Friday, January 9, 2009

Wildest Dreams Check-In, Week 1

The Get My College Body Back campaign is not a New Year's resolution. This has been brewing for a while. After college I did what a lot of people do: Gain 1-2 pounds a year for over 10 years. That's how people look up to find themselves overweight.

About five years ago I hired a personal trainer. I lost weight. Then I started slowly backsliding. I've gradually gained almost half of it back. So, I'm pretty annoyed with myself. I decided to do a lot of introspection about why the backsliding happened before I would engage in another regimen to get the remaining excess weight off. As I'll explain, there are still some aspects to all of this that I need to ponder. But I'll cross those bridges after I get my college body back!*Smile*

I. Power 90

After doing some research I decided to start the Power 90 program. Power 90 is a 90-day long diet and fitness plan that's designed to strengthen and tone your entire physique. AND get the excess weight off. It's a 2-disc DVD set that has three separate workout routines. It comes with a resistance band so there's no need to buy any other equipment (like dumbbells, if you don't already own some).

The three separate routines (cardio, resistance/weight training, ab exercises) come in two versions. The easier one (Phase 1-2), and the more difficult one (Phase 3-4). Actually, it's all hard. Being nosy as well as ambitious, I decided to try the Phase 3-4 cardio workout on Day 1. I had to take breaks. Keep in mind that I haven't been a complete couch potato. I regularly ride my exercise bike, and do rounds of kettlebell swings. However, I normally do these things about 3 times a week. NOT the 6 days per week workouts that are required for the program. So, I sensibly dropped down to the Phase 1 cardio routine. The literature indicates that most people transition to the Phase 3-4 workouts somewhere around Days 45-60.

II. P90x

Getting my college body back is just the first step. I was slender in college, but I wasn't toned. What I really want is to have a body that is what one of my friends calls "tight and right." Not crazy-ripped like Linda Hamilton was in Terminator 2, but definitely toned. After I finish the Power 90 program, the plan is to do a second 90-day program called P90x. The "x" stands for extreme. And it IS about extreme fitness. It has a reputation of whipping people into the best shape of their lives. If you're curious, check out the "P90x" YouTube videos that plenty of folks have sent in about their experiences with the program.

There's even a minimum fitness test that the makers suggest that you pass before attempting this program. Here are some P90x minimum requirements:

Pull-Ups. "Should be able to do at least 3 if male, 1 if female." [In my dreams.]

Vertical Leap. "Should have a vertical leap of at least 5 inches if male, 3 inches if female." [I've never done plyometric exercises in my life.]

Push-Ups. "Should be able to do at least 15 if male, 3 if female (or 15 push-ups off your knees). " [Umm . . . no. I haven't done push-ups since the martial arts classes. And I don't accept the notion of counting "off the knees" as real push-ups.]

Wall Squat. "Should be able to hold wall squat for at least 1 minute." [Finally! Something I can do! Hooray for me!]

Bicep Curls. "Should be able to do at least 10 curls with 20 lbs. if male, at least 10 curls with 8 lbs. if female." [Yep, I can do the 20 lbs. curls. That's the benefit of playing with kettlebells.]

The Ab Test (In & Out Crunches). "Should be able to do at least 25." [Umm . . . no.]

There are some other aspects to the test, but you get the idea.

III. Check-In for Accountability

I'm going to check in with you each week, and let you know how I've been doing with the program.

Today is a Day 4 for me of the Power 90 program. I do the workouts in the morning. That works best for me, because if I wait until later in the day there's a good chance that I won't do it at all. Somehow, I find so many other compelling things to do once the day gets started. The downside is that this means getting up an hour earlier.

Gold Star: I did the workouts, AND resisted yesterday's almost overwhelming urge to continue sleeping instead of getting up to exercise (Day 3).

The Awful Truth: On Day 2 I gave in to a craving for potato chips, and bought some while grocery shopping. Of course, this is contrary to the point of eliminating empty calories from my diet while I'm on this program. Which brings me to another point. For me, these programs are not-so-quick fixes. I'll have to figure out things that I'm willing to do for the rest of my life to maintain my future physique. That's part of why I did the previous backsliding. I was not (and am not) willing to follow the personal trainer's diet program for the rest of my life. It's just too restrictive.

This is why I'm so excited about the suggestion that an audience member named Blackout made in a comment to the Wildest Dreams, Part 1 post: becoming a "vegetarian before 6:00 p.m." This is something that I'm willing to do for the rest of my life to maintain a "tight and right" body.

