From Prix Fixe to 21-Day Fix Extreme (and Vegan!)

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my calories. My favorite kinds of meals are found at fancy restaurants, where I can order a prix fixe menu with multiple courses and wine or cocktail pairings carefully curated to each of the courses. That is my heaven. I thrive in that environment. Give me foie gras, fondue, charcuterie, and any other French word that sounds like a heart attack on a plate, and I’ll wash it down with a martini, Malbec, and Amaro.

Luckily, I’ve learned to confine that type of diet almost exclusively to the weekends, and now I focus on being a 100% clean-eating vegan during the week.  It helps me focus, get better sleep, and feel happier, which all helps with the 9-to-5 universe. Going all out on the weekends definitely keeps the week in perspective and gives me a great outlet on Friday evening.

So what happens when the weekend splurging ends? What happens when bottomless mimosa brunches get replaced with a strict 21-day regimen of carefully calculated meals?  What happens when this city dweller, who thrives on trying new restaurants and cocktails, gasp! goes on a diet?  Specifically, I’m talking about the 21-Day Fix Extreme.

Now, I’m no stranger to diet and exercise programs. Last year, I did the 21-day inner body tune up known as the Beachbody Ultimate Reset. It helped me bust through a weight-loss plateau and really helped transform my perspective on what I put in my body. During the Reset, you are mostly eating vegan and you’re encouraged NOT to exercise, since your body needs to focus on detoxing rather than repairing muscle. That program was wonderful, but I wanted to try something different this year.

The 21-Day Fix Extreme caught my eye. Why? After doing the super-intense Reset, I figured I could do this Fix for 21 days (I can really do anything for 21 days!), it was super cold outside (so bar/restaurant-hopping is less appealing), and I really wanted to see what would happen to me if I really dialed in my nutrition AND exercised according to the program for 21 days.

So, what is the 21-Day Fix Extreme?

The 21-Day Fix Extreme is a diet and exercise program.

Exercise:  You get seven “extreme” 30-minute workouts, one for each day of the week— so your mind never gets bored, and your body never adapts. The workouts feature a unique blend of steady-state aerobics, resistance training, and explosive power moves that target every muscle in the body—to help you get shredded fast.

Diet: For your nutrition, you practice portion control and eat ONLY clean foods (unlike the original 21-Day Fix, which allows its participants the occasional chocolate or glass of wine). No treats. No cheats. No excuses. The program comes with a set of color-coded containers. Each container corresponds to a different type of food group. For example, red is for protein, and green is for vegetables. You do a simple equation to figure out how many of each container you can eat in one day. You spread out the containers throughout the course of the day as you like.

Here is a short video on the 21-Day Fix Extreme.

Promotional Materials: 21-Day Fix Extreme

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What did you eat on the 21-Day Fix Extreme?

Based on a simple calculation based on my weight, age, and other factors, I could have the following each day:

  • 3 green containers (vegetables)
  • 2 purple containers (fruit)
  • 4 red containers (protein)
  • 2 yellow containers (carbs)
  • 1 blue container (healthy fats)
  • 1 orange container (nuts/seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons (oils)

In order to make the program even HARDER, you’ll never guess what I did. That’s right – I made it vegan. On the 21-Day Fix Extreme, the only vegan protein options are tofu and tempeh (and some powders). Luckily for me, I like both.

Breakfast: For breakfast every day, I had chocolate vegan Shakeology (1 red). This is something that I have for breakfast every day anyway; however, I had to make it with water rather than almond/coconut milk, which is what I usually use.  I got one fruit serving in during breakfast by adding 1/2 banana to the Shakeology.  Since vegan protein options are restricted for the 21-Day Fix Extreme, I used two different types of plant-based protein powders to help me get my 4 red containers.  For the second week of the program, I added some pea protein to my morning shake, and in the third week I used hemp protein.  The Shakeology did a great job keeping me full until lunch time, especially with the added protein.

