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Mind Over Matter....And, Boy, Do I Have a Lot of Matter!

And so it begins; my venture into that dark and shadowy realm that few men dare to enter. A path of danger and harrowing fate. A journey into the darkest recesses of man’s agonizing horror.

Yes, I'm talking about P90X (https://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/p90x.do).

Also comes with a Slap Chop absolutely free!

Alright, so maybe I’m being hyperbolic. We already started the diet plan three weeks ago, and it's more food than my wife and I normally eat. With that said, we already lost around 10 lbs each. That's before we even started exercising.

"What?" you say, "you're doing the diet, too?" Yes, we bought the whole shebang and we're doing it as closely and as accurately as possible. I found a cheap pull-up bar for the door jamb and I already had a few weights lying around from the previous millennium. We also had a resistance band from a previous futile attempt at Slim in 6, and then one came with the P90X package.

I'll tell you why we didn't just bootleg someone’s DVDs or go the cheaper route like I normally would have for a product this expensive. I watched the P90X commercials and infomercials for some time after it came out. I watched it carefully, making sure to catch the little caveats that they generally don't want you to notice. Infomercials NEVER impress me. This one did. This one, while still succumbing to the elevator/adult film background music, talked about things like “muscle confusion” and showed people actually straining with effort to accomplish the routines. Much more than that, it spoke about the whole spectrum of exercise, weight training and dieting like… oh I don’t know, like I was an actual grown-up who can read past a third grade level.

But I knew from watching the programs that me and the wife were never going to get any benefit from the program if we didn't go the whole nine yards with it. One thing the diet book that came with the package emphasized in big, giant bold letters was that YOU HAVE TO EAT TO MAKE THIS PROGRAM WORK. And you have to eat well. That much I was already sure of. But I also knew we had to get the whole kit n' caboodle if we didn't want to once again spin our proverbial wheels.

So for the past three weeks, while we couldn't get it together to get the exercise going right away, we started shopping for the P90X diet. Really, seriously, shopping like people trying to eat healthy. My wife and I are on different calorie intakes and Phase plans, but it's easy enough for me to cook for both of us and we just eat the portions we respectively need to. I never in my life thought I would be buying Whey Protein, much less drinking it, but I started that today. It's not bad, actually, depending on what you mix it with. I've always loved protein bars since I was a kid, so that wasn't a problem. And we learned that chocolate milk makes an excellent recovery drink. (No, seriously: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/why-you-should-try-chocolate-milk-after-a-workout/2015/02/02/efe27658-a708-11e4-a7c2-03d37af98440_story.html) Only tested this personally yesterday, but it seems to have worked.

The diet is actually more food than I'm used to, but that is largely part of most people's problem with weight control. We've been trained over the decades to think dieting is something as simple as calorie, carb, fat, or sugar watching - that it’s just grabbing the box or carton that says low-insert-bad-sounding-evil-ingredient-here or mult/nutra/natural/mega/vitamin-insert-healthy-sounding-ingredient-there - when it's far more complex than that. It's a combination of these things in different measure, not just the absence of one or some. Like an instrument, everything needs to be fine tuned, or when you start to play, something is going to strain or snap.

We’ve made a few mistakes along the way (don’t even ask me about the vegetable soup that went horribly, horribly wrong) and even broke down and fell off the wagon a couple of times (a certain chocolate chip cookie, that I might mention, I didn’t buy or ask for, comes to mind, but I digress), but nothing ever too serious. I find that if I put effort into it – serious, concerted effort – I can come up with decent, good tasting, even filling, meals for the family. Once we started figuring out what goes well together, we got into a riff. It’s just like being newlyweds all over again (without the screaming, yelling and holes in the wall), with trying to find the right balance of things to buy vs. things we won’t eat. I find I feel better and have a bit more energy than before. I never really craved junk food to begin with, so the challenge for me is not trying to avoid bad foods, but eating under a prescribed meal plan. That’s where I got into trouble to begin with, and why, while wearing a suit, I started looking like a really pale version of Heavy D. (Look it up kids. Know you’re hip-hop history and pop cultural roots.) For Miranda, I think it’s more what most people would be up against; not eating some of the sweet or fatty foods that she loves. But even she’s astounded with the results she’s gotten out of it.

We start the exercise program in earnest tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s necessary. Mahogany is getting heavy, fast. It doesn’t look like she’ll be walking anytime soon, and even if she does start walking in the next three or four years, she’s still going to need a lot of help moving around, as well as having to handle all her equipment. Plus, if we don’t do something now, there’s really no reason under the sun that we’ll be around to take care of her in the next few years if we keep going the route we’re going. This country is one of the most obese in the world. Two years ago the World Health Organization listed us as #9 in a list of countries with the most overweight people. I know we’re somewhere on another bad list where people are dying far too soon in life. It’s one trend I don’t intend me or my family to be a part of anymore.

It’s all well and good to be happy with what you are and how you look. But you have to be sensible and reasonable about it. You can’t just accept who you are, if what you are is endangering you’re health or the health of your family. You also don’t have to have self-esteem issues to think you need to improve upon it. I refuse to think that I’m doing anything but the best for my family by making them work for a better inner and outer body. I want to feel better, have more energy and more mental alertness than I currently do. I want them to, too. Things don’t get done when you don’t feel good on the inside. You can’t just bemoan how fat you’ve become, and then chronically repeat the habits that made you that way to begin with. You can’t come up with excuses. It takes time and money that are both tight at the moment. But I won’t get any richer, or extend my life any longer if I do nothing but the same old same old. I can pray for that to change every day, but God is not going to send the solution to me on the wings of a dove. I have to work for it. I have to work to help my little family attain it, too. This is our investment in the future. This is our stimulus package.

And so, I reiterate, it begins tomorrow, by hook or, as they say, crook. (Why they say that, I don’t know. I’ll have to look it up.) As a practical matter, I now know the diet works, and I know it doesn’t starve us; rather the opposite. So the exercise can only help, as much as it’s going to physically hurt. Here’s to feeling better and becoming one of those annoying guys who likes to walk around everywhere with his shirt off. I’d do that now, but people keep chaining bikini clad slave girls to me. It ticks Miranda off.

See this? This is what happened to the last guy who called me Tubby!

Until next time, Yang chas Solo chone Wookiee!
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