The Instant 'Insanity' Diet Overhaul

Week 7: Hard workouts combined with careful meals reap great results

The second month of Insanity—with workouts that are harder and longer than the previous five weeks—gave me the next good chance to take a look at my diet. As I repeated the same videos in week 7, I made some changes to my meal plan.

While I’d been eating relatively well, I wanted to try a full commitment to a healthy diet. And with Christmas right around the corner, it was now or never. In the next couple of weeks, holiday parties with their cheese plates, punches and Christmas cookies would likely foil any plans for serious diet experimentation.

So I cracked open Elite Nutrition, the meal plan that comes along with the program.

I talked briefly about the nutrition plan in week 2, when I calculated the number of calories I needed to eat to lose, maintain or gain weight. But it was time to get serious.

Elite Nutrition is designed to help you fuel your body through the program for maximum results. The idea is to eat five meals with approximately the same number of calories, ranging from 300 to 500 calories depending on your calculated activity level. Each meal contains about 40 percent protein, 40 percent carbs and 20 percent fats and is made up of foods with a low glycemic index—that is, they won’t spike your blood sugar and will provide you with a steady supply of energy.

A scheduled meal plan would look this way:

Meal 1: Breakfast
Meal 2: Midmorning snack
Meal 3: Lunch
Meal 4: Afternoon Snack
Meal 5: Dinner

The book provides suggested recipes for each meal, ranging from fruit and cottage cheese to steak with broccoli. As a pescatarian on a tight budget, I needed to make a few adjustments. At the store, I stocked up on eggs, vegetables hummus, cottage cheese, hemp protein powder, and plenty of black beans and brown rice.

To my surprise, I noticed a difference as soon as I implemented the meal change. After eating my egg-white omelet with spinach and broccoli the first morning, I felt a serious sugar craving. Instead of indulging, I stuck to the plan. By day three, my morning  and afternoon sugar cravings had disappeared. In fact, as I snacked throughout the day on low-sugar, high-protein foods, I was surprised to find how much less food I craved in general. It was shockingly easy to move into the 1800-calorie diet I needed for weight loss.  

By the end of the week, I weighed less than I had in the previous 6 months: 122 pounds. In total, I had lost six pounds from when I started the workout seven weeks prior. And that week alone, I shed two pounds—the fastest weight loss of the program so far.

This was a great way, I thought, to start out the holiday season. But could my workout and meal plan hold up to all the holiday goodies? I would have to wait and see.


About the Project: The Active Times' Fad Fitness Challenge is a six-week-long project in which five hapless writers will immerse themselves in five popular fitness programs—CrossFit, Insanity, Barre, Flywheel and Kettlebell classes—for the dual purposes of getting in shape and evaluating them for our readers. We guinea pigs will bust our butts, burn calories and discover muscles we'd long since mothballed and, if all goes well, emerge into the New Year with a well-rounded perspective of the top fitness fads. Check back every weekday from now until the New Year to come along for the ride without breaking a sweat. Click here to check out the rest of the programs.