Residual Self Image

Residual Self Image.
Morpheus, in “The Matrix,” told Neo it was, “…the mental projection of your digital self.”
It works in the real word, too.
It is the image we hold of ourselves in our mind, whether it is a good representation or not.
That younger fellow to the right is my Residual Self Image.
The self-portrait (I was checking the lighting in my studio before shooting the hospital’s CEO) was taking in late 1994. As you can see, I am a much skinnier version of myself (and I really don’t want to discuss or contemplate the hair; all I will say is I dropped $55 on it each month at a salon and it went out on more dates than I did and I’d like to have it back).
I weighed 196 pounds, with a body fat ratio of about 12 percent.
As a 44 year old man, my new ideal, my goal by the end of the year, is 199 pounds, 18 percent body fat ratio.
Right now, I weigh 228.5 pounds, with a body fat ration of 29 percent (thanks to my personal trainer friend Joe, who poked, prodded and measured me last week).
I need to lose 29.5 pounds – and 11 percent body fat to reach my ideal.
(Joe said that each percentage point of body fat is equal to losing 2.5 pounds of fat.)
Funny thing is, in psychology, use of Residual Self Image is often linked with periods of radical transformation.
In October, I weighed 260 pounds.
I know I can probably never get back to my RSI. My current life is stacked against me, and that’s OK.
Back in 1994, I was chief photographer for Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, and a dedicated triathlete. I worked out at least six hours a day – since the famed Tom Landry Fitness Center was right on campus and was a perk that was partially paid for by the hospital.
I probably couldn’t take six hours to work out today; nor do I want to. Nor do I want to weigh my food, or worry that if I have a beer, I need to balance that with certain fats and proteins to keep my metabolism in “ketosis.”
But there’s that pesky self-image that keeps popping up.
My doctor, during my last routine physical, called me “the fittest fat man I know.”
I can hike all day with a 50-pound backpack and think nothing of it.
Small nicks and bruises (and age) aside, I’m healthy.
I’m happy.
I feel good in my own skin. Right here and now.
But I also have wants and desires beyond where I’m at now.
Climbing Mt. Shasta. Entering and finishing a mountain bike race. Not making a fool of myself during the Dancing With the Stars fundraiser in July.
So I have decided to eat right and exercise more. The Meat-Eating Robot gave me a great cycling-based eating plan, but I decided to not “diet.” I plan on eating right, eating often and will follow more of a Zone approach to eating. Meaning that if I want to go to the pub and get a Guinness, I will. And not worry that I may be out of ketosis (I just want to live free – not diet).
My fitness goals are simple. Elevate my heart rate for at least an hour a day. Every day.
Work in core exercises like sit-ups and push-ups. Blend in some Pilates and yoga.
I want to lose 2.5 pounds a week.
Meaning in 11 weeks, if I’m good and follow through on my goals, I’ll be at 27.5 pounds lost – and it’ll be time to re-evaluate.
Putting it down here makes it real (and don’t hesitate to jump in and offer encouragement or whatever).
And just so you know, this is me at 228.5 pounds; the starting point to a new RSI:


Stevo said...

Whoa! What's with the bandage on the arm?

Did you get into a knife fight with a monkey?

Jim d said...

Thom, great post. I think you're onto it with a zen-like approach. A healthy self image, and just good health in general, is a mind-body-spirit thing. I really think you're pushing through with great writing here and improving your physical being will assure that you're around a long time and have great stuff to write about. I commend you, bro.
As for me, just this: "They tried to get me to go to rehab and I said-a no, no, no!"

Beth said...

Hay I admire your dedication to this 2.5 pounds a week is quite a goal.

RachelRenae said...

YAY! ThomG, YOU CAN DO IT! I believe in you! hooray, hooray, etc, etc. :)

BTW, it was good hair. I'm just saying. :(

svojoh said...

Attractive...hhmmm. Thom, bet you were a stud at 15!