“Your greatest awakening comes when you are aware about your infinite nature.” – Amit Ray
“If you’re reading this…Congratulations, you’re alive. If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.” — Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head
So here’s where I’m at right now.
Dieting is hard.
But not as hard as you might think.
For those of you who read Monday’s post, you know that I’m trying to get back on the fitness wagon. I haven’t quit yet (hooray for two days!) despite being tired and sore. The exercise is just as hard as I remember, if not harder now that I’ve been exercise-deprived for a good few months. But the workout isn’t near as difficult as the diet.
I think it’s safe to say my diet is probably what has derailed me the most when it comes to losing weight.
And while I’m sure I can excuse my way out of eating the wrong things (I’ve already come up with three excuses while writing this sentence), there’s no excuse for not learning to eat the right things.
That’s where Pinterest comes in.
Though it’s probably not the best go-to site for all things healthy, at least Pinterest is a good way to find millions of recipes for foods you never would have thought to put together.
And I found the perfect healthy meal replacement:
The Green Smoothie.
It’s become fairly popular lately as the smoothie that lets you drink your vegetables. As a vegetarian who isn’t the biggest fan of vegetables (wait…what?), I can appreciate that concept. So after trying various Pinterest versions – and disliking them all – I made up my own. Here it is.
The Lee-Green Smoothie
- a small handful of ice
- a cup of skim milk (today I used organic soy milk)
- two spoonfuls of Greek yogurt
- one medium banana, cut into slices
- four medium strawberries, tops cut off
- two to three cups of spinach
- a scoop of protein powder
Add ice, milk, yogurt, banana, strawberries, and spinach (stuffing in as much as you can until the blender is completely full — around 2-3 cups), and blend.
Add protein powder and blend until the spinach leaves look like tiny green specks (if you leave it too leafy, the texture will completely turn you off from this smoothie, trust me).
Now pour and enjoy.
Now, I guarantee if you make this smoothie properly, you will not be able to taste the spinach at all, just the strawberries and banana. If you’re wondering about the calories, this smoothie packs a healthy punch. It gives you all the nutrients of almost all the main food groups for only 434 calories. That might seem like a lot to you calorie-counters out there, but for what you get, it’s really not. I even made some soy chicken nuggets and I still have 768 calories left to eat for dinner. But if you’re worried that it’s too much, you can always vary the ingredients to lower the calories or to satisfy your taste.
These smoothies are a regular staple for me when I’m doing P90X, and I can honestly say that I craved them while I was away at college. They keep you full for a long time and taste delicious. So for right now I’d say Smoothie – 1, Diet – 0.
Let’s be honest here.
How many of us have kept our New Year’s Resolutions?
Let’s get a show of hands.
(Now, this is the part where you all raise your hand and make me feel less horrible about completely failing at my goal this year.)
Oh good…none of you.
Now that that’s out of the road, let’s talk goals.
While losing weight and sticking to P90X this time wasn’t really my New Year’s Resolution, I did mention it in my second ever post as one of the goals I had for this year.
And whether P90X meant P90X or just a whole lot of hardcore exercise, this goal hasn’t seen a whole lot of progress. School this past semester was a lot more exhausting than I had first imagined, and the stamina and will power I needed just wasn’t there.
But before I continue to justify myself with excuses, I just want you guys to know that I’m not beating myself up about this.
Don’t get me wrong, it would be very easy to hate myself right now. Just look at the title of this post. But what I’m really trying to focus on is not how much I’ve failed, but how easy it will be to try again.
In fact, I’m starting today.
Yes, this very day is going to be the start (again) of a new phase in my life, a phase where I start to take control of my health and happiness, do my best, and forget the rest.
I can’t focus on tearing myself down if I’m trying to bring myself up.
It’ll be hard. I’ll be out of shape again. I’ll probably want to quit after my workout tonight. And maybe I will. The point is I’m trying.
And I’m going to try to try harder.
For myself, for you guys, and for that results post I so badly want to blog about and you all probably don’t want to read.
Too bad, because for the next 90 days, I’m going to bring it. And so should you.
With your goal.
Unless your goal is the same…
You get the point.
I apologize for the reoccurring themes that seem to be the focus of my last few posts – overly inspirational and weight-loss oriented – but the start of a brand new year can have that kind of influence on people, and I feel that this post needs to be written.
As a very shy and reserved person, due to many of the reasons you’re about to read, this subject is very difficult for me to talk about. I doubt I can even do it justice. It’s a serious topic and a long post, but my hope in writing this is that someone, at least one person, will take this story to heart, relate, and change for the better.
For the very early part of my childhood, I was healthy. I played outside, I ate what my parents fed me, I was a normal kid. Then, for reasons that shall be left to a post at another time, I decided to become a vegetarian at the ripe old age of six. Mealtime now became exceedingly challenging for my parents, and it was difficult for them to find food I would be willing to eat. That’s probably what started it.
I didn’t know what to feed myself either. I was six. I liked candy and junk as much as the next kid. So, that’s what I ate. I never realized something so good would eventually lead to something so bad.
