21 Day Fix: Problems & Modifications

I've been on the 21 Day Fix for almost a week (5 days) and in that time have seen zero progress--no weight lost, no inches lost. I've never ever done a diet/exercise program and had zero first week progress, until now. So let me break this down for you, so you see where I'm coming from and what, exactly, my plans are from here. Remember: This post is based on my experiences the first week on 21 Day Fix and may not apply to everyone.

Problem #1: The Rhetoric

This program's point seems to be that you need fixing and that it can be done in 21 days. This is the one thing that has always bothered me, even before I bought the program. After buying it, I'm even more bothered. BeachBody, the programs makers, are targeting their program to people who need to lose less than 15 lbs. and though they say it can work for everybody, heavy people are not who they have in mind. The only good thing here is that this points to the idea that you can make lasting changes in your life in 21 days, like learning portion control or good workout habits.

The trainer, Autumn Calabrese, who seems very optimistic, says things like "Give me 21 days and I'll give you the body you've always wanted!" This may be true for some people, but not for the majority of people looking to lose weight. She does stress the eating program, which again is meant to teach you how to eat better over the long haul.

My Solution: Ignore the parts of it that are hurtful! I don't need fixing. I'm a person, not a clock. I can't listen to her saying I'll be fixed in 21 days without wanting to cry or throw-up, or both, so I just take it with a grain of salt. I consider that she's not considering me when she says that. That she's not being intentionally insensitive. I consider that I'm not the ideal user of this program, but that I find value in it anyway. It's nothing personal even when it feels that way and, at times, she says things that're helpful, such as "If you're tired of starting over, stop quitting." That certainly does apply to me.

Problem #2: The Workouts

No matter what they say, this program's workout are not for people of every fitness level. If you've never worked out a day in your life and you've somehow managed to have only 10 lbs to lose, then on this program you're a beginner. If you happen to be quite heavy and in bad shape, even if you've done some workouts before, you are not a beginner on this program. The workouts are not low impact enough for people who need to lose a substantial amount of weight, even with the modifiers.

Working out 7 days a week is also not right for everyone. In fact, most fitness experts suggest you give your body a day or so between workouts to avoid injury. Trying to do the workouts every day got me just that, an injury. I managed a muscle strain in my left thigh and a groin pull on the right. I'm actually still sore from trying an exercise on the first day that was way, way outside my fitness level, even with modifiers.

My Solution: Don't do all of the 21 Day Fix workouts. This may not work for everyone, but it has to work for me because I can't, at my current fitness level, do many of the Fix workouts. Instead, I'll substitute some hearty, lower-impact workouts that are good without the debilitating-can't-walk-want-to-die-type-pain. Leslie Sansone, for example, does great walking workouts that're actually quite a good workout. That said, I still plan to do the Upper Fix workout every two days because it rocks and wasn't so difficult that I couldn't get through it (for the most part). I'll also be doing a lower-impact yoga once a week to improve my strength and balance as the Fix Yoga moves to fast for me to keep up, especially since I don't know the moves.

Problem #3: The Eating Plan

This comes down to one thing: If you don't do the workouts every single day then you're eating too much and won't lose weight. Because I'm quite heavy they have me eating the most calories allowed, approx. 2,100-2,300 per day. This is a LOT of calories when you're trying to lose weight. In fact, this is more maintenance than weight loss. Since I didn't do the exercises every day, and when I did often didn't make it through the whole workout, I haven't lost a single solitary pound or inch.

All in all, the food plan is okay, though it's restrictive. For example, you can only have one glass of milk three times a week. There's almost no dairy in this diet. You can have apples, but apple sauce isn't on the list. You also can't have any salt or condiments, except things like mustard and vinegar. No mayo of any type, not even olive oil mayo, and no ketchup. They have a few really tasty seasoning mixes, but they aren't appropriate for foods like eggs. So, you can eat sandwiches but they're dry, or eggs without seasoning.

The best thing about the eating program, though, is that you don't have to measure anything. You just eat off the list and use the containers. No tracking my food down to the calorie. Which is awesome, because that's what makes a lot of other diets so cumbersome. It's meant to help you learn portion sizes and, in that regard, is really helpful.

My Solution: Keep using the containers, but change the eating category. The program includes 4 categories, each with a calorie range. Since I won't be doing all of the fix workouts, I'll be modifying down so that rather than eating 2,100-2,300 calories per day, I'm eating 1,500-1,800 calories per day. And I'll be making some small modifications to including at least one 8 oz. glass of skim milk per day. Finally, I'm going to allow myself some condiments, in small amounts, such as reduced-fat olive oil mayo and a tiny bit of sea salt. Bland food isn't worth eating.

The Small Things & Progress:

Doing this for a week, I've seen a lot of small things that I need to change. My sleeping habits are erratic and problematic. I don't drink nearly enough water. In order for me to go forward, I'm going to need to work on changing these small things that're having a big influence on my progress.

