Why is the 21-day diet is so popular?
The 21-day diet is able to help people drop 15 pounds in just three weeks. It is no wonder that people are talking about this plan. In 2015, it was the most searched diet trend according to Google. On Pinterest, the diet spiked up by 190% in the same year.
Understandably, we had to seek an expert's advice to see if the diet was just a hoax or not.
How it works
This diet plan is focused on the idea that it takes 21 days to create a healthy habit. It was designed by the National Academy of Sports Medicine certified celebrity trainer Autumn Calabrese. The plan works through portion control and regular physical activity which helps promote weight loss.
The program includes color-coded containers that help you measure and control your portions. This kit comes with a green container for vegetables, purple container for fruits, a red container for proteins, a yellow container for carbs and 2 orange containers that are used for seeds and dressings. Plus a Shakeology blender bottle that is used for shakes.
First, you need to start by calculating your caloric intake. To do this, multiply your current weight by 11 and then add 400, this will cover the calories that you burn during your workout. The number that you get is your personalized caloric intake to help you maintain your weight. If you are wanting to lose weight subtract 750 to find your calorie intake for the day.
Once you have your number then the plan will assign your daily container allowance. For instance, if you are between the 1,200 to 1,499 calorie range then you can have three green, two purple, four red, two yellow, and one orange container per day. There is also a guide that breaks down what type of food each container can hold, which makes it easier to create a meal plan for every week.
The dieters will also receive two workout DVDs. The workout plan is made up of 30-minute workouts and there is one for each day of the week.
Autumn stated, “It’s true that most people will be able to lose at least some weight on the 21 Day Fix, but for a long-term weight-loss solution, it may be better to find a program that’s more flexible.” While this diet could help you shed those stubborn pounds quickly, it is not the best for long-term use and people should look at other diet options. The exercise system is best for beginners to intermediate exercise levels.
I ordered the basic, also called the Essential Package from Beachboy when it was first available. I went through the whole program to see if worked.
At first, I was pretty skeptical of what the diet claims to do, and I thought it was just a hoax. The package arrived and at first, I was surprised by how small the containers were because they looked like they were bigger on the television. I went through all the reading and documentation information over the diet. I also looked through the workout so that I would have an idea of what to expect from this 21-day diet plan. Then I started to organize my eating plan. It was easy to determine what my caloric intake was and then how many of each container I can have each day. The first week I used the booklet the comes with the plan, it gave me a lot of meal options to consider. To make my shopping for the week easier, I created a color-coded spreadsheet that outlined what the exercise and food choices would be for the week. Then I went to work making dressings, spice mixtures and packaged and portioned snacks for the week. The only things that I had left to do were to cook my dinner meals for the week, but I thought it would best to cook those every night so that there were fresh. At first, the eating plan was a lot of work. But as the weeks continued on it became easier to get used to doing all my meal prep at the beginning of the week. It was great to come home after a long day of work and have a healthy dinner almost all ready to eat.
I started the 21 Day Fix on a Sunday. I took pictures and measured my body so that I could compare both of them at the end of the three-week period. The first workout I did was the Yoga Fix. I choose this one to help get my body used to different sorts of movements, and it caused me to break out in a sweat. On Monday, it was Total Body Cardio Fix, and that kicked my butt too. I was barely able to make it through the warm up, it had me huffing and puffing throughout the whole workout. But by the end of the first week, I lost 2 pounds!
On the third day of the diet, all of my belly bloat was gone, and I felt really light. And unbelievably on the fourth day, I was starting not to crave all that food. During the first few weeks, I religiously stuck to the container system. To make it simple, if the food fits and it is on the list then you can eat that food. While having 1 cup of lettuce really does not make a salad I would add a little more lettuce to build a bigger salad. It was easy to create a delicious salad dressing, most of the time I sprinkle a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice on the top. Sometimes I would cheat outright by eating a big bowl of pasta or have a scoop of ice cream. I never once skipped a workout day, because I was addicted to the exercising.
The whole exercise program is based on circuit workouts. There are 9 different workout types.