Lunch: I had pretty much the same lunch every day mostly for the sake of ease and convenience.  I made a salad of the following:

  • 1 green = spinach
  • 1 green = 1/3 onion, 1/3 red bell pepper, 1/3 tomato, and/or a little carrot
  • 1 red = tofu
  • 1 yellow = quinoa
  • 1 orange = raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • Freebies: balsamic vinegar, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, cilantro

Snack: I had an apple (1 fruit) as a snack every day between lunch and dinner.

Dinner:  Though I had the same breakfast, lunch, and snack every day, dinner was something that I tried to mix up regularly.  I’ll tell you about some of my favorite vegan dinner options.  Though these are vegan, they can be easily made nonvegan by replacing the protein with an animal-based protein (e.g., chicken).

Here’s some dinner recipes I came up with:

Guacamole Tofu

  • 1 red = tofu
  • 1 blue = 1/4 of an avocado
  • 1 green = 1/3 tomato, 1/3 onion, 1/3 peppers (jalapeno, red bell)
  • 1 yellow = black beans
  • 1 teaspoon = olive oil
  • Freebies: pink Himalayan salt, red cayenne pepper, fresh-squeezed lime juice, cilantro, garlic

I essentially made guacamole with the avocado, veggies, and black beans, cilantro, seasoning, and lime juice; cooked the tofu with garlic and oil; and then topped it with the guacamole.

A Typical Day on the 21-Day Fix Extreme

collage of meals

Roasted Tofu, Asparagus, Baked Sweet Potato

  • 1 red = tofu (I mixed it up with a flavored “savory” tofu)
  • 1 green = asparagus
  • 1 yellow = small sweet potato
  • 1 blue = avocado
  • 1 teaspoon = olive oil
  • Freebies: Garlic

I baked the sweet potato; roasted the tofu with asparagus (tossed in olive oil with cloves of garlic); and added avocado before serving. The avocado reminded me of a butter substitute for the sweet potato. It was delicious!

Dinner of Tofu, Asparagus, Sweet Potato

Dinner of tofu SP asp avo

Indian-Style Tofu Curry

  • 1 red = tofu
  • 1 green = 1/2 tomato sauce, 1/4 onion, 1/4 spinach or broccoli
  • 1 blue = coconut milk
  • 1 yellow = 1/2 quinoa or brown rice; 1/2 garbanzo beans
  • 1 teaspoon = coconut oil
  • Freebies: garlic, red cayenne pepper, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander seed, fresh grated ginger

This was my absolute favorite invention from the 21-Day Fix Extreme, and I continue to eat this regularly for dinner even after the program ended! I heated the coconut oil, added the garlic, onion, and about 1 teaspoon of each freebie spice (except ginger, which I added near the end). Then I added the tofu and coated with the spices. If I were doing broccoli, I added that with the garbanzo beans. I added the tomato sauces and coconut milk, and let it cook. Near the end, I stirred in the quinoa and spinach. I used either broccoli or spinach depending on which I had on hand.

Indian-Style Tofu Curry

indian tofu

What were the workouts like on the 21-Day Fix Extreme?

The program includes a different workout for each day of the week – each only 30 minutes long and each with a modifier:

  • Sunday: Yoga Fix Extreme – I am not a big fan of yoga, but I really liked this efficient yoga workout.  It is probably about 1/2 vinyasa sun salutations and 1/2 balance postures. There were people modifying to make it both easier AND harder in the video. The one guy in the video is really amazing – doing headstands and arm balances, but Autumn does NOT do some of the super crazy poses, so rest assured. This is a yoga workout that can be done by almost anyone.
  • Monday: Plyo Fix Extreme – Mostly jumping moves with weights. A great workout to get your heart-rate up.
  • Tuesday: Upper Fix Extreme – A series of upper body moves, mostly done with dumb bells, but also with a resistance band.  I am not normally a big of resistance bands in workouts, but I really enjoyed the moves that used the band, as I feel like it helped me target underutilized muscles.
  • Wednesday: Pilates Fix Extreme – Like yoga, pilates isn’t really my thing, BUT I thought pilates using the resistance band was a lot of fun!  I wasn’t really out of breath at all during this workout, but I did definitely started sweating near the end.
  • Thursday: Lower Fix Extreme – A great lower body workout, also uses both weights and the resistance bands.
  • Friday: Cardio Fix Extreme – Great cardio workout that utilizes weights.
  • Saturday: Dirty 30 Fix Extreme – A total body workout that uses weights. I really loved this one.

