Tuesday, April 7, 2015

If it Ain't Broke, Don't 21 Day Fix it. (But, Boy, is it Ever Broke.)

I've both talked about my need to lose weight in the past here, and also detailed a kind of sleazy approach the Beachbody company made to me, where they wanted me to write about one of their products, but weren't going to provide me with the opportunity to try it, first.

At any rate, with the need to lose weight now continuing to exist with no real focus or progress on that front, I'm now trying, along with my wife, Beachbody's 21 Day Fix program.   In short, it is a set of 30-minute workouts, one of which is to be done each day, along with a set of various-sized colored plastic food containers corresponding to different food groups, along with specifications for how many of each color container a person gets each day (which varies by weight).  For example, I might get 6 red containers a day; it doesn't matter what red-coded food item I put into that container, it's just portion size and ratios of "containers" that's important.

If it sounds confusing, it is a little, and I'm lucky to have my wife acting as the brains of operation, although she says most of the challenge is that she's mapping out recipes for two people with different allowances.

Supposedly, you can lose 10-15 pounds over the 21 days, and I do know people that have.  It sounds like a crash diet, and I was a little skeptical of that.  For us, the intent is more that we'll run multiple cycles to lose the weight we need to and maintain that weight while getting examples of healthy, well-portioned meals, and adding some things to the exercise routine, not that it's going to be a 21-day miracle diet, although I do think it is marketed that way or as a way to quickly get back on track.

So far, the results have been good.  I was 163.4 when we started, which is near the low end of my weight fluctuations over the past 2 years, and one week later I had lost 5 pounds.  That included a Saturday night where we went out for some beers with friends and Easter Sunday dinner with my family where I had two helpings of bacon, egg, and cheese casserole (It was really good, Mom!), a Belgian Waffle, and more bacon than I should have.

We have room to improve on the workouts.  Tuesday's leg workout was punishing.  Thursday was Cardio.  I missed Wednesday because I got home very late from the office, and then we didn't do Friday (both exhausted), Saturday or Sunday (just ran out of time between social obligations), or yesterday (I worked till well after 8:00).  We can do better, but we did run 5-miles on Saturday and I am trying to get back into a regular lifting routine.

As far as the challenges, it seems like it's too much at once, in a way, regarding exercise.  I'm trying to get back into long distance training, and I'm trying to start lifting again, and then at the same time there's these new daily workouts.  I'd like to do them because they will help me be better runner, even if in the short term it's a struggle.

As far as eating...

The dinners have been great.  We've had:

1. Crock-pot Turkey Meatloaf, 1/2 potato (butter and salty condiments ARE missed), and veggies.
2. Flat-out (flat bread similar to tortillas) pizzas -- delicious but since the toppings soak through its' not really "pizza".
3. Nachos -- would have been good but we burned the tortillas that get baked to make the chips. 

For lunch I've had turkey or tuna pitas, sometimes with lettuce.  Cheese or ketchup would be welcome; my big portion of ricotta did help today's turkey pita, even though it's not really a classic sandwich cheese. 

Breakfast has been eggs with veggies and/or mushrooms in them, sometimes with a piece of bread with (a small amount of) peanut butter on it, and half a banana.  It varies because you look at amounts of each container over the course of a day, not meal-by-meal.

Almost all the food we've eaten under the diet has been great, there's just a few places I'm struggling:
1. No ketchup (or condiments that I would use).  I've been eating a lot of eggs for breakfast, and without ketchup, it's very bland.
2. Very little cheese, normally.  In combination with #1, this is a disaster.  Sandwiches are dry and bland and lunch has been a struggle.  Today, though, I got to put an insane amount of Ricotta on a sandwich (Ricotta is in a different category than most cheeses).  Sometimes it just doesn't seem logical.
3. Coffee.  Sorry, diet.  I need to put Sweet 'N' Low and milk in my coffee.  That's not negotiable for me.

We have to make this do-able for us.  We will probably give ourselves one day a week (usually Saturday), where we will go out for dinner and have a beer or two and not worry about it, but if I am good 6 or 6.5 out of 7 days, that is a lot better than I have been doing!

It's too early for me to say whether I'd recommend the program or not, but the early results seem good, and I will update further here. 


  1. 1-Go to the [local] natural foodie store and get real ketchup, problem solved!
    2-Find good, all natural, organic cheese moderate the use and stay away from junk food!
    3-Become a coffee connoisseur; find different beans to grind and brew and really savor the flavor of the cacao (?) bean. Good pure, black coffee is delicious!

  2. I'll admit a HUGE amount of interest in the 21-Day fixes at the start of the year . . . but, as I think I wrote, any "x days of whatever" always falls apart for me.

    Though, reading your descriptions, I think I'm pretty close to what you're doing, diet wise -- breakfasts are kefir and black coffee (unless I've worked out, where I add ghee & coconut oil & eggs & protein powder), lunches are minimally adorned lean protein, sauerkraut and/or kimchi, and raw vegetables. Dinner, sometimes, has a little cheese with it (because yum) -- but most condiments have been out -- and the only one I really include is mustard.

    Anyway, I've been maintaining . . . well, no -- something happens and I go overboard (usually find myself at a breakfast buffet and eat my weight in bacon & scrambled eggs) for a day, then I focus on "being clean" for the next week. Weighing myself daily, my graph, kind-of, looks like an EKG, with regular spikes.