Thanks to PRO Sports Club for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions in the post are my own.
After birthing a baby 6 months ago, I knew I had a long way to go before I got back to my pre-pregnancy self, in terms of weight, eating habits and fitness regimen. In other words, I needed to hit the reset button! And signing up for the 28 Day Food Challenge with PRO Sports Club gave me just that, a chance to reset, and more…
The 28 Day Food Challenge helped me better understand my eating habits and that’s a huge deal (as I am someone who already eats quite healthy, minus the occasional guilty pleasures of course!), it busted some of my myths about ‘dieting’, it helped me lose about 5-6 lbs of baby weight (the healthy way) and it helped me get back into a fitness routine.
Generally, I believe that healthy eating accompanied by regular exercise and a well rounded/balanced healthy lifestyle is all it takes. However, I do know that it isn’t as easy to follow as it sounds. And as long as one is not overweight, not huffing and puffing while climbing 100 stairs, not eating junk or processed food every day, not trying to hide the fat in different parts of the body, not lacking energy, I think one has nothing to worry about, but if that’s not the case (which it is for most people, myself included even before I had the baby), then one needs to hit the reset button!
Me, after completing the 28 Day Food Challenge
Me, before I got pregnant
Me, a year before I got pregnant
Me, 37 weeks pregnant
Me, 37 weeks pregnant
Me, 4 months postpartum
Me, after completing the 28 Day Food Challenge
And let me tell you, I have never gone on any kind of a diet, up until now. Given that there are dozens and dozens of different kinds of diet (a word used too loosely and often in a wrong way) in the market, most of them are not really a healthy way of losing weight and hence misleading (weight loss seems to be the biggest trend but what about health or staying fit?). A diet that only focuses on immediate results is not a very good one now, is it? A diet needs to take into consideration the long-term effects it can have on one’s health, both physically and mentally. Losing too many pounds too quickly is never a good thing!
I am not going to lie, given that I have so many qualms about going on a diet, I was way more skeptical about the 28 Day Food Challenge than I would like to admit. But as I mentioned earlier, all my myths were busted once I started the program…
The Process: Before I began the challenge, I was asked to fill out a questionnaire and select my meal choices from their menu. I then had an appointment with one of Pro Sports Club’s dieticians, Erica. She explained to me about the 20/20 Lifestyles 28 Day Food Challenge in detail and then we briefly discussed my eating habits, exercise habits, etc. Following which she sent me a customized meal plan for the next 4 weeks, this took into account my calorie needs and goals. I also had an opportunity to suggest changes to the meal plan based on my likes and dislikes. Once the program started, I had to go to Pro Sports Club twice a week to pick up my food and religiously stick to it.
Myths: My first impression after the first food pickup was, ‘Oh dear! looks like I am going to be hungry all the time’. But I could not be more wrong, as in, B-U-S-T-E-D! The food included 5 meals per day – breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks, the quantity was way more filling than I had thought. In other words, the 28 Day Food Challenge did not starve me to make me lose weight. Or unlike some programs, I was not asked to completely eliminate carbs, protein or fat from my diet. The program does not solely focus on food but also emphasizes that we workout regularly (even though it is a food challenge), this helped me get back into my fitness regimen (when you are eating healthy, every single meal, every single day, then you better exercise to reap the most benefits because food and fitness go hand in hand).
Pros: The fact that I did not have to plan my own meals, shop for groceries, or cook, made it a thousand times easier to stick with the food challenge! The biggest thing I learned from the 28 Day Food Challenge is portion control. I did not realize how quickly those calories add up, even if it is all from healthy food (think avocados!). So yes, portion control and counting calories were a huge take away for me. I never liked the idea of thinking about food as carbs, protein and fat, but the challenge taught me to pay attention to these macronutrients and how to create a well-balanced meal plan. Even after completing the program I still take all these points into account while preparing meals at home, both for me and the hubs.
Cons: The menu seemed too limiting for a vegetarian like me. The menu does not have as many vegetarian choices as they do for folks who eat non-vegetarian food, at least not yet. It quickly got boring to eat the same dishes over and over (especially since I am a picky eater and did not want to include a few dishes even from the vegetarian menu). And being an Indian, my food (both Indian or non-Indian) is always full of flavor and spices (and spicy too), but the food from the challenge wasn’t as flavorful and at times I would be like why, why am I doing this to myself? Haha, but it was all worth it!
Surprises: I occasionally put protein powder in my smoothie but never used to consuming it in the form of just a shake. So before starting the program, my assumption was that I would hate having to drink a shake every single morning. But I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I love their shakes, my daily breakfast (a great day starts with a great breakfast!). I am also not so much of a protein bar kind of person. At first, I did not even want that as part of my meal plan, but so glad it was, because that (along with the shake) more than took care of my sweet tooth and I did not have any cravings, whatsoever. I mean, who would not love a dietician approved dessert (the way I look at it), eh! Not just me, the hubs also loved their protein bars and would often eye for a bite (or more) from me if he was around.
All in all, I saw great results with the 28 Day Food Challenge, I lost about 5-6 lbs baby weight (the healthy way) in 4 weeks (5 more lbs to go, and I am pretty sure it’s all in and around my tummy, ugh!). I probably would have lost a lot more if I weren’t a healthy eater to begin with, and also that I had lost 4 lbs (during the 60-mile walk) just 2 weeks before starting this program. And goes without saying that I am able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes a lot better (isn’t that every new mom’s dream haha). And the most important thing is that I am able to plan my meals a lot better now. I would highly recommend this program to anyone looking to make a healthy change… Holidays are right around the corner, so hit the reset button already! 😉
P.S: I had been stopping myself from buying new clothes for the last 6 months, but not anymore, you know what I will be doing this Thanksgiving, haha!
“Eat for the body you want, not for the body you have”