A million years ago, Zack and I started the P90X workout system. We made it to week 6 (halfway) before we abandoned ship for a handful of reasons including (but not limited to) vacations, deaths in the family, and the fact that I was having searing pain in my lower legs during the workouts due to some muscle problems/my inability to walk correctly*. (*Honest to God, that’s what my physical therapist told me. I fail at walking. Too much toe lift.)
Anyway, the reason that we started the program in the first place was because I was at a point in my life where I was unhappy with the way that I looked. I’ve always been a pretty thin person, and for the first time ever, I was really struggling with my weight. I was putting on more and more pounds by the minute (it seemed). Even my doctor told me that I needed to start some kind of program so that I could curb my weight gain.
I blamed it on a lot of things. Drinking Cokes. Taking birth control pills. Getting married. Moving stress. But before P90X, I never thought to blame it on my a.) diet and b.) lack of exercise.
Even though we didn’t finish the program all the way, Tony Horton and The Gang taught me a very important handful of lessons. #1: I was capable of more than I thought. #2: I ate too many carbs. #3: If you do any kind of workout activity for an hour-a-day, 6 days a week, you’re going to drop some pounds.
After proving myself incapable of sticking to the P90X schedule, (mostly because I hated a few of the videos and would skip the dreaded days,) I decided to take my new-found workout knowledge and create my own plan. I called it the “Do Something You Don’t Hate For An Hour A Day” plan. I wrote out a list of things that I liked to do. Walk the dog. Run the Couch-2-5K program. Ride my bike. Do yoga. Anything at all that I was willing to do for any amount of time, I wrote it down.
I stuck to the Couch to 5K schedule, and filled in the non-run days with other activities so I didn’t get burned out. I was shocked to find that, after much suffering, I started to enjoy running. I stopped feeling like I was going to die after every workout session. Exercising began to be a part of who I was. And it was weird. Weird and awesome.
I am a runner now. I have run races. I’ve run 5ks, 10ks, 8 mile-ers and half-marathons. (Okay, I KIND OF ran a half-marathon. Never-mind the fact that I had to go the hospital afterward. I still finished.) I’ve biked and swam and had thoughts like, “maybe I should try a triathlon.” I am the kind of person who wears sporting event shirts because I participated, not because I was someone’s support crew. And that, my friends, is crazy. CRAZY.
However, even as I started to feel more and more healthy, I didn’t see myself losing any weight. I saw the numbers dropping on the scale, but when I looked in the mirror, all I saw was fat accumulation. I saw this:
That’s the picture we took right before we started P90X 18 months ago. This picture isn’t me at my heaviest, but it’s within 5 pounds of it. It’s enough to get the gist. I had some love handles, a baby bump and a general softness about me. It doesn’t help the situation that my eyes are squished together in this picture like I’m in the middle of a “HI, MY NAME IS CHUBBY” impression.
This summer, I’ve finally stopped being self-conscious of the way my stomach feels in a T-shirt. After noticing that my “fat clothes” were a little loose, I worked up the courage to try on some of the clothes that I buried deep in the closet. You know the place where you put things you never think you’ll wear again, so you don’t want to ever see them because it’s too depressing? I dug my clothes out of that place, and I tried them on.
And they fit me.
It was the craziest thing. Because when I was looking in the mirror, I was still seeing that girl above, the girl with 20 extra pounds packed all around her body. It wasn’t until today that my perspective finally changed. I asked Zack to take some new pictures of me. I put the new ones and the old ones up side-by-side and studied them for a while.
So here I am. Posting the new pictures on the internet to show you: it can be done. Pounds go away, however slowly. The hardest part (I think, especially for us girls), is to allow yourself to start to see the new you. It’s hard to look at the big picture when your nose is pointed straight down at your belly. Chin up. Slow and steady wins the race, and apparently, slow and steady also wins back her favorite jeans.
Consider me re-motivated. Let’s go do something fun.