So I wrote one blog, just one blog about how 21 Day Fix changed my life, and the PR company for Autumn Calabrese, the creator of 21 Day Fix, reached out asking if I'd like an interview.
I actually blew off the email for two days thinking A - this can't be real and B - I can't give them what they want. I was sure they were angling for a TV interview, but no. This was legit.
It's hard for me to express how magical this was for me. It was like speaking to my Fairy Godmother. No joke. I scheduled a half-hour interview with Autumn. She was real and friendly and, thankfully, patient. She gave a ton of great advice that I can't wait to share. So, here goes:
So overwhelmed by the generosity of 30 entire minutes, I gushed a bit, and then she was taken aback when I asked what she wanted to talk about.
I shared with her my struggles with providing my kids healthy options, so she was able to elaborate on her new e-book “75 Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids.”
“How do we take the foods that they absolutely love and make them just a little better so that we feel good about what they’re having. So there’s still pizza in there and pasta and meatballs.”
I took to 21 Day Fix like a fish to water. It was the first program, fitness and nutrition, that worked for me, so I'm kind of obsessed with the container system for nutrition. In an effort to encourage my kids to eat healthy foods, I asked if there was any way to conform the container system for kids' nutrition.
“To do it for kids, like anybody under the age of 16 would be really hard because you just don’t know where they’re at in their growth patterns and we never want to restrict them because their brains are growing, they need more fuel for school.”
She says the 21 Day Fix container system was designed with weight loss in mind. But we did discuss strategies for getting kids to eat new and different foods. Here’s some ways you can get your kids to eat more veggies:
- One bite, no thank you - Insist they try one bite, if they don't like it then at least you tried.
- Take them to grocery store and have them point out what they’re willing to try. Let them decide what they’re willing to try.
- Bring them into the kitchen and let them help you make foods they haven't tried before.
- If all else fails: Hide it.
I asked about kids’ workout programs and didn't get the answer I was expecting, but it makes a lot of sense.
“People ask us for it all the time. But the problem is we should let kids be kids and get them outside and play, right?”
She continued, pointing out that pressing play on a workout isn’t just as fun for kids.
“They tend to not be that interested in it. They want to do what mom and dad are doing because they’re watching you and they look up to you.”
I asked her about her philosophy on treats and desserts for the kids.
“I don’t take anything away, ever. That’s not a philosophy that I practice… I think the biggest thing we can do is mitigate how much they have.”
She also emphasized that she doesn’t keep desserts and processed foods in the house. She recommends if you’re going to have dessert, make it. Even though it’s still sweet and sugary, at least you know what’s going in it and it’s not processed crap.
One of my favorite nuggets from Autumn was advice for someone who is trying to improve their diet.
“I don’t ever say take things out as your first step. You want to baby-step into it.”
She says start small and don’t take away all of the things you love. Start by drinking more water, adding more vegetables. She says by adding the healthy stuff, you’ll automatically stop eating the junk, “you’re crowding out the bad, by adding in the good.”
I totally took advantage of the situation and asked a question regarding my husband's nutrition. He works out religiously and is constantly hungry. She recommended he increase his calories.
She does a cooking show with and collaborated with her brother on her cookbook, Fixate. Having two older brothers myself, I wondered what it was like working with a sibling.
“I love it, I’m very close with my older brother and my older sister. It’s super fun.”
I thought Autumn was always into fitness, but found out she wasn't. It's nice to know that people who have it together now still went through an awkward stage.
“I was always a super active kid and then I was a dancer… so it wasn’t necessarily fitness, it was dance, but that’s what sort of led me down the road to fitness.”
Then I found out, she originally wanted to be a dancer! While her dance teachers in High School were very good, she had a lot of issues with her instructor in college. She really opened up.
“I always wanted to dance. I moved out to L.A., I danced for a little bit when I got out here, sort of did the acting thing for a little bit. And then ultimately just found fitness and as soon as I did, I was like, ‘this is home, this is what I’m supposed to do.’ And it’s been great because I’ve been able to incorporate dance into it.”
Katie Gallagher is a wife and a mother of three. She is a Beachbody coach, home workout convert and Shakeology addict. Her duties at ABC2 consist of directing the final hour of Good Morning Maryland and blogging about fitness and her favorite TV show, “Dancing with the Stars."