Another bit of awful truth: I'm (moderately) sore. In all the little muscles (like triceps) that I rarely exercise. That's what I've noticed about the program. It has quickly pointed out the muscle groups that I have totally neglected.

I'll check in each week. I'm inviting you to do so as well, with your own efforts. I'd like to hear about your daily triumphs, and your not-so-great moments on the road to better nutrition and fitness.


Kathryn said...

You've inspired me to do my work out tonight, even though I'd rather not. Thanks! And good luck to you.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Kathryn!

YES!YES!YES! Now that's what I'm talking about: when we press forward with our goals even when we don't feel like it! {raised fist salute}

Thanks for the good luck wishes; I need all the help I can get!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Anonymous said...

I'm no nutritionist, but I take issue with the "vegetarian before 6" idea. Anyone in the fitness industry (bodybuilders and fitness models--people who are experts at losing extreme amounts of bodyfat) knows that lean meat protein is essential to keeping a trim body. Protein from lean meats slow digestion, making you feel less hungry between meals. Also, it takes more energy to burn lean meat protein than carbohydrates. So you can burn an additional 30 calories a meal by including at least 4 ounces of lean protein. That's 90 additional calories you burn by doing something you have to do anyway!

Do what works best for you, but speaking from personal experience (I am at high school weight- I was an athlete) it would be a mistake to exclude this important food group until late in the day.

Anonymous said...

Whoops I forgot my book recommendation-- Burn Fat, Feed Muscle by Tom Venuto. It is an e-book that I believe is now available in print. This is my Bible on how to properly eat and lost weight for life.

Muse said...


Why did I start doing Power 90 on Monday? LOL.

Good luck girl and don't feel bad. I'm pretty sore myself from the weight lifting. You might want to switch up between dumbells and resistance bands. They give you a different type of work out for your muscles.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Anonymous!

I'm following the personal trainer's diet plan which includes a high-protein meal replacement shake for breakfast after the morning workout. [Met-RX, with 37 grams of protein, among other nutrients.]

Once I get my body to the place I want to be, I'll see how the vegetarian until 6:00 p.m. works without the protein shake. And take it from there.

Thanks for the e-book info. I've heard good things about Tom Venuto's book.

Carry on the good work with maintaining your high school weight! {raised fist salute}

Greetings, Muse!

Great minds think alike! LOL! [You're one day ahead of me---hmmph. Didn't you get the memo that I'm supposed to be first?! LOL!]

Yep, I had noticed that the resistance band gives the most resistance as you reach the end of the movement (as you pull it). Meanwhile, the effort required with the dumbbells is uniform throughout the movement.

Thanks for the suggestion. I will switch up between the bands and the dumbbells.

Keep up the good work with Power 90! {raised fist salute}

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

BadBlackKitty said...


I've had these workouts for a couple of years now and they are AWESOME! You'll really love P90X. It got me back to my athletic former self.

I'm doing Turbo Jam and ChaLEAN Extreme right now, because I like the slightly ripped look (tho not mannish). I also use Jeanette Jenkins-The Hollywood Trainer.

Have you tried either of those?

tasha212 said...


Good to know that you're actually DOING something about the problem instead of just thinking about doing something about it (like me). I also think that it's a good idea to share your journey with your readers (something I plan on doing once I get serious about a weight loss program).

I actually started gaining weight my sophomore year in college. Up until then I had the typical young adult black female body. I, like you, lost the weight after going on a weight-loss plan (I did weight watchers). Weight Watchers is good, but if you get tired of counting points you will eventually gain the weight back. This time, I may follow the principles of weight watchers (small portions, healthy snacking, water intake, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, lean meats) without actually joining the program. I remember when I could power walk 3.5 miles in 30 minutes. Now I get winded just walking around the neighborhood.

I will get it together. That is my number 1 priority for this year. I'm approaching 30 and they say it gets alot harder after 30 to shed unwanted pounds.

Khadija said...

Greetings BadBlackKitty!

You got through P90x?! WOW. {deep martial arts bow} You ARE superbad! LOL!

I'll look into the other products you mentioned. I haven't heard of some of them. Thanks for the info!

Greetings, Tasha212!

Oh...I spent a LOT of time thinking about doing something about the problem. I've been pondering all of this since last October.

That's my usual pattern with things. Once I jump into something, I'm generally "in." But to have that level of focus, I have to take the time to "get my mind made up" about it. For me, this requires introspection.

