Last Monday I took the plunge and started the 21 Day Fix by Beachbody. For those who are unfamiliar with Beachbody, they are a massive company out of California that has created a number of at home fitness/workout programs, as well as healthy eating/nutrition programs (if your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram are perpetually blown up with pictures of “Shakeology” then you have encountered Beachbody). 21 Day Fix is a program that, at it’s core, teaches simple, healthy eating habits with an easy to follow plan over the course of 21 days. It also includes workout DVDs and a schedule of which workout to do on which day.
I could go into lots of detail about the program, but you could Google “21 Day Fix” and find much better, comprehensive, and more interesting articles than I have the patience to write. They also have an infomercial, so next time you’re pretending to watch TV while really creeping on Facebook, go ahead and let that run in the background if you’re looking to get an idea.
Instead I am going to talk about why I have chosen to do 21 Day Fix, my initial thoughts on the program and on Beachbody in general (with the caveat that this is the first time I have ever used any of their products), and generally why I feel that it is right for me. Hopefully it helps others who may be trying to decide if the program is a good fit for them.
Why 21 Day Fix?
Mostly I am just trying to get a grasp on portion control, and I am trying to do that without spending 3 hours counting out grains of rice and meticulously weighing every food item I don’t want to eat on a kitchen scale I don’t own. I honestly think that part of the reason it is so hard for people to lose weight is because we’ve made it so complicated and time consuming. I have 2 jobs, I like to go out with my friends, there are Game of Thrones episodes to be watched and books to be read, so you’ll be hard pressed to find me dedicating my free time to weighing out food, counting macros, or living on meal replacement shakes.
In terms of the foods I do eat, my diet is extremely healthy. Obsessively, obnoxiously, I-drink-kale-smoothies-and-insist-they-taste-good (they do, btw) healthy. I will lecture you on the benefits of chia seeds, I bring salads to work for lunch every day, and me & quinoa are pretty much BFF.
Standard grocery run.
My fitness level is also pretty good. There is plenty of room for improvement, of course, but I’m in the gym 5-6 days a week doing different combinations of lifting, HIIT, chisel, yoga, running, etc. I also wear a Fitbit, and I make a point to get in the 10,000 recommended steps/day. Desk jobs are pretty lame, and mine is definitely wreaking havoc on my posture and general activity level, so wearing the Fitbit keeps me mindful of getting up and moving around throughout the day.
Unfortunately, even the healthiest foods when eaten in (what I assume to be) linebacker-esque quantities result in caloric intake that is much higher than the output that comes from 10,000 steps and an hour or 2 in the gym. This totally sucks, but it’s the sad truth.
Among my other bad habits (plural) are the following:
- Not eating enough calories throughout the day. I then come home and want to inhale 14 pizzas.
- Condiments. I love them. Completely obsessed. End result is a lot of excess calories and a LOT of sodium (I’m looking at you, ketchup).
- Not eating enough fruit.
- Portions. I already said it. I’m saying it again to really drive this point home.
The Eating Plan
The 21 Day Fix is so simple. I cannot emphasize this enough. There are 6 different color-coded containers that correspond to different food groups – Vegetables (green), Fruits (purple), Protein (red), Carbs (yellow), Healthy Fats (blue), and Seeds/Dressings (orange). You are also given a teaspoon allotment for oils and nut/seed butters (peanut, almond, whatever you want).
You use a simple formula based on your current weight to determine your target calorie range for the 21 days, and that range determines how many of each container you get each day.
Each container comes with a list of approved foods. The eating plan booklet also has dressing recipes, seasoning mixes, meal ideas, and examples of what a full day of eating might look like. There are “free” foods like vinegars and mustards to add some flavor, coffee and tea ideas, you can also swap out containers for things like wine, chocolate, and other deliciousness a few times a week.
There are a lot of foods to choose from. For a full list – check out this PDF from The Exercise Movement. What I love about the food list is that it emphasizes real, unprocessed, wholesome foods. The lists are even written in order of most nutritious to least by container, which I think is a cool thing in terms of teaching people how to eat well.
Each day of the week has a different workout assigned to it. So 7 workouts in total plus the “10 Minute Fix for Abs” that you can add to any day if you’re looking for a little bit extra. In order (Mon-Sun): Total Body Cardio, Upper Fix, Lower Fix, Pilates Fix, Cardio Fix, Dirty 30 (circuit workout), and Yoga Fix. Each workout is roughly 30 minutes, and you can stream them from the Team Beachbody website or use the DVD’s they send with the program.
