Week 1: 21 Day Fix

Bryan and I officially survived the first week of the 21 Day Fix. How was it? Well, in some ways it was easier than I expected. In some ways, it was harder. I feel like I learned a lot this week.

Let’s start with the food.

Honestly, I went into the program making it harder than I should have. I love good food. Complex food. Exotic food. Anytime you start a new diet, you read all kinds of recipes for all the wonderful foods you can eat. Which is great! But I went into this program thinking that every meal needed to be complex and wonderful. And that’s exhausting! And time-consuming! And, often times, disappointing.

It took a couple of days for it to occur to me that sometimes, food is just food. Not everything you put into your mouth needs to be the most fabulous thing you’ve ever tasted! If I tried making complex meals every day for work, I was going to fail. There was nothing wrong with eating simple: A pear. Grapes. A simple salad. Turkey deli meat stuffed into half a whole wheat pita pocket. Cottage cheese. Left overs from dinner the night before. Things got a whole lot easier once I realized that I was the one making things complicated. Food doesn’t have to be so complicated!

It also didn’t take long to realize that the level I was at expected me to eat too much food. 4 Vegetables (Green), 3 Fruit (Purple), 4 Protein (Red), 3 Carbohydrate (Yellow), 1 Healthy Fat (Blue) and 1 Dressing/Seed (Orange) container each day, and 4 teaspoons of Oils or Nut Butters is more than I can eat on an average day. Most days I ended up short a fruit, and usually at least one other container from one of the other categories. Sometimes several. I briefly considered bumping down a category. But, we also weren’t really measuring the oils we used for cooking, and one or two days I ate some extra cheese. I figured it balanced out. The biggest thing for me was not using the extra containers to pig out at dinner time; I stuck to one or two servings of vegetables, one serving of protein, and, if we had a carbohydrate, one container of that.

And, keeping with the idea that we were working this into our everyday life, we still met up with friends for drinks Friday after work and Saturday afternoon. I didn’t drink the rest of the week. I limited the number of drinks I had. I didn’t get any snacks while we were out (no jalapeno pretzels!). And I cut back on my carbs for those two days. It’s all about balance!

I also cut out all coffee and soda this week. Soda wasn’t hard; I’d switched to mainly drinking Sprite, so I wasn’t missing caffeine in the evenings. But the mornings were rough the first few days without coffee! The plan doesn’t say you have to cut out coffee. But I like my coffee with a ton of cashew milk. And I was really using it more as a replacement for eating in the morning. Since I was eating small meals throughout the day, I didn’t really see any reason to keep drinking coffee.

As for the workouts? I’m not gonna lie, they were rough! Monday started with Total Body Cardio. By the time we finished, my legs hurt so bad I couldn’t even walk up the stairs! I was not expecting the pain to kick in so soon! I continued struggling with leg pain on Tuesday as well, even though we did arms that day. By Wednesday (leg day!) I was finally feeling better. Bryan didn’t really start hurting until Thursday. Unfortunately, that’s about the same time the workouts started aggravating his bad hip. I feel bad that he’s in pain now. He’s insistent that he stick with the workout program, but, he’s finally talking about seeing a doctor. I worry about him hurting himself, and I don’t like that he’s in pain. But, I’ve also been asking him to see a doctor for the last two years, for a variety of reasons. so this could be a good thing, in a really bad, round-about way.

Some of the workouts I could do the full version of. Many I had to follow Kat, who does modified versions. Kat is stockier than anyone else in the videos, but I quickly learned that was totally deceptive: There were several times I was screaming at Kat because I still couldn’t do the modification. After all, I was starting out at zero on the exercises. I can’t do a plank, and can barely do a modified plank. Pushups? Yeah, right! Even downward dog on yoga day was a struggle. All of the workouts were a struggle, even yoga day, which is supposed to be an “active recovery” day.

On the plus side, I can’t see either of us mastering these workouts in 3 weeks, which means we’ll still be able to keep using them for a while. And I love that there are seven different workouts, plus a short ab workout. Every day was different.

The first half of the week was rough; I’d get tired midway through the day and feel like I was crashing. I sometimes found myself eating for no other reason than trying to keep myself awake. But after I got past the initial shock, I found that I was much more alert. I wasn’t struggling to get up at 5:30 a.m. I was drinking water like crazy, which was a complete shock. I used to struggle to finish a bottle of water a day; Now I’m drinking 5-6 bottles. My muscles hurt, but not so much I can’t move. I kind of like the feeling, and find myself wanting to move around more throughout the day. I can feel muscles I didn’t even know I had!

I really like the way I’m feeling right now. My body feels good. I feel happier, which has been a surprising side effect. My pants feel ever so slightly looser. With that in mind, I’ve decided not to weigh myself until the end of the 21 days. As much as I remind myself that healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week, when you’re putting in so much work, you start hoping for bigger results, especially the first few weeks. I don’t want to feel disappointed if I don’t see big results, or if one week I lose big, and the next week not at all. For now, I want to concentrate on how much better I feel, and consider that alone a win. Three weeks of just feeling like I’m winning, without paying attention to the numbers on the scale. It’s a new concept for me, so I’m hoping it will help.

  • Cindy W.


  1. don’t push yourself too hard — it’s so easy to burn out with these things. that you start the workout at all is still an improvement over your previous lifestyle, even if you stop 10 minutes in. say you eat 1900 calories one day? still better than your previous lifestyle. don’t beat yourself up. slow and steady wins the race.

    1. I’m trying to keep that in mind, especially on the diet side. I’m kind of enjoying the workouts, and I think I’ll keep pushing to do them for as long as it works for us. The way I’m doing the diet isn’t as rigid as the program suggests, but I’m trying to do this as a “lifestyle change”, and not a “lose weight quick” thing. But, with a history of ED, it’s sometimes hard to turn that part of the brain off that tells me that I’m not doing enough. I keep reminding myself that I don’t need to drop 15 pounds in 3 weeks. I just need to slowly make progress. I’ve (hopefully) got time to get there!

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