Several coworkers have done Weight Watchers on and off. One coworker has done it successfully, and has kept the weight off for the past couple of years. The only thing is that he doesn't exercise. So, he looks gaunt instead of toned.

I don't like the notion of counting points, calories, etc. I know that this is something that I'm NOT willing to do. Not even for the short-term. I won't do it, and I made it clear to the trainer that I was NOT going to do that! That's why I'm looking for general principles that I'm willing to follow for a lifetime.

The individual plan that the personal trainer came up for me years ago involves:

*serious portion control (which is disappointing---I like feeling as full as a tick--LOL!),

*the high-protein meal replacement shake for either breakfast or lunch,

*very little bread products (which is a tragedy, as far as I'm concerned---I LOVE bread)

*substituting fruits & vegetables for processed food (with a serving of lean meat for lunch and/or dinner).

*one "cheat" meal per week (I whined to him).

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Hagar's Daughter said...

Work it, girl!

I eat raw food (vegan)before 6pm and eat one cooked meal a day. I was able to do gentle stretching today.

Keep up the excellent lifestyle changes you've started. I'll make sure to stop by to see how you're doing and to be inspired. said...

Hey Khadija!

This is so helpful!

Thank you for describing the entire program.

I can't do half of that!!

Yet. Ask me in August of 2009 though...(smiles)

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Khadija said...

Greetings, Hagar's Daughter!

Thank you so much for the encouragement. I appreciate it, and I need it!

You said you were able to do some gentle stretching today. YES!YES!YES! {raised fist salute} I'm SO happy to hear that. I'm sure your victory is on its way. I'm praying for it to come soon!

Another one of my coworkers started eating only raw (vegetarian) food for breakfast and lunch. He lost about 30 lbs. by making that one change to his daily life.

I'm one of those people who are addicted to cooked food. Somehow, raw food feels like it's just a snack, dessert, or side dish. It never feels like a "real" meal to me. Even if I'm full, I feel like I missed out by not having something cooked.

We'll see. I might decide to rethink that notion and try to reprogram myself. Time will tell. Yet another thing I need to consider after I get my college body back. Hmmm...

Greetings, Lisa!

You're welcome! said August 2009...You have to know that I'm going to hold you to that! *Smile*

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

aimay said...

Thank you Kadija and all the commenters for your words of support on my New Year's Eve comment. I've been doing well, and my days seem longer (in a good way).

I have been vegan for about three years. My weight varied throughout college, but it was after graduation that I started gaining seriously-- ending up at around 220 three years after graduation. (My college weight varied from 130-160).

Veganism alone helped me to lose about 40-50lbs without exercise. After I started working out regularly,(running 3-6 days a week) an additional 30 came off quite easily.

I became vegan for ethical reasons, but it really did help with my binge eating. I began to think of food differently, considering the moral implications of what I ate, instead of just stuffing my face. And realistically, veganism cuts down on the unhealthy options. There's just less crap availiable for me to eat now, and I work well with limited options.

In the new year, I am trying to stay away from all wheat-based foods: they make me feel tired, heavy, and--oddly enough-- hungry.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Aimay!

You're welcome! Yes, I have read some compelling materials about how far modern people have strayed from the natural (raw) diet that our bodies were designed for. And the effects of this dietary conversion. I admire your switch to being vegan. {raised fist salute}

However, life without chicken, lamb, and bread is just not for me. *Smile*

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

DJ Black Adam said...

I am going to start Power 90X next week, wish me luck!

Beverly said...

Okay, this comment is about "getting my crown back." I know that this is not the right area but the comments for that post is closed. I will also add something about living my WILDEST DREAMS, so I guess that makes this comment relevant.

First of all, thanks Khadija for your wonderful blog and the posts about "wearing our crowns" and "living our wildest dreams."

As a black woman who does not look European; but who has been told by many people that I am beautiful, I have had many strange reactions to my looks. When living in Los Angeles, I had the strangest experiences so I will share some with you.

1. Sometimes photographers would stop me on the street (happened twice) and tell me how gorgeous I was and ask to take a picture of me (right there on the spot).

2. Other times I would have people stop me on the street to give me a look of disgust or tell me how ugly I was. LOL

This has happened throughout my life, not just in Los Angeles; but in that city I experienced it in it's most extreme form.

