21 Day Fix – Breakthrough or FAD?

Ever since being slim and trim has become the new standard of beauty, weight-loss programs have evolved into a multi-billion industry worldwide. DVD programs, diets, calorie-counting apps, fitness watches, green coffee, green buckwheat, you name it. Every year new weight-loss fads take the world by storm - some based on scientific research, some not.

In 2016, the weight loss industry has welcomed a new and very attractive program, which you might have already heard of: 21 Day Fix.

First of all, where does 21 Day Fix come from?

It has been created by BeachBody – a famous nutritional corporation based in the US, known for its workout DVDs. The company also produces nutritional supplements, correctly stating that, no matter how much you exercise, you will not achieve long-term weight loss unless you eat healty (here is a recent study proving that.)

So what is 21 Day Fix all about? We all know how hard dieting can be, especially when you have to give up almost all your favorite foods and snacks, or go for days and weeks without carbs, or dairy, or fats… But with the 21 Day Fix program, you won’t have to do any of that.

How It Works

  1. Calculate how many calories you need to consume daily;
  2. Divide all foods into nutritional categories;
  3. Determine how much of every food type you can eat a day;
  4. Create a meal plan accordingly.

So how are caloric needs calculated using this method?

Here is what BeachBody recommends: multiply your weight in pounds by 11, add 400 calories necessary to maintain your weight, and subtract 750 calories.

But how should you distribute these calories in terms of food categories? Here is the simple yet brilliant solution: the method’s creators offer you to use a set of colorful containers: red for lean proteins, yellow for carbs, and so on. Then they tell you how many containers of each colour you can consume a day, based on the target caloric intake you’ve just calculated.

Finally, you need to create your meal plan. Here you are suggested to create a spreadsheet for a week, with three meals and a couple of snacks per day, and then distribute your containers across meals. For example, if you can eat 4 red containers, it may mean some cottage cheese for breakfast, chicken breast for lunch, a yoghurt shake for snack, and some tofu for dinner.

Some Food for Thought

No weight loss program is perfect.

  • First of all, how many calories you need to eat depends strongly on your age, lifestyle, and exercise pattern (for more scientific data, refer to USDA dietary guidelines.)
  • Second, scientific opinions on relative importance of different types of nutrients are divided (here is a another study.)
  • Third, while BeachBody may indeed care about your health and well-being, it is still a profit-oriented company, and thus the method, while simple on the outside, may require some investment on your part. First, you have to buy a set of containers, then you’ll need to pay for an instruction manual, an eating plan, a recipe book, sample shopping lists, and so on.

Our advice? Critical approach works best. 21 Day Fix may be a great method, but before you embark on it, do some research on reputable sites, investigate various study results, and consult your physician.

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