The workouts are extreme, but they’re not impossible.  I love Shaun T and his Insanity workouts – those are my “soul mate” workouts – but the 21-Day Fix Extreme is NOTHING like Insanity, which is definitely extreme, intense, difficult, not for beginners, and sometimes complicated.  The 21-Day Fix Extreme can be done by beginners, especially if you modify.  The moves are NOT complicated.  They are pretty basic, tried and true moves, sometimes tweaked to help burn more calories.  You’ll see a lot of simple moves, like lunges, squats, and shoulder presses.  Autumn is not trying to reinvent the wheel.  She is kind of the opposite of Shaun T in that you might not be able to do Shaun’s plyo pushups the first couple of times you do his workout, but you work to get there.  Autumn only has 21 days with you, so she is going to give you moves that you CAN do to be as efficient with your time as she can be.  They’re simple and effective moves that you can make harder by adding heavier weights or putting more into it (i.e., jumping higher).

So, what kind of results did you get doing the 21-Day Fix Extreme?

Okay. I HATE HATE HATE sharing my before-and-after pictures. BUT I took them so I could get my free 21-Day Fix Extreme t-shirt and enter the Beachbody Challenge and perhaps win some cash prizes!  So, since I took my pics anyway, I might as well share them with my readers.

Before-And-After: 21-Day Fix Extreme

before and after collageAs you can see, I lost almost 9 pounds total doing the 21-Day Fix Extreme. On a short 5’2″ girl like me, that’s quite a bit! And I can assure you that was not all water weight, as I have a fancy scale that measures water, and my water levels stayed pretty constant throughout the program (actually, they increased a little, see below). I am most proud of the definition that I got in my abs! (Right?! You can totally see that!)  I was honestly VERY surprised that I got such great results, as I feel like I have done much harder workout programs and have seen LESS results.  I think that the simplicity of the program allowed me to really focus on pushing harder, lifting heavier, and having proper form.

Weight: -8.8 pounds

Fat: -2.4%

Water: +2.3%

Muscle: +1.4%

Would you do the 21-Day Fix Extreme again?

Yes, absolutely!  It is hard for me to find 21 days to block off on my schedule because, as I mentioned, I like to do a lot and often have food/drink-related events on my weekend agenda, but i would definitely do this again if I can find the time.  It would be great to do leading up to a vacation or special event.  It really helped me break through a plateau and helped teach me better portion control.

How do I order the 21-Day Fix Extreme? 

Go here to order the challenge pack, which comes with Shakeology (i.e., one of your meals throughout the 21 days, which is really a huge time and prep saver).  Alternatively, you can order the base kit here, though the challenge pack is really the better deal.

How can I know that I will succeed if I do the 21-Day Fix Extreme?

As with any health and fitness program, you get out of it what you put in. No one is going to do the program for you. You can’t expect to see results if you don’t do the work. BUT I can offer you my free coaching services to help you get through the program just as I did! I can help you stay accountable to meet your health, fitness, and wellness goals. Please go here to sign up for a free Team Beachbody account.  I will become connected with you as your coach, and I will contact you to learn more about your goals and talk to you about how to get started.

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Update + 3-Day Refresh

Long time, no write.  I’m resurrecting the Healthraiser blog!  Have you been wondering whether the results of the Beachbody Ultimate Reset are sustainable?   Do you gain back all of the weight immediately?  Do you have to forever banish alcohol, sugar, and fat from your diet?  Do you become a crazy vegan hippie after the Reset ends?  What comes next for Distilled Jill in her health and fitness journey?  This entry will answer those questions.

