Saturday, June 28, 2014

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.