So one of my fellow soccer players had asked me to join her 21 day fix group that started in mid-July and I know I’ve put on a few pounds in my last marathon training cycle and that I really need to do a lot better with my nutrition (read: stop eating out for lunch every day) and do more (read: any) core and strengthening exercises as I get into my next marathon training cycle, so I decided to take the plunge and join the group.
My marathon was on July 9 and the 21 day fix started on July 11, so I figured that would be perfect timing. Two problems with that: 1) I didn’t order my Shakeology, DVDs and containers until too late, so I wasn’t going to get them until Thursday of that week and 2) it was all I could do to walk up and down the stairs in my house for several days after the marathon, so any extra workouts were totally out of the question. I also wasn’t mentally ready to commit to the full diet change – we had a work celebration for a project that I spent countless hours on earlier this year, so I was not going to turn down the free cake there and I had a tubing trip planned for that Saturday and I knew we would be having burgers, alcohol and various junk food on the river which was something I had been looking forward to, so I decided to use the first week to ease into healthier eating habits and then make the full commitment after the tubing trip.
My first week included a lot of cheating – cake, alcohol, PB & J uncrustables and various other sweets, but I started working more veggies into my diet and trying to stick to the portion sizes that corresponded to the containers I was supposed to be eating. According to the charts, I’m supposed to eat the following each day:
- 3 cups veggies
- 2 cups fruit
- 3 cups protein (broken up into 3/4 c. portions)
- 1 cup carbohydrates (broken up into 1/2 c. portions)
- 1/3 cup healthy fats
- 2 TBSP seeds / dressing
- 2 tsp oils / nut butters
My coach gave me the breakdown of the portion sizes and I used this list of foods to come up with things that I knew I would actually eat. I’ve definitely been spending more at the grocery store in order to stock up on the things I’m supposed to be eating, but when I compare that to what I was spending to eat lunch out every day, it’s probably a wash.
The most helpful thing I’ve done so far is to portion out what I’ve bought from the store. After I do my weekly shopping, I prepare the fruit / veggies and put them into containers so that I can easily grab what I need for a lunch. I do the same for any proteins that I plan to take with me to work. I’ve been trying to sit down and plan out several days of food at once so that I don’t have to think about breakfast, snacks or lunch as I’m getting ready in the morning and that’s definitely been helpful. This week I also learned that if I want to make scrambled eggs, turkey & avocado for breakfast, I need to allow some additional time. I’ve never been one to get up before I absolutely have to in the morning, so the less prep work I need to do for breakfast the better. I think I’ll be sticking with the egg combo for days I’m not going into the office. I’ve also been eating a whole wheat waffle with some peanut butter on it and that’s super easy to throw in the toaster over while I pack the rest of my food for the day and eat on my way out the door.
One of the things I struggled with this week was being ready to eat dinner by 5:30pm – as soon as I get home from work, I’m ready to eat again. I’ve typically been eating at least 2 proteins, 1 carbohydrate, 1 fruit, 1 healthy fat and 2 veggies but I’m still starving by the time I’m done with work. I think part of the reason for this is because I’ve been saving 1 protein and 1 fruit for my “dessert” / post-workout snack and I haven’t been doing the exercises until around 8:00 or 8:30. I bought the chocolate Shakeology, so I’m not really ready for that first thing in the morning and I like having something quick and easy to eat after my workout.
I’ve also been tracking all of the foods I’m eating in myfitnesspal. I put in my target calories and since it syncs to my Garmin, I can see what adjustments the Garmin makes based on how active I was for the day. So far, the 21 Day Fix Extreme videos that I’m following don’t seem to be making much of a dent on my step counter, so the Garmin isn’t catching a lot of the work I’m putting in, but I can certainly feel it! There are still a few of the exercises I haven’t tried because I made an impromptu decision to sign up for a half marathon 24 hours before the race started, so I skipped the leg workout for that night and did an extra arm workout instead. Plus, with the half marathon on Friday, I didn’t do a workout that day and took Saturday as a rest day too – there aren’t any rest days built into the 21 Day Fix program, which makes sense if you’re just doing it for 21 days, but that doesn’t leave room for other planned activities, so I’m making some exceptions where I feel it’s appropriate – I’ve got some big fall races on my radar and I’m not willing to do something that could hurt me in the long run just for the sake of finishing this program.
So after one unofficial week and one official week of the program, I’ve lost 2 pounds and 1″ from my waist, so I’m doing something right. I went ahead and chose the 21 Day Fix Extreme based on some talks with my coach, but honestly, I’m not really sure what the difference is between this program and the regular 21 Day Fix and I’ve found the workouts to be very hard – I haven’t been able to do any of them the whole way through without having to take a break, shorten the set or modify the workout (I’m looking at you pushups). I don’t have any other races or major planned disruptions on my calendar for the next two weeks, so I’m planning to follow the plan as closely as possible, at least for these next 14 days. Time to see how week #2 will go!