Sunday, July 24, 2016

21 Day Fix

at 10:17 PM
I've had an interesting relationship with weight. Throughout my childhood and adolescence I would get reprimanded by strangers for not eating enough, called anorexic by peers, and even teased by friends about my lack of a butt. I never really took it to heart because I knew I ate more than enough. I had a high metabolism and I was always active. I did cheerleading for years, then ran cross country and track in high school. In college I kept running, and took up rock climbing. I graduated high school at 100 lbs. In college I joined ROTC, and, worried I wouldn't make the minimum weight for the PT test, starting eating fat-heavy foods like cottage cheese regularly.
When I started gaining weight, especially in my legs and butt area, I was like "woah, cool! Finally!"

Unfortunately, chronic bronchitis caused by increased allergies resulted in a cracked rib. Anyone who's had a cracked bone can tell you that there is no way you are going to run without serious pain. To be completely honest, walking and even opening doors hurt like crazy. And cracked ribs take a long time to heal. So while my workout habits changed, my eating habits didn't.

That, combined with the slowing metabolism of growing older, caused me to gain a lot of weight in the span of 5 years.

For most of that time, my thoughts about it were along the lines of "Well, nobody is accusing me of being anorexic any more. *shrug*"

High School

College Graduation

Last Summer

I finally hit a point where my weight was about to hit a number I decided was unacceptable. This was around 5 years ago. I started counting calories with an app called MyFitnessPal. I ate a lot of "healthy" frozen meals, and SpecialK products. I tried the Atkins protein shakes but they tasted horrible. SpecialK meal bars and shakes were good, but too sweet (and my teeth are sensitive). A few months of serious calorie counting and I lost about 30 lbs. I was able to maintain and keep that weight for about a year.

I got busy with life, and stopped trying/caring about what I ate. It took about 4 years to gain it all back.

I've tried going to the gym, tried using my WiiFit. Tried calorie counting, and tried to make myself run.

Then, a friend from high school became a BeachBody Coach and started promoting some of their programs on her Facebook an Instagram (@coach_tiffanynicole). I did a few monthly run/walk challenges with her, and then decided to ask her for some help.

Last summer she suggested the 21DayFix coupled with Shakeology. I bought the program. It's a 3 week program with a meal plan and a workout dvd. The meal plan is very similar to calorie counting with a few differences.

By using colored containers, I don't have to do math or scan anything. It's portion control by sight, which works for me.

The program also promotes clean eating. This is actually very hard for me, only eating certain types of foods, going for fresh and not pre-packaged, not eating as many carbs... It's hard for me, but it's good. When just calorie counting, you can still eat poorly. I would sometimes forgo dinner to have popcorn. You really can't do that on the 21DayFix meal plan.

The idea is to change your habits. Besides portion control, you get better at choosing healthier foods, and your body starts craving them.

Meal prepping is a big part of the program. Which works for busy people.

Also, you start getting used to working out. I like the workouts. But I'll go into that in a moment.

Back to food: Shakeology. When I first started last summer, I bought the box of single serve packets in mixed flavors - Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate.

They advertise that you can just mix the Shakeology powder with water and shake it up and it's a drink.  I tried this with all three flavors. Yuck. I couldn't do it. So I asked Tiff and looked on Pinterest. Tiff suggested using ice with it in a blender, and I found some recipes of things to mix into it online.

The ice makes it a million times better than just water. Adding things into it helped too.
However, there was still an aftertaste I couldn't figure out. I think it's the fact that they use stevia. Some people taste stevia as sweet, and some don't. I think it's genetic, because my dad, my sister, and I don't taste the sweet in stevia.
I kept experimenting with different flavor combinations, and realized that adding cinnamon makes that aftertaste go away.

My favorite is to use chocolate Shakeology with a banana and coffee and ice, with a pinch of cinnamon. It's like a healthy frappaccino! I also enjoy strawberry Shakeo with some frozen fruit and cinnamon. Sometimes I add peanut butter to my chocolate Shakeo, or milk.

