P90X Results: How I Failed and Succeeded at Bringing It with Confidence

Last night I enjoyed a delicious plate of fettuccini alfredo, the after-effects of which were not nearly as satisfying as the initial taste, nor did their food-baby inducing ways contribute in any form to the desired skinny feeling often associated with completing a workout program.

And I have completed a workout program. I finally completed P90X.

And for some reason I’ve decided to reward myself with an all-out feast of the foods I so desperately tried to avoid during the last ninety days.

Remember him?

Remember him?

“What? Lee, I thought you had committed yourself to a new lifestyle, to living healthy and making the right dietary choices? What about Tony Horton? What about Bringing It?” says the Collective Voice of my Readers.

Don’t worry, guys. I did bring it. I pushed play every day for ninety days – no missed days – and I sweat until I was satisfied that the sweet stench of victory would be forever absorbed into my clothes. And yet despite all my hard work, when this past Monday came and I was due to take my final pictures and measurements, I was still greatly disappointed.

I didn’t lose any weight.

In fact, I’d gained two pounds. My measurements neither increased nor decreased, and, for the most part, I felt as though I looked relatively the same as when I started – rather disappointing after ninety consecutive days of determination.

And what made me struggle even more with these results was that I was so excited to share my Before and After success story with you all. I wanted to be one of those people I had seen so many times on Youtube, sharing their amazing, drastic results. I wanted visible proof of my commitment and effort. And I didn’t get it. I was so sure I wanted to show my results pictures with you, but after seeing those numbers, I felt embarrassed and needed to rethink my decision. And after taking the whole of the week to think about it, I’ve come to a conclusion.

The pictures don’t matter.

It doesn’t matter that I didn’t lose any weight or that my body didn’t transform dramatically after that short amount of time. Because what I saw in those pictures was a slight physical change, a change brought about by the determination and sheer will to stick with my goal, no matter how difficult or worthless I might have felt it was going to be. I didn’t quit. I held on. I completed something I set out to do. And that’s enough for me.

I can’t expect miracles to happen in three months. The fact that I, an extremely lazy person who has struggled with exercise and weight her whole life, was able to push through the pain and workout for that long consecutively seems like a miracle to me. So I want to keep exercising, not because it will necessarily help me lose weight, but because it makes me feel so accomplished afterward. I love how it makes me feel. It’s healthy for my body and my mind. Better eating habits will follow (because eating too much pasta does not make you feel good).

Maybe this wasn’t the inspirational post I had first envisioned writing, but I do feel that it’s still important. Do not give up. You will see results. Though it may take longer than you had hoped, you will see them. And just because you don’t notice much of a physical change doesn’t mean you haven’t changed at all (just maybe not in the way you first expected).

If I'd been smart enough to take these in front of a white wall...

If I’d been smart enough to take these in front of a white wall…

this crappy editing wouldn't have been necessary. I apologize for the crappy quality of these pictures.

this crappy editing wouldn’t have been necessary. I apologize for the crappy quality of these pictures.

(I decided to show one partial Before and After picture, only because I feel that it’s important to show what an exercise program like P90X can do, even if I didn’t get all the physical changes I wanted. I plan on continuing on with other programs and exercises, and I hope to write about those as well in the future. If you enjoy reading about that kind of stuff, be sure to follow along.)

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Yoga for Bloggers: Now Take a Deep Breath…

Before we begin, the tip of the day here is to clear your mind…

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p90x yoga

P90X like? Well, I’m no photographer.

I’ve never been into yoga.

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of all the garbage prior to starting…

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Bending my body at awkward angles and listening to an ocean wave replicated on a CD have never really been activities of choice for me. Though I’ve tried, I’ve never quite mastered that calm, weightless relaxation that generally seems to don the faces of practiced yoga-doers. I always imagined my face looking more like a showcase to my pain as I struggled through yet another sun salutation and floated less-than-gracefully back into downward dog.

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and all the things that you’ve got to do after you’re done.

 

But I must admit, there’s something about slowing down your breathing – taking at least three times longer to inhale and exhale than you normally would – that really calms the mind. Or maybe my brain was just oxygen deprived.

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I want you to focus on the present moment.

 

I’ve been trying to slow down a lot more lately, as you all know. It’s been almost two weeks since my last real post, and I can’t say that I haven’t missed you guys. It felt odd to let Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays pass without writing my customary post. But at the same time…I really liked it.

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Stay in the moment…

 

I won’t lie and tell you that it’s been the most productive two weeks, but it’s been two weeks of fewer deadlines and more free time. Blogging is important to me, it really is. As are all you readers. Without you…well, there’d be no point to the blogging. I made the choice to slow down this blog in order to prepare myself for the life I want to lead, and to treat all of you with more quality posts (even if my subtitle does say “moderately meditated”).

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and clear your mind…

 

But I haven’t been completely slacking off while I’ve been away. As you’ll notice, I’ve made a few changes to the look of my blog, and I hope to continue making a few more until I’m happy with it. This look is a little cleaner than before, a model for how I want my life to feel: low stress, clutter-free, fresh, and gorgeous. I also posted a collage of photos I took on a recent bike ride. I was thinking of continuing that series with more photos and little snapshots of my life (let me know what you think). I don’t want blogging to feel like a chore anymore. I want it to go back to how it felt at the beginning, how I would write because I had something to share. I need to let this blog blossom in its own time. I have no reason to hurry. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned during my time away, it’s that life can be difficult to write about when you’re too busy rushing through it.

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and it will feel like a ride like you have never had before.*

 

 

*Tony Horton, P90X Yoga

The Diet Beast: Lee-Green Smoothie

So here’s where I’m at right now.

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Dieting is hard.

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But not as hard as you might think.

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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.

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I think it’s safe to say my diet is probably what has derailed me the most when it comes to losing weight.

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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.

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That’s where Pinterest comes in.

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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.

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And I found the perfect healthy meal replacement:

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Now pour and enjoy.

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Mmm.

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.

Resolutions Revisited: Wow, I Suck

Let’s be honest here.

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How many of us have kept our New Year’s Resolutions?

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Let’s get a show of hands.

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(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.)

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Oh good…none of you.

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Now that that’s out of the road, let’s talk goals.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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No, really.

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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.

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In fact, I’m starting today.

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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.

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I can’t focus on tearing myself down if I’m trying to bring myself up.

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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.

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And I’m going to try to try harder.

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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.

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Too bad, because for the next 90 days, I’m going to bring it. And so should you.

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With your goal.

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Not mine.

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Unless your goal is the same…

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You get the point.

Just look at that motivational sunset…

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P90X: I Hate It, But I Love It

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!

No.

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.

yousuck

But after 90 days you won’t.

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.

Oh God...

Oh God…What have I done?