Originally I was not planning on doing the 21 Day Fix workouts. I have my own workouts and classes that I like to do, and to be honest I was snobbily not expecting much from a 30 minute workout DVD.
I take it back, Autumn Calabrese. You have kicked my ass harder in 30 minutes via DVD than I do in the gym on a regular basis.
You have also officially made my list of girl crushes ❤
The workouts really surprised me (in a good way!). They are dynamic, challenging, and I love that they are only 30 minutes because I have no excuse to not get it done every day. However, sometimes the “home workout” aspect can be a huge challenge. I live on the 2nd floor of an old building, so I can’t really do the cardio workouts because they require a lot of jumping that I’m sure the downstairs neighbors would not be okay with. On those days I take my laptop to the gym, which is doable but not ideal. You’ll also need two sets of dumbbells and a mat, not a huge investment but something to consider before starting.
I feel like you can’t talk about Beachbody without talking about Shakeology. I received a free sample pack with my 21 Day Fix, but I am going to refrain from giving my opinion on it until I have finished the entire thing. However, know that if you are going to try a Beachbody program, they are going to aggressively pitch Shakeology until your ears bleed.
Week 1 Thoughts
With 1 week down I was feeling really good about the program overall. I have to admit, the first 3 days were ROUGH. I was hungry and irritable. My energy levels plummeted. I was also really, really sick of washing my containers (we don’t have a dishwasher, so it’s all hand wash for this girl). Luckily since the workouts are only 30 minutes I was still able to get them done even though I wasn’t feeling up to it.
The end of the week was much better. I had read reviews where people said “you won’t feel hungry” or “you won’t even need all of your containers” and I finally started to see how this would be true. I never felt really full, but I wasn’t hungry either. I could have eaten 20 more carb containers, but if I came to the end of the day and I could have had another half serving of fruit, I didn’t feel like I needed it. This program is majorly helping me learn to tell the difference between hunger and cravings.
In the first couple of days I did lose a couple pounds, but mostly I think I lost a lot of bloat. This program cuts sodium in a big way which has been huge for me. I have noticed a difference in how I feel in that my meals never make me feel sluggish, puffy, or downright sick.
I’ve also been seeing results from the workouts. I like going to the gym, but I really like not having to spend hours there. I’m feeling and looking stronger from 30 minutes a day. This program is really driving home the fact that you can’t out-train a bad diet, and since my nutrition and portions are in line I still feel really good after just 30 minutes.
Week 2 Thoughts
I am most of the way through week 2, and have to admit that I have cheated twice this week (I had froyo and some celebratory snacks with my coworkers after a really positive review from the client – SUE ME).
Small slip-ups aside, my meals have been perfectly planned and portioned all week. If I do have a treat (read: wine), I either get a bit more exercise in or I don’t fill my containers all the way at dinner. I’m not perfect, I didn’t expect to be going into this. 21 Day Fix has just made me very mindful of everything that I’m putting into my body, and I think that’s a huge step in the right direction.
Another thing that this program has made me realize is that there will always be “something” happening to cause you to fall off of your healthy eating habits. I put “something” in quotes because it could be any number of things, and you have to learn to identify what those are for you and your life. For me, I have declined roughly 8-10 invitations for drinks, lunches out, free candy (not from a sketchy guy in a van), and dinners with friends.
Do I wish I could say I have 100% followed the program to a T every day since I started? Of course. But I also don’t feel bad about the couple of times I’ve “slipped up” because I’m a realist. I have a fairly high stress job and a lot going on in my life, so if it is a choice of froyo or homicide, this girl is going to opt for froyo every time. And again, for every 1 thing that I have accepted there are about 5 that I have turned down. Balance, y’all. It’s a thing.
Coming Up – WEEK 3!
Next week is my final week, and I am going to really, really focus my efforts and try to follow the plan to a T. Last weekend I was not prepared, and while I did make healthy choices because I was very aware of my eating habits, I have no idea if they fit the program because I didn’t have my containers with me or any sort of plan. This weekend, I’m going to have everything prepped so that I’m good to go no matter what the weekend throws at me.
Here’s to hoping this positive attitude stays with me throughout the final stretch of the fix. My poor boyfriend is probably going to go into hiding otherwise. I’m not fun when you take my wine away.