So last summer I did the 21DayFix for 3 weeks, then did it again for 2 weeks (the last week of the second time around I was traveling to Chicago for a wedding and didn't make it happen). I'll be honest - I wasn't very consistent with it. I had a hard time working out every day and I often went over in carbs and "healthy fats" (cheese), and I never ate enough veggies. But I lost 18 lbs.

And like before, once I was in the habit of eating less, I was able to maintain. Until the holidays. They were bad. I gained it all back and then some.

I tried to start the 21DayFix again in January, but only lasted two days. I got busy and stressed and couldn't handle.

I did eat Shakeology regularly all year. I started taking it in for lunch after buying the Oster MyBlend Blender that makes smoothies directly in a water bottle. I took it to school and had Shakeo for lunch.

This summer I went back to Shakeo for breakfast. I read an article that said when you eat carbs for breakfast (my favorite breakfast is toast, or bagels) you tend to crave sweets throughout the day, while if you start your day with protein you don't crave them as much. I tried it and it has been working for me. So Shakeo is breakfast. I miss bagels. ='( But I love my "frappe" -- at least in the summer. It's hard to have a cold drink for breakfast in the winter. I tried it hot last year. It was horrible. I do not suggest it.

This summer I did the 21DayFix again (3 whole weeks!) and this time the workouts were not the hard part. (Cheese, I swear... it's always cheese... ) I lost 10 lbs!

I know I need to do it again. This last week I wasn't eating as strictly as on the meal plan they give, but I was attempting to make good choices. And I was still doing the workouts. I even tried doubling up on the workouts some days.

I want to get to a point where I don't have to "be on the program" to eat healthy, but can still eat things I enjoy. I also love the workouts.

Ok, so the workouts:

My favorite part of them is Autumn. I've done/seen workout videos from various different types (80s workout vids my mom used when I was a kid, etc) and I love the way these are set up.

So firstly, it's a different workout every day. The variety is nice. I don't get bored. There's cardio, and lifting, and pilates, and yoga.

Autumn gives just the right about of pep talk and tough love at just the right moments. I swear, she must've had a test group before she filmed, because right as you're flagging, she'll say something like "don't give up" or "you're only cheating yourself" and when she asks the other people to make certain corrections, I find myself correcting as well. It's cool.

There's always someone modifying the workouts. I definitely started out following her. I still do for some moves. And there are some moves I have to modify even more. My upper body strength is very minimal, and I'm not flexible. They show moves using weights and resistance bands.

I started out with no weights at all. Then I bought resistance bands. They took a while to get the hang of. I still have a hard time getting them in place fast enough. There are a few moves I can't do with them.

So you have to wrap them around your feet and then pull on them various ways. At first, I kept pulling myself and falling over. Quite amusing. And the parts where I have to pull the bands across my chest, well, I get stuck.
Bands are also a different type of resistance than weights, so it feels weird at first. It was hard to tell what was being worked out.
Still, getting better a little every week.

The pilates day is my favorite. But the cardio days are pretty sweet. The one called "Dirty 30" is my least favorite, as it's mostly weight lifting based. And it's quite enjoyable to start Sunday mornings with yoga. They also have a 10 Minute Fix for Abs. It's tough and fast and ouchie. But in a good way.

The cool downs/stretching part is the thing I could even begin to complain about. I don't think they stretch enough. I always add more stretches. I have really tight calves and always need to stretch them out more. Also, sitting on the floor doing straddle stretches doesn't work for people who aren't flexible enough to touch their toes. If I stand up and stretch those, gravity helps.

Overall, I totally recommend this program. It works, and it's fun!

Oh, and working out with a kitten adds another element.

He loves my yoga mat. It's his favorite scratch toy. 

I was bent over doing a move, and he jumped on my back and stayed there.

Today he climbed on my back while I was doing supermans during yoga, and stayed on through bow move and into child's pose. Not sure how he did it. 

It's hard to do crunches with a kitten who wants to cuddle. 

I'm trying to train him that resistance bands aren't toys. 

Also, he enjoys using my legs as an obstacle course to chase his ball around, especially during pilates. 


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