Originally I had the idea to dedicate my posts in the month of January to fitness and nutrition since many are looking to start a healthier lifestyle at the beginning of the year. It has taken me some time to figure out a routine where I can schedule in some time for my blog so I still have not been as consistent with my posts as I would like. I have also had other posts that I have found more relevant to what is going on in my life at the moment. At any rate, here we are in February and I am ready to start sharing some of my favorite programs as far as fitness and nutrition go!
They say abs are made in the kitchen and this could not be more true. I personally somewhat experienced this when I did my ‘30 Kinda Hard Challenge’ where I followed a nutrition plan and carb cycled to a tee for 30 days. You can workout all you want but you will not see results unless you are fueling your body properly. I can admit to being proof of this. I workout consistently, anywhere between 4-6 times a week, at the moment doing CrossFit which is no joke, yet I don’t exactly look like a fitness model because on the weekends specifically I let my nutrition go.
This is why I wanted to start by sharing my favorite nutrition plan to follow- Ultimate portion fix! I’ve been using this loosely for years and although I will share the cons with you, it’s a wonderful program!
Ultimate Portion Fix was created by super trainer Autumn Calabrese for Beachbody. If you are not familiar with Beachbody, I plan a blog post on it but in a nutshell it is a platform that provides different workout programs that you can stream through your smart TV or access via the web or an app. It is more than just workouts though and in my opinion one of the most beneficial resources it includes is a wealth of information regarding nutrition. In fact, Ultimate Portion Fix is not the only nutrition program it provides but it is the one that I am the most familiar with.
I love this nutrition program for so many reasons! First of all, it does not exclude any food group. You want bread? Eat bread! You want cheese? Eat cheese! You want pasta? Eat pasta! Of course, there is no diet where you can eat whatever you want and lose or maintain weight. The catch here is that you can eat these things, but in moderation. This is where the containers come in.
Another thing I love about it is not only does it not exclude any food groups but if you follow it the right way, you will also make sure you are eating foods from every food group every day. The program includes color coded containers that make it easy to portion control all of your food. You have a container for vegetables, fruits, proteins, carbs, fats, and seeds and/or dressings. Before I became familiar with this program I can say I was 100% guilty of not eating enough fruits and vegetables. These food groups are not just important to incorporate for weight loss but they are important to your overall health and wellness. After a few days of taking in the proper amount of vegetables and fruits you will notice a difference in your energy levels, your digestion and overall the way you feel. As I admitted, I am not great about following this on the weekends (and I’ll get into that in my cons) and I can see the difference on Monday morning vs. Thursday when I follow the program properly. To be honest, at the moment it’s prompting me to try a little harder on the weekends to stick to it! Haha
Furthermore, the program has different paths you can follow. There is what Autumn calls ‘Foundational Fix’ which is the traditional version of this program. Each container represents a food group and food lists are provided for each. Then there is ‘Timed Nutrition’ which is the path I prefer to follow. It is supposed to be a more dialed in way to follow the program and is tailored to people who workout. She tells you what to eat and when depending on what time of the day you workout. I personally like this path most because once you get the hang of it, it is the easiest to follow in my opinion (and in Autumn’s opinion!). You fill the appropriate containers for each meal and it does not require the tracking foundational fix requires. It also teaches you to eat very balanced meals since most meals will contain a serving of vegetables, a protein, a carb and some kind of fat. I’ll admit that although Autumn says to follow it properly you should not change containers around, I do play with the fats a bit. The blue container which is nuts and cheeses is usually with your snack if you follow this to a tee and sometimes you may want that cheese on your taco or may want to try that recipe that calls for cheese or almond flour!
