Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

The Incredibly Shrinking Trixter

Posted by Trixter on March 26, 2009


I am finally reducing my volume and mass, and all it took was a combination of several events that converged into a resonance cascade of motivation.  Let’s examine three big events in three small paragraphs.

One of my demoscene friends, RaD Man, went from being 30+ pounds overweight to running 10K races every weekend in about one year.  I know he got a new job in that time, and also got a Wii Fit, but his personal motivation isn’t really important:  He did it, and he looks fantastic.  He also recently got hit by a drunk driver while he was running — then got up and ran alongside the still-moving car, pounding on the door, until the lady stopped and police could arrive.  The twisted moral I take from that story:  Don’t get in shape so that you look good for the ladies; get in shape so you can survive getting hit by a fucking car.  (BTW, it’s looking like he didn’t break anything, thank goodness.)  While I don’t plan on getting hit by a car any time soon, it is an eye-opening reminder of why your health is usually the most important thing you should spend time on.

2009 is the year of my 20-year high school reunion.  I still carry emotional/mental/social baggage from high school.  Not all of the baggage is bad; a small portion of it is positive and wonderful.  But I still want to go to the reunion to gain some closure to that period in my life.  While it is unrealistic to think I can look younger than I am, I want to at least look recognizable.

One year ago, my friend Jason Scott took a moment to take a candid picture of me at a very happy moment in my life.  I had just arrived to Block Party 2008, and was very happy and excited to be there; I called Melissa to let her know that I had arrived safely and talk about how great the next few days were going to be.  Jason is a good photographer, and he had his digital SLR with him.  Here’s what he took:

Heavy Jim at Block Party 2008

By all measures, this should be a picture I cherish.  In reality, I am saddened and depressed every time I look at it.  I didn’t recognize this person, and even today I’m not sure I do.  I know that sounds melodramatic and stupid; I can see that even as I write the words!  But you have to understand that, until I saw that picture, my internal body image was that of me right out of college, fit and decent-looking.  It was a bit of a shock to realize that, yes, I was 60 pounds overweight, and my neck fat protruded farther than my chin.

The day I saw that picture (about a month after the event), I stopped gaining weight.  In December, I joined Weight Watchers.  Today, 3.5 months later, I have lost 20 pounds and continue to lose about one pound a week.  Assuming this rate continues, I will be under 190 pounds by the time my high school reunion rolls around, and I can live with that.

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6 Responses to “The Incredibly Shrinking Trixter”

  1. grey said

    Inspirational, keep it up, I’ll attempt to follow in your footsteps!

  2. nine said

    don’t get stuck in the “10% off your goal” slump most people losing weight seem to! The best solution seems to be setting a goal 10% beyond your ‘real’ goal. yes really, this is good enough to trick your brain.

  3. Alkivar said

    Good for you dude!

    It took my mom’s funeral in february for me to finally realize how fat i’d become. Many of the extended family members didn’t recognize me. My mom always tried to motivate me to lose some, but whether it was me zoning her out her nagging or something else I never actually got myself on any sort of program.

    It’s sad that it took her dying, but that’s what finally motivated me to start losing weight, 1 month later and i’m down 16 pounds, and i’ve still got a long way to go.

  4. Lee Seitz said

    Congrats, Jim. Weight Watchers worked for me about 13 years ago. I have to admit, I haven’t stayed at my goal weight ever since, but I did for a long time and have never put all the weight back on. I need to shed a few pounds now, too, but just haven’t gotten the motivation. I am starting to exercise more, thanks to a co-worker. Good luck and keep at it!

  5. Being unrecognisable by your high-school classmates has (may have) advantages: for example, your classmates may perceive/view you as a new acquaintance (or a stranger, but that word seems to have negative connotations.) instead of allowing memories of you from high school to (possibly negatively) influence their perception of you.

    Being overweight (shouldn’t that be “overmass”? :)) may have advantages in physical/in-person/face-to-face communication too: it filters those who prejudge you based on your physical appearance from those who judge you based on your personality and/or character. The later method of judgement (I think “judgment” is wrong. :)) is significant because of its application to face-to-screen communications mediums, such as blogs. Your blog is an exception because you volunteer a lot of personal information and even post photos of yourself. This is sharply contrasted from much less personal communities such as informal IRC channels and Web forums, where members use pseudonyms instead of their “real” names. These members usually do not post photos of themselves nor volunteer information that allows the reader (shouldn’t that be “audience” to include people who, for example, hear the text instead of read it?) to contact them offline/IRL. My point is that, in these communities, members are judged based on intellectual properties, such as their message, instead of physical/mundane/corporeal/material properties, such as physical appearance, accent and/or other spoken/vocal characteristics, age, sex/gender.

    Incidentally, I use many word alternations because I want to avoid getting sidetracked by looking up words in a dictionary in order to choose the most precise word for the context. I already literally (no pun intended, even though I love puns! :D) spend hours every day reading (English) dictionaries. Ironically, maybe that is why I cannot choose a single word: because I have memorised too many synonyms. :) Writing of synonyms, is there another word for synonym? ;)

  6. I forgot to mention: I mentioned “real” names because I was originally going to specify “legal” name in parentheses, but I decided not to because not everyone’s “real name” in English is their legal name. Brolin Empey is both my real and legal name because:

    * my parents named me in English because they both spoke and speak (I used both tenses because my biological mom is dead. “deceased” sounds like she is undead because the de- prefix appears to modify “ceased”.) English as their native language.
    * I was born in Canada. Canada’s official languages are English and French. AFAIK, Canadian citizens/residents’s legal names have to be in one of these official languages, but, to use an acronym popularised by Slashdot, IANAL. Incidentally, if a judge judges and a prosecutor prosecutes, does a lawyer law?

    However, many multilingual Canadians’s “real names” differ from their legal names: what I consider their “real name” is their English name because I speak English, which is the only human (“natural”) language in which I consider myself at least partially fluent, but their legal name is a (possibly translated and/or transliterated) name in another language and/or from another culture.

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