5 Reasons Why 21 Day Fix is Awesome

Last year Beachbody released the 21 Day Fix and all hell broke loose.  People, mostly women, all over the country were losing their minds over tupperware.  The backorder was CRAZY.  I admit that I didn’t jump on the 21 Day Fix train until I went to a live event and worked out with Autumn Calabrese, the trainer behind the 21 Day Fix.  I loved the workout and her energy was incredible.  I was a fan ever since.

I half assed did the meal plan for a couple of days, and concentrated on doing the entire workout program – which I finished.  It was fun!

Last month I committed to 21 days of eating by Autumn’s rules.  The eating plan was a success and I lost 6 lb in a month without doing anything crazy.  This is what I learned:

1. Whatever you thought of your “healthy” diet – you were wrong.

I thought I ate pretty healthy.  I mean, I knew there was room for improvement, but surely it wasn’t that bad, right?  Well, when you really get down to the nitty gritty, it’s surprising to see how many pitfalls you have.  My biggest lesson is I don’t eat enough vegetables.  Seriously, I had such a hard time getting them all in.  I was putting spinach in eggs and smoothies by the end of it.  Hiding zucchini in my meals was not inspired – it was necessary.  My old stand by of roasted cauliflower was good and all, but it wasn’t enough.

2. There’s a difference between eating less and eating right.

The “yellow” containers were more or less carbs.  My previous wins on the food frontier usually involved watching my carbohydrates.  It more or less works for me.  This isn’t a PSA about low carb.  Yellow containers can be anything from sweet potato, beans, grains, to bread.  There is definitely a difference in quality here.  I get way more satisfaction and benefit from eating the more nutritional yellows, but knowing the option for something else was helpful.

I ended up eating a whole lot, much more than I imagined, but because my portions of each food type were in check, I felt great.  I didn’t feel awful and starved all that much.  (I just have to admit that I had one night where I screamed for ice cream.) I didn’t feel like I had restricted myself terribly or that I was missing out.  It was just that I had to eat different stuff than I was used to.

3. A diet that lets you have wine?!?!

Oh yes.  That yellow container? A couple times a week you can swap it out for a glass of wine.  In my January round I had a wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon out with a friend and it felt awesome to know I was having a drink but I was also staying on track and in plan.  It wasn’t a cheat, it was just a treat.  And my other work had been so on-point that I knew this was something I could do for myself.  I enjoyed it SO MUCH, and savored every single drop.

4. There’s a workout called the Dirty 30.

The workouts are really fun.  The variety is awesome.  Maybe I am not the biggest fan on Pilates, but once a week, I can do the Pilates Fix and be okay with it.  I knew Autumn was my spirit-trainer when she kept yelling at the DJ to TURN IT UP when I attended the live event.  She brings that energy and care in to each of her workouts.

They are fun, and the build on each other.  And with only 30 minutes, she makes you bring your A game but gives you the precious seconds you need to recover after pushing yourself to the limit.  She organizes them in to rounds and this makes it easy to understand what’s coming next and what you have left to do in the workout for the day.

Cardio, flexibility, resistance, body weight – it’s all there and it’s all enjoyable.

5. You can do anything for 21 days.  And if that’s not enough, you can do another 21 days or go EXTREME!

My biggest obstacle with any eating plan or long term athletic goal is I know that life happens and it puts me in odds with my achiever inner self.  I want to do everything right.  But, there are bad days.  And there are events.  And it’s really easy for me to throw in the towel.  So when there is a long program or say, I imagine life without ice cream – I panic.  And if I actually do get started, I’ll sabotage myself along the way.

The reason the Whole30 and the 21 Day Fix worked for me is I know that I can pull it together and give a good effort for a fixed period of time.  And if there is a light at the end of that tunnel – even better.  In 21 days that pint of ice cream will be there.  I know that I might change in that 21 day period and I might not want the ice cream.  That’s okay.  But I’m not telling myself I can’t ever have it again, because that’s just going to send me right out to the store.  When I look back on what I’ve achieved in the time frame, I’m always amazed.  I thought I was the ultimate badass for completing a Whole30.  I’m so proud of my losses from the 21 Day Fix. That gives me the confidence to do it again.

Speaking of doing it again – that’s the best part.  You can turn around and do another 21 Day Fix after you finish one, or you can do what I did and give yourself a weekend off, and start again.

Now Autumn’s released the 21 Day Fix Extreme in case you want more of a challenge.  The eating plan is based on the same principles, but with less leeway for extra treats (wine) and more of a focus on fine tuning results.  The workouts are also dialed up.  Whereas 21 Day Fix was for beginners, 21 Day Fix Extreme is for people looking to blast through their expectations.  I have no doubt I’ll try it at some point, but I’m not sure I’m ready yet!

If anything I’ve said here interests YOU, please feel free to reach out to me through the blog, find me on Facebook, or let me be your FREE coach!

21days

 

Jenga Booty

It sounds a little bit like “Jungle Booty” doesn’t it?

