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4 Clean Eating Programs to Try With Your Roommate This Year

4 Clean Eating Programs to Try With Your Roommate This Year

The holidays are over, the new year bashes have died down, and you and your roommates have promised each other: You will get in shape this year — even if that means squatting it out in your closet-sized bedroom  to avoid those ridiculous gym fees. But you’re well aware that getting in shape is part exercise and part eating better, and the latter will involve at least one of you staying on the dollar pizza ban. Anyone who’s attempted a diet or a cleanse knows that this type of lifestyle change is far easier said than done. In fact, one survey found that while 66 percent of Americans make fitness goals a part of their new year’s resolutions, 73 percent of them give up before even coming close to meeting their goals.

But don’t get discouraged just yet: Enlisting your roommate to jump on your diet and fitness bandwagon may actually up your chances of achieving your goals this year. A 2011 study published in the Psychology of Sport and Exercise journal found that the workout habits of people you know and spend time with have a positive influence on your own exercise habits. (So, yes, the couch potato roommate has to be on board.) That’s a pretty good incentive, right? We talked to some everyday roommates about their clean eating regimens and how they kicked their unhealthy routines with the help of their co-living partners. So, put down the stale holiday cookies and get inspired — it’s your year to get in shape together!

The Program:

Whole30 is a clean eating program designed to cut out different food groups — as well as alcohol— that many folks could possibly be allergic to, like dairy and gluten. It helps you discover what works for your personal body and what doesn’t,” says Lindsay Tigar, a 27-year-old digital director living in NYC, who chose the program to help her detox and feel better.

“After putting on way too much weight from one too many nights out drinking and battling terrible stomach issues every single meal, I knew I had to make a change. I was really unhappy with how I looked, even though I exercised constantly. Whole30 isn’t a fad diet. It’s a lifestyle change that you make for 30 days and then shape it to work for the rest of your life. I eat everything now, with the exception of dairy, and have managed to lose 20 pounds in the past year!”

Co-living Partner-in-Crime:

“It would have been absolutely near impossible to do it without an accountability partner! We didn’t keep any unhealthy food in the house, so we were both able to avoid any temptation,” says Tigar.

“We also decided to do it in January because it’s cold and there’s nothing really going on. Everyone’s burnt out from the holidays and many people do ‘Dry January.’ Having my roommate Christina by my side to split groceries with and vent to when I really, really (really!) wanted a glass of wine was a lifesaver.”

Started From the Bottom, Now They’re Here:

“Christina and I created a hidden Pinterest board where we pinned recipes. We’d email each week about dishes we wanted to try, and we would go grocery shopping together. I had a sinking feeling that dairy was giving me issues, so I cut out dairy right after Christmas, even though we didn’t technically start Whole30 until January.”

“Having a social life and going to restaurants tested me. It’s so hard to go out with your friends and not join them for drinks. Though it was hard, it was so helpful doing it with Christina — we were never the only ones sober!”

The Program:

Bulletproof is kind of like a healthier version of paleo in the sense that it eliminates grains and focuses on fat consumption. There’s more to it than just the whole ‘hunter and gatherer’ thing,” says Gigi Engle, a 25-year-old writer and editor based in NYC, who chose the program specifically to help her kick carbs.

“It’s low-carb while focusing on giving your body and brain a lot of nutrient-rich fats. Basically, you teach your body to use fat instead of carbohydrates as your main source of energy. I’ve been low-carb since my teens because it’s easy to keep up long-term. But then my roommates told me about the negative effects low-carb bread, pasta and fake sugar can have on the body. It made me want to take it a step further and not only eat low-carb but also make sure the food I was eating was healthy and clean.”

Co-living Partner-in-Crime:

“My roommate was doing a paleo diet but was having a tough time keeping up with it. I was doing low-carb, but eating all of this fake sugar and bad stuff for my body. Then we found out about Bulletproof and decided to go for it together. Teamwork makes the dream work!”

Started From the Bottom, Now They’re Here:

“It was really easy because I was already on the low-carb regimen. It was just about being more conscious about the ingredients and quality of food I was putting in my body.

“The diet isn’t hard! The only thing is you can’t have any pasteurized milk, so I’ve started drinking my coffee black. Also, you’re encouraged not to drink. Giving up alcohol was hard, but it was so worth it,” concludes Engle.

The Program:

 “The 21 Day Fix provides 21 days of 30-minute exercises including upper and lower body, pilates, yoga, plyometrics, cardio, and core. During this time, you’re also following a nutritional guide that takes the guesswork out of counting calories and teaches you how to consume healthy portions to fuel your body. You’re given containers of various sizes that represent each food group: fruits, vegetables, carbs, healthy fats, proteins and seeds/dressings. Based on your caloric intake and output, you’re designated a container bracket to fill up throughout the day,” says Carissa Novak, a 25-year-old health and fitness coach from Southern Pines, NC, who chose the program because of its equal focus on better eating and exercise.

“I’ve always been super into health and fitness, but was never able to stick with something that gave me continually desired results. I tried the original 21 Day Fix last year and saw incredible results. So this year I decided to try the extreme version. I ran a challenge group online for anyone who wanted to try the program with me.”

Co-living Partner-in-Crime:

“My roommate’s extremely healthy, fit and shares the same vegetarian diet I do. We’d meal prep together on Sundays to prepare for the busy week ahead. When you do a program like this with your roommate or a family member, friend or partner, it’s more enjoyable because you have someone to share your journey with and you can hold one another accountable.”

Started From the Bottom, Now They’re Here:

“First, you get rid of all the junk food in your house to avoid temptation. Then, once you receive your 21 Day Fix package in the mail, you look at the food lists for each container and go grocery shopping to fill them up!”

“My biggest challenge was when my roommate wanted to go out to a party or dinner. It’s been hard to eat at restaurants and follow the 21 Day Fix plan—but not impossible. Ordering a salad and telling them to hold the dressing or mixed vegetables without salt or butter are good options.”

The Program:

PreGameFit is the only workout and nutrition guide (that I’ve ever come across) that’s specifically designed with college students in mind. It isn’t intimidating or overwhelming — instead it teaches you how to integrate healthy living into your life while still having a so-called “authentic” college experience,” vouches Marissa Rosati, a 20-year-old college student from Winthrop, MA, who picked the program because of its flexibility.

“I was originally inspired to do PreGame Fit because I was looking for a way to fit healthy living and fitness into my hectic schedule. Between classes, work and socializing, I was looking for a way to dedicate enough time to my health and wellness goals.”

Co-living Partner-in-Crime:

“I didn’t need a gym membership with PreGame Fit, meaning I could do strength workouts in my apartment. It was so easy for my roommate and I to do the exercises together. We held each other accountable and motivated each other to complete the workouts and follow the nutrition guide. And it was super fun to do the strength workouts while watching ‘Pretty Little Liars!’”

Started From the Bottom, Now They’re Here:

“That’s the best thing about this program — I didn’t have to prepare for it! While the workouts became progressively harder throughout the program, they were all were doable. I love how the program was able to accommodate all of my roommates’ fitness levels because you can customize the strength workouts to fit your level of fitness.”