Preparing for the New Year

Now that it’s December, I’m sure that many people are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions. But I’m not.

That’s because I don’t make resolutions. To resolve to do something means that you are determined to do it, to settle something, etc. It’s a nice little word but it’s not exactly one I’ve used over the past few years and it sounds like a short-term solution to a lifelong problem.

Instead of making resolutions, I make commitments. One is committed to their religion, to pay their bills on time, or to their job. It’s something that you hold in high regard because it needs to be done, much like my weight loss and maintenance over the years. No, at this point the scale isn’t exactly where I would like it to be but I’m still nowhere near my starting weight of 300 pounds. That’s because I made a commitment to change my life by eating right and exercising.

Compare that to the resolutioner who will buy their gym membership in January and stop using it by March because it was more than they could handle. Running is always a kick at the start of the year because my running route and the bike paths are really populous but in a few months they are empty again. I’ve seen it happen every year.

Anyway, I’ve committed myself to doing at least three things in this upcoming year, my 46th year on this material sphere. They are as follows.

Commitment 1: Stay Active and Eat Better
As I had mentioned, the scale hasn’t been in my favor recently so I’m going to change that in 2015. No, I’m still not springing for a gym membership because I really don’t like the environment: parking, sweaty machinery and equipment, the loud boots-and-pants music booming from the usually awful sound system. Just not for me. Instead, my plan is to start eating better and getting much more exercise in. I’ve already started by simply walking rather than running and by eating right, that means not falling for those snake-oil cleanses sold through MLM people who knew nothing about nutrition before signing up for their scheme but now promise to help you lose ridiculous amounts of weight in a short time with their overpriced product (only to gain it all back just as quickly if not sooner). I may run a few miles while I’m out but walking is a welcome change, and change is good. I’m currently averaging 8 miles per walk which is good for burning at least 1,300 calories. This boosts my recommended caloric intake to early 3,500 so if I eat less than that, the weight will start to fall off again. That’s exactly what I need.

Commitment 2: Find a New Job
Working at the ol’ grocery store has been a good time but I’ve decided that I won’t make it to my one-year anniversary in the middle of February. The lethal combination of part-time hours and minimal pay are simply not the way a family should live and we’ve resorted to using credit cards again as a result. That’s not what we wanted to do but when you need a microscope to see your paycheck, you gotta do something. Additionally, the company is looking to hire 1,200 people. I don’t know where those people are going to get their hours if the ones currently working aren’t getting any themselves. Oh, and I found out via a random Google search that the location is up for sale because, as the description states, the company has “not achieved the desired sales at this location and has indicated that it may close the location or sublease the store.” In short, it sounds like our days are numbered to begin with. It would be nice if our management would maybe give us a little insight on this matter but nobody has said anything about it. In other words, it’s time for me to fly.

Commitment 3: Vices
We all have them. Perhaps my most painfully obvious one was my penchant for diet sodas which I know aren’t good for me, but my liking can be compared to Oscar Wilde’s thoughts on cigarettes.

“You must have a cigarette. A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?”

I’ve tried to kick the habit in the past and failed miserably but when I decided to lose weight, I committed myself to avoid them and I did. Well, it’s time to do that again and replace it with water and tea. In addition to diet sodas, I have already taken the proper steps in kicking another of my vices to the curb. Without saying exactly what it was, I will say that it was not an addiction to chemical, tobacco, or alcohol nor was it entirely harmful to myself or anyone else. It was not damaging my health or illegal yet it was something that was slowly taking over me and got to the point where I had to think about what I was doing and put a stop to it immediately. In the end when I really think about it, it’s just silly and pointless and something that none of my lifelong friends would probably expect from me. Either way, I’m done with it and you’re not getting me to tell you what it was.

Commitment 4: Zen
I’m currently reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Zen Living, a book that covers the ins and outs of what zen is and isn’t. It’s yet another way that I’m trying to incorporate peace and a spiritual awakening in my life, something that I’ve been trying to achieve for a few years. Meditation is still working as are simple Buddha quotes (the ones that are real, at least). Buddhism and zen are extremely complex yet in the end, they come down to simple philosophies that I can adhere to more than any religion I’ve read about. Who knows? I may even commit myself to becoming a Buddhist by the year’s end and visiting temples to see what it’s like. And no, Buddhism isn’t all about reincarnation. It’s much more than that.