And I won't lie, because I have nothing to lose (or gain, since I'm not selling you anything here), I don't know if this is sustainable. I love food too much. I crave rich, sweet, and often salty foods. All I can do at this point is try. I will say, though, that I think the Shakeology is helping me beat the cravings. I hadn't really struggled at all this week until yesterday (Friday night) when I really, really wanted to eat everything I'm not allowed to eat. I wanted mac & cheese and cookies, and I wanted a milkshake. I actually went to bed early to escape the cravings because they were so strong.

Today, I feel terrible, but maybe tomorrow could be better. Right now I feel like giving up but I won't, especially since I've not laid out a plan to make the sort of changes that will make me better. I'll write again next week and let you know how it went. Until then, wish me luck. I really need to make change in my life.

11 comments

  1. So proud of you. Taking baby steps IS making progress toward your goal even if you haven't seen the results on the scale yet. I love the way you acknowledged what will not work for you and adapted to make this journey your own. Keep going. I'm rooting for you.

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    1. Thank you, Jenniemarie! I'm trying to keep going, which admittedly is not my strong suit. I think just having the willpower to stick with it (even though I splurged for dinner tonight) and getting back to it when I fall off the wagon are my most difficult things. It means a lot to have people in my corner!

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  2. Most people, after seeing no results in 21 days, would fold. It is INCREDIBLE that you are refusing to opt out, choosing to modify the things that aren't working for you instead. What a strong approach. Way to go Kristyn!

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    1. Thanks, I appreciate it. I'm pretty discouraged in general right now and haven't been sticking to my new plan at all this week. I really just don't know what to do. But, I do appreciate the support!

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  3. Any updates on your progress? If so I'd love to hear about it! I have a friend who gained the first week but wasn't doing the workouts. I'm guessing she needs to drop down a food category if she doesn't do the workouts. Thanks for sharing your journey! I remember gaining weight the first month I did Insanity and was like oh no! The scale is evil at times.

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  4. Thank you for your 21 day fix progress note, i am also having less than desired results, like your modifications, any updates?

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  5. Hey there, I read your review and message about the program and I wanted to comment and give some tips that will for sure help if you follow :)

    Let me just explain and clarify a few things about the program that I disagree with you on. This program is actually built for the purpose of teaching people to switch their bad eating habits to learning and training themselves and their bodies to start eating in moderation and incorporating exercise regularly. I analyzed the list of foods and it actually gives you a lot of options relative to many other diets out there.
    It gives you a nice amount to eat as well.
    Also, why is it 21 days? Because it takes 21 days or 21 cycles to reset/recalibrate the brain to break bad habits/old habits and form new ones.
    The hardest part is the first week, after that it gets easier. You need the will power to resist the temptations. You need to look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself something: do I want to be this way my entire life? Do I want to be jumpin from diet to diet my whole life? Do I want to struggling and live in cycles of gaining and losing?
    You need to tell yourself No! And tell yourself for your own sanity that this has to stop and that it is time to jump in and get what you want once and for all. When you do you will.

    Now the biggest culprit working against you is the scale. When you go on it 1 of 2 things happen,
    Either you will see a number that is lower then when you started and get excited and say I have wiggle room now so I can take a break from the plan causing you to gain back the difference and sometimes more then you lost.
    Or option 2 you don't see an improvement or anything... All you see is a large number that reminds you that you have a long and hard way to go and then get discouraged.

    Stop looking at the scale!! Measure yourself once before you start the program, then once again ONLY after you completed the entire thing!!! Not before.

    Ps. I do not think it is fair to say that this program doesn't work because you tried for a week and saw no results. That's like saying I went to university for 1 year and decided it has no benefit and won't make me learn anything...
    You have to complete it all to make a fair decision.

    If you want to get there you can and should! But jump in! With your whole body.
    :)

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  6. I am sorry you are frustrated with your progress. I will tell you though that I did the 21 day fix to a "T" and NOTHING happened. I followed the meal plan and did my workouts religiously. I even did the 2 a day workout schedule for the last week and still NOTHING!!! No pounds lost, no inches, nothing budged! I am incredibly discouraged. I wasn't looking for a miracle... I knew that I probably wouldn't get the results that the people on the commercial or website talk about but I was hoping for something. It is very discouraging! I hope that you find something that you enjoy #1!!! And that you start seeing some results but most importantly you are happy with yourself! Take care!

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    1. I had the same problem. I couldn't make it work for me. It was too much food and, honestly, I didn't like a lot of the allowed foods. I found it frustrating and painful. I was also pretty upset about the number of paid posts there are around the web that sing this program's praises, rather than giving honest feedback.

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  7. I'm on Day 16, and have lost almost nothing, even though I have stuck to the eating and exercise program. It is very discouraging and makes it hard to keep going when you are seeing no results. I agree that Autumn's claim of "give me 21 days and I'll give you the body you've always wanted" is definite pie in the sky. I don't have that much to lose, but for me this eating plan is a drastic decrease in calories and fat and sugar, yet the scale doesn't budge. It's no fix!

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    1. I agree, Ginny. It's no fix. It works for some, or so my sister says--she swears by it. I actually stopped using the program after I hurt myself doing the exercise program. I don't think they really intended it to be used by everyone. Bigger people will struggle with the exercise program and everyone will struggle with the eating program. There are better programs out there.

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