What I have realized is that people are uncomfortable with an attractive Black woman who does not have euro features or does not attempt to imitate common European characteristics (straight hair, light skin, narrow features). Also, it angers them when this type of black woman is confident and takes care of herself (wears her crown). As I reflect back on those situations, I was always called ugly when I was looking my best (hair done in a natural style, nice clothes and wearing makeup). I was always called ugly when I was walking with my head up high. As I have mentioned before on this blog, while living in Los Angeles, I was always on my "A game." So, the whole attempt to tear me down was intense in L.A. including incidents on the job. One common trait amongst the people who attempted to steal my crown was that they all believed in the superiority of white female beauty, including the black people. One day, a week before quitting my job in Los Angles, I decided to do a little experiment. I decided to wear a straight wig (which did not look better than my natural hair). LOL Girl, do you know folks were falling all over the floor telling me how BEAUTIFUL I looked (even with that crazy wig on my head). LOL You see, our society (all societies) are set up with systems of reward and punishment. When a black woman chooses not to imitate another woman's beauty in away that is "required" by society she may be punished, especially if she doesn't have other European qualities to "compensate." For example, my "issue" was always my hair. I wear my hair natural which would not be considered "good hair" by most Black folks. LOL With my natural hair, I look unmistakeably black. That makes people uncomfortable, angry, upset etc. and they punish me by telling me I'm ugly or more specifically my hair is ugly. But when I put on the straight wig, I was rewarded by being called beautiful.

As I have stepped up my game here in France, I notice something similar happening. Non-black women are very uncomfortable around me now. A matter of fact, one of my "friends" attempted to tear me down on the sly. Where as before when I wasn't putting any energy into my looks, we were cool. Now, she's uncomfortable and feeling threatened. LOL What I have realized is that black women who wear their crowns proudly and unapologetically are a threat to the idea of white (non-black) beauty being superior to black beauty. It sometimes "hurts non-black women's feelings" when black women wear their crowns. LOL Some (not all) non-Black women want to befriend Black women because they think we're the "homely looking girls" who will make them look good when we're out partying, etc. LOL Some of my non-black friends have been DISAPPOINTED here in France because when we go out I get lots of attention especially since I've stepped up my game. A matter of fact, one of my friends said "I'm starting to get jealous, because all the guys are trying to talk to you and not me?" LOL SMH

Okay so here's my CROWN UPDATE

As part of the "getting our crowns back" pledge, I have done the following:

1. Found a hair style that is very flattering to my face.

2. Learned how to shape my own eyebrows.

3. Improved my makeup technique to accent my beautiful eyes.

4. I always dress like I'm going someplace special, even if I'm just going to Monoprix (french grocery store).

5. Strike up conversation with attractive men at cafes and other places I go. (So far, I've gotten one date doing this.)

One last word on wearing your crowns. Ladies, if you are a Black woman who doesn't have Euro features expect that people will attempt to tear you down when you start wearing your crown. But remember this important fact. Beauty is ALL perception. If someone says that they think you are ugly, or even that you are beautiful it really is irrelevant. Since beauty is ALL perception, it is YOU who decides that you are beautiful or not. Show the world that you believe that you are beautiful by wearing your crown and walk with your head high.

Okay, I'm going to do separate post for the wildest dreams comment.

Ensayn1 said...

Way to do it Khadija!

Anonymous said...

I have just started to slack off from P90. I am taking this as a sign that someone else is doing it. My plan is to do P90 but instead of doing the X after that I will do the TheFirm wave....

p90 is good. I like it.

Khadija said...

Greetings, DJ Black Adam!

You're going to start P90x next week?! Ooooh! WOW! {deep martial arts bow in salute}

Please check-in to let us know what's going on with that. I'd love to hear about your experience with P90x!

Greetings, Beverly!

Thank you for your kind words about the blog. I truly appreciate it.

In response to your "crown update": YES!YES!YES! Now that's what I'm talking about!

{*Readers: Please note that there is a Part 2 to the crown discussion where your comments can be posted.}

Beverly, you said, "You see, our society (all societies) are set up with systems of reward and punishment. When a black woman chooses not to imitate another woman's beauty in away that is "required" by society she may be punished, especially if she doesn't have other European qualities to 'compensate.'"

I'm so happy you mentioned this. We need to understand this principle because it applies across the board, not just to "crown" issues. Whenever we step outside whatever inferior "place" that others have tried to assign us, these others will try to "check" us!

This principle applies to both racists as well as self-hating Black folks. I've had similar encounters with racist Whites about my [all-Muslim] name.

As one of Min. Farrakhan's ministers explained, "Whenever you tell the former slavemaster your name, and it DOESN'T belong to him, then he wants to know how you got that name!" Only racists have a burning desire to know if my last name is my maiden name, married name, or if I was born with the name.

