After being disappointed with my results—or rather, the lack of results—following week two, I decided to channel my frustration into staying as on-plan as possible during week three. With the exception of a couple of bites of cake during coffee date night, and light snacking and a couple of beers at our friends' Super Bowl party, I didn't stray from the plan. I even bought a bottle of wine, and only drank three 4oz glasses over the course of the week. The only thing more shocking than me going almost an entire week without beer is how shockingly sad a 4oz glass of wine looks.
Once again, breakfasts consisted of quinoa, sautéed vegetables, and eggs. Grains Greens and 'Teins has been my go to breakfast staple for a while now. I like that it allows me to start the day with something healthy and filling, and I like that switching up the vegetables or the way you prepare your eggs can completely change the meal with little to no effort. We did go out for breakfast once, and I ordered a scramble that was full of vegetables, and skipped the biscuit and the grits.
Lunches also remained the same, and while salad is not the most exciting meal in the world, I do feel like I'm becoming a more responsible adult each time I eat one. While trying to help Casey throw together a lunch later in the week, I was reminded that stir fries are a thing, and since stir fry is essentially a hot salad — as long as you don't go gangbusters with the oil or soy sauce — I'm thinking I will add this to the repertoire.
Dinners this week were fun. This was our first week in the new house, and being reunited with all my kitchen stuff had me super excited to use as much of it as possible. Here's what I made:
Quinoa Black Bean Crockpot Stuffed Peppers — The day I made these, I'd been called in for the final round of a job interview at noon, and had plans to attend rehearsal for a local colorguard at around two. After getting home from the interview, I had just under an hour to change, make and eat lunch, and get dinner started. You guys, the prep time on these stuffed peppers was so quick, I got through all my tasks with time to spare. They were also delicious, and have for sure been added to the list of recipes I'll make again. I left the cheese out when I made these, and topped them with avocado.
The magical stuffed peppers upon being placed in the crockpot to cook
Red Lentil Fritters with Spaghetti Squash — First off, I feel like a dong because I totally forgot to take a picture of this both nights we ate it. To make the fritters, I used this recipe as a guide, and just made smaller patties. Spaghetti squash is super easy to cook:
After you cut the squash in half, remove the seeds. I also like to put about half an inch of water or vegetable broth in the pan, and tent with foil before putting it in the oven.
Once the squash is cooked and cool enough to handle, you can scrape out the fleshy part with a fork, and it will look like strands of spaghetti. I topped our spaghetti squash with sautéed carrots, peppers, onions, and spinach. In addition to tasting great, it's an easy way to add color to your plate!
Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas — This is a recipe I've made many times, and every time we have it, we always wonder aloud why we don't make it more often. This recipe is from Thug Kitchen, which if you haven't heard of them, you're welcome. I have never been able to fit eight enchiladas in a single Pyrex dish, and this time I didn't have enough tortillas, so I cooked a batch of four, and stored the leftover enchilada sauce and filling so I could quickly assemble and cook the remaining enchiladas another day. Again, I was a dong and didn't photograph this meal either.
I mentioned last week that I was surprised at how easy it was to incorporate the workouts into my daily routine. That held true for this week, but I'd be lying if I said doing the exact same series of workouts three weeks in a row wasn't becoming a little boring. The first week wasn't exactly exciting, but rather a little chaotic trying to figure out the exercises and get through each workout without vomiting or getting hurt. Week two felt a little better, because I actually felt like I knew what I was doing, and the workouts were challenging, but felt good. I still felt challenged during week three, but I knew what was coming next, and seriously what the fuck is up with Autumn's "Bonus workouts"? Like, you're recording this, you know you've got time left over, and you know people are going to be doing this workout more than once, just make that shit part of the regular workout. You're not fooling anyone, Autumn!
Did it work? Well, after week three, I posted a loss of a little less than two pounds, for a total loss of just under six pounds after 21 Days. I lost just over an inch in my chest, about an inch and a half in my waist, and almost three inches in my hips. My thighs somehow got bigger, which doesn't bode well for my pants situation, but it does seem like I did make some progress overall. I don't feel like I look markedly different, but I do think I might see an ab starting to form.
I'm not calling it an "after" picture, because I'm definitely not done.
My goal once we got settled in Asheville was to eat better and exercise regularly. 21 Day Fix, and the accountability associated with being part of a group, helped keep me on track. When I'm not in vacation mode, and when I'm focused, I generally eat a healthy diet. My rational self knows daily exercise should be a priority, and that I don't need to order all my favorite things on the menu when I dine out. I live in the South now, so I need to remind myself that biscuits and grits will be on a lot of menus. 21 Day Fix was a great refresher, and I like that I have all the program materials on hand now, and can do another cycle any time I want.
I found following the plan as written, as a vegetarian, incredibly difficult. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I try not to rely on soy or other processed vegetarian fare for protein. When I saw the vegan plan counted beans and lentils as proteins, I decided to try that. I joined a vegan 21 Day Fix group on Facebook, and was chided by one participant for including eggs in my diet, because they're not on the vegan plan. Here's the thing, there is no plan specifically for ovo/lacto vegetarians, and it seemed like many participants were cobbling together food plans that worked for them. I'm not hating on the notion that sometimes you need to adjust a plan to make it fit your needs, but for a plan that promotes itself as being incredibly easy to follow, this shit was pretty confusing.
The recipes that came with the 21 Day Fix Essentials kit left something to be desired. To give you an idea, there was a recipe for brown rice that was literally instructions on how to cook brown rice. You don't need to pay $60 for this information, Google is free.
I also noticed that there is a lot of varying—and sometimes conflicting—information out there, from discussions in the Facebook groups, coaches' blogs, and even Beach Body's own support team. It did make me wonder what becoming a Beach Body coach entails—whether or not there was any training on nutrition and exercise, or if being a Beach Body evangelist was the sole requirement. Ultimately, I was able to navigate my way through all the information and work the plan so that I did see some results. Nevertheless, exposure to this variety of interpretations of the plan reinforced my belief that Beach Body, first and foremost, is a business, and its primary focus is selling products.
I do think 21 Day Fix can be an effective plan for the right person. I find it somewhat misleading of them to suggest you'll get your dream bod in 21 days, but that's just marketing. The nutrition part of the plan isn't a starvation diet, and I liked that the program offered guidance on the specific types of foods you should be eating, but I did avoid making some of my favorite healthy recipes during my time on the Fix, because I wasn't sure how to count it. I also wish they'd incorporate beer into the swap options for carbohydrates.
I've signed on to participate in another 21 Day Fix group starting March 7, and I'm going to see if following the omni plan while allowing beans and lentils to count as proteins produces different results. Until then, I am going to put together my own three week plan relying solely on nutrition and exercise aids that are available for free, and see how that experience compares to my time doing 21 Day Fix!