3 Day Refresh – an honest review

So, if you’ve read my blog in the past, you know I’ve done the 3 day refresh before, with mixed results. I lost 5 lbs the first time I did it, about 6 months ago. But it was HARD. I felt horrible and sick for most of it. I was pretty sure I could contribute a lot of the negatives to caffeine withdrawl. I’m a 1-2 cups of coffee/day person, with a couple diet cokes added in later in the day. So, to go cold turkey was probably not a good idea. I was drinking green tea to try to help the headache but it just wasn’t cutting it. By day 2 I felt sluggish, had a horrible headache, and just felt crappy all around. And sorry for the TMI, but I was backed up, and didn’t go to the bathroom for the entire 3 days! So by day 3 I felt even more bloated than when I started, and hadn’t lost any weight. Amazingly I woke up on day 4 and had dropped 5 lbs. My system also finally *ahem* cleared out, and I felt much better. I definitely wasn’t planning on ever doing it again!

But, this week I decided to try the 3 Day Refresh one more time. After the holidays and several months of just plain bad eating, I was feeling so bloated and sluggish. I really decided I would jump start with a 3 day refresh, then tackle a 21 day fix. And hopefully lose the 10 lbs I’ve gained in the last few months! It’s amazing what time does to memory, I know I hated it last time but I was convinced it must not have been as bad as I remember. HaHa!

The truth is, it actually wasn’t as bad as I remembered. But, that’s because I modified the plan from the beginning. Now, I know die-hard beachbody coaches and clean eating fans probably won’t agree with my methods. But I don’t really care. Because it’s all about doing what’s right for MY body. I know my body better than anyone, and I also just know myself. So, off the bat, I decided I would drink coffee this time. I usually drink my coffee in the mornings in my shakeology so I decided to just keep that the same. I drink 12-16 oz iced coffee, add a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 stevia packet, and a scoop of chocolate vegan shakeology. First of all, YUM. I drink this every single day and I absolutely love it. The plan calls for shakeology in the morning and stevia is allowed. It also says black coffee is okay if you really need it. So, really my only cheat was the splash of almond milk.

My other big modification is the one that will get some people all up in arms. I’m drinking Diet Coke. YES. DIET COKE. Evil, evil Diet Coke. OMG, everyone, I am drinking artificial sweetener. There, I said it, I admit it, I’m going to beachbody hell. Look, I know. I know diet soda is not good for me. I know the artificial sweeteners have been linked to all kinds of health problems, and apparently also increase cravings for sweets. And yes, I’d like to stop drinking it. But, it’s just soooo GOOD.

The thing is, I’m trying really hard here to do the clean eating thing, to live a healthier lifestyle and get in better shape. And it’s HARD. And if I’m following the plan 90%, well, that’s about 90% healthier than I was last week with my pizza and cookies. So, that said, I also added a little extra food to the 3 day plan, because I know that my body needs it.

I absolutely love beachbody programs, and the nutrition plans that come with them. But, at the same time, there is a LOT of pressure from other coaches to follow them PERFECTLY. God forbid you admit to drinking diet soda, or skipping a few workouts. I think all that pressure scares people off! They think, “oh, I’m not perfect, I cannot do this 100%” so they don’t even try! And that’s where I completely disagree. You know what? If you follow the plan even 50%, you are still doing better than you were before you started!

So, this round is going better. I feel a lot better, probably because I’m not going through caffeine withdrawal. I get pretty hungry by the late afternoon, but part of that is just my schedule. I don’t get home until after 6 so it’s a long wait between the afternoon snack and dinner. I don’t feel sluggish or dizzy like last time. (Again, just because of caffeine maybe?)

So, here is what the plan calls for vs. what I actually ate on day 1.

Breakfast
Plan: What I ate:
Shakeology with 12 oz water Shakeology with 12 oz coffee, splash of almond milk, and stevia.
1 Serving of Fruit 1 Banana (= 2 servings of fruit
Mid-Morning
Fiber Sweep with 8 oz water Fiber Sweep with 10oz water
Lunch
Vanilla Fresh Shake with 10 oz water Vanilla Fresh Shake with 12 oz water
1 Serving Fruit 1 cup of grapes (= 2 servings of fruit)
1 serving Veggie Cucumber = 1 serving Veggie
1 serving healthy fat 2 TBSP Hummus = 1 serving healthy fat
Mid-Afternoon
1 serving veggie Cucumber = 1 serving veggie
1 serving health fat 2 TBSP Hummus = 1 serving healthy fat
Dinner
Vanilla Fresh Shake with 10 oz water Vanilla Fresh Shake with 12 oz water, 1 packet of stevia, cinnamon
1 meal from Dinner Recipes List Coconut steamed veggies = 2 Servings

At the end of day 1, I felt great. The veggies for dinner were really yummy and I wasn’t hungry at all!

