It kind of turned me off. I didn’t want a diet, I didn’t want to be tied to some pre-packaged meal plan that had me eating fish three nights a week, and I didn’t want exercises that would make me damage my knees more than they already are. I didn’t want any of that. I wanted something that worked and something that could help me really understand what I should be eating. I had tried counting calories before and that was all well and good, but I still didn’t understand how much of each food group to have. I needed visuals. I needed a plan.
Well, the more I looked into the 21 Day Fix by Autumn Calabrese and Beachbody the more I began to realize that it wasn’t a diet. It was a lifestyle change. It was 21 days of learning and getting into a new habit. It was 21 days to kick start the rest of your life. 21 days to get your act together and learn what to eat and how much of it to eat depending on the amount of calories you need. Could I still eat a waffle? Yes! Could I still have a turkey sandwich? You bet! Could I still have a cup of chocolate chips every night? Ha, NO.
THE SCOOP ON THE FOOD
So, when you order the 21 Day Fix, you get colored containers. There’s a green for your vegetables, a purple for your fruits, a red for your protein, a yellow for your carbs, a blue for your good fats, and an orange for your seeds and oils. Actually, you’ll get two orange containers, but you only get to have one per day no matter which calorie bracket you fall into. There’s also a way to calculate your calorie bracket:
Take your current weight and multiply it by 11. Subtract 350 and that’s your calorie bracket.
You recalculate at the end of each round to see if you need to move down a bracket.
Next, you determine how many of each container you should eat each day in order to fuel your body properly, not push it into starvation mode, and still lose weight by looking at the handy dandy chart that’s in your guide book.
I’m in the 1500-1799 bracket and I have 4 greens, 3 purples, 4 reds, 3 yellows, 1 blue, 1 orange, and 4 teaspoons allotted per day. There’s a food list that comes in the book, as well so that you know what delicious and healthy foods should go in your containers. There’s also a guide for eating out (and having pizza!) and ways to work your life into your containers. Meal planning is your friend both success and budget wise not only on this plan, but no matter how you’re eating. Don’t worry, I can help you with that!
If it sounds a bit restricting, trust me when I say that it’s really not. It’s liberating to understand which foods are going to give you the most bang for your buck and the results that you want. There’s A LOT of food and the goal is to eat ALL of your containers every day. In the Mama Exercises Challenge Group we often talk about having sooooo much to eat. An eating plan that fills you up and helps you lose weight at the same time? Yes, please! And the great thing is that no matter what your weight is, you’re still going to feel full, because of the amount of food that will be in your bracket. Eating healthy foods fills you up a lot faster than junk food.
And, yes, you can actually have chocolate chips – a teaspoon of chocolate chips = a yellow container substitute. Hallelujah!
WHAT ABOUT THOSE WORKOUTS?
I’ll be completely honest here…I got about 7 minutes into the very first workout, Total Body Cardio Fix, on the very first day and thought I was going to die. I had to sit down, because I was out of breath and feeling light headed. Ha! But, I made it through and the next day? The next day I could barely move, because I was so sore. It was comical really, because I ached everywhere. I’d move and moan. Here’s the thing…it was hard, because I was so out of shape. I hadn’t exercised in forever and to think that I’d be able to jump into an exercise routine and breeze through it would be just silly. The trick is to do as much as you can for as long as you can and not give up. Autumn Calabrese, the creator of the 21 Day Fix, says something like, “If you’re tired of starting over, stop quitting.” Amen to that, because I was tired of starting over. Tired of making excuses. For a long time my excuses were louder than my reasons and I’d finally had enough.
The truth is that when you start exercising, you’re going to be out of breath. You’re going to be pushed to your limits quickly. You’re going to want to collapse on the floor and let them drag your body to the shower. You’re going to think it might not be worth it. Stop thinking. To steal Nike’s slogan, just do it. Just push through. Go at your own pace through each exercise, but go. You’ll come to a point that it’s not so hard and it’s not because the workouts magically changed, it’s because yougot stronger. YOU!
Okay, enough pep talk for now, because I know you want to know about the workouts. The workouts in the 21 Day Fix are awesome. They’re all 30 minutes in length so they’re doable even for the most time-crunched, overworked, underpaid, busy person. Stay at home, homeschooling, and work at home moms, I feel your pain! But you know what? No excuses! It’s 30 minutes. YOUR HEALTH, YOUR SANITY, YOUR WELL BEING IS WORTH AT LEAST 30 MINUTES EACH DAY. You’re worth it! (I just want to hug you and tell you how much you’re worth it!!)
There’s seven total workouts, one per day and then they repeat each week. So, you end up doing each workout 3 times within the 21 days. There’s Total Body Cardio Fix, Upper Body Fix, Lower Body Fix, Pilates Fix, Cardio Fix, Dirty 30, and Yoga Fix. You’ll be working different muscles in each of them and you’ll feel stronger and leaner and accomplished after doing them. There’s a workout plan, so just like with the food, you’re guided through which workouts to do each day. It helps and it gets you on track. Your Pilates Fix and Yoga Fix days are your active recovery days, so they’re really meant to help strengthen and stretch out your sore muscles. You’ll come to love them and look forward to them.
If you’re wildly out of shape like I was, don’t worry. I promise you that you’ll get through it. There’s a modifier for every workout and you can do the moves she does. I still do a lot of the modified moves, because my knees can’t take a lot of jumping or bouncing after two knee surgeries. And guess what? I still see amazing results. I’m stronger, I’m more flexible, and I don’t think I’m going to die after each workout. I do sweat like crazy during them and sometimes I’m sore, but it’s a good, hardworking sore. Sweat is just fat crying anyway, so I’m good with that.
AND IN CONCLUSION…
Well, there’s no conclusion. Fitness and a healthy lifestyle change are journeys, not end points. There’s no quick fix if you want to do this right. These 21 days set you up for the rest of your life; they help you fix your bad habits. And that is why it’s called the 21 Day Fix.
Curious about my results so far? Well, I’m currently on my third round (I’m 7 weeks in) and have shed
13 14 pounds and countless inches. They’re not lost, because I’m not looking for them again! I started at almost 207 and that’s the most weight I’ve ever carried or ever will carry. During the last 7 weeks, I’ve been on vacation and traveled for business, and taken a few days off to let me knees rest, and yet, I’ve still seen great results. I’m really happy with how my body is changing and I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time. I still have a long way to go, but that’s okay. I’m in this for the long haul.