I came up with the expression “like a Jenga Puzzle built on quicksand” awhile ago.  I can’t believe I haven’t wrote about this before.  When you lose weight, things change.  That much everyone knows.  Your body changes, you start to look better.  Yay!  Well, usually.

Let's see what happens!

Let’s see what happens!

Weight doesn’t come off the way it went on.  It’s like the honey badger, it does what it wants!  It would be so nice if weight loss worked like a rewind but it has other plans.  Right now I can feel my ribs clearly.  I can even reach under them.  My ass has flattened.  I no longer have “the bubble” off my caboose.  But, I still have two rolls of abdominal fat.  And that same abdominal fat is not symmetrical from left to right.  Once again, I’m having trouble keeping my pants up because without the butt, it’s like trying to put a belt on a beach ball.  My arms have lost underlying fat, but have just ended up looking deflated, while my neck has gotten gorgeous angles.

The real source of the expression is more about the way that I feel when I exercise.  Even losing a modest 6 lb has ripple effect impacts in my body.  A small change in weight, a shift in how it works, and everything is different.  The way I think about it is my body has adjusted to life being larger than expected.  Some large and small muscles aren’t being used as they were probably intended.  After years of living as a larger size, they’ve made adaptations to still be able to move as much as possible, even if it isn’t the right way.  Once I start to lose this extra size, suddenly they are not required to work as they once did, and they are not ready to work as they should.  This sometimes feels like a giant step back, but it is more like a side step, followed by a forward step that is really, really hard – like walking against the current of a river.

I’m still active and it’s still forward progress, even when it feels like it isn’t.  I’m using more and more of my body the right way.  It’s actually really great to learn to recruit my gluteus properly.  I’m still mastering the lunge, but I know that it is always improving.  In general, I love being more active. I love waking up in the morning and not having pain in my hips and lower back.  I’m looking forward to my next round of learning more about myself and my body and I’m excited to see what I can do.

Celebrating the Worst Because it Became the Best.

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Tonight I’m celebrating the loss of my job 5 years ago. *Technically* the anniversary is tomorrow. The day before the axe came down I knew it was coming because my coworkers saw my job advertised on Craigslist.

The best part of that particular job was the friends I made. I enjoyed my work, but I looked forward to saying hello to the people, not the flasks of cells. (Cells don’t have much to say.) Solving problems was a thrill. Finding ways to bring forgotten cell lines back to life were my specialty and I was acknowledged for it. (This may have included singing to them.) Those parts of the job made me feel proud and needed.

Losing that job was devastating. It felt very personal. Even though I was told I was not doing enough, I ended up being replaced by 3 people. While it felt good to know that it took those 3 people to replace me, I entered into a very dark period. I realized some of it as it happened, but it was an insidious blanket thrown over my life and my dreams.

Science was how I identified myself, even when I had non-science jobs in between gigs. With this dismissal I literally lost who I thought I was; my identity. The subsequent job hunt was quite possibly more depressing. Constant striving, working, switching things up, and getting rejection back. Job hunting is a lot like dating.

I’m celebrating losing that job today because it was not the right gig for me. I knew it when I took it but I stayed and made the best of it.

A little less than a year ago I became a Fitness and Health Coach. I did it for myself and for the discount. Yes, sometimes it IS about the money. I was finally ready to make my health the #1 priority in my life. Throwing myself in to a fitness community is what I needed to do. The accountability and the community was the piece missing for me.

I didn’t expect to feel so fulfilled by helping others with their own health goals. When my friend from grad school messaged me that she lost her first 6lb, it was better than any of my own weigh ins. I definitely didn’t expect to find my team to be such a source of inspiration, yet every day I come in to my Facebook group to find more love and positivity that I imagined was out there. I am becoming the leader I have always wanted to be. Realizing that I was holding myself back by viewing my impact and my life as limited has been powerful. Now, I’m growing a team of people who, like me, are ready to show the world that they can make a difference.

I am definitely happier working toward my own goals. I want to help as many people as possible feel positive and find their best selves. Being unhappy with your physical self and listening to negative self-talk is no way to live a happy life. I’m on my way and I know there are so many people who need the same inspiration as I’ve received. The gratification outshines being a small cog in a project that could maybe lead to changing lives in the future, if our work is correct, and if a company finds it feasible to invest in. I invest in myself. I invest in the people around me. It feels great to become healthy in mind and body, to share my experience, and to help others reach their own dreams.

Catch-22 Pounds

One of the things I keep being the most surprised about as I continue to change my life and my habits is that it pretty much impacts my relationships with everyone.

I really thought this was all about me, and if it was a relationship thing – it was my relationship with myself or my relationship with food.  I’m now seeing that the whole book I thought I had written was erased and I’m starting over.  My friends and family are still my friends and family, but there is a definite shift.

I thought once I lost some weight and was more confident, I’d be more social.  After all, I have new clothes to show off, right?  Not exactly.

Progress

It started out that I had to tell friends “no” when it came to Happy Hours.  I was working out with my Boot Camp, or I was just leaving Boot Camp and smelled terrible.  Or sometimes it was that I wasn’t drinking anymore.  Sometimes I was just too tired to drag my ass to a bar!  But I wanted to hang out with my friends.  I tried to make things work when I could.  I had a lot of guilt around it.  But I have to tell you, they were all pretty awesome.  Whenever I would try to apologize for being MIA they wouldn’t hear of it.