Whew, is that enough? Looks like I have plenty to take care of in 2015.

P90X Photoshop Fail

First, if you happened to find this post after searching for anything related to P90X, know that this is a personal blog and not one of those awful sites made to look like an honest review of the product that was actually made by someone pushing the product they are criticizing. That said, I’m free to say whatever the Hell I want or need to say about it because nobody is giving me one red cent to say it.

This leads up to last night when I was scouring the Web for information on said workout program. I decided to give it a look since I felt slightly emasculated while doing my nightly routine of sit-ups on a balance ball and other low-impact exercises that involve the use of 5-pound, pink neoprene dumbbells. All I needed was a headband with the word “Physical” silk-screened across it to make the outfit complete. Well, that and a leotard and tights.

You still with me? I know that’s not a visual you needed.

Anyway, I came across the official site of the program and began clicking on links. And yes, the site is literally filled with testimonials from users who went from wimp to pimp in no time flat. There are plenty of pictures and videos to prove the point.

And as I continued to educate myself on the product, it occurred to me that there was not one fat person in the bunch which lead me to believe that the product is by no means meant for any of you corpulent cowboys out there but rather, people who appear to be in shape and want to more of a bodybuilding thing rather than a weight loss program.

So those of you that have a lot of weight to lose and plan on making that your New Year’s resolution might want to reconsider this program because, as is indicated on the site, results will vary from individual to individual. The people you see on the site are freaks since there’s a good chance that they are the few that have achieved success with the program. (Remember, too, that P90X is part of Beachbody LLC, a company that specializes in selling nutritional supplements so one hand washes the other here.)

Okay, with all of that out of the way, I continued to view the video testimonials. I came across one by Jill W. and watched it just to see if she was like all of the others: a real woman with some real curves.

But after about 35 seconds into the clip, I had to rewind it and watch it again.

Why, you ask? Here’s what you will see at 0:20 of the clip:

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Hey, look! It’s Jill W.’s before and after pictures! She looks pretty good, doesn’t she? And check out the amazing craftsmanship on those doors behind her. I bet they were made by the Amish or something because man, they look fuckin’ sweet. And don’t you love how no shadows are cast on either shot and how, even though taken from the same vantage point, the lighting appears to be way different on both?

Also, do all of the “before” shots need to be straight-on and unflattering while the “after” shots require standing at an angle?

Okay, maybe I’m looking too much into the image and overlooking the obviously sexy results that one Jill W. achieved while on the program. Probably so, huh?

Or am I? Check out her before picture at 0:28 of the clip:

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Here’s Jill W. again only this time looking pretty down about things. Maybe it’s because she had to pose with that tacky picture of ducks in flight just to the right of her (or on the left of the image for you smarties out there), or maybe it was before she had those awesomely Amish doors installed in her home. Maybe she just wasn’t happy that the photographer chose to get all artsy-fartsy and use C-41 process black-and-white film this time around.

Either way, there she was then and here she is at 0:31 of the clip:

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Shapely Jill W.? Check (and rawrrrr!). Tacky ducks-in-flight picture? Check.

Amish door? Che…wait, what? Holy Hell! What the fuck is going on here? Why is only half of the Amish door floating behind Jill W.? It’s because it’s a MOTHERFUGGING GHOST DOOR THAT LEADS TO ANOTHER DIMENSION like that episode of The Twilight Zone!

Okay, now I’m not knocking Jill W. for any results she may or may not have achieved by using (or not using) the P90X program. Everybody is free to come to their own conclusion about the product. Personally, I’m always a bit wary of any program such as this and would opt for something recommended by my doctor but hey, what the Hell do I know, right?

The point I’m trying to make here is that if a company is going to go through such lengths to get you to buy their product by having their (hopefully now unemployed) graphic artists do such a half-assed Photoshop job on the “before” and “after” pictures, it might be saying something about the product’s credibility.

Definitely a caveat emptor situation if I’ve ever seen one.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with my tacky ‘80s workout attire.

And you think I’m kidding…