First off, I’m proud to say that 4 months after the Reset has ended, I have not only sustained the 8 pounds of weight loss from the Reset, but I’ve even lost about 5 more pounds.  How?  Continuing to eat healthy, incorporating some lessons that I’ve learned from the Reset into my daily routine in a way that achieves balance without depriving myself, and focusing on fitness.

Post-Reset Diet Changes

I’m a city girl.  I love going out, trying new restaurants, bars, and festivals.  My life post-Reset has made me realize that I can actually still be a foodie as long as I do so in moderation, while balancing other important aspects of health and fitness.

The Reset really made me realize how much animal protein I was consuming.  Honestly, I think the amount of animal protein that I was consuming was really holding me back in reaching my health and fitness goals.  Since the Reset ended, I’ve decided to eat a vegan diet Mondays through Thursdays, with “anything goes” on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  While “anything goes” generally means that I allow myself to eat red meat and dairy, I find that I don’t have that much even though I do not purposely deprive myself.  I might have red meat once or twice a month now.  I’m eating far less cheese.  I think I might have had yogurt once or twice in the past 4 months.  As a matter of fact, I find the smell of some dairy (e.g., yogurt, cheese) occasionally making me feel nauseous.  When I do have a high-indulgence “anything goes” weekend, I’ve noticed sinus problems and bloating that always goes away during the vegan weekdays.  I generally gain 3-4 pounds on weekends, but I generally lose 4-5 pounds during the week with a healthy diet and exercise.

I’ve never had much of a sweet tooth, even before the Reset.  So, my diet with regard to desserts hasn’t really changed.  I’ll have refined sugar on occasion – normally for a special event.

I try only to drink alcohol on weekends now.  This has been working pretty well for me.  While I have been in social situations with alcohol during the week (e.g., happy hours), I try to either limit myself to one drink or not drink at all.  The Reset made me realize just how easy it is to refuse alcohol in a social situation.  I’ve realized that if I’m going to drink, I don’t want to waste the calories on bad alcohol.  I’d rather have a very nice craft cocktail, beer, or wine.  I also don’t want to waste those calories on just one drink that doesn’t really hit me.  If I’m going to drink, I’d rather have several drinks on the weekend where I can enjoy a good buzz.  Anything else just seems like a waste of time and calories.

I feel like I recover a lot faster from alcohol than I used to.  I think that my organs are probably functioning at a much more optimized level than they did pre-Reset.  A night of drinking generally isn’t taking me out of commission the following day.

Fitness

You cannot do any intense workouts during the Reset.  Since I generally do a hard workout each morning, like Insanity, 21 days of not working out was difficult for me.  Since the Reset ended, I have completed the Focus T25 program.  I got my free t-shirt!

T25 shirt

I honestly did not lose much weight doing this program (maybe 3-4 pounds), but that’s not really my goal anymore.  The Reset really helped me break through a weight loss plateau, I am finally at a “healthy” BMI, and I’d like to maintain that while building muscle and becoming leaner.  That might mean that I gain weight in my fitness journey, and I’m fine with that.  Currently, I’m doing Insanity.  I’m in the middle of month 2, but plan to take a break for the…

3-Day Refresh!

Beachbody recently announced a new product called the 3-Day Refresh!  This product is very exciting because it is essentially a mini Ultimate Reset!  The 3DR consists of 3 daily shakes (including Shakeology and a new shake called Vanilla Fresh), a fiber drink (called Fiber Sweep), plenty of filtered (not distilled) water, plus a wide array of fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats throughout the day to keep your energy and metabolism going.  Unlike juice cleanses that are high in sugar and low in protein, the 3DR’s shakes provide plenty of protein and fiber to help ward of hunger pains and irritability.

