Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Non-Coach 21 Day Fix Review

For the past few years I've experienced some health issues... nothing terrible, just inconvenient and making me feel less than 100%. However over the past year I feel like I've been getting worse. After denial, denial, and a little more denial, I finally decided I should probably go to the doctor and get a complete physical and have everything tested.
Of course by the time I got around to actually opting to do it, I needed to wait two and a half months before our health insurance funds would be available for the new year.

In the meantime, I "stumbled" across a couple of articles online. (Stumbled is in quotes because I know nothing ever happens by coincidence. I know God was leading me to read those articles. Why else would I have clicked on something about a Paleo diet? My diet is more 'unsupervised child at a birthday party'.) I got info on how a Paleo diet can help autoimmune disease (*ding, ding* that's me), how much sugar affects our bodies (*ding, ding* that's me too), and what adrenal fatigue looks like (*ding, ding* that's kinda like me; yikes!), and how our diets can influence all of that. So, um, looks like I need to change what I eat.

I knew that my personality needed a plan to work off, especially being so addicted to sugar. God brought to mind a friend who had had great results with 21 Day Fix. Lightbulb. (God led me to that too. I'm not that smart on my own. lol) I got in touch with her and found out she was planning to start the second week of January. Perfect.

I got the program with the containers and was all excited
until I saw the size of the yellow container (starch aka bread, rice, crackers, oatmeal, yummy things that I love, even my fav veggies -- peas and sweet potatoes)
(It's not that bad though, honest!) After I read through everything, I immediately began pinning a million things on Pinterest, and then putting together a binder with all the info and recipes I'd need. Planning is essential with this program.
Here's what my binder looks like:
Front cover with Phil. 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength."
The first page is my menu plan for the week. I made a template in Word that I can print each week to plan my food.
Next up is a great cheat sheet from Pinterest on container sizes. It's helpful when bulk meal prepping or if your container is in use or needs to be washed.
Next up a food list (I needed to add a few things to it since my version of 21 Day Fix is newer than the one used to make this) and a measurements tracker. Both found here.
And a 4-up daily tracker for the 1200-1499 calorie range. (Found here. I might go with a smaller version that fits more days on a page down the road.)
Using cardstock and the bread tab Stampin Up punch, I made dividers for the daily tracking forms and my recipe categories (breakfast & bread, dinner, lunch, veggies & sides, desserts & shakeology)
 and dividers within categories if needed.
Then I printed off a ton of recipes from Pinterest and websites that I got via Pinterest. (I copied them and put them into Word to format them consistently. That's just my OCD at work and totally not necessary to do.) :)
Obviously the planning and printing are much easier than the actual eating and exercising. :)
Meal Prep for week 1:
 Mexican Taco Salad for lunch (so much food!) (1 red, 2 green, 1 blue, 1 orange):
My first homemade marinara (so sad considering I'm almost 40 and Italian. Sorry, Nonna).
Round 2 (Week 4) meal prep (breakfast, lunch, some snacks):

Some tips that might be helpful to you:
Find recipes ahead of time
Meal plan ahead of time (Keep it simple. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day and alternate 4 lunches. Dinners are where I change things up.)
Only buy the groceries you need for that week if you need to really redo your pantry (I found a lot of things at Aldi's but my pantry is rather unhealthy. I can only get what I need each week to start building up a better pantry because of the budget. No huge $500 trip to Whole Foods for us. :) )
Plan to do this for the long haul; don't quit after your 21 days are over
Don't include your family's food the first round (It's easier to just cook for them like you normally would until you figure yourself out. Plus they can 'eat down' the pantry. Sorry, fam!) :)
Get mason jars for salad (keeps it crisp!) and containers for portioning (I liked these Glad containers: rectangle and round)

My review:
After round 1, I've lost 4 lbs. and 9 inches. I did't really need to lose weight so this is great progress for me. I do need to seriously tone up though. 21 Days later, I'm starting to see a vee in my abs. Never had that before. :) I haven't exercised in over a year (#embarrassing) so for my first round I modified everything. There is a person in the DVDs to follow if you need to modify. Until I feel strong enough, I'll continue to modify with her.

The workouts are quick but get results. (See above.) I can definitely feel it every day. The DVDs aren't annoying. Yeah, you know what I mean. 21 Day Fix isn't like those.
I already had a mat and some weights so there was no additional expense for me there. You can always start with soup cans as weights if you need.

There is plenty of food to eat, even at the lowest calorie level. If you need to lose a lot of weight, you might feel hungry. Talk to your coach about possibly bumping up your calorie level for awhile. I find that I need to eat eggs for breakfast to give me enough energy for my morning workout. And if I do two workouts in one day (like they suggest for week 3), I'm absolutely starving. 
I didn't use Shakeology but picked a different protein shake meal replacement powder. That's completely up to you. If you can't afford it, don't do it. We weren't really meant to drink our food on a long-term basis. Take a multi-vitamin and eat your containers of food instead. 
It does help to spread your reds out over the day to keep your energy level on an even keel.

I treated my first round as a no pressure try-out. Lots of grace for realizing I forgot things at the grocery store, lots of grace for learning what I need to eat when, lots of grace for realizing I put the food into the wrong container and that teaspoons are not for Stevia, lots of grace for the workouts, some grace for failed recipes. It takes time to get into a groove with it. At the beginning of week 4, it's starting to feel more natural... now I'm incorporating the family's food.
I have more energy, my skin is clearing up, I feel stronger and have less back pain, I haven't had a thryoid-induced hot flash, and my digestive issues have mostly disappeared. Yay! This is definitely the right road to be headed down.

Beachbody does have a 'rah rah, go team' kinda vibe sometimes but, in this instance, it's well earned. 21 Day Fix works. It's not just a diet; it really is a sustainable change in lifestyle.

My 11-year old daughter (who squeals the words 'sugar' and 'chocolate' with glee --- seriously; no joke --- and eats like me --- kinda picky, lots of carbs) was very skeptical about this. She followed me around for about 3 weeks asking a ton of questions about it. She implied that she didn't want any part of it. Three weeks later, she's working out with me every day, willing to change her breakfast choices (to not just cereal), and liking most of the dinners I've made for the family. If I can keep the youngling and padawan from suffering health-wise like I have, then this program will be more than worth it for the results I've already gotten.

I hope that helps you! If you're interested, let me know. I'm happy to answer questions or point you to a great coach. Be healthy (and eat black bean brownies)!

Linking up to some or all of these great blog parties:
Sunday: It's Overflowing
Monday: Inspire Me Monday at Sand and Sisal; Tutorials and Tips at Home Stories A to Z; Monthly Before and After at Thrifty Decor Chick
Wednesday: Wicked Awesome Wednesday at Handy Man, Crafty Woman; Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts; 
Friday: Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest; Flaunt it Friday at Chic on a Shoestring; Friday Finds at Craftaholics Anonymous

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