I went to a My Fit Foods to lose weight; what I learned was how to increase my energy, look healthier, think with a clearer mind and improve my quality of life.
I love vacations, but what I don’t love is stepping on the scale when I get home — not to mention the sluggish feeling that comes from too much unhealthy eating. But this summer I had a plan. As soon as I got home, I would start the My Fit Foods 21-Day Challenge. For three weeks I would pick up ready-made meals and snacks from the My Fit Foods store in Brentwood; by the end of those 21 days, I would undo the damage done by road food, restaurant meals, syrupy coffee drinks, sugary snacks and a big disruption in my exercise routine.
I first found out about My Fit Foods when I went to hear Jolanta Sierra, a certified holistic health coach and one of our SingularCity members, speak about sugar addiction. Included in the presentation was a My Fit Foods dinner entrée, which was surprisingly fresh and tasty — not at all like the packaged diet meals I’d tried before from other well-known brands.
That’s also where I met Lauren White, a nutrition coach who works for the company. Lauren has a degree in nutrition and food sciences and her job is to meet with clients on a one-on-one basis, offer tips and encouragement and be available to answer questions either in person or by e-mail.
Lauren explained how My Fit Foods was founded in Houston, Texas, in 2007 by Mario Mendias, a personal trainer who realized his clients at the gym were getting a great workout, but sabotaging the results with the way they ate. He started cooking meals for them with lean protein, low glycemic carbohydrates and heart-healthy fats. His clients were so pleased with the food he prepared that it wasn’t long before Mendias outgrew his apartment kitchen and moved into bigger quarters. Six years later, there are over 30 My Fit Foods locations around the country, with five of those in the Southern California area.
The store in Brentwood is big and airy, with a cheery, positive vibe, and the food I sampled was delicious. I knew my eating habits were going from bad to worse, so I decided to give it a shot. I’d “go on a diet” and lose whatever weight I’d gained on my summer vacation and hopefully a bit more. I figured if I was going to do the 21-Day Challenge, I should do it whole-heartedly because I was tired of being sick and tired, done with endless fad diets that never really worked and I was curious to see if I would feel better if I cleaned up my food act.
I consulted with Lauren, who said 21 days is usually enough time to break old habits and set new ones — including getting used to appropriate portion sizes, overcoming various food addictions and re-tuning the taste buds to actually prefer healthy foods.
Three days after I returned home from my trip, I showed up at My Fit Foods. I felt as though I was checking into food rehab. My concerns about food deprivation were eased when Lauren said that my plan would include three meals a day with two snacks in between.
But I wasn’t so happy to hear that there would be no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine and no artificial sweeteners. No alcohol wasn’t such a big deal, but no sugar, no pink packets and no coffee? How would I wake up in the morning? How would I get through the day without my Starbucks fix?
“It’s not just about going on a diet to lose weight,” Lauren said. “It’s about developing healthy eating habits and detoxing so your liver and kidneys can de-congest.”
Doing without caffeine turned out to be the hardest part. For the first few days I wanted to crawl up on my desk and fall asleep. And I had a persistent dull throbbing between my eyes. Even though I was assigned the “small meal” plan, there was plenty of food for me and it was tasty and satisfying. In fact, breakfasts were downright enormous. One day it might be filet mignon, potatoes and scrambled eggs and another day breakfast tacos with corn tortillas, savory chicken breast, onion, cilantro and a touch of cheddar cheese.
Lauren assured me that although I might experience caffeine withdrawal (sleepiness and a mild headache caused by blood vessels normalizing after constriction from caffeine), after a few days I’d be free from my dependence on coffee. Besides, I’d be eating healthy foods, drinking the My Fit Foods “detox” cocktail every morning and taking the vitamins and antioxidant supplements that come with the plan — all designed to help participants not only lose excess fat, but also feel more energetic and healthier.
She packaged up meals and snacks for four days (I picked up food twice a week), all of my supplements, a jar of whey protein and ingredients for my detox cocktail and sent me on my way to start the 21-Day Challenge. Every meal was different, as was every snack. I loved not having to plan meals, grocery shop, wash dishes or cook beyond popping one of the plastic containers into the microwave if it was a hot dish, or just peeling off the lid if it was to be served cold.
