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Back in June, I saw on Facebook that my friend Emily was starting up a 21 Day Fix Challenge Group in July. I’d heard of the program before – mostly from all the Beachbody coaches popping up in my newsfeed (and I’ll be honest, I was sick enough of it that I actually unfollowed most of them) – but I didn’t know too much about it. The timing was perfect, though, as I was 2 months out from my sister’s wedding and beginning to feel frustrated that my post-baby weight loss was slowing down. So I did a bit of looking into it, signed up, and was soon on my way to being at my lowest weight since before having kids!
A little disclosure before you begin: Please know as you’re reading this is that I am NOT a Beachbody coach. This post is not sponsored by anyone in any way. I’m just a mom of 2 kids, 6 months postpartum, looking to fit back into clothes I haven’t worn in years and to feel a bit better about myself! My inspiration for this post is fairly simple – it’s exactly what I was looking for when I began this program but couldn’t find anywhere. Oh, sure, there are lots of blogs out there with content about the 21 Day Fix, but they are all written by Beachbody coaches – I was just looking for an honest, unbiased, not-trying-to-sell-you-anything take on it from an everyday mom like me. So – here is my 21 Day Fix review!
What is the 21 Day Fix?
Basically (and this is from an outsider’s, non-coach perspective) this is a lifestyle-changing diet and exercise program. The biggest thing that makes it different from other diet and exercise plans is that it is meant to change your habits permanently, not just long enough for you to lose a few pounds and then go right back to your previous habits of eating and exercising. It is intense but completely doable for ANYONE. I can’t stress that enough. The diet plan is based on portion control and whole foods – you choose from a list of approved foods (there are a LOT!) and use them to fill your daily allotment of color-coded containers. There is a 7-day exercise program sequence that goes along with the diet plan that you are meant to do every day (30 minutes each) and repeat 3 times for a total of 21 days.
It is pricey, especially if you include the Shakeology (a densely nutritious, superfood, meal replacement type protein shake) with your program – which I did. I purchased the “Challenge Pack” (only available through a coach) which included the containers, meal plan booklet, and exercise DVDs plus a month’s supply of Shakeology for about $130. (You can buy the program without the Shakeology for less, either through a coach or via Amazon.) I actually found the cost to be a big factor in my own motivation – if I was going to drop over $100 on this program, I was going to work hard and get my money’s worth out of it!
After I decided to jump in, I spent a LOT of time on Pinterest browsing meal plans and recipes and repinning to my 21 Day Fix board. I started by making lists of meals and snacks that sounded good to me, read the 21 Day Fix Eating Plan booklet cover-to-cover, and finally went to work creating a daily meal plan and shopping list several days before I was planning to actually begin the official 21 days. My coach also had a plethora of amazing resources that were so helpful in the planning process. Now, if you are beginning this program (or any other, for that matter), you MUST plan in advance. Don’t expect to be able to stock your fridge with typical diet foods and make it up as you go. I also planned how I would get my work-outs in each day, and gave my husband permission to hold me accountable for sticking to the meal plan and workouts. I highly recommend (in addition to getting a coach, which is free if you order with them!) finding one or more people to hold you accountable through the duration of the program.
I’d say I followed the meal plan about 90% of the time. I knew that allowing myself to “cheat” would be a slippery slope, so I stuck with it as much as I possibly could, and really the only “cheats” happened when I was away from home for a meal (4th of July potluck, dinner at a restaurant, etc), and even then I still tried to make healthy choices. But I did do my exercises each day! The first week MAJORLY kicked my butt…I was SO sore. Like, I-can-barely-sit-down-on-the-toilet kind of sore. But as I progressed, I noticed a big difference in my strength and endurance as I continued with the exercises each day.
The tangible results: after my first 21-day round, I lost 8 pounds and a total of 7 inches! But here’s the even more remarkable part – since then, I haven’t been following the Fix as strictly but I’ve been more aware of my eating habits and portion sizes and continued with Shakeology and exercises a few times a week. I’m now down a total of 15 pounds and 17 inches since I began 2 months ago!! If you’re curious, those inches are from the following measurements: Bust (lost 2″), chest (1″), waist (just above my belly button, a whopping 5.5″), stomach (right at my belly button, 3.5″), hips (2.5″), and thighs (2.5″). I also kept track of my upper arm and calf measurements but they haven’t changed.
The intangible results have been terrific, too. I just feel…better. Better when I fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes, better when I look in the mirror, better when I get sincere compliments from friends and family who notice the change in my appearance. I also feel better about the healthier choices I’m making when it comes to the food I’m eating, as well as the food I’m feeding my family. I feel stronger, healthier, and happier.
