My eating habits have been a slow progression towards healthier eating since high school. In high school I would skip breakfast and grab peanut butter M&Ms at 10 am, then snack off someones’ plate of chicken nuggets made with God knows what for lunch followed by 1-2 20 oz. Sundrops, probably one of the most unhealthy drinks of all time. In college I somehow grew to really like vegetables and fruit, plus a lot of other foods I have never tried or like before. This was probably due to a lack of my parents’/grandparents’ staple meals that made up my entire diet prior to college. Once that was missing, I had to fill it with something else. And it turns out that fresh produce is easier to eat in a dorm/college apartment than frying up some chicken or my grandmother’s made-from-scratch biscuits (don’t hate). But along with this new appreciation for healthier foods came a new understanding of calorie restriction and a continued love of process foods/college fare dining (i.e. pokey sticks) for late night snacking. Don’t get me wrong, calorie restriction is a useful and effective way for some people to manage their weight, my approach just wasn’t sustainable for someone running 4 miles a day.
So after college I kept up the healthier eating, practiced cooking and became a better cook, learned more about the benefits of whole foods, and have what I think is a pretty healthy diet. Except for the fact that I have had about 5-7 pounds that I just can’t have struggled with losing for the past 5ish years. With my wedding coming up in August, I really really really want to lose these few pounds and tone up. I exercise a good bit. A bad week would be exercising four times, while I count a good week as six times.
Brad purchased the P90X program several months ago and after hearing me complain about my 5-7 pound predicament for the past two years weeks, he suggested that we try out the program together. So, I have now completed one week of P90X and some of my thoughts of this week are…
- It’s kind of expensive. Besides purchasing the program, you eat a lot of meat, which I haven’t been used to lately and can definitely tell a difference on my grocery bill even though I’ve only been buying stuff on sale.
- The workouts are pretty difficult, but in a good way. I’m doing the P90X Lean, which is more of a weight loss program than the classic, which is more for toning or bulking up. It has more cardio, which I really like. I think this is usually the hardest part for most people. But the lean is less weight lifting and if you’re already pretty active, you won’t struggle as much as some.
- I like that it emphasizes whole foods and cooking your food. I think I’ve eaten more whole foods this week since somewhere at the end of the week I usually end up eating a veggie burger or a can of soup because I just don’t feel like making my lunch.
- Although P90X says you can be a vegetarian and do this program, I don’t really see how you can and completely do the nutrition program. They give examples of things vegetarians might eat instead of meat, but since carbs are limited, it seems counterintuitive since most vegetable proteins also have quite a bit of carbs. I don’t think this is a bad thing, I just think that it wouldn’t work quite the same way for non-vegetarians who have more strictly limited their carbs in the first phase (there are three phases).
- You don’t get hungry if you strictly follow the nutrition guide and get in all of your protein. You can still have one large carb portion a day (think 1 cup of brown rice). I’ve read that your body can’t really this much protein, but I think the purpose is to keep you full so you don’t crash and burn and eat two pieces of chocolate cake.
It’s kind of funny that most of my thoughts are about the nutrition since most blogs and people you talk to that have done the program are more concerned with the challenges of the fitness plan. I really attribute to my already regular exercise and the belief that I can get over almost any fitness hurdle after going from a chubby asthmatic kid to someone who has ran four half marathons in the past three years. Seeing where I came from and where I’ve gone really developed the attitude that I will get there eventually if I keep working at it.
I have the bad habit of doing programs like this for two weeks and then when I see no progress, I quit. However, I’ve read from blogs that review the program that you really see results in phase 2, after you lower your protein and up your carbs a bit. I believe this is because you’re stronger and able to do the exercises more effectively. Anyway, knowing this I have made the goal to go completely through phase two and stick it out until day 60. The program is 90 days and I feel like if I haven’t seen any progress after phase two, something isn’t working for me. If this happens, I might keep up the fitness but look more closely at my diet.
I’ll definitely document any progress I have and any further thoughts I have along the way.
For more information see the official P90X website.