I follow a few healthy eaters on Instagram, and enjoy seeing their beautifully plated food and feel inspired to eat whole, good foods myself. Since I’m now over 6 weeks into the P90X workout cycle, I’ve felt the need to make sure I’m giving the right fuel to my body.
I heard about the 21-day fix program on Instagram, so I read up briefly on it and did the calculation for myself to figure out how many servings of each food group I should be aiming for each day. The calculation takes your body weight in pounds and multiplies it by 11, adds 400 to get your caloric needs and then subtracts 750 to get your calorie target. If you want to maintain your weight, then skip that last subtraction. If you want to gain weight, then instead of adding 400, add 900 and also skip that last subtraction. The numbers you’ll come up with will fall into 4 categories, from 1200-1499 calories, 1500-1799, 1800-2099, and 2100-2300 calories. (Round up or down if your number falls outside these categories.)
I’m in the lowest category, so that means I want to eat the following each day:
- Vegetables: 3 servings
- Fruits: 2 servings
- Proteins: 4 servings
- Carbohydrates: 2 servings
- Cheese/healthy fats: 1 serving
- Seeds/dressing: 1 serving
- Oils/nut butter: 2 tsp.
So I decided to track my food intake for a week to see if I should make any changes.
My takeaways from this exercise:
- I love cheese and carbs. If I was just choosing things to eat without having the goal balance of food groups in mind, I would automatically gravitate toward bread, cereal or pasta. And cheese!
- Protein is essential and I probably don’t get enough of it. Well-timed protein in the morning and after a workout keep my energy levels even. Neglecting this made my moods very uneven.
- Fruit and veg should both be more integral to my meals. A good friend has a garden and recently supplied me with a ton of kale, which was a great excuse to learn how to eat this vegetable. Stay tuned for recipes for two ways to use kale!
- Making it easy: My boyfriend reminded me the other day of how important it is to make things easy if you want someone to do something. Want employees to not leave sticky food residue on your work area? Then make them a nice lunch table where they’d naturally want to eat instead. Want to not end up snacking on donuts and cookies from the break room? Then make sure you have healthy, tasty snacks at your desk! I’ve made a point of finding some healthy snacks like lightly salted almonds and sesame sticks, and reaching for those when the mood strikes, instead of feeling tempted by the refined sugar that’s also readily available.
Overall, I think it’s a good idea to learn more about what the body really needs and try to balance everything so it’s getting that. It’ll help you feel more energetic and in balance. To answer my own question, yes I think I would survive if I committed to the 21-day fix, and believe that eating better will help me not just survive, but thrive!