These workouts are only 32 minutes long, but they include a warm-up and a cool down. The Upper Fix focuses on the upper body while the Lower Fix is more focused on legs. It has two different cardio workouts, one that focuses on cardio interval training and the other one is a bodyweight cardio circuit. Yoga Fix makes for a nice muscle break for the middle of the week, and the Dirty 30 workout is good for toning. 10-minute abs target all of yours and will help you develop a more stable core. The ninth workout, Plyo Fix, came free since I ordered it through the Beachbody website. There is also an option to order an extra DVD that has Barre Legs and Flat Abs.
The program uses lots of different exercises. Some are used to target your arms, legs, or your whole body. A few examples of these exercises include squats, jumping jacks, crunches, lunges, transverse twists, and push-ups. Most of the circuits are based on one minute of exercise which is then followed by 15 to 20 seconds of rest.
The workout rotation has you doing a workout every day of the week, and you repeat the same workouts daily. For example, on every Monday the workout is Total Body Cardio, on every Tuesday the workout is Upper Fix, and so on. It is also recommended that during week three you go to two workouts per day. This will help maximize fat loss and allow you to tone up quicker.
The Style of Workouts
During every workout, there is a countdown timer on the screen. This helps you see where you are in the workout and how much time you have left. The exercise plan follows a circuit format, which is good but it can get boring doing the same thing over and over again. All of the workouts focus a lot on legs. After watching an online interview with Autumn Calabrese who said that the reason all of these workouts are so leg focused is because it burns more calories and fat than those workouts that do not have a large focus on legs. These workouts are also easy to follow along with because they are taped right in front of a mirror.
To do all the workouts, there is very little equipment needed.
-Various pairs of dumbbells, I used my 3,5,8, and 10-pound weights
You can also use resistance bands if you do not have weights on hand
Intensity and Instructor
The intensity level is great for all levels. I think of myself as a more advanced exercise, because my favorite workouts include Shaun T’s workouts and Fusion Fitness’ Dream Body. While those workouts can be pretty intense, the exercise plan that comes with the diet is still able to pack a punch.
Autumn leads the workouts herself. She also does some of the exercises and will walk around to the background exercisers to give them pointers, encouragement, and motivation. Every exercise has a modifier that you can follow her throughout the workout program. This means that even if you are unable to do the exercises that are the main focus of the program, you are still able to get some form of physical exercise.
The Meal Plan
This container system lets you have a personalized meal plan, that is tailored to fit your body’s energy and food needs. Then it will determine how many container portions you can have each day, based on your caloric needs. Every container represents a specific type of food.
-Green: 1 cup of vegetables
-Purple: 1 cup of fruits
-Red: 3/4 cup of protein
-Yellow: 1/2 cup carbs or starches
-Blue: 1/3 cup of healthy fats or cheese
-Orange: 2 tablespoons of seeds or oils
-Teaspoon: oils or nut butter- the set does not come with a teaspoon since it assumes that you already have a teaspoon
-Blender bottle that is used for protein shakes
With each colored container, there is a corresponding page in the Eating Plan booklet which lists out some foods and what groups they belong in. It also comes with about 15 recipes that can be used during your diet plan. All of these recipes are vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
The containers help to eliminate the need for you to track your meals, but it still bests to use whole foods. This can get a little expensive and it takes up a large amount of time because you will have to prep your meals. According to creator Autumn, “Most of the meals are expensive or time consuming to make. And you might find the small portions of food to be too restrictive.” This could cause a lot of people to fall off the diet wagon before the 21 days are up, or could cause people to binge after the 21 days are over.
Having to do exercise routines every day for an almost month can be very time-consuming and difficult for some people.
Like other diet trends, this diet was not designed to last beyond the three weeks. While there are some people who will continue to use the container system and workout regular, there are others who will revert back to their previous habits which will lead to them gaining back the weight that they lost while doing to edit plan.
The most annoying thing about the program is that there are a lot of ads about Beachbody. They pop up before and after every workout. So, most of the time I just skip right over them.
This diet is a good plan as a whole, but the exercise plan is targeted more towards the beginner and intermediate level exercisers. The colored containers are a great way to help you practice portion control and will help teach you how to eat better.
I would recommend this 21 Day Fix to everyone. But those who are new to the whole healthy eating and exercise plan would benefit the most with this program. I looked forward to working out every day and it was even better since I did not have to go to a gym.
If you have any questions, please feel free to them in the comment section below.