced years)
The other thing I’ve employed is the use of my training corsets. These are not as small/tight as I’d wear for fashion/costume since I DO need to be able to function in them. While I can get a pretty good reduction on my waist for photoshoots, burlesque shows, etc, I can’t go grocery shopping, run errands, go to meetings and all with a 18″ waist. So logic dictated that I started slow, and get myself to a point where I felt comfortable with reduction plus length of time. Thanks to the amazing women at Lace Embrace, I had a training corset made in the Faminette style. This corset is cut high on the hip and waspy, which I found gave me a great shape, but didn’t hinder my movements. While this style might not work for everyone (Erin and Virginia at LEA both swear by the Alyce corset. To each their own) I find that it’s been helpful.
I’ve also tweaked my diet: I never knew how much processed food I casually consumed until I looked at the early logs in my diary. Causing your own eyebrows to raise is no small talent, and I impressed myself. After making two small changes I noticed I was less lethargic and my food was being metabolized better. I won’t list these here, simply because each body is different, and I don’t want anyone quoting a gospel of The Risk Method, which works great for me, but won’t necessarily suit everyone or their lifestyles. But I’m making my own food a LOT more now than I used to. It’s also got me honing my kitchen-ninja skills as well, which is never, ever a waste of time.
So what is the consensus of all my research from the last 4.5 months?
One: Rome wasn’t built in a day, but holy shit, even as a work in progress, it must have been a nifty process! Feeling myself gain endurance, strength and lacing down tighter and feeling GOOD about the whole combination has left me feeling kind of, well, glowy. The journey and destination are balanced on this one, and the feeling of shape changing and shifting gives you a lot of respect for your body and it’s abilities.
Two: Waist training and tight lacing: not the same thing. From my own experience I tried tightlacing right out of the gate. I found I had less patience, was cranky and it was a shock on my body. By wearing more corset for longer and more often, and by starting gradually tightening it, I have over 4.5 months, been able to get better results. I now can comfortably wear my corset for 10-14 hours during the day when I’m active without feeling like I’m going to get cut in two. Listening to my body has been very key and knowing that now my corset closes in the back, and I’m totally comfortable as if I’m wearing a favourite bra. Take it easy, be kind to your waist and it will show you wonders.
Three: Locally sourced food is fresh, supports people in your community and is worth a few extra dollars more. Having a relationship with your food and where it comes from is never something I thought I’d value, but then again I never thought I’d be an avid red wine drinker or someone who listens to Sade, either. All three of these are excellent precursors to sexy times, and I always feel a little bit moreso now when slipping out of my corset down to my skin.
I’m still not sure what music raccoons like better, but I can tell you the combinations of fitness, diet and waist training has left me pleased with my body shape and I’m looking forward to the continued shifting. I’ll report back in another 4.5 months to let you know how it goes. But if I find out what music raccoons prefer in the meantime, I’ll let you know.
Little Miss Risk