Eating five times a day kept my blood sugar levels nice and even so I was freed from an endless cycle of sugar spiking, crashing, drinking coffee, crashing, eating sugar, crashing, ad infinitum. So I stuck with the plan, faithfully drinking my morning detox cocktail of unsweetened cranberry juice, water, apple cider vinegar, vitamin B-12 with aloe vera, and the juice of a half lemon — along with my meals and snacks and glasses of water with fresh lemon.
Skeptical as I can be, I have to say that after four or five days, I felt an unfamiliar kind of vitality and energy. No more caffeine headaches and no more desire for midday naps. Whereas before I usually felt edgy, stressed and anxious at work, now I was acting, rather than reacting, to upsetting situations, resulting in a big drop in cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
According to Lauren, this drop is attributable not only to eating healthy foods, but also to less free-range anxiety caused by spiking blood sugar levels and caffeine. I learned that just one cup of coffee raises the cortisol levels in your body for up to 14 hours. I had been drinking the equivalent of 10 cups a day and wondering why I was so stressed out and exhausted.
After about 10 days, my skin was looking clearer, smoother and brighter. At a SingularCity event, friends commented: “You look so well rested” “Something about you looks different” “Did you lose weight? You’re glowing!”
The plan is realistic enough to know you’re going to have times when you eat at restaurants or are tempted at special occasions, so it grants you a “cheat meal” every week. That’s one cheat meal a week, mind you, not an entire “cheat day.” You even learn how to manage that so you can enjoy going off the plan without doing much damage.
I was beginning to believe my new way of eating plus ditching the caffeine, junk food and sugar was making a real difference. Although Lauren gave me the option of drinking green tea, saying the antioxidant benefits outweighed the caffeine it contained, I declined. Once I was off caffeine, I was staying off. I’ve gone from slamming down caffeinated drinks to having clear-headed, wide-awake energy that I can’t remember feeling since I was a kid. I lost seven pounds of fat, not just water weight. I feel and look leaner, I sleep better at night and I’m much more efficient and productive at work.
The price for my 21-Day Challenge, five different supplements, the ingredients for the morning detox cocktail, a big jar of whey for making protein shakes and the one-on-one support from my nutrition coach was $750. As much as I’d love to just keep following the plan forever, picking up my meals and avoiding food shopping and cooking, I really can’t afford to do that. So now I’m recreating the same kind of meals and snacks at home. I still drink the morning detox cocktail and I’m still caffeine- and junk-food free. And I stop by My Fit Foods to pick up a few meals when I know I won’t have time to cook.
People tell me they could never live without their coffee or their “treat” or those after-work margaritas. They say they can’t afford to spend $750 to $1,000 on the 21-Day Challenge (the price varies with the size of the meals). But for me, it was well worth the investment, an investment that has had a dramatic impact on how I look, feel and live.
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2013 Singular Communications, LLC.
My Fit Foods Tasting Party
Singular magazine cordially invites you to a food tasting party at My Fit Foods at 11701 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025 on Friday, September 27 at 8 p.m. to enjoy a night of food and fun at one of L.A’s best resources, especially if you’re living single and don’t have time to prepare healthy and delicious meals — including gluten-free.
We will be the exclusive guests for an evening that includes dinner, an “open bar” with samples of their kombucha sodas and vitamin- and mineral-packed “cocktails” and, for SingularCity members, a complimentary cooler bag with a protein shaker, My Fit cookies, a T-shirt and special offers.
There will be a drawing too. One lucky guest will win a 3-Day Challenge menu plan that includes three days’ worth of meals and snacks, along with one-on-one consultation with a nutrition coach. (If you want to sign up for the 21-Day Challenge, you’ll get a 10 percent discount.)
You don’t have to be a SingularCity member to attend and you are welcome to bring friends as long as you RSVP in advance by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So start your weekend right with a delicious dinner and special drinks with your friends from My Fit Foods and Singular magazine.
You can’t beat the price – it’s all FREE – but you must RSVP in advance!