On day 2, I followed this almost exactly, until I got to dinner. I was really hungry and had a little bit of a headache. Seriously, the thought of eating just veggies again for dinner made me want to vomit. I ended up eating an Amy’s Organic pasta with veggies bowl. And a big spoonful of peanut butter! But then I felt fine. So far today (day 3) I’m doing good. I brought veggies with apples and almond butter for lunch, and hummus w/ cucumber for the afternoon snack. I’ll have to see how I feel by dinner. Not sure if I can survive on just seasoned green beans, which is the plan.

Just FYI – the Fiber Sweep is gross. It’s grainy, like drinking sand. On day one I thought I might vomit afterwards. Day 2 was even worse, I had to really force it down. Day 3 somehow I managed to just chug down all in one big gulp. I guess it was the knowledge that it was the last one that got me through!

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The good news is, I’m not feeling so bloated and backed up this time. Actually, the exact opposite has happened, more like what you would expect with a “cleanse.” I do feel pretty sorry for everyone who has to be in close contact with me these past few days. 🙂 And as of this morning, I’m down 3 lbs. We’ll see what the scale says tomorrow for the final weigh in!

One thing I want to address is the question of whether to work out or not on the refresh. The user guide says mild to moderate exercise is fine. I disagree, strongly. You are only eating about 900 calories. It’s just enough to get through the day, really. Last round, I didn’t actually work out but I did exert myself physically, by going for a jog/walk with my son and playing outside with him. This time I really took it easy and I felt much, much better. I have heard the same from a few other people, that working out on this plan really wiped them out. So, beachbody says it’s fine. I say, it’s 3 days, better to just take it easy. 

Would I do this again? Possibly. Now that I’ve found an approach that works for me, I think it’s doable. It’s not the most pleasant 3 days ever, but I’m also paying for months of excess and indulgence here! I do think it’s worth it in the long run, *IF* I keep up with the clean eating and keep the weight off.

I start the 21 day fix on Monday. I’ve done 2 round already and love it! As a single mom, I’ve found it very easy to adapt to my lifestyle. I have some modifications for that plan as well, mostly ways to fit it into my crazy life, and I will be writing them up in my next post. Stay tuned!

Full Disclosure, I am a beachbody coach. I’m mostly what you would call a “discount coach.” I figured out a long time ago that my monthly supply of shakeology would cheaper if I signed up as a coach, so that’s what I did. And, I save 25% on any programs I want to order. Win-Win. If you want to try anything out, feel free to email me or visit my website, I’m happy to help. And I won’t pressure you to be perfect 🙂 

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No More Excuses

Most people know, I have a pretty busy (sometimes crazy) life. I’m a full-time single parent. I have a full-time job and do freelance work on the side. I don’t get days off. I don’t even get hours off. I’m exhausted. Money is always tight and I have to carefully watch every expense. I also have health issues. Asthma, high cholesterol, a slipped disc in my back, sciatica, shin splints and planter faciitis to name a few.

And for years, I used all of the above, and then some, as an excuse for gaining weight and not taking care of my body.

  • I don’t have time to workout
  • Eating healthy is too expensive.
  • I don’t have time to cook healthy meals.
  • Gyms are too expensive.

But guess what? That’s all they were. Excuses. Where did all those excuses get me? Overweight, unhealthy, unhappy and lacking self-confidence.

NO MORE EXCUSES

Finding SoldierFit changed my life. I gained confidence, strength and knowledge when I walked in those doors. I finally all my excuses for not working out. I MADE time. I chose to spend money on a gym membership rather than buy myself new clothes or take a vacation. I stopped making excuses.

2 months ago I found Beachbody and once again, it has been a life changing experience. In addition to the 21 Day Fix meal plan, I can now workout at home several days/week. When I don’t have time to get to the gym, I don’t need to use that as yet another excuse to skip my workout.

When I began following the 21 day fix meal plan, guess what I found? Eating healthy is NOT too expensive! I am spending less on food now than I was before. Are my grocery bills a little higher? Yes. I’m buying more fresh and organic foods and they are more expensive. But I’m NOT eating out. I’m not ordering pizza three times in one week. Is Shakeology expensive? Well…I spend less $ per day on my healthy, coffee shake than I used to on my McDonalds breakfast and coffee.

I’m finishing up round 2 of the 21 day fix next week. In 2 months I’m down 6lbs. It’s not a lot but I’m also down an entire pants size! That means more to me than any number on the scale. The best part is, I feel amazing! I have more energy than I’ve had in YEARS! I can see muscle definition in my arms and legs that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. After many years I’ve realized, there is no easy way out or magic pill. Excuses don’t work. Hard work and dedication do.

Next weekend I will finish off the 21 day fix with a 3 Day Refresh, then jump into my next challenge, PiYo. Along with fellow independent Team Beachbody coaches, I have 2 challenge groups beginning on July 7 to help motivate and encourage everyone working these 2 programs. There is still space available in both groups – if you are ready to make a change in your life and commit to #NoMoreExcuses comment here or send me an email to get started!