My New Habits
Through the journey of the 21 Day Fix, I’ve really developed some life-changing habits that have made a big difference. A really simple change was just discovering some basic, healthy snack foods and meals that I didn’t know I liked before! For example, I’ve never been a fan of greek yogurt. But as part of the Fix, I ate a lot of it (and used it frequently in cooking as a substitute for other things), and figured out I actually do like it! Plain greek yogurt with some honey and sliced strawberries or blueberries became my nightly on-the-couch snack, instead of ice cream. I also now always keep multigrain frozen waffles on hand – they are great with a small spoonful of peanut butter and maybe some sliced banana for a quick snack. The biggest change, though, has been how I think about meal planning and cooking for my family. I have been in the habit of cooking a meat, starch, and vegetable for dinner for my entire adult life…but I discovered that swapping out that starch for another veggie or a healthy whole grain is just as filling and much better for me! I’ve also learned how to cook more with whole food ingredients instead of processed foods.
Now, that’s not to say that we still don’t order a pizza or get fast food every once in a while, or that I’ve purged my pantry completely of cream-of soups and boxed mac and cheese. But my fruit and veggie drawers in the fridge are fully stocked, I read more labels of things in the grocery store before throwing them into my cart, and I’ve learned more easy, healthy meals to make that please both my family and my calorie count.
Bottom Line – would I recommend it? YES!! I know it’s a big chunk of change to drop on a diet program. And if you aren’t going to be able to commit and give it 100%, it’s probably not worth it. But if you are looking for a tool to help change your lifestyle and kickstart weight loss, this is a great program and I will recommend it to you wholeheartedly!
Next week I’ll be sharing some of my meal planning tips and favorite whole food recipes that I discovered through the 21 Day Fix – and they are certainly not exclusive to this particular program! If you’re somebody that has been trying to learn how to cook a little healthier for yourself and your family, you’ll definitely find it helpful. Be sure to sign up for email updates so you don’t miss it!
Update – here’s the next post in the series, 21 Day Fix Meal Planning Tips and My Favorite Foods
Along with a round up of 21 Family Friendly 21 Day Fix Recipes!
Or these amazing 21 Day Fix Instant Pot Recipes!
Now, if you ARE interested in trying out the 21 Day Fix, you should find a Beachbody coach to help get you started. They can provide invaluable resources and support for you! Chances are, you already know one…but if you don’t, I’d highly recommend my coach, Emily Wertz – you can track her down via her Facebook page here.
This post contains affiliate links – click here to read my full disclosure.
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Just wanted to say thanks as my husband and I are about to start the fix and it is so refreshing to read advice 1) from a non-Beachboy coach, and 2) a list of 21 day approved family-friendly foods, as we have a 4 and 2 year old at home.
I’d be curious how much you used shakeology in your journey too…it just seems so pricey, you know? But my friend- who happens to also be a coach – really advises it.
You are so welcome! I’m glad you find it helpful. I did use Shakeology…honestly I think part of my motivation to stick with the program was because of how expensive it was, I wanted to get my money’s worth! I did really enjoy the daily shakes and I felt like they really contributed to my results as well as my energy level. That said, I’m not entirely convinced that a protein shake wouldn’t have accomplished pretty much the same thing. In my opinion – take it or leave it! – I’d say go ahead and do the Shakeology for your first Fix so you are doing the complete program. Then, after your 21 days, see what you think of it and go from there. I just did one bag of Shakeology and didn’t reorder, but I am glad that I did it. Good luck with your first round!!
Thank you so much for your opinion, experience and all the advice. I started two days ago and find it some what of motivation to read successful stories from an unbiased opinion. I can totally relate to you. Scavenging for tips , recipes and anything that will guide me through this. Thank you again this was helpful to read .
I am very happy to hear that of an original review. I will begin my first round of the 21DF on 4/4/16. I did have a personal question. I noticed you started when your baby was 6 months old, were you nursing at the time? My son will be 5 months in April and I am still nursing and wanted any suggestions or tips if you were nursing. Thanks so much for the information and meals! :)
You are very welcome!! Yes, I was nursing (yay for burning extra calories, right??)…to account for the extra calories for BFing, I upped myself into the next highest bracket of container counts. I don’t think I ever “ran out” of containers in a day and was still hungry…but if you do, it’s always okay to add an extra green or red container. Good luck, and have fun!!
Thanks so much on the genuine/honest review:))Really appreciate your time!
I am also thinking about this program,the only thing I am skeptical about is my age Factor….I am 43 and was wondering if this will work for me?I am at 132 pounds right now and need to loose 15 pounds in two months for a reunion!I hear a lot about the difficulty of loosing weight after 40 years of age:(
What do you think?
My mother did 21DF at age 59 with great success! I don’t know that she lost a significant amount of weight (though she really didn’t need to lose any to begin with as she was already at a healthy weight) but she did lose noticeable inches and looked a lot fitter. So, yes, I think this would definitely work for you!