Fans of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills will well know that Teddi Mellencamp Arroyave’s profession is “accountability coach,” having built her business All in By Teddi into a major success. But what does accountability coaching really entail?
As BravoTV.com’s food editor, I felt responsibility to do a deep dive in pursuit of the answer to that question. So I signed up for Teddi’s 15-day Jumpstart program in the name of intrepid entertainment journalism…
…and also because I ate all the feta and all the ice cream on vacation in Europe in August. Not to mention all the cake in July, for my twins' birthday and my own. And I'd been drinking all the wine because... summer? Look, I’d been indulging a lot lately. And the scale was definitely not giving me a pass.
In fact, the day before I was going to start Teddi’s program, I was busily wringing the very last drops of juice out of summer with a trip to Disneyland with my fam. Yes, there were churros involved.
So when I stepped on the scale for day one, I was frankly shocked. I saw the biggest number since my pregnancy with my twins five years ago. (I’d lost 53 pounds of pregnancy weight several times — but life kept happening, and I kept gaining the same 10 back.) It was a reckoning. And I felt like I was well positioned to find gratification in a program with a major diet readjustment as its central component.
(Can I blow your mind? Here's me at 37 weeks pregnant with twins, July 2014.)
It should be said here that — because I inhabit a woman’s body and I live in America — I have spent a lifetime well acquainted with various diets. But now that I’m a fully self-actualized adult, with a feminist example to set for my daughter, it’s a more complicated proposition: My hometown of Los Angeles is filled with orthorexics masquerading as things like “wellness influencers,” and I’ve listened to plenty of intriguing podcasts about the concept of “intuitive eating.” My eyes are open to the complexities of the mere pursuit of weight loss — but in reality, I just wasn’t where I wanted to be, and I was ready for the opportunity to reconnect with a stronger, leaner, more disciplined version of myself.
(I lived my best Below Deck Med life on vacation in Greece and Croatia. I ate/drank all the things. It was time to pay the piper.)
What is the All In by Teddi jumpstart program?
The All In 15-day jumpstart program involves, first of all, a modified diet. (And I'm using the word diet in its most straightforward dictionary sense of food consumption; Teddi does not believe in trend-based "dieting" as a strategy, but rather in committing to sustainable lifestyle changes.) It’s 100-percent vegan, and focused on whole foods. There’s no alcohol, and no carbonated drinks — even carbonated water — that can contribute to bloating. With the emphasis on clean eating and whole foods, there's really no room for processed, frozen meals. So you end up reacquainting with cooking, or at least with getting more closely connected to what you're eating through more diligent meal prep, no matter your specific kitchen skills.
While there is no calorie counting on the plan, it almost necessarily requires a significantly reduced intake — especially if, like me, you start the program after a period of indulgence.
On the plan, lunch is the largest meal of the day — larger than dinner. And that’s a philosophy that I can get behind because it seems both logical and practical: Of course, I need the fuel to power me through the work day, but I don't need it when I'm sleeping.
There’s also no formal “intermittent fasting” on the program (Teddi has also said she doesn't mess with fasts herself). But because mealtimes are more or less set, I found that being on jumpstart resulted in a de facto nighttime fast; I found myself eating my light dinner by about 6 pm and then going to bed early, often waking up in the 5 o’clock hour to work out.
That's because the jumpstart program also demands 60 minutes of cardio daily — yes, that’s seven days per week — so if you're a busy working mom like me, that involves plenty of planning and early mornings.
The 15-day jumpstart typically costs $599. (After jumpstart, clients can then continue to the monthly program at $399 for four weeks.) All In comped my experience so I could try the program as a journalist. However, it seemed to me that the retail price amounted to enough money that a paying client might really feel committed based on the significant cost alone. But for many people, it's also not cost prohibitive depending on priorities — not a nonstarter in the way that, say, a two-week trip to a fancy wellness retreat might be. (And I have also seen All In run social media promotions offering discounted rates.)
So what does "accountability coaching" even mean?
Studies frequently show that the difference for most people between success and failure when it comes to weight loss is a support team. And this is the true value proposition offered by All In by Teddi: You’re assigned a team of coaches, and they’re going to blow you up in a text thread to make sure you stay committed to what you set out to do.
This means you stay in touch with your coaches all day. When you wake up, you send over a picture of your first-thing-in-the-morning weight on the scale. They ask for your cardio plan for the day — to make sure you have a viable strategy in place before the day gets out of hand.
