I’m happy to say I made it through the 3 Day Refresh. I actually swore off cleanses of any sort after attempting the Master Cleanse in 2009 – I lasted 5 days and quit after I read too many terrible stories about why it was a pointless and potentially dangerous cleanse in the first place on chat forums (not to mention, I was starving and super crabby). What I learned from that experience is that I would never do a cleanse for longer than three days and that I would never do a cleanse that didn’t involve some sort of food.
The 3 Day Refresh fits both of those criteria. I purchase the cleanse in December when Beachbody was having a $10 off sale and planned ahead to start on January 2nd. Perhaps knowing that I was going to be cleansing gave me more permission to overindulge during the holiday season, or it could be the fact that we attended a record 8 holiday/birthday parties in December, including a cookie exchange that left me with a house full of assorted desserts starting mid December, plus all day family visits and celebrations on December 23rd, 24th and 25th. Either way, I ended up eating my words and becoming the dreaded holiday season statistic – I gained 5 pounds!
To say I was motivated to successfully complete the 3 Day Refresh is an understatement. I was set on competing it, although after researching it in advance I knew I would likely give myself a few extra calories, as the plan itself comes in at 900 calories per day as intended. I would guess that I typically eat 2,000-2,500 calories on an average day and more on the day of a long run (I am 5’9″ and very active).
One of the most helpful blog posts that I read prior to the Refresh went into painstaking detail as to what was consumed in those 3 days as well as how she felt. I found it helpful so I thought I’d share similar detail with you – feel free to skip to the bottom to hear how much weight I lost if you’d like!
The 3 Day Refresh – What is Included
The cleanse comes in a nice box with three sections that includes:
- 6 Vanilla Refresh Shakes: Each contain 20 grams of plant based protein, 22 essential vitamins and minerals, probiotics and potato protein (helps curb hunger). There are no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or sweeteners. You’ll drink 2 per day.
- 3 Shakeology: (Ideally you will use vegan, I actually ordered my kit with regular chocolate so I can give them out as samples but used chocolate vegan for my shakes): You can read my blog post about the benefits of Shakeology here. 1 per day.
- 3 Fiber Sweep Drinks: Drink made from whole-ground flax, chia, and psyllium seed husks intended to add fiber to your diet and help you eliminate waste from your digestive system while supporting healthy intestinal flora. 1 per day.
- 3-Day Refresh Program Guide: Easy to follow guide that explains what you can eat each day and allows you to plan your menu in advance. It also includes several dinner recipes and a list of approved vegetables, fruits and fats.
- 3-Day Refresh Maintenance Guide: For some advice on how to maintain your results with continued health eating.
The 3 Day Refresh Daily Menu
Here’s the prescribed menu as described in the 3-Day Refresh Program Guide (which was extremely clear and helpful by the way!):
- Wake-Up and drink 8-12 oz filtered water
- Breakfast of Shakeology with 1 fruit option blended with 1 1/4 cup water
- Mid-Morning Fiber Sweep Drink
- Lunch: Vanilla Fresh Shake, 1 serving veggies, 1 serving fruits, 1 serving fats
- Afternoon Snack: 1 serving veggies, 1 serving fats
- Dinner: Vanilla Fresh Shake, 1 serving from the Dinner recipes (basically veggies with healthy fats) + optional 1 cup organic vegetable broth
Coffee is allowed but must be black. Green tea is allowed in the morning and herbal tea is allowed throughout the day, without sweetener (stevia is optional).
The 3 Day Refresh – Day 1
I woke up on day 1 pretty much starving already. Not a great sign! I had an early dinner the night before (plus a final cookie!) which probably wasn’t the best idea. I normally have a large breakfast (3 eggs and toast with peanut butter and banana or a large bowl of oatmeal with banana and berries) and although many people enjoy drinking Shakeology for breakfast, I never do (it’s usually a snack for me). Since I don’t like coffee black, I cooled one cup of coffee with several pieces of ice and poured it into the blender. I mixed my Vegan Chocolate Shakeology with the coffee, more ice and a half banana. This the same breakfast I had all three days.
The guide warns you to only do moderate or light exercise, or to not exercise at all on the cleanse. Well, you know me – I went for a five mile run. My schedule had a 6 mile run with several short pick-ups so I shortened the run a bit and skipped the pick-ups as a compromise. I figured since I was doing the run early in the morning I’d have energy from the night before (and I did).
I drank the fiber sweep drink around 10 a.m. – I basically chugged it, it is not tasty or filling at all. By 11 a.m. I was absolutely starving, likely due to the run and that I usually have already had 700 calories by this time of day. I ended up eating a full banana (a half banana is technically 1 fruit portion) at 11 a.m. and then waited until 1 PM to eat lunch. I had the Vanilla Fresh shake (blended with water and ice), which I found to be really good, maybe even more delicious than Vanilla Shakeology because it’s actually a little less sweet and I made a big green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula and onion with a homemade salad dressing (1 tsp oil is the fat portion allowed) and WOW it tasted delicious! I’m not kidding – I was so happy to be eating solid food that it was glorious.
Mid-afternoon I had my snack, which was carrots and red bell pepper with avocado. You’re only allowed 2 tsp of avocado per serving, but I never measured mine – I usually ate 1/4 of an avocado. I took a short nap in the afternoon which helped me forget about my hunger. For dinner I made the recipe from the book – roasted asparagus with almonds but I didn’t have almonds so I used pumpkin seeds. I added the 1 cup of vegetarian broth. Again, it was absolutely delicious despite being TINY! I made the executive decision to make my Vanilla shake with unseewetend almond milk and it helped keep me more full. I finished all of this around 6:45 PM and made the mistake of saying I was surprisingly full. An hour later I was hungry. Mike made me a cup of hot water with lemon and that, along with drinking plenty of cold water, helped.