You were ABSOLUTELY correct when you said, "One last word on wearing your crowns. Ladies, if you are a Black woman who doesn't have Euro features expect that people will attempt to tear you down when you start wearing your crown.

But remember this important fact. Beauty is ALL perception. If someone says that they think you are ugly, or even that you are beautiful it really is irrelevant. Since beauty is ALL perception, it is YOU who decides that you are beautiful or not. Show the world that you believe that you are beautiful by wearing your crown and walk with your head high."


Greetings, Ensayn1!

Thank you so much for the encouragement, I truly appreciate it. Lord knows I need it!

Greetings, Anonymous!

Onward and forward!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

SDG said...

I've seen the 90x commercials. I think I'll start off with the 90. Snicker. The biggest challenge for me has been empty calories. I realized that if I don't discipline my eating, no amount of exercise will help.

I also intend to purchase a treadmill this week because I want to run 5k in 12 weeks. I did a boot camp about a year ago where we did interval/cross training for 90 minutes straight.

I hurt like the dickens, but after 1 week, I felt so good. I'm on my way back to my college body as well Khadija. I've given up sugar and have never felt better.

I'll be checking in on you.

CW said...

Ok Everyone:

I took the leap and joined the gym...Beautiful facilities...And a variety of machines/exercise classes to take so there will be no excuse...Don't we wish just joining a gym by proxy we will attain that dream body...Yeah wishful thinking...I'm going, I'm going! LOL

Khadija said...

Greetings, CW!

YES!YES!YES! {raised fist salute} Rest asssured that by February you won't have to wait for any of the machines. This is because the half-hearted, half-stepping New Year's Resolution crowd will evaporate by then! LOL!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Greetings, SDG!

[Oops. I almost missed your comment.]

It sounds like you're on your way to getting your college body back! YES!YES!YES!

You also mentioned that you've given up sugar. {raised fist salute} That's great! A while back I read a really good book called Sugar Blues that discusses the harmful effects of sugar throughout history. I think the author's name is William Duffy, if I remember correctly. It's an eye-opening book.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Beverly said...

On living my wildest dreams:

Okay my wildest dream was to wake up everyday and live the life of a writer. I also dreamed of living in France.

Well, I'm living it! LOL Now after the new year I needed to create new WILDEST DREAMS. I think I mentioned (or maybe I didn't) that I want to have my outer appearance reflect all of the beauty inside of me. I want to put the same amount of energy and love that I put into my work into my personal appearance. Many people read my plays and other creative work and go WOW. I want to express that WOW in my personal appearance. When I look in the mirror I want to say WOW. I'm having fun with this. :-)

foreverloyal said...

@SDG... I'm mad you said "snicker" I like snickers, but that's ok, only godiva from now on if i'm going to eat chocolate!

@ pioneer valley woman, you are correct from what I've observed. Everyone ELSE's traditions are valid, just not ours.

(i had a post "It's beginning to look alot like christmas?" on my blog about this very topic.

BUMP that. I will serve roast turkey and cornbread dressing, or roast beef on 'EID and I BET not hear a peep about it, either!

Khadija said...

Hello there, Beverly!

That's the wonderful thing about living out one's wildest dreams. It makes even better things possible. It's a positive cycle that's ever ascending to greater heights.

From what I've seen, it's like the physics principle about objects in motion. Not only do they tend to stay in motion, but they keep going in whatever direction they're moving toward. Good or bad.

This is why I believe that it is imperative to reach the "escape velocity" needed to break free of negativity/mediocrity. Settling, or making excuses just won't generate the necessary escape velocity to break out of the downward pull of negativity and/or mediocrity.

[Ahh, France...I just LOVE the fact that you're already there and you're doing your thing! YES!{raised fist salute}]

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

*Audience Note: Forever Loyal is responding to Pioneer Valley Woman's comment to the Demographics is Destiny post that I accidentally (and temporarily) cross-posted in this thread.

@Forever Loyal: {raised fist salute} I don't listen to immigrant Muslims AT ALL. About anything. Considering the mess they have made of their home countries (which is why they ran to the US in the first place), they are not models I care to emulate.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

CW said...


Consider creating an "oasis" in the home...If you have a patio, deck or backyard, put out some plants and a seating area...This can be obtained cheaply at stores such as big lots, ollies, family dollar and such...If confined to indoors designate a section of the house for relaxation...Try placing a waterfountain, some plants and artwork...This can be a place to read and recharge the 'ol batteries....