The photo on the left was from 2013. The photo on the right was a couple of months ago. Almost a 50 lb weight gain.

The photo on the left was from 2013. The photo on the right was a couple of months ago. Almost a 50 lb weight gain.


I’ve been on a diet since I was about seven. I actually write a lot about my disordered dieting history in my next book, so I’m not going to go into it completely here, but just know that I’ve spent almost the whole of my life obsessing over my weight. For the most part I’d been able to keep my weight at the high end of a normal weight range for most of my life, but in the last couple of years I gained a lot of weight. A LOT. Like close to 50 lbs. It comes from a myriad of places. A big part of my weight gain came while writing Coming Clean, from a mixture of stress eating and emotional eating. I felt really guilty about writing about my family and I was petrified of hurting my parents and my family not loving me anymore once the book came out, not to mention the fear that none of my friends would want to have anything to do with me once they knew “my truth.” To their credit, both my friends and family still like me quite a bit—at least that’s what they tell me. I have some pretty amazing people in my life. I was also dealing with a lot of memories I hadn’t really given myself space to process before, and it was a hard process—eating helped.

Then, shortly after I finished my first manuscript I broke my foot while training for a marathon (actually I was walking down the stairs talking to a friend on the phone, ironically giving her diet advice for her husband—but I’d just come back from a 6-mile run, so I think it counts), it was a bad break and I was pretty much sedentary for three months while it healed, and I still have pain in that foot. When I finally went back to the gym and started dieting like I used to, I found it was pretty much impossible for me to take off the weight.

Eventually, at The Fella’s insistence, I went to a nutritionist who informed me that my BMR (basal metabolic rate) was really low, like really, really low. My body was burning fewer than 900 calories a day naturally. This was probably a result of years of extreme dieting—basically, I broke my body by spending the last 20+ years not eating anywhere near enough food. We went about “fixing” my metabolism with a slow but steady increase in calories, which meant gaining a bit more weight until my body leveled off and finally started losing, but it was slow and a small loss. A few months ago Roy and I went to Israel and I had my BMR tested again and it was back up to a very normal 1699. I had almost doubled my BMR by eating more. But I still wasn’t really losing, and I’ve since stopped going to the nutritionist because she cost a bajillion dollars (close to $200 a session). But I’ve been a bit unsure about the best way to lose weight now, since I don’t want to screw up my system again, and the only dieting that has ever really worked for me has been thanks to serious deprivation (in the past, when I dieted I’ve tried to keep my calories under 800 a day—not healthy). I understand that I need to restrict calories from the point I left my nutritionist, but I also know I need to do it slowly. So, I’ve been a bit confused about the best approach to take off these 50 extra pounds.

In the meantime, I also found out that I have a hypoactive thyroid, which is the reason I miscarried last month. The slow thyroid probably hasn’t helped with the weight gain over the last couple of years. Now that we know about it I’m taking synthetic hormones and my TSH numbers are in the normal range.

So, I decided last month to try the 21-Day Fix, because I figured portion control might be my problem. Especially since I live with a body builder who eats enormous portions to put on muscle, portion sizes can sometimes seem a bit distorted. I also liked that my calorie range is around where I left my nutritionist 1500-1799, so I won’t be making an extreme drop, and can work my way down.

Based on my last couple of posts you probably already know this, but I LOVE this plan. I love the colored boxes and the fact that it’s sort foolproof clean eating and portion control.

I found the workouts to be on the easy side, but also challenging. The first week my ass was sore, really, really sore. Which is rough when you live in a 3rd floor walk-up. The following two weeks were a lot easier. I think this is a really good program for people who a) don’t have a ton of time to work out; the workouts are only 30-minutes, and b) aren’t hardcore weight lifters, but looking to have a well-rounded workout program.

I know you’re probably most interested in my results, and here they are:

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The pictures of me from the side seemed the least “revealing” to me, as I’m not totally 100% comfortable posting mostly naked photos of myself on the Internet. I understand that you all probably want to see my bellybutton, but I’m just not there yet.  PS- It has come to my attention that I look tanner in my before photo. I assure you, this pasty white skin never sees the sun. One photo I had the help of The Fella in taking, the other I had to do with a self-timer, so the lighting/angle is different, and it’s in a different part of my apartment.  

I didn’t lose the 15lbs the infomercial boasts about. I lost a modest 4.5 lbs in three weeks. Honestly, that’s fine by me. I don’t lose weight easily and I’m just happy to be invited to the losing end of the party. My inches lost were more impressive. I don’t know if you can really tell in the pictures I’ve posted, but I lost about 2.5-inches from my bust (which is good, the girls have gotten a little too big for my bras lately), an 1.5 inches from my waist, and 2-inches from my hips. My arms and thighs stayed about the same. 

So here’s my breakdown of the program:

The Good:

  • Short and sweet. The workouts are only a half hour and I don’t have to leave my house. Besides dumbbells and a yoga mat, stuff I already had, there’s no special equipment needed.
  • The diet is sort of foolproof. It really is a super easy diet plan, and I like that it’s not the sort of fixed diet program I’ve seen come with other workout programs. There is a recipe section in the instruction manual, but I didn’t use it, I just adjusted our normal meals to fit into the program.

The Bad:

  • There’s an infomercial for Beachbody Shakeology and vitamins at the beginning and end of each workout. It is a minor annoyance, but not a huge deal.
  • I wrote this before: There’s no “Rest Day” in the workouts. The Pilates DVD and the Yoga DVD are considered active recovery days, but I would have appreciated one day a week off from the program.
  • Some of the workouts are a little bit on the easy side for someone who works out regularly. While I totally appreciate an easy Yoga DVD (because I hate yoga and have zero flexibility), the upper body workout was kind of a yawner for me. I don’t have 30lb dumbbells at home to make some of the moves as challenging as I’d like, but I suppose I could always invest in heavier weights.
  • My dog keeps trying to hump me during the warm-up. I must look super-duper sexy doing my jumping jacks. This is not the fault of Autumn Calabrese or Beachbody, I just find it annoying.

I was planning on doing a second round of the 21-Day Fix right away, but I’m going out of town this next week to write away from all of the hullabaloo of NYC and don’t want to have to drag my dumbbells with me, so instead I’m going to do Beachbody’s new workout program CIZE, which is a danced based program—no equipment necessary. The diet is the same; I’ll keep doing the 21DF diet, just with a different exercise component.


I signed up as a Beachbody Coach, mainly for the discounts—I’m stockpiling the exercise programs I want to try. If you’re interested and I can send you the promotional prices on the coach site, you can email me at I’ll be in a digital detox for most of next week as I work on my book, but I will be checking email occasionally, so don’t worry if it takes me a few days to get back to you. In the meantime, you can find out more about the program here and here