The 3 Day Refresh – Day 2
I didn’t sleep great and woke up tired. I weighed myself and was down 3 pounds (I know it’s water weight). This time I started the day with a glass of water and a cup of hot lemon water. I repeated my breakfast with the coffee from the day before. Mid-morning I added a cup of green tea. I made it til 11:30 before I ate my salad, which I made similar to yesterday’s but instead of using the oil in the dressing, I used 1/4 of an avocado in the salad (and made the dressing with apple cider vinegar and lemon). It was even better than the day before thanks to the avocado. I saved the shake until 2 p.m. when I returned home (I was working from the library) and drank it with almond milk and 1/2 banana (my fruit portion for lunch). Breaking up the two lunch portions helped with the hunger for sure. I had more avocado and carrots for afternoon snack. I took a short nap in the afternoon.
For dinner, I had the genius idea of making cauliflower rice. I’ve never had it but I bought some at Trader Joe’s when I was prepping for the cleanse. I sautéed the package with 2 tsp coconut oil and mixed in some frozen green peas and curry powder. I steamed some zucchini and broccoli and ate it on top. I didn’t measure any of the veggies (in my opinion the servings are kind of crazy small!) and made myself a big plate (which was half of the cauliflower rice concoction). It was delicious and tricked me into feeling like I was eating a real dinner! I drank my shake about 30 minutes later and it was delicious. At bedtime I couldn’t fall asleep, probably due to my earlier nap.
I decided NOT to work out on Day 2, mostly because I was really busy and figured I shouldn’t push it.
The 3 Day Refresh – Day 3
I woke up on Day 3 with a bit of a headache and felt tired. Again, I had my cold water, hot lemon water, iced coffee Shakeology for breakfast, green tea mid-morning and the fiber drink later. I made the cucumber tomato salad recipe from the booklet for lunch (technically a dinner recipe) and added arugula and 1/4 an avocado and didn’t use the oil. It was really good! I would consider eating it for lunch regularly and adding chicken. I waited a bit again to drink the shake and again mixed it with almond milk, though I skipped the banana and ate two cuties instead.
I had 1/4 an avocado and carrots for an afternoon snack and then did 21 Day Fix Yoga, which I found really boosted my energy. I had the leftover curried cauliflower rice and veggies for dinner. My final shake also included almond milk. It really helped make the shakes more filling!
3 Day Refresh Results
In the end, I lost 4.5 pounds and 1 inch off my hips and 1/2 inch off my waist. I FEEL lighter and better in my clothes. I apparently lost nearly an inch off each thigh (I measured in the widest part) but I’m not sure if I measured correctly the first time. Do I think that this is all fat loss? Definitely not. It’s mostly water. If you do the math, the deficit I created was only enough for 1 pound of fat loss at most. The rest is likely water and unfortunately it could even be a little muscle (one of the reasons I don’t recommend a cleanse longer than 3 days!).
The purpose of the cleanse isn’t to lose 6 pounds of fat in 3 days (which is virtually impossible) – it’s to reset your habits and your body and get back to square one. I think in that case, it was a success, as it’s given me time to reflect on some of the poorer eating habits that I had slowly incorporated into my life.
As for how the cleanse FELT, my energy levels weren’t great on the cleanse – I didn’t have a lot of desire to do a lot physically. For me, that is a big negative as I love to workout. I didn’t wake up on the final day and think “I feel better than I ever have!” As for digestion – I was as regular as always, no issues there.
My Review of The 3 Day Refresh
I’m glad I did the 3-Day Refresh. My eating habits needed a serious makeover and I think doing the refresh really taught me to SLOW DOWN and enjoy my food and to realize that I my eating habits have been changing for the worse the last few months.
I really liked that this cleanse only lasted 3 days – it made it seem very doable, even if it wasn’t always fun. I also really enjoyed the Vanilla Fresh shake – I really looked forward to drinking it! I liked the recipes that were provided and I enjoyed the fact that I was able to eat things like avocado and bananas. I do think that the quantity of veggies, fruits and fats is a little low and that it may be a little extreme – hence why I added additional portions of each, plus some unsweetened almond milk for some of my shakes.
Was I hungry on the 3 Day Refresh? Heck yes! I know a lot of the reviews say you won’t be hungry, but that just wasn’t the case for me. At times I joked I was “starving” even. But, it was a tolerable hunger most of the time and I never felt faint, nauseous or overly exhausted. I eat so much normally I knew there would be no way that 900-1,000 calories a day would satisfy me. Not even close.
I did not like the fact that I didn’t feel like I could work out while on the cleanse, but I guess that’s normal with any cleanse. I ended up skipping my group speed workout becuase of it, though I plan to make up the workout today, it’s not ideal.
So, would I recommend the 3 Day Refresh? It depends. I would recommend it to someone who is looking for a reset in their habits and who is committed to making improvements in the future. If you’re just going to go back to your old habits, you might as well forget about the cleanse as I’m sure you’ll gain the weight back immediately. If you’re looking for a quick weight loss fix, this program would help you lose weight and feel better in your clothes for a big event. If you’re in the middle of training for a big endurance event, I would not recommend the 3 Day Refresh (nor would I recommend if you’re breastfeeding, as the levels of fat were not high enough to support normal lactation). You’d want to do this cleanse before you start training for your race (my marathon training officially starts in 2 weeks so this was good timing for me).
If you’re interested in trying out 3 Day Refresh yourself, purchase here or email me at fitnessfataleblog at gmail.com. If you’d like support, I will add you to our team 3 Day Refresh Facebook group so that you can get accountability and answers to any questions you may have.
Have any questions for me? Have you ever done a cleanse? Did it make you feel better or worse?