Autumn Calabrese is the mastermind, personality, and enviable figure behind Beach Body’s hugely successful 21-Day Fix program.
So naturally, she has a ton of knowledge about what makes a diet inevitably work or fail. Too many times people embark on diet plans, only to cave into wine, chips, chocolate, and pizza.
And there’s a reason for that. In fact, she says that the biggest misconception Americans have about losing weight is that they actually have to rule out their favourite foods.
“I think the biggest misconception is that it has to be a diet — that you eliminate something for a period of time and that will get you your result,” she said in a phone interview with Business Insider. “And that does work for that period of time, and it might get you your result, but usually the backlash from it is 10 times worse than before you started.”
“So you know, you see people do these juice cleanses or [say], ‘ok, I’m not gonna eat … any carbohydrates at all or any sugar, and that’s just real life,” she said. “Like, you can cut it out for a period of time, but you’re never just gonna cut it out forever. So the second you come off of that quote unquote ‘diet,’ not only is the weight gonna come back on, usually even more [weight] comes back on.”
She speaks to the 21-Day Fix as a solution to that, since you are permitted to have wine and chocolate on it, just in limited quantities.
“I don’t believe in eliminating things from your diet. That’s why you can still have chocolate, why you can still have wine — because that is real life. Sometimes, you want dessert. Sometimes, you want to go out with friends and have a cocktail or something — but knowing how to fit it in to daily life and how to fit it into your routine is what makes all the difference in the world.”
The 21-Day Fix has been subject to criticism for being a quick-fix, but Calabrese swears it’s a lifestyle (and she shares photos of people who have done multiple “rounds”) that simply encourages portion control, because nothing is prohibited on the diet.
“That’s just your jumping off point. It’s not a diet at all. It’s very much a lifestyle, which is why you will see people stay on it for rounds and rounds and rounds to the point where they’re like, ‘well, I don’t know what round I’m on, I just follow the nutrition component, it’s just my way of life now,’ because it is something you can maintain long term because it’s not an elimination diet, it’s again, it’s just about eating clean foods and in the right portion sizes,” she said.
Further, Calabrese is a huge proponent of portion control — in fact, a lack of portion control is a reason that people often fail to see results when they’re supposedly working hard, she said.
“The biggest issue I was seeing with all of my clients was that they were working out really hard and they weren’t seeing the success that they [wanted] to see and we couldn’t quite figure out why,” Calabrese said. “And the long and short of that was going out to lunch with a client with mine and both ordering salads, but very large salads and [she ate] all of hers and [I ate] a fraction of it and [I] kind of looked at her and [realised] that’s the problem right there … You can overeat on every healthy food, too.”