It's been a weird couple of days since the PCP formally ended. I've had to resist the temptation to weigh my meals, I've been on a bit of a sugar bender, and I've eaten a couple of things that have made me sick. Not seriously sick, just stomachache sick, don't-need-to-eat-that-again sick. Patrick has been assuring us all that we won't want some of the bad stuff we used to eat, but I've been skeptical. I thought my old, bad habits were pretty damn ingrained and that I would probably just slide right back into them as soon as the 90 day framework was over. I am proud (?) to say that I've tried to readopt some of my old habits, just to see what it's like, and I really, really don't want to eat the way I used to eat anymore. I think it's going to be so much easier because I'm not trying to enforce some external "ideal" of what I "should" eat, but I'm going to be eating what I actually want: good, healthy, fresh food. Today I reverted right back to my standard PCP lunch, which was so delicious -- grilled chicken, avocado, tomatoes, whole grain tortilla.
I have to be honest here and say that my final pictures make me pretty happy but not entirely satisfied. I started off so very far from fit, there's only so much that can be done in 90 days.
This picture is from last summer, sitting on my parents' porch watching my daughter play in her baby pool. I was looking around for something that showed my body better, but I was pretty good at avoiding cameras then. But I see the softness in my shoulders and arm, the roll of my belly, and my thick legs and hips. I also see that I'm slouching and I'm kind of wrapping myself up, trying to hide.
And here I am today. Three months ago, I could not have imagined posing for a picture with this small amount of clothing on. If you look back through my Flickr stream, my early weekly photos show me wearing pants because I just did NOT do shorts. I ran 2 5K races last year in pants. And now here I am, in my favorite new workout shorts -- because I don't have to hike them up when I do creep and floor jumps.
My delight is somewhat tempered because I still have some work to do -- I don't look at my final pictures and see my ideal shape... just yet. But I'm going to focus on what I've accomplished in the last 3 months, which is more than I ever imagined. I have:
Eaten vegetables for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I've always liked vegetables, but I used to kind of forget about them. Now, a meal doesn't seem complete without them.
Remembered how good eggs & milk can be. Again, something I just kind of forgot about.
Learned a new way to cook. Go to the store or the farmers' market and buy what looks good and in season! Whatever's in the fridge, just cook it and eat it! Recipes and cookbooks are fun for special occasions, but day in and day out, that amount of planning and work just weighs you down (literally). I now know how to shop and prepare simple, good food for daily consumption and it's really nice to be able to take care of myself this way.
Finished something I started. This is huge. I'm great at beginning projects, at getting instruction books and buying lots of exciting supplies and reading up on new ideas. Then, a few weeks in, when my enthusiasm starts to wane or when things get hard, I usually quit. Not this time. I can take this one waaaaay beyond the PCP.
Woken up at 5:30 am for days on end to work out. Uh, who am I again?
Learned to focus on the company and the setting when going out to eat. Restaurants are fun because someone else is doing the work and has created a nice place for you to relax and enjoy whoever you're with. Going out to eat is much more enjoyable when it happens infrequently and with people you don't get to see often, rather than just as a default setting when you don't feel like cooking.
Lost 20 pounds on the scale and 1 or 2 dress sizes. I was just about bursting out of my size 12 jeans when I started this program, and I absolutely refused to buy bigger clothes. Two days ago, I tried on some size 8 pants and they slid right on.
Become a better parent. I have more energy and more strength to do things with my very active two-year-old now. Parenting requires a lot of physical strength! Try bending down to pick up a 25-pound child while carrying two bags of groceries and a diaper bag. Oops, she dropped her sippy cup! Bend over -- with allll of that stuff and the kid -- and pick it up off the floor. Thank you, floor jumps and squats. Plus, I'm just in a better mood more often, so I can be silly and play with her more instead of getting frustrated about every little thing. I want her to have happy memories of our times together, not mom shoveling cookies in her mouth or being irritable and exhausted.
Some thank-yous are in order. First, my husband, Alex.
(This was the look on his face when I told him I was cutting out salt.) He'll be the first to tell you he was initially skeptical about this program. Who is this dude in Japan and what kind of cult are you joining? But I told him that I had done my research and thought this would be the right thing for me, and he said he'd support me. And he did it, every step of the way, from taking Maya to the playground so I could work out, to his solo meals for the 7 weeks (I think) that I ate apple & egg white for supper, to encouraging me to keep going even when I was deep in the PCP Valley and hating everything, to nodding appreciatively when I showed off my biceps. He saw the results and he saw that what I was doing was sane and sustainable. He posts on Facebook maybe 4 times a year, and here's what he posted on Monday:
I have to give my wife her props.Really sweet. Thanks, babe.
For 3 months she got up at 5:30 am, worked out for an hour, stayed true to a strict diet, kept the house and the kiddo together, wrote magazine articles, dj'd and...(if this weren't enough) in the process looks even more gorgeous than before!
Madam, I tip my hat!
I also have to say thank you to my parents, especially my mom, who has been through a weight-loss journey of her own in the past year and was very inspiring. One of the reasons we moved home to Louisville from New York was so that Maya could spend more time with her grandparents, and I'm so grateful that my parents take good care of themselves and are able to do things with her. I hope they'll be able to take her swimming and to "bouncy castle madness" for a long time to come.
Thanks also to my friends who followed my progress on Facebook and in person and cheered me on. You don't know how much it meant to me!
And of course -- Team SEXAAAAAY. I am so grateful to have met you all and to have shared this experience with you. The social support aspect of this program really knocked my socks off -- anyone can make changes in their diet or exercise, but having those other people there to pick you up when you're down makes a TREMENDOUS difference. I was always surprised, too, by how much I helped myself when I reached out to someone else to help them. I always felt connected to you, wherever we were around the globe, jumping rope together. Please keep in touch as you can.
Thank you to Chen, who I presume is back there somewhere, calming devising our weekly grams and giggling to himself about putting creep and floor jumps together on the same day.
And Patrick. Oh, Patrick. Opening a can of whoop-ass when needed, offering a calm "don't worry about it" when needed. It's wonderful to have an adviser who not only knows about the physical stuff but the mental stuff too. You're doing good work in the world. It's been a pleasure, sir.
To the teams behind us: keep going and finish strong! I'll be watching you! You're going to be so glad you finished this, no matter where you wind up. To anyone considering doing this program: this is the real deal. It's not a gimmick, it's not a cult, it's not a waste of time or money. But you may experience serious inner change, so be ready for that.
This is not the end of my journey, by any means. I'm enjoying my little break right now, but I've still got some work to do. I think tomorrow is a good day to pick up the jump rope again, and maybe hit up a yoga class. But I have knowledge now -- knowledge about what my body needs, and knowledge about what I can accomplish. Love you all. Bye for now.