The format is basically this:

1.  Wake Up: Drink 8-12 ounces of filtered water to jumpstart your system.

2.  Breakfast (within 1 hour of waking): Shakeology plus a fruit option.

3.  Mid-Morning Fiber Sweep (digestive health drink).

4.  Lunch:  Vanilla Fresh (high-protein, hunger-satisfying shake) plus options from the fruit, vegetable, and healthy fats list.

5.  Afternoon Snack: From the fruit, vegetable, or juice options list.

6.  Dinner:  Vanilla Fresh plus a delicious meal made from the dinner recipes list (the dinner recipes all look like they are from the Ultimate Reset recipe book).

Here is a short video on the 3DR:

I plan to start the 3DR on Tuesday!  In the past month, I had a decadent trip to Las Vegas, celebrated the nation’s birthday, AND my birthday, so I feel ready to try this cleanse.   I’ll be taking a break from Insanity for this because you are only supposed to engage in mild to moderate exercise, and Insanity definitely is NOT that!  I’ll post here like I did for the Ultimate Reset so I can share my journey with you.  Wish me luck!

As always, feel free to contact me by commenting below if you want more information on anything contained in this blog.

 

Post-Reset Check-In

I completed the Beachbody Ultimate Reset 17 days ago.  Today’s post is to provide an update on how my life is progressing post-Reset.

Body Stats

My weight has been pretty constant since the Reset ended.  I’ve been gaining and losing 1 pound.  I’ve lost a little bit of fat, and gained a little bit of muscle.  So, on average, I’m around where I ended on the last day of the Reset, which is great!

Exercise

One of the things that I missed during the Reset was my morning workout routine.  During the Reset, you are not supposed to workout at all, with the exception of some light exercise like walking, yoga, and tai chi.  Before the Reset, I did a variety of high-intensity exercise programs, like Insanity.  During the Reset, I did yoga and Insanity recovery workouts – nothing too intense.

When the Reset ends, there is a transition plan that you are supposed to follow.  As part of this transition plan, you are supposed to only workout to 50% of your maximum ability for the first week following the Reset, then give it 100% thereafter.  After the Reset, I started doing some Jillian Michaels workouts that were pretty easy to me before the Reset (the 30 Day Shred workouts).  These workouts were shockingly more difficult that I remembered, and I even got sore from them!  I was definitely out of the groove after not working out for 21 days.

I started Focus T25 the 6th day after the Reset ended.  These workouts also had not been all too hard for me before the Reset, but they were really challenging for me after the Reset.  This was a good thing!  Though, it was definitely frustrating to see how unacclimated my body had become to working out.  I took is slow, definitely giving more than 50%, but not quite 100%, and in time, began pushing myself harder and harder.

I’ll be starting week three of Focus T25 on Monday, and I feel like I’m back into the groove now.  I’m “nailing” those workouts, and it feels great!

Food and Drink

I’ve been following the transition plan post-Reset.  I described this in my last blog post.  Basically, it’s doing the Reset in reverse minus the supplements (though I did order the Maintenance Kit, which includes Optimize and Alkalinize, which I have been taking).  When you complete the Reset, you had been eating only fruits and vegetables for a week.  The first week after the Reset, I slowly started reintroducing  grains and legumes into my diet.  I stopped following the Reset Guidebook.  Instead, I started having a Vegan Chocolate Shakeology for breakfast every morning.  For lunch, I built a salad from my office cafeteria’s salad bar (full of good things like raw spinach, carrots, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, green peppers, onions, oil and vinegar).  For dinner, I would make us a recipe from the Ultimate Reset book, or we would go out and order something that conforms to our diets.  Le Pain Quotidien was actually pretty wonderful for this.

The second week, we started to add tempeh and sprouted grain breads into our diets.  We also started to increase the amount of grains and beans that we consumed.  Sprouted grain breads are essentially Ezekiel breads.   These breads use only sprouted organic live grains, unlike the bread that we normally have, which are, I guess, dead.  Ezediel bread is pretty good!  I started making a sandwich of Ezekiel bread, guacamole, smokey tempeh, cucumbers, spinach, sprouts, onions, tomatoes, and red pepper.  It’s pretty awesome.

