Want AMAZING results in 21 days? That’s what the new 21 Day Fix Diet promoted by Beachbody promises for three simple payments of $19.95 (plus shipping and handling). Simple fitness, simple eating, fast results!
But what is The 21 Fix Diet really about? Let’s get started on this Dieting Deception Series breakdown…
When you first arrive at the 21 Day Fix sales page, this is the second content block you’ll see:
Right off the bat, there are two glaring issues:
- The before and after photo appears manipulated. I’ve published another image below pointing out the manipulated aspects of the photo.
- The weight and inches lost are not in context and are designed to trick you. Most of the weight lost at the beginning of any diet/lifestyle change is water weight. Nobody who looks like the girl in this picture is going to lose 10 pounds of fat in 21 days. NOBODY. And 10 inches lost? 10 inches? Where? How? She didn’t lose 10 inches from her waist. Her arms look identical. And her legs appear to be duplicates.
Poor flat lighting on the before. Great lighting, happy smile, and better hair on the after. Identical arms. Added shadowing and lighting to enhance the bust (hey ladies, get bigger breasts with the 21 Day Fix!). Sucking in stomach on the after with enhanced shadowing for definition. Purposefully bloating the stomach on the before. Identical leg shadows. All the marks of manipulation are here.
And that’s only the obvious stuff. There are other techniques that have likely been used, such as the liquify tool on the bust and hips. This is classic photo manipulation for the purpose of selling results that don’t exist and it’s one of the reasons we made it a policy at Rebooted Body to not use before and after pictures. They’re too easily manipulated and lead people to focusing on the wrong things (body perfection vs health and sustainability).
The Return of the 21 Day Habit Myth
So many programs peddle the 21 day habit myth and the 21 Day Fix is no different. There is a lot of marketing psychology at play here as well. 21 days sounds very doable for anyone. They want it to seem really easy so you feel like you’re not going to have to do a lot of work and you’ll be a completely different person in very little time.
But if you watch the video, the people who have lost the most weight have gone through 10+ rounds of the program. It’s all marketing. Instead of saying, “Accomplish your goals in 210 days” they’re saying, “Accomplish your goals in 21 days (times 10).”
More Bullshit in Pretty Packaging
“Because they don’t make it easy to lose weight and keep the weight off.” — Wow, that’s really profound. Lots of words, zero meaning. Any talk about health? No. Any talk about sustainable principles or tools? No. Any education whatsoever? No.
“Targeted resistance training…” I don’t see any real resistance training. You mean those silly cardio resistance bands? That’s not resistance training, that’s a waste of time. And the word “targeted” is suspicious. The most effective form of resistance training uses compound movements, not “targeted” movements.
“Shape your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and abs.” Everything the mainstream health and fitness tells you needs to be better about your body—we take care of that for you!
“Blast fat and burn calories!” Those little bastard fat cells will pay on the 21 Day Fix.
Note the use of the word “fix” in all the workout plans. Never forget that you’re broken.
If you’re not interested in the other stuff, maybe you’ll be interested in these three buzz-word based programs.
All the popular-right-now stuff is there folks. Buy now!
The 21 Day Fix Principles
How does the 21 Day Fix actually work and are the principles sound? Let’s take a look…
So the premise is that you measure out all your food into little plastic containers and that’s how you know how much to eat. And they’re doing a nice little upsell here to their Shakeology product as a dietary supplement.
“No more calorie counting…” You actually ARE counting calories. You’re just doing it in a pre-determined way much like Weight Watchers. The principle is still the same broken nonsense: eat whatever you want, just less of it.
“No starving…” This can’t actually be true because I don’t see anything that would make it true. If you significantly reduce your caloric intake (which is what the containers do) without regard for nutrition (remember, you can eat whatever you want), gut health, hormone stability, etc. then you’re going to be hungry. There’s no way around it.
“It’s not another diet…” What do you mean it’s not another diet? How is it not a diet? It’s a short-term program centered around a gimmick (colored plastic cups for portion control). Do people really think this is sustainable? They think that 20 years from now they’ll be carrying out these stupid plastic cups? Who is realistically going to take these things anywhere, ever?
“21 days fix lets you eat…” No, 21 Day Fix makes you eat less without regard for nourishing your body, healing your body, or healing your relationship with food.
“Only in just the right portions…” Principle-wise, this is completely nonsense. It’s basically saying that every single person on this planet has the same caloric need and every single person needs the same portion size. If that’s not a classic dieting mantra, I don’t know what is.
“So you don’t feel miserable and deprived…” This program is all about restriction, willpower, and discipline. How could you not feel miserable and deprived on it? It’s the perfect recipe for getting a body you love and a life you hate.
What’s Missing in The 21 Day Fix?
It’s not always what the marketing messages say, it’s what they don’t say that often bothers me the most. Here’s what’s missing…
- Real Food Nutrition. There’s a 21 day nutrition book, but by the looks of things it’s just mainstream fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats talk from the 1980s. The good news is that you’ll fall asleep quickly while reading it.
- Gut Health. If you only change how much you’re eating and not what you’re eating, then you’re preventing healing from taking place, especially when it comes to your gut. Eating toxic things, but less of them, doesn’t heal the body. You have to make a much more principled change when it comes to the foods you’re eating and this program doesn’t help you do that or even allude to the importance of it.
- Hormone Regulation. As with healing and gut health, you’re not going to get your hormones back in alignment without more principled changes. In fact, by cutting calories without regard for nutrition, you’re likely to do even more damage.
- Sleep & Stress. Any talk of the importance of sleep or stress? How to sleep better, deeper, longer? How to mitigate stressors in a meaningful way? Any education around these topics? Don’t see it.
- Psychology. Everything about this program is centered around your ability to use willpower to continue portioning your food with little plastic cups. That’s antithetical to long-term success. There’s no education on your inner-psychology to heal your relationship with food, body, and self. This is the key to lifelong change—learning why you’re unable to close the gap between your good intentions and your actual behavior.
- Functional Movement. All I see are DVD workouts based around buzz-words. Zero thought. Nothing new. Just as with the 80s-style nutrition recommendations, these are just the thong-leotard & neon sock workouts of our day.
- Perspective Shifts & Habit Change. The only time behavior change sticks is when it comes with critical perspective shifts. If your mindset hasn’t changed, behavior changes will ultimately fail. There’s nothing about this program that’s going to change your perspective on anything. It’s the same-old, same-old approach with a new gimmick (plastic portion cups) and pretty packaging sold by a pretty face who is likely struggling with a workout obsession and body image disorder (she’s a bikini competitor).
Does the outlandish marketing, the cup gimmick, and the pretty face make you want to jump for this Dieting Deception? The comments section is open.
Kevin Geary is the founder of RebootedBody.com and a respected expert on cravings, eating psychology, and long-term habit change. He’s helped tens of thousands of men and women in over 35 countries around the world through his online academy and now offers all of his signature programs through a “pay what you want” model.