I am out of shape and overweight. I don't feel comfortable in my skin right now. So when the opportunity to review Witness to Fitness, a 28-day diet and exercise plan, opened up, I jumped on it. Donna Richardson Joyner's book promises to bring together fitness tips, a meal plan, and bible study. Sounded good to me.
The first nine chapters are your background information on Joyner and how she approaches life and fitness. They are divided into 3 segments: Mind, Spirit, Body. Then comes the 28 day plan.
Each of the first 9 chapters include: Tweets, Tidbits, Step Out!, and Sound Bites. These are supposed to help motivate you and included lots of "rhyming" 2-line phrases.
Chapter 7 - Eat to Live - includes suggestions for swapping. These were difficult to use in the actual meal plan since you had to hunt them down each time. They were also repetitive in that she would list substitutions then take each of those substitutions and list those same substitutions again.
Half a 6-inch whole-wheat pita pocket
- 1 slice whole-wheat bread
- 1 light whole-grain English muffin
- 1 small whole-grain dinner roll
- 90 calories wort of whole-grain crackers
Looking at the swap for the slice of bread reveals all the same things again. Seemed to be just a way to add to the page count.
Each day on the plan includes: Be Faithful (bible verse), Be Grateful (motivational story), Be Positive (2-4 line quips), Be Fruitful (meals), Be Joyful (song of the day), and Be Fit (exercise). This is followed by 4-6 pages of Joyner demonstrating strength and/or cardio exercises. At the end of each week there is some space to journal. The meals include nutritional information and calorie counts.The calories switched from near equal lunch and dinners to lighter lunches and heavier dinners. They also became more time-consuming.
Although I liked having a verse, song, and story each day, the rest of the plan proved too much for me.
The lack of a weekly menu plan, too many Shakeology shakes, the food expense, the time-consuming and impractical meals, and an overwhelming amount of exercise drowned me before I made it to the end.
I work full time so I go to the grocery store once a week. I may go back midweek if I need something special but that's it. I like to plan out what I'm going to eat and then I make the shopping list from that menu. I had to go through each day and write down everything! It would have saved so much time to have a shopping list at the beginning of each week!
The first three days, as well as most days throughout the plan, required you to drink Shakeology shakes or their equivalent. This reminded me so much of the Slim-Fast plan. It was hard to get past the first two weeks. It just seemed like a marketing thing since the shakes are by the company that represents Joyner. The food required was expensive. Once those shake days are over, Joyner tries to incorporate lots of variety, almost too much. Sometimes a food was listed (1/4 slice of avocado) and not listed again that week. That would mean you would have to waste the rest of the avocado or you and your family would have to eat separately. Many items were also seasonal. As a single mom, I couldn't afford to keep up with the plan. It was about 3 times my normal food budget!
The meals were time-consuming and impractical, especially the lunches. I don't have time to cook cheeseburgers for lunch. If this was something left over from a previous meal, it may have worked, but it wasn't. I found myself making many substitutions to stay on track. The snacks (when you weren't having shakes) were not something I was used to. 2 figs and 2 tbsp blue cheese with 1 oz ham? Turkey, toast, ad 1/8 sliced avocado?
Joyner called for a MINIMUM of 50 minutes to start and I'm ballparking on the low end. Warm up 3-5 minutes, Cardio 30-60 minutes, Strength Training 15 min or more (she demonstrated these so not all had times just the number of repetitions and suggested number of circuits), Stretch 3 - 5 minutes. Sure you can break these down and do part in the morning and part in the afternoon but for someone to go from sedentary to this could be overwhelming. Some of the exercise times didn't even add up: Hold for 3 seconds, do 16 reps, then switch and repeat. Alternate sides for 1 minute. It would take a minimum of 48 secs to do ONE side. No way to do this in a minute. Each week you also went outside. Not possible here during the winter since you were at a playground or doing jump rope. Joyner tells you not to work the same body part two days in a row but the exercises do just that.
I expected to do some modifications but not to the extent necessary to make this work. I gave up after two weeks because the cons outweighed the pros. I did remember to eat more often, which helped me eat better. I scheduled lunches and snacks each day which totally eliminated the need for either the snack basket or the pop machine! I give it 2 out of 5 copies - Read it maybe.
Check out these other blogs to see what they thought of Witness to Fitness:
Tuesday, January 22nd: Miss Aleck & Co.
Thursday, January 24th: DopeReads
Wednesday, January 30th: Running with Spoons
Monday, February 4th: Living Outside the Stacks
Monday, February 11th: EmpowerMoments
Thanks to Harper and TLC Book Tours for this review copy. Don't forget to stop by TLC for more Witness to Fitness information and to see what other books are out on tour!