Another weird thing, that’s related, is people are just ridiculously proud of me.  From people I knew in Kindergarten, to people I’ve known for a couple of months – I keep getting compliments.  I’m learning how to take them a little better, but it’s still pretty weird for me.  And my gorgeous friends?  They tell me that I INSPIRE THEM.  Which still just makes my head spin because I can’t imagine how that works, but I’ll take it because it’s just pretty darn cool.

So who do I hang out with?  I have a new group of people in my life.  New friends who all work out with me, or near me, or beside me, whatever.  I have my whole Beachbody Team, my upline, my Facebook friends, people I met at Summit.  If I need someone to hike with or vent to, I have plenty of options I didn’t have a year ago.  I also now train with this guy.  He’s a Nurse and a Marine, and he has me doing insane things that I never would have done before.  He has a great way to push me and get me out of my comfort zone, but at the same time, I know I’m well taken care of.  He and his wife and kids have become yet another West Coast family to me.  And now he’s letting my intern with him 3 days a week while I try to make health and fitness the center of my world. 

I’m still very happily married, but my relationship with my husband has changed and is changing all the time with this.  Luckily for me, he’s also very interested in fitness and health.  He understands the workouts and the early morning wake ups.  Unfortunately what he doesn’t always understand is how my time and energy get diverted away from things that need to be done.  When I have a high volume week of workouts, that can mean 6 workouts a day starting at  5 AM.  I pretty much have to spend the week before preparing my LIFE to be on total hold.  All household chores pretty much stop once those workouts start.  So if there’s laundry to be done, too bad.  If there’s dishes to be washed, better get plastic.  Need to make an appointment?  Better block out some time of your day, I won’t have any.  I barely cook.  I workout, eat and sleep.  Repeat as many times as necessary.  That has taken a huge toll out of our symbiosis, and has been the source of many fights.  It doesn’t help that when I’m tired and calorie deprived I’m not exactly a reasonable person.

I’m still trying to figure this all out.  How I can still be a good friend and partner and have my workouts, too.  Some friendships may be slightly on pause since there isn’t as much going out to dinner.  Maybe I’ll continue to get more people on the road to fitness along with me.  But either way, this is something I’m doing for myself, and that’s the most important relationship of all.

Busy girl

I’ve been a pretty busy girl lately!  I could give you a big run down, but let’s just say that I’ve been working out A LOT.  And because of that there have been some big changes in my life.  I’m really happy with where I’m at and excited about where I’m going.  So let’s just jump in to the here and now.

Never give up.

Never give up.

This week I’m starting an internship with my trainer – at the same time as I’m also going back in to a high volume week for workouts.  Lucky for me, these things happen at the same time, in the same place.

I didn’t think that burning 5000 calories a day would be achievable for me, but I’ve done it.  Sometimes it feels nearly impossible, but at the end of the day, I look back and I’m impressed with myself.  Pushing myself is something I’m familiar with, but digging in physically to beyond where I thought I could be is something else entirely.  I’m enjoying it because I’m learning more about myself at the same time.  I have a breaking point and sooner or later I’ll learn more about where it is before I hit it.

My life as a Beachbody Coach has been really rewarding.  I’m doing well at it – make a lot of connections and impacting lives.  That’s what it’s about for me.  Anytime someone tells me that something I said, wrote, or posted inspired them to make a healthy decision – well, that really just tells me I’m on the right path.  I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that I’m an example to anyone at all.  I know there are eyes on me and I know that there are a fair amount of haters out there.  I’m just doing what I can and letting the rest of it go.

My Finest 5K.

I have to tell you all, the race yesterday was miserable and fabulous at the same time. Waking up earlier than a normal early race day was just as hard this year as last year. At least it wasn’t cold! I spent much of the drive muttering that I couldn’t believe I was doing this again. My friend that rallied us all to sign up wasn’t even going!

Once we got there, it wasn’t as cold or as dark as the year before and we knew what to expect so I wasn’t as nervous. I bounced around in my wave group. I started with a good run pace from the get go. I fell back to a cross country ski style walk just like my trainer had told me to do once it got hard and uphill. I picked up my knees.

When the downhill portions came, I picked up the pace and ran. I ran more than I ever have in my entire life! I picked a landmark to run to, and then found I could keep going past even though I didn’t think I could. I kept my trainer’s voice in my brain – keep your head up, move those arms. My own inner voice screamed – don’t land on your heels!

And I passed people. A lot of people. Some people leap frogged with me, but everyone I decided to beat – I beat.

My husband was at the finish, already done and surprised I was so early. I knew it was a good finish. I knew I had beat my best. That nice little endorphin high kicked in and I bounced around some more and tried to stretch out anything I needed to.

Even though it was early and dark to start, it was the best race I’ve had yet and I’m proudly looking at that medal right now.

Happy FInishers!

Happy FInishers!