Then you send pictures of what you’re eating — meals and snacks — to make sure that you’re actually consuming foods that are compliant under the plan, and also that you’re eating at the right time of day. Oh shoot, you got busy and now it’s 4 pm and you’re hangry and want to hit up Taco Bell? Not a thing on All In, because your coaches will be in your grill before you ever get to that point.
They also offer feedback on portion size, and ideas to amp up flavor and satisfaction with the permissible foods.
And the text thread is highly personal: Unlike with, say, a trainer at the gym where you might talk nothing but weights for 60 minutes and then hit the showers, the All In thread feels intimate.
On my coaching thread was Teddi, my primary coach Jenn Leipart, and a series of support coaches including Brooke Cavins, Megan Bond, Mary Cofran, and Marcy Eliassen — a fellow mom of twins (and therefore instant kindred spirit who gets what I'm up against in terms of, well, #life).
My second day of the program coincided with my twins’ first day of kindergarten — a really big day, both logistically and emotionally, on which I might have otherwise been inclined toward emotional eating, and would have definitely had a convenient excuse not to carve out a full hour for a cardio workout to boot. But my coaches kept me on task — and they even got the first pics of my kids getting on that school bus, even before the kids’ grandparents, because of how regularly we remained in close contact throughout the day.
To underscore the point: The coaches are all. Up. In. Your. Texts. All day! It becomes a highly personal safe space, a place for encouragement and sharing.
How did All in By Teddi's 15-Day jumpstart work for me?
I came out the gate eager for the changes I could potentially make — and the program felt like an exciting novelty about which I’d been curious for a long time. (Plus, it’s kind of cool to just text with one of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills all day, right? I mean, I’d be remiss not to mention.)
But by day four I was hungry. Just hungry as hell. I woke up that day with a headache, which I suspected might have been triggered by the hunger. It didn’t go away; I was up with that headache in the middle of the night wondering what the actual F I was doing and why. It’s like when you get on the spin bike as a newbie and it just makes your lady parts hurt — the wrong kind of pain, not the kind that feels either effective in pursuit of a goal, nor even self respecting. (In my own experience with spinning, that part is short lived and passes, giving way to a cultish devotion.)
The headache abated a bit, but still continued into day five. Teddi suspected it could have been related to my body detoxing. (In fairness, it could have been anything — even hormones.) But do you know what got me through? Results. In the first four days, I lost (wait for it)… five pounds. This seemed impossible. And it sure kept me motivated.
After about a week — or about midway through the program — I was surprised to find myself not actually hungry anymore. My body had somehow reset. I’m sure my stomach shrank from its enormous capacity after a summer spent eating all the things — but my cravings reset, too. Whole foods like an apple or a clementine felt like satisfying (even tasty!) snacks, where just days earlier I really felt like something wasn’t actually a snack unless it was crunchy, salty, and came in a bag. And I eventually found compliant meals that were flavor packed and totally satisfying — such as an incredible poke bowl (brown rice, all the veggies including jalapeños for a palate punch, but minus the fish) that I kept going back for at the Commissary on the lot at Bravo HQ in Universal City.
But after I stopped being hungry, I stopped losing weight as fast. Something about metabolism? I’m not sure; I’m not a scientist. (Neither are the All In coaches, BTW — the website clearly states that they have no formal certifications or licenses as instructors or nutritionists.) I was still mainly losing, but more slowly.
On three different days of the program, I lost no weight at all. On two days, I gained small amounts — and this made me especially mad on day 14 because I wanted to finish strong.
But guess what? I made it to the finish line. (Cue applause.)
And after day 15, there was absolutely no question in my mind that this program works: I lost a whopping nine pounds in the 15 days. That significantly exceeded my expectations, and frankly my highest hopes for the program that I wouldn’t have even dared utter out loud. I was thrilled with that result.
So thrilled in fact, that I very seriously considered continuing into the 30-day program at my own expense. My last day felt like the last day of summer camp; it had been a really intense and fulfilling experience, and I could barely imagine not spending every day with these people (virtually).
In the end, I decided to continue my journey on my own — for now — but I definitely haven’t ruled out coming back into the fold at some point for 30 days or more of continued work with my coaching team.
That’s because I’m now fully convinced this program absolutely works. It works because of Teddi's idea to carve out a space for "accountability" within the massive wellness world. Yes, honing in on accountability might have been for Teddi a market opportunity with serious legs. But accountability is also the piece — above all else — that makes the most meaningful difference in the challenging pursuit of weight loss and radical lifestyle transformation.
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