And every time I completed a big event, I have gained any weight I had lost during training PLUS some.
The reason (as you know if you are an endurance athlete) is that I got used to eating such high calorie meals for training and recovery to counter the hours of workouts I was doing each day. Once the event was over, my high calorie habit continued, but without the hours of training to burn the excess, so I would gain weight.
That was until October 2014 after the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, HI. That is when I ordered the 21 Day Fix and committed to DOING MY BEST each and every month to follow the plan for a year.
I know that sounds daunting so let’s start with 21 DAYS! You can do ANYTHING for 21 days! Especially when it is a realistic, specific, portion-based program where you still get to eat all your favorite foods!
WHAT? Too good to be true? It’s not. I have been doing it since I finished the ironman and this is the first time since 2001 that I have maintained my weight after a big race. I am the same weight today as I was in October 2014 before the biggest race of my life.
And if 21 days still seems impossible for you, I will share with you how it REALLY went down for me.
After a year and a half of doing the program, I have never actually done it for 21 days in a row.
Each 21 days of the program is called a “round”. Some people only do one round and they are happy with their results and it puts them in the habit of eating the right portions of the right foods. Some people do 20 rounds because they have a lot of weight to lose and they need more than 21 days to teach their body what and how to eat. Most people do something in between. And since the 21 Day Fix is a healthy, realistic, simple meal plan you can do your entire life, that is usually what happens to most of my clients who do at least one round. They learn what foods they like and how much of each food group to eat in a day to satisfy them, help them lose weight, and get healthier.
So what is the 21 Day Fix? It’s a program that includes 21 days of workouts (I personally have never done the workouts, but they are 30 minutes a day from home) and a meal plan with color coded containers.
Each container is a different food group and is already the size of the portion you want for that specific food group. Then there is a food list for each food group and a formula where you calculate your plan based on your current weight, your goal weight, and your lifestyle. Once you know your plan, you know how many containers full of your choice of foods from the list you will need for the day.
I love that I get to choose my own foods and decide when I get to eat them. I personally like eating more at night, so I save almost half my containers for my evening meals and snacks. Most people wouldn’t like my plan, but the beauty of it is that you get to choose! I personally have more success with meal plans when I have guidelines, not strict rules. You tell me not to eat sugar and the first thing into my mouth is sugar!
My first round of the 21 Day Fix, I think I maybe did 10 days on track sprinkled throughout the 21. At first I felt like a total failure and thought “if I can’t stick to this, I can’t expect anyone else to”. But after the 21 days, I still hadn’t gained any weight back! And I was actually shocked! Like I said before, typically after a big race, I gained 10-15 pounds! So I took a week off, and started again the next month. This time it was easier because I knew what I was doing so I didn’t have the typical anxiety I get when starting something new. But I probably didn’t do much better as far as days sticking with my meal plan, maybe 12 days this round. But still didn’t gain weight! Each month I would take a week off and then start a new round, and each month it became more and more of a habit to eat smaller portions and more variety of foods.
One of the biggest bonuses for me personally is that drinking Shakeology on the plan is encouraged, but you could only drink it with milk/nut milk 3x a week. Since at the time I was drinking my Shakeology with Coconut Milk or Almond Milk every single day, this was a challenge.
I couldn’t ever imagine drinking it with only water. So I decided to do half nut milk and half water so I could have it that way every day of the week. I noticed it tasted exactly the same as it did with all nut milk. I got braver and went down to ¼ nut milk and ¾ water. And it still tasted the same! And one day I went crazy and tried it with JUST water…and it was good, didn’t taste much different, a little thinner, but I liked it.
And this has been my biggest bonus because since then, my life has been so much simpler. I used to road trip with a cooler full of nut milk for my shakes. Now I just buy a bottle of water at the gas station and shake and drink! PLUS it’s easier at the gym, during a long conference or work day away from home, and after races. Bonus too that it saves me money and calories to drink my Shakeology with water.
Now when I start getting lazy or sloppy with my eating, I pull out my containers and my spreadsheet and give myself a refresher. Since I have been doing this for so long now, my body instantly responds to the portions. So for me it took more than “21 days to build a habit”, but it’s a habit that lasts a lifetime. You know me, baby steps work best!
I can help you whether you’re going the “baby steps” route or the “I’m all in” route. This program WILL change the way you eat for the better.
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