Here are 13 things I learned during my 21 Day Fix. Some are about the program in general and some are about myself personally.
1. If done strictly, the program works with maximum results. Did I stick to the program perfectly every single day? No. However I can see how doing 3 solid weeks of proportioned clean eating, exercise, and Shakeology would bring amazing results.
2. That being said, customization is necessary. In the beginning I put so much pressure on myself to do it perfectly and not mess up at all. As a result I got a little stressed and found myself losing motivation in a self fulfilling prophecy. If you are just starting, do what you can! Don’t stress yourself out and feel badly.
3. “Cheats” and “mess-ups” don’t have to mess you up. So you caved and ate a cheeseburger? Don’t beat yourself up. Move on and try to do better. It’s when you beat yourself up that you start to get discouraged that you wind up psyching yourself out. That leads to failure.
4. Organic does’t equal clean eating. Gluten-Free doesn’t equal clean eating. Organic sugar and white flour are NOT clean eating. Organic cereal made with sugar is not clean eating. (refer to clean eating foods list HERE). Same thing with gluten-free foods. Yes GF flour can be a great white flour alternative but not all GF foods are clean eating foods. Look at the fat and sugar content as well as the amount of preservatives in the food. Clean eating is about simple ingredients.
5. The Fooducate App takes away a lot of guess and stress in clean eating. You can literally scan anything all the grocery store and if it’s B+ or higher in rating, it’s clean eating. (Learn more HERE)
6. Shakeology is a good product. The taste with water or plain milk can be a little off-putting at first. The key it to get some good recipes that you like. Most people use blenders to make yummy shakes. I however use my Shakeology cup and mix mine with Almond milk with honey. I shake and mix it for a long time and chill it. It’s really easy that way. It uses an extra red container during the challenge, but it’s worth it to me!
7. Portion control can feel tedious. I had a hard time creating the clean eating recipes I posted because I’m a “throw everything in the pot” kind of a cook. I don’t measure a lot which is probably why I’m a terrible baker (precise measuring is key). To create and share the recipes I had to actually measure! Ugh! So the colored containers were hard for me and kind of stressful because of that.
The good news is if you are like me in that way, after awhile you can memorize the measurements so it’s pretty easy to figure out. Also, if you are using the same sized plated (most likely from your own kitchen), you know what I serving looks like and you don’t have to take the time to measure it. It’s ok to estimate! Yellows are easy because they are carbs so you know that piece of bread equals 1 carb. Blues and oranges (healthy fats and dressings) are where you have to be careful.
8. Eating all of the containers can be hard! It may be a combination of me being so busy and it still being fairly warm. I just haven’t been able to eat all of my containers. That’s ok. I just try to get my fruits and veggies in and I’m ok. On the other end, if you are still hungry, eat extra greens and purples (fruits and veggies).
9. Planning is key! You have to plan your meals. I used a spreadsheet to do that. I created it on my laptop because I am used to eating based on my moods. So I found myself not eating what I planned for my morning snack and instead ate my evening snack because it’s what I felt like doing. Same amount of containers and all so it was fine. I just need the freedom to with. Also, creating a grocery list as well as lunch and dinner plans are really important. Freezing clean eating foods also helps with planning and saving money. I also pre-made 21 Day Fix seasoning mixes to save time later.
10. Clean eating is NOT expensive! Sure, some prepackaged foods cost more money. I spent a pretty penny on gluten-free flour. However I only use a tablespoon at a time as a thickener so it’s really ok. Plus I saved $40 a month buy NOT buying Gatorade. Instead I drink unsweetened herbal iced tea and I don’t miss the Gatorade at all! If I had known it was that easy, I would have given it up long ago.
11 Hydration is SO important! Staying hydrated not only makes you feel better digestively, it also helps distribute nutrients throughout your bloodstream so it gets where it needs to go. What’s the point in clean eating if your body isn’t getting what it needs? That being said, I’m NOT a water drinker at all. I like herbal tea so I would make a gallon iced. I started using Agave syrup and kept cutting back the amount I used. After a couple weeks I was drinking it unsweetened and feeling great. I drink between 64-80 oz (16oz cups) every single day and it feels natural now.
12. Exercise is great! Finding your perfect time is important. For me it’s morning because I get so hungry afterwards so exercise at night does not work. I love the treadmill because it shows my calories and gives me some goals. I also meet one of my best friends there and it helps keep my accountable and I know that she knows if I bail.
13. Support and accountability is a great way to succeed. Challenge groups are usually formed through Facebook. Your group members are going through the 21 Day Fix the same time you are. You can trade tips and support. You also check it with your progress every day. The support, encouragement, and accountability helps a lot!
I’m sure I still have a lot of learn but this is what I know so far.
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