The program also includes information on how to carb cycle. I actually tried this the last few weeks of my 30 Kinda Hard Challenge. I know some people carb cycle regularly but according to Autumn, this is something you should only do 3 weeks at a time and only about every 6 months. Otherwise, your body will get used to it and it will not have the intended effect. More recently she also added information on intermittent fasting which I know is popular these days. I cannot say I am super familiar with it since intermittent fasting is not something I feel fits my lifestyle but I love that the information is there. Furthermore, I love since this is an online platform, the information was added years after I initially purchased Ultimate Portion Fix. It is always evolving as we become more educated on nutrition.
The program also includes tons of recipes and a cooking show. She teaches you how to turn usually unhealthy meals (like Mac and Cheese for example) into delicious healthy versions that fit the plan.
It comes with a whole course and I can honestly say that I have learned so much about food, how to eat and even how to grocery shop and read food labels from this program. As she says, this isn’t exactly an original idea. She is basically simplifying counting your macros while making sure you are eating clean, incorporating all food groups and eating the most efficient way to stay satisfied and and fuel your body properly.
Clearly I love this program! However, I like to keep things real so I am going to share some of the things I don’t like about it.
I am not going to sugar coat this… it is a lot of work in my opinion. In order to know exactly everything that is going into your body, you have to cook all the food. Yes you can eat out and still follow it but I find that many restaurants do not have healthy creative options such as the recipes Autumn provides or even some of the meals you come up with on your own once you familiarize yourself with the program. Furthermore, you are measuring everything in the containers so that is something extra to wash. She recommends that you meal prep on Sundays so everything is ready for the week. Peter and I had tried this but our schedule is usually too hectic on the weekends to allow for this. It worked out a couple of weeks when we did not have plans but this usually is not the case for us.
Autumn also recommends that you prepare everything yourself so you know it’s plan friendly- even salad dressings. She mentions at one point that the dressing should only take 10 minutes to prepare, which may be true, but then you need to wash everything you used. Furthermore, the typical working parent with kids doesn’t want to spend an extra 10 minutes making things that may be readily available like salad dressing. I understand why this is her recomendation since the more fresh what you eat is, the less preservatives and the healthier, but I personally need some practicality in my life.
By the end of the week I am at my limit with all the cooking and the dishes so for the most part, we do eat out on weekends. Not only do I find restaurants lack on healthy delicious options, they also do not portion control. Unless you are going to carry your containers around and wash them later (more dishes)… you’ll have to guesstimate your portions. Furthermore, when I did the 30 Kinda Hard Challenge, I learned that when you go to a party or gathering at someone’s house, often times you actually are not going to find balanced meals. I’d made a 30 day commitment at that time so I would carry around hard boiled eggs, cold cuts, carrots, celery sticks etc. in my bag on occasions like this but it’s not something I would want to do regularly. It also takes a lot of self discipline to pass up on yummy warm food for cold cuts in a ziplock bag. Granted, you will likely have this issue with any diet so it all depends on how committed you are and what your goals are.
Autumn recommends taking a little cooler with your meals previously prepped when you find yourself in situations like this but again, how realistic is this? I also dare to say I’d feel a little rude if it was something I did regularly. I can totally understand if someone is trying to reach a specific goal or made a commitment for a certain amount of time like I did with my challenge but otherwise, I don’t know that anyone wants to be ‘that’ person.
It is simple to follow in the sense that it’s easy to understand however, I can see the appeal to diets like paleo or keto where you just cut certain food groups. These diets do not require as much planning and as long protein and vegetables are served wherever you are, you can eat without worrying how much of what you are eating fits in the color coded containers.
Despite the cons though, I think the pros outweigh them. Other diets may be easier to follow, less work and may yield quicker results but, how sustainable are they? Also, how good are they for your health? I can’t imagine that the high fat content in a keto diet or cutting carbs completely like in the Atkins diet can be good for your health in the long term.
I love talking about this stuff so if you have any questions or want to pick my brain on it- please do reach out! If you are interested in checking the program out here is a link: https://www.teambeachbody.com/shop/us/d/FIXBase?referringRepID=1763844
Thanks for visiting!