Post-Reset Sandwich

Sandwich

I really loved tempeh during the Reset, so I was very happy to finally have it back!

Now, I’m 3 weeks after the Reset.  According to the transition plan, you can now begin reintroducing non-Vegan Shakeology (Yes! Greenberry, I have missed you!) and some animal proteins, like eggs and yogurt.  When I had my first hard-boiled egg, I had been completed VEGAN (not just vegetarian) for a full month.  Next week, is when all of the fun is supposed to begin – sugar, soda, coffee, alcohol, chicken, and fish.

Well… halfway through week three post-Reset, it’s my husband’s birthday.  So, we’re going to start all of that week four stuff a couple of days earlier, and I have no problem with that.  We’ve been really good for over a month.  I know that not everyone who does the Reset really follows the transition plan afterward, so I think I’m ahead of the game right now.

Yesterday, my husband and I went to (what was) the first certified-organic restaurant in the country and had dinner to celebrate his birthday.  This seemed very much in the spirit of the Reset.  We had fish, wine, and refined sugar a couple of days early.  We had an avocado-crab appetizer, which was amazing.  I had scallops and vegetable risotto for dinner, and my husband had halibut and vegetables for dinner.  We split a small chocolate cake and a bottle of wine.  Let me just say that alcohol really hit me.  Normally, my husband and I could drink a bottle of wine easily, no problem.  I was feeling the alcohol effects after the first glass!  That’s crazy!

Today, on his actually birthday, we had a very nice brunch.  I ate completely vegetarian – an appetizer of various dips (parsley, beets, and tzatziki); a carrot-ginger soup; eggs with mushrooms, a salad, and potatoes; and split a slice of walnut cake with my husband for his birthday.  Everything was amazing.  I also had a couple of wonderful cocktails – one make of vodka, Greek yogurt, honey, lemon, and rosemary.

Alcohol Epiphany:  I’ve changed my general attitude toward alcohol as a result of the Reset.  This is important.  Being sober for 30+ days sucked, but it was helpful in that it made me realize that alcohol is an accessory, it’s not an entree.  I’ve come to the conclusion that if I am going to waste calories on alcohol, that alcohol had better be AMAZING.  I’m talking fancy hand-crafted cocktails, craft beer, and fine wine.  I’m not sure I’m going to drink crappy alcohol (e.g., PBR) with the sole intention of getting drunk anymore.  If I’m going to drink, it better be something decent.

Meat Epiphany:  I’m thinking the same way about meat as well.  While I was never much of a fast-food (e.g., McDonald’s) type of person pre-Reset, it demonstrates my point.  If I’m going to eat meat, I don’t think it’s going to be a McDonald’s hamburger; it’s going to be grass-fed filet mignon or kobe beef.  I’m not interested in putting garbage into my body.

Reactions:  As you start to reintroduce new foods, you are supposed to listen to your body to ensure that you’re not experiencing any bloating, gas, skin, or sinus problems, which could indicate a sensitivity or allergy to the newly introduced food.  Until recently, I haven’t really experienced anything like that.  I’ve been having some minor digestive discomfort over these birthday celebrations, which could really be attributable to anything, so after this weekend, I will be sure to get back into the clean-eating groove.  It’s good to note that, this morning, after drinking wine, I did not feel wrecked.  I was really worried about how alcohol would affect me.  So far, so good.

My FREE Reset T-Shirt Arrived!

Cropped

Reminder

The Reset is ON SALE for a couple of more days – until the end of March.  Buy it here and start your journey!  This is truly an amazing life-changing experience that I would recommend for anyone who thinks has it in them to do it.  It is very rewarding, but it is far from easy.  If you’re looking to start the Reset, I am happy to help coach you through the process.  Please comment below.