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80-day obsession: The meal plan behind the hype

You know those people who clog up your social media feeds by selling the latest trendy products? Your friends who push their “side gig” products down your throats until you finally give in, just to make them happy? You see the jaw-dropping before-and-after shots of skin care, hair products and body transformations, and think for just a second, “wow, maybe it is legit”? Then you immediately shake the thought because you refuse to get sucked into another gimmick.

Sound familiar?

Well here’s another one for you, Beachbody On Demand’s 80 Day Obsession. Obsession? Sounds extreme, right? That’s because it is. Even the trainer, Autumn Calabrese, says so in her description of this 13 week program; Is it extreme? Oh, yes. The workouts are intense — averaging 45 minutes to an hour in length. And the diet guidelines are every bit as demanding. You’ll be following a specially calibrated macro-nutrition plan perfectly timed to produce amazing results at each phase of the program.” 1

So, why is everyone so obsessed with this obsession? Let me lay it out for you.

80 Days: The Program

This demanding program is derived from the shorter protocol of the 21 Day Fix. Both have a similar layout, utilizing the same tools and plans, just on a longer scale. During your 80 Day Obsession, you have a fitness routine and nutrition plan to follow. Seems simple enough, right? Until the 80 days is over. You’re back to eating on your own, and you haven’t learned much about food choices, portion control or the big why behind your habits. Then, the scale starts tipping back the other way… You panic and start the program over, or move on to the next latest celebrity-endorsing plan. Another failed diet, giving customers temporary satisfaction with their weight loss.

Back to the plan; how does it work? For 80 days, your food is divided up into 4 color coded containers:

Green – Veggies
Purple – Fruits
Red – Proteins
Yellow – Carbs
Blue – Healthy Fats
2 Orange – Seeds & Dressings
Shakeology Shaker Cup – Beverages

So, how much are you actually eating? That’s the kicker, you don’t know. You get to fill each container with as much of the corresponding food as you can each day. Also, the meal plan is supposed to be “timed” in relation to your day and workouts. So basically you have to revolve your schedule based on recommendations that have zero clue how hectic your life truly can be. As if your life could revolve around one more thing!

Back to the containers; each container is portioned out to provide you with just the perfect amount of each food group. Yes, it makes it convenient by taking out all the guesswork of counting, measuring or weighing. Now here is where sustainability comes into play. Are you supposed to go through the rest of your life cramming food into portioned out containers? There is no true learning on what these portions really entail, how each food group varies in servings and how to control them in various settings like home, the office, or out in a restaurant. Without having any real lesson on portion control, 80-Dayers are just eating without grasping any nutritional education. Which is probably one of the reasons they started this program in the first place. The lack of learning is what keeps the revolving door of customers turning.

Part Two: The Workouts

Following a workout plan is not as ineffective as following a nutritional plan, in my opinion. Many people waste precious minutes at the gym, wandering around, not knowing what to do. They usually stick to cardio and ab machines. Who doesn’t want to continuously work on tightening up the core? I think following a workout plan can help those who struggle to workout and help find moves and routines they enjoy. It can also help keep them accountable when each day demonstrates an exercise variation.

Here’s the kicker, the 80 Day Obsession workout plan focuses on glute transformation and core toning. *Insert facepalming emoji* It has been proven that targeted exercising does not work. If I wanted a 6 pack going into summer, you better believe I’d be doing core workouts all day, everyday. But that’s not how it works. The key to leaning out the body is a well rounded exercise routine.

Let me clarify, this workout routine does not only do booty and ab movements. It still incorporates things like cardio, arms and legs. But the way the routines fall in sequence, there is a lot of focus on toning the toosh and tummy. Two areas, especially women, like to focus on when it comes to leaning out.

It’s been 80 days, now what?

So, now that you’ve hit day 80, you followed along pretty well. You filled your containers each day, got into a great exercise routine, and even experienced a little support through emailing your coach. Now what? The 80 days are up, what did you learn? How do you plan to continue these eating and exercise habits? This is where there is a fault in not only this program, but plenty of other diet and workout programs. There is no learning and you don’t want to follow an eating plan the rest of your life, right?

Noom: The Game Changer

This is where the Noom weight loss app is unlike any other. It goes beyond just tracking food and exercise choices. You truly learn about why you make your choices, how to adjust your behaviors and most importantly, still enjoy your favorite foods! Going through any period of time, cutting out your favorite foods, just sets you up for failure. Here at Noom, nothing is off limits. It is not about what you can and cannot eat, but HOW you can eat your favorite foods.

The nutritional freedom this app provides allows you to continue living your life. You don’t have to alter every decision or schedule to try and fit your life into a one-size-fits all program. This allows you to fit the plan into your life. Life happens, and we get that. Between school, work, family, friends, errands, social life, who has the time to be obsessed with their nutrition and fitness plan? Yes, making your health a priority is extremely important and you cannot put a price on that. But having flexibility, not only in your schedule, but your choices, is what Noom thrives on.

By logging your foods in the app, you’re not only seeing everything you are eating, but you’re seeing how much of each item you are consuming and how that affects your overall progress. You are able to analyze your selections, alongside your coach, to make small tweaks. Yes, logging can be a little more tedious than mindlessly filling containers of food, but that’s how you live and learn. You’re still able to have your go-to items by learning how to incorporate them in your day in a more mindful way.

Though the food logging is based on calorie density, you’re still able to familiarize yourself with the nutritional value of foods. For instance, the color system is broken down into red, yellow and green foods, based on their calorie density (calories per gram). But just because something is categorized as red, does not mean it is necessarily bad. Nuts and nut butters are recognized as a red food because a small serving holds a large amount of calories. Things like nuts and nut butters are still a great source of protein and those healthy fats. We’re not just fixated on the calories, but getting a well rounded, balanced diet overall. Again, no foods are off limits!

The live feedback of your eating patterns and exercise routines the Noom app provides is something many other virtual programs are lacking. You get to speak with your own personal coach, interact with a group of other app-users and participate in activities and challenges to hold you accountable. Here, you’re never going through this journey alone. The support team you develop keeps you motivated and driven to really take charge with your health. And it’s all in one place. Even though you are given a coach with Beachbody programs, it is through call, text or email. Not as convenient as having everything in one place in the palm of your hand.

Show me the money!

How can you put a price on endless support, learning how to develop sustainable, realistic habits and creating a healthier body from the inside out? Not only do you have to buy a membership to Beachbody (for $99/year), but then you have to buy your bundled program (starting at $180 but going up to $440), with the option to buy Shakeology shakes to incorporate in your nutrition plan. Not easy on the wallet! You can purchase a year’s worth of Noom for only $200. No bundling, no adding on shakes you’ll hardly drink, just consistent support and developing a healthy lifestyle.

The Bottom Line

Overall, anyone can follow a diet and exercise program. But it takes true dedication to want to make changes that will last the rest of your life. Finding a program that is designed to teach you to move on after it is “over” is very hard to come by. However, that is how the Noom app is designed. We know you will not participate in this app the rest of your life, that is unrealistic. So we teach you how to be self-reliant and motivated to take the lessons you learned and apply them to the rest of your life. This is about developing healthy habits you can carry with you on a day to day basis from here on out. So, the choice is yours – live off color coded containers without knowing what you’re really eating for the next 80 days, or develop long lasting healthy habits to keep you at your desired weight?

Sources:

  1. Beachbody. 80 Day Obsession Details, Exclusive Tips & Tricks. The Beachbody Blog. https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/80-day-obsession. Published June 25, 2018. Accessed December 18, 2018.