I started to put on some weight. I always knew I was larger than the other children in my grade. Even as my weight continued to increase, it never seriously bothered me until the summer before I started middle school. My best friend’s new boyfriend, who I had only briefly met once before, had called me fat. That was the first time.
After school started, he and his friends amped up the insults. Fat led to ugly. Ugly led to a whole myriad of other taunts about my physical appearance. The bullying did not stop. On the bus, in the lunchroom, during class, I was teased everywhere, even by people I had once considered my friends.
I would come home after school and cry. Then I would eat. I would sit and consume ungodly amounts of food because for some reason, some screwed up cell in my brain seemed to think that it would help. The food tasted good, so maybe it would make me feel good too.
It didn’t. I was never pushed, never punched or hit. I was never physically bullied. But no amount of Cheez-its could ever conceal the mental and emotional scarring bullying had caused. Middle school lasted for three years. For three years, I continued to grow heavier and was bullied even more.
Those who care about me tried to reassure me that the weight I was experiencing was just baby fat, and that as I got older, it would basically just fall right off. I knew that wasn’t the case. I wasn’t that naïve.
I don’t know exactly what triggered it. If there was a specific moment or something said that just really inspired me, I don’t remember it. But the summer before high school, I made a change.
I dug deep inside and found the push that I needed, the drive, in order to better myself. No more being the victim. No more hiding because I couldn’t handle the hurt. I drastically changed my eating habits from almost an entire bag of Oreos and a glass of milk after school, to a small 100-calorie pack of crackers. Then I actually tried eating salad. I incorporated vegetables and drank more water. I started exercising little by little. I would try to keep telling myself was that I was tired of feeling so helpless and held back because I believed what someone else thought about me. I dropped at least 20 pounds that summer.
After that, school wasn’t so hard. Losing all that weight, showing myself that I could actually accomplish what I worked hard to achieve, gave me the confidence and the edge I needed to begin to heal my scars. When the bullies realized that I had quit caring about what they said, so did they. Surely enough, the mocking eventually stopped.
This post isn’t about weight-loss. This post isn’t even about bullying. This is about digging down and finding out who you truly are. This is about being fed up with unhappiness. Because when you finally get a taste of what you’re made of, you’ll get addicted, and you’ll become unstoppable.
No matter what anyone says, no matter what anyone does, you can relish in the fact that you know exactly who you are and what you’re capable of. Your determination, your will, your fight…those are things no one can ever take away from you. You can rise from the flames. And after the war is over, and you’re standing on the battlefield staring your defeated enemy right in the eyes, you’ll know what true happiness really feels like.
Don’t ever stop fighting. Do it for you.
In the spirit of all things resolved, I thought I’d share one of my failed resolutions from a New Year’s past and exactly why it failed in the first place.
As I briefly mentioned and slightly exaggerated in my first blog post, I, like most refreshed New Year hopefuls, once attempted the famed “lose weight this year” resolution. My weapon of choice? P90X.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Well, not really. But for the sake of my point, you’re thinking something like this: P90X? I bet you got in the best, most ripped shape of your life. Cause with Tony Horton, you’ve got to bring it!
Well, yes. But, no.
Did I get ripped? Was I in the best shape of my life? Briefly. Do you have to bring it? Most definitely yes. P90X is a hard program and not for the faint of heart. You’re not sweatin’ to the oldies with this one. You’re sweating to the shrill cries of your muscles ripping apart, taking a mid-set break, and then reattaching themselves again and again. But when you’re finished, your brand new t-shirt stain feels like a glorious badge of victory. It’s a love-hate relationship.
Honestly though, P90X is really nothing groundbreaking. It’s basically good old fashioned exercise and healthy eating. No gimmicks. No shortcuts. It’s grueling hard work for the full 90 days.
Though I guess I can’t really testify to that, because after bringing it for about 60 days, I gave up. Why? Not because it wasn’t working. It was. I had lost ten pounds, lowered my body fat percentage by about 6%, and just felt better.
My problem was that I had gotten lazy. I started off being really rigid about what kind of food I put into my body, making sure I followed the meal plan in the little diet book that comes with the program (How many cups of cottage cheese is the equivalent of a chicken? Vegetarian problems). Then after a while, I started to feel like I could just estimate how much food I should eat. I didn’t need to measure out my portions. I’ve got this down. Wrong.
I started feeling sluggish again. I didn’t crave the exercise anymore. What used to be everyday workouts turned into every other day, then maybe a few times a week, then for longer periods of time I wouldn’t exercise at all. Now, the past year or so has been a battle between gaining everything back and maintaining the weight loss.
The problem wasn’t the program. Tony Horton knows what he’s talking about. He’ll kick you right where you need to be kicked and then make you come crawling back for more. The problem was me. I lost my focus, my motivation, and in the meantime, all the self-confidence and progress I had made. Now I just have to get them back.
And since I just finished off the other half of my Cheesecake Factory vanilla bean cheesecake, I’m thinking I need to make an appointment with Tony for a little more butt-whoopin’ soon. And this time, I’ll stick with it.