Well I officially finished up my 21-Day Fix on Saturday. Unfortunately for me (or at least for my diet plan!) Saturday was also my fifth wedding anniversary, so it included some celebrating and eating out. Can you legally eat out on your anniversary and not have a little dessert? I think not. However, I learned some really great things during my 21 Days, and I ate very sensibly on my anniversary date.
First, here's what I learned:
1. Eating tons of fruit and veggies really makes me feel good!
Who knew that eating three cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit every day could make you feel so much better? I certainly didn't, but now that I know, I try to have a salad or a stir fry for a meal every day. Luckily for me there's nary a vegetable I don't like to eat in one form or another. Vegetables contain so much fiber, and eating them helps me reach my goal of 25 grams a day much faster. One great bonus has been how much smoother my whole digestive process is. (TMI, I know, but it needed to be said.)
2. Exercise really does make a difference.
I have never exercised for seven days in a row in my whole entire life--until now. I have now officially worked out every day for the last 26 days in a row! That's big for me, people! Other exercise programs I have been on have always encouraged 1-2 days of rest every week. But for me, missing one day just throws me off my game, and makes it easier to skip the next day, and the next and the next and the next, until I realize I haven't done so much as a jumping jack in a month. It's also helpful that this program has a different workout for every day. Not only does that add variety (the spice of life, you know), but it also keeps me from wanting to throw off my schedule. For instance, I know that Monday is for upper body, Tuesday is for legs, Wednesday is pilates, Sunday and Thursday are cardio, Friday is a total body workout and Saturday is my active recovery day--also known as yoga. If I miss just one day, I've thrown myself off for a week. It helps that each workout is only thirty minutes long, so I'm not committing a huge amount of time to it each day. I still don't love working out, but I respect it and the changes it has made in my body.
3. Processed food is out--mostly.
My main reason for doing this program was to learn to eat healthy, less processed food. I have cut out most processed foods now, and I really feel better. That doesn't mean that I will never eat another potato chip or candy bar, but it means I have realized they really aren't that important to me. Since going on this plan, eating chocolate, or even taking a drink of soda just doesn't satisfy me. My body just doesn't need those things any more. It has been a little tougher to let go of my favorite pasta dishes, though. Let's just face it; a piece of grilled chicken with Dijon mustard sauce will never be as tasty as a starchy pasta in a spicy cream sauce. But when I've worked so hard to get where I am now, that big bowl of pasta just isn't worth it to me. I'm totally amazed that is the truth of my life. Other than a few small sips of sweet tea and milk, I have only drank water for the last three weeks. Now it's truly the only thing that satisfies my thirst. While I have cut out most processed foods and fatty meats, I do still eat brown rice, whole grain pasta and bread, and quinoa. I don't have these things every day, and when I do, I try to limit myself to less than a cup.
If you had told me before I did this plan that I would make all these changes and be totally happy with them, I probably wouldn't have believed you. But it's true. I have seen great results, and I'm committed to keeping these changes in my life. I did not follow Autumn Calabrese's food plan to the letter. I'm sure I would have seen even better results if I had. While I liked the basic principles, I found it to be a bit more restricting than I liked. So, I've decided to use the things I learned during these 21 Days, and apply them to my life, while continuing to count calories. Counting calories really works for me. I like being able to keep track of everything I eat in my "My Fitness Pal" app that syncs with my Jawbone Up band. I don't regret using this program, because it really helped me to make habit changes like I'd wanted for a long time. I plan to stick with the workouts for the foreseeable future, although there are several other Beachbody programs that I'm dying to try! I'm also still drinking my Shakeology every day, and still love it.
So, HOW DID I DO ON MY 21-DAY FIX?
I lost 4.5 pounds and 7.25 inches during these three weeks! That brings my total weight loss for the month of January to 8 pounds! I did it without starving myself or really feeling deprived at all. My clothes fit better, my skin looks better, and I feel generally better about myself. I'm so motivated to keep going! I weigh about the same as I did when I got married five years ago! It's a wonderful feeling and I can't wait to see how far I can go!