At last the scheduling gods are smiling on me, and after a very hectic weekend with my opera troupe (who did a fantastic job under some very trying circumstances!), several students canceled today, and we don't have our usual rehearsal tonight. So not only did I get to enjoy a non-rushed morning at home, but I get to go home at a reasonable hour. And this means that I can start P90X today instead of tomorrow as planned.
I have already begun the nutrition program, which is very well done. They offer you three options: a portion plan, a menu plan, and a "quick" plan for people who don't really cook and do most of their eating at fast food places or on the fly. All three are quite useful, practical, and easy. I have chosen to start with the portion plan, because of its simplicity. It doesn't require any cooking, really, and right now I don't have the time and energy to do much cooking; plus, I really feel the best thing is to eat very simple foods. I did more of this when I first started, following Dr. Walter Willett's Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy plan; and it worked very well. Also, I believe this is really the best way to eat on a daily basis. Fancy meals, dinners out, desserts --- these should be occasional treats rather than the standard.
The P90X portion plan is similar to the Weight Watchers' points system, but it's even simpler because there are relatively few food choices. You're told how many portions of each food group to eat each day, and how much of each food is a portion.
There are also three different phases to the P90X plan; the first is called Fat Shredder (I like the sound of that!) and is a very high-protein, low-carb plan of about 1800 calories per day. Again, quite similar to what I was doing early on; but with a significant difference: extremely limited food choices. This makes the program a bit stringent for anyone who is starting out. It wouldn't have worked for me in the beginning because of the critical psychological component. I needed to take ownership of my eating and that meant not limiting choices --- only when and how much and how often I would have any given item. Now, I am capable and even look forward to choosing foods from a very small range, because the simplicity appeals to me, and because I know it is temporary. I still do not look on it as a diet, although technically that is exactly what it is --- but that word is fraught with so much emotional subtext that I prefer to avoid it. The difference for me is that this nutritional system is an integral part of the training program I wish to undertake, and that weight loss is only part of the big picture. My goals are now focused on total fitness and health, and on making my body the very best it can be.
I have very mixed emotions about going from a nine month stretch of being on the road and making my living exclusively from singing to my former routine of teaching while pursuing my singing career. But one of the advantages of being back at school is that these surroundings are very much a part of the atmosphere that made it possible for me to hone in on losing weight. Many days I made myself get up from the piano or the keyboard and take a quick walk around campus when I had an extra five minutes; parked in the farthest parking space; took the stairs to the upstairs restroom instead of the ground floor one. When a student canceled a lesson, I would often sit in the office and spend the time on my LiveJournal page --- where this blog was, for all intents and purposes, born --- talking to my friends about my efforts and enjoying their support and encouragement. It's good to be reminded of the determination and focus I had during that time. I need it now to help get out of this transitional funk and gear up for a very challenging workout program.
There is no time to begin change than right this second. Last night, I wrote out my food plan, and this morning as I put my lunch together, I made myself measure out exactly one cup of pasta, three ounces of protein, the right amount of sauce. It is both more and less than I thought it would be. It doesn't sound like very much, and it doesn't look like very much, but it was plenty. And already I am so much happier because I know I have not eaten more calories than I need today, and I know that I have eaten healthy food. I am looking forward to going to the park this evening and attempting the P90X fitness test, which I am almost sure I'll fail or at least have a very hard time with. It doesn't matter. Like everything else, I will go at my own pace. The important thing is just to go.