Today begins week 3 of P90X. I wanted to write a blog about how the nutrition plan is going, since it is such a pivotal component of the P90X 13-week program.
Our Method for Following the Beast that is the P90X Nutrition Plan
The P90X Nutrition Plan is by far the most time-consuming and difficult part of P90X. I personally feel like the calories allocation is adequate (I’m eating between 1,800 and 2,000 calories a day), but Mike is struggling with his 3,000 allotment. He typically adds extra snacks throughout the day in order to feel satisfied, but sometimes he misses a snack and ends up starving through one of his classes. On occasion he has an extra banana with peanut butter (at least three tablespoons) because he is uncontrollably hungry. As Mike doesn’t have much body fat to lose, I think he will still get good results from his occasional PB binge, as I like to call them.
Every morning, Mike makes us our eggs (sometimes with an additional protein like ham or turkey or with veggies such as spinach, mushrooms and onion) and cottage cheese breakfast and I make our lunches (often the night before). For lunch, we’ve been switching off between a tuna salad (Tuna, veggies, mustard dressing) and a chef salad (ham, turkey, avocado, cheddar cheese, and veggies with Trader Joe’s light Parmesan Ranch). Sometimes (Mike more often) we add a cup of soup for extra calories. For dinner, we’ve found our favorite meals are pork loin with baked sweet potato “fries” and veggies, chicken stir fry with brown rice and Trader Joe’s yellow curry sauce (2 tbsp = 50 calories), and salmon with couscous and asparagus. One night we bought a roast chicken at the grocery store and served it with veggies, rice and black beans. [Check back later for recipes and pictures!]
My favorite part of the nutrition plan is that it allows for frozen yogurt. Caveat: only 4 ounces. Although my local yogurt shop has a scale, we spent the first two weeks or so weighing our yogurt at 0.4 lbs, accidentally taking it for 4 ounces. Once we realized our mistake, we were very disappointed. 0.4lbs isn’t even that much (6 oz) so 0.25 ounces must be tiny! I do admit, since dessert is my weakness, that I have continued using the 0.4 lb measurement when indulging in fro yo. I can’t help it! I tell Mike that my fro yo is like his PB banana binges. We each get a little cheat – and at an average of 25 calories/ounce and zero fat, I don’t think 2 extra ounces of frozen yogurt is going to kill me!
Dishes, Dishes, Dishes!!!
On top of all this food preparation and cooking, we ALSO don’t have a dishwasher in our apartment so we have to hand wash a major amount of dishes each day. Overall, I’d say that we spend approximately 2 hours a day preparing , cooking and eating food and doing dishes. It’s exhausting!
A hefty amount of social sacrificed naturally accompanies the nutrition plan, as it’s not easy to follow it at a restaurant or dinner party. Meals prepared at home are much more satisfying and take the guess-work out of calories and portion sizes. Although I’ve had some objections to my new nutrition life-style, most of my friends and my family have been supportive. However, you can’t live your life for two weeks without a certain number of temptations.
The biggest obstacles I’ve had to overcome:
- Attending a birthday party at a wine bar and sipping water while watching everyone else enjoy champagne, wine, cheese and bread.
- Suffering through the smell of baked potatoes for an entire morning at work and then watching my coworkers eat loaded baked potatoes and chili for a Superbowl Potluck (oh yeah with cookies and cupcakes for dessert).
- Eating roast chicken, brown rice and veggies (ok I cheated a little and had a piece of white bread with butter too!) on Superbowl Sunday.
- Forcing my girlfriends to eat stir-fry with me on a Friday night to appease my diet (luckily they were fine with having a healthy dinner that night).
- Entering my office to the smell of coffee each morning (although I definitely miss the taste of coffee and had a 2-day withdrawal headache, I actually very alert without it).
Overall, I don’t feel that I have major cravings. The aforementioned wine bar party was only a few days into the plan and it was surprisingly easy to avoid. By far the most difficult day was the Superbowl. Even though we watched the game at Mike’s parents house and were removed from temptation, I still just knew that everyone I knew was eating party food! I was craving chips and guacamole like a starved pregnant woman!
Want Results? It’s all about the DIET!
As someone who regularly works out 5-7 hours per week anyway, I know that the weight-loss results I’ve seen so far (about 4-5lbs) are 99% nutrition related. Running 36 miles in one week (this is more than I typically run in a week when training for a half marathon) should cause an individual to lose about one pound of fat (1 mile = approx. 100 calories, 3,600 calorie deficit = 1 lb), given that they consume just enough to support their daily functions. However, as runners all know, we tend to eat A LOT more when running, especially when we get up to 10+ mile long runs. Oftentimes these extra 3,600 calories that we burned end up making up for the massive Saturday post-run breakfast, the bagel we eat pre-workout, the GU we suck down during the run to keep our endurance up, and especially, all the pasta we justify eating as a result of being a “runner.” At the end of the day, if you really want to see fitness results, you MUST follow a healthy diet and nutrition plan. Although I typically firm up and probably lose a few pounds of fat over the course of training for a half marathon, there isn’t a very noticeable difference like I will surely see during P90X. Not to mention, the addition of weight training three times a week will undoubtedly build metabolism-boosting muscle.
Overall, I think we’re making great progress. We have yet to skip a prescribed workout, I’ve done two double days (Chest and Back + 4 miles last Tuesday and 5.5 miles + Legs and Back on Sunday), and we’ve taken one day off. The only non-approved food I have eaten or drank in 2 weeks is a slice of a white baguette with a little butter and a little bit too much frozen yogurt.
We’re going on 15 days without alcohol, caffeine, fried food, and chocolate! Although, I must admit that I am looking forward to our “cheat meal” on Valentine’s Day!