Weight loss journey

I’ve posted before about my weight loss journey but haven’t updated in quite a while. I was motivated by a friend to post a very honest update here to help keep myself accountable.

You can read the backstory here. I joined SoldierFit in August of 2013, determined to do something about my weight and overall unhealthy lifestyle. I’ve had varying degrees of success since then. Physically, I’m definitely stronger and in better shape than I’ve ever been. I have muscles that I can actually SEE in my arms. But, I haven’t been consistent. I seem to go through ups and downs with my motivation. I will hit the gym regularly for a couple week, then something comes up that keeps me home for a few days and bam, I lose my motivation. Then it takes me a few weeks to get back. When I’m working out, I feel great. Except for all my body aches and pains, like shin splints, sciatica and lower back pain just to name a few.

The real problem is my diet. They say weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise (or something like that) and I definitely believe it. I thought if I was working out I would be able to keep eating basically the same and still lose weight. Boy, was I wrong. I started SoldierFit August at 182 lbs. I did drop a couple pounds but my weight pretty much was sitting at 178 after that. In April I weighed in at the doctor at 177. Somehow, I did manage to lose a few more pounds, I still haven’t quite figured that one out so in May I started the month out at 174.

That’s when I signed up for the 21 day fix through Beachbody. The 21 day fix is not a typical diet/weight loss hoax full of pills and cutting out all of one type of food. The program encourages “clean” eating and portion control. It has helped me tremendously with figuring out the correct balance of foods I should be eating. I learned quickly that even when I thought I was making good food choices, I wasn’t. I was eating too many refined carbs and sugars, not enough proteins and veggies. With the 21 day fix I know exactly how many servings of each: veggies, fruits, proteins, grains, fruits, and healthy fats I should be eating each day. I also know exactly how large a portion of each I should be eating (hint, the grains portion is smaller and the veggies portion is larger than what I was eating before!)  I do also drink a protein shake, although that is not required to follow the plan. The  program also comes with workout DVDs and a schedule to follow, there are no days off.

I officially started on May 7 and weighed in at 172.5. After week one I was down to 169, a loss of 3.5lbs. Also the lowest weight I have been in over 2 years! Week one I worked out all 7 days. I went to SoldierFit 4 days and followed the plan DVDs the other 3. I was so proud of myself! Week 2 went pretty well, I worked out6 out of 7 days. But the weekend kind of fell apart as far as eating went. I went to 2 birthday parties that weekend and I ate cake (a lot of cake) at each. When I weighed in Monday morning I was at 172. So, I gained 3 lbs back but was still at a net loss of .5lbs. Week 3 went pretty much the same, I did really well during the week, and worked out M-Th. Then the weekend came and I binged. I ate pizza (multiple times) and donuts, and drank beer. And I didn’t work out at all. It didn’t help that it was memorial day weekend so I had an extra day at home. I ended up weighing in at 173. So, overall I gained .5lbs. I did take body measurements at the beginning but haven’t taken them since. I wouldn’t be surprised if I did lose a small amount because of the added workouts.

I’ve discovered that I do really well as long as I have a schedule and a plan to follow, as well as a fridge stocked with all the stuff I need. Weekends are really tough because I am usually out and about, eating on the run, and not following my routine. I also can’t go to the gym on the weekends. I don’t mind the DVDs for working out but I really have a difficult time motivating myself to workout at home. Plus, my living room is really small and it feels awkward doing some of the moves in that small space.

Since my 3 week program officially ended, I’ve still be trying to follow the eating. I have been mostly following it but haven’t been actually writing out a schedule and tracking to make sure I get the right balance. I also have been on a super tight budget and have been trying to do the best I can with what I have in the fridge. I also drank beer and ate pizza again both weekends. I haven’t been to the gym. Last week I was having really bad back pain and wanted to take some time off, I was worried that I may have overdone it during the 3 weeks of such intense workouts. This week I hoped to get back at least a couple times but it’s not looking like that’s going to happen. A million and one things have come up, Boo Boo has an appointment this afternoon for an evaluation (part of his IEP process,) he starts a new soccer team on Wednesday, and I his 5th birthday party is this weekend (new posts coming soon about how he is turning 5 and I am total shock and can’t believe we are about to start getting ready for kindergarten.)

Yesterday morning I actually weighed in at 170.5! So, not too bad. But I need to kick my butt into gear. I wanted to be down to 160 by the end of June. I don’t know if I can make that now but I’m going to try for July 15. I’m going grocery shopping over the weekend and stocking up on everything I need to start round 2 of the 21 day fix next week (June 16.) If I follow the plan for 3 weeks (for real, no cheating, no beer, no pizza) I think 160 could be a reality by the end of my 3 weeks. Expect regular progress reports, I think forcing myself to write out my successes (and weaknesses) will help keep me accountable.

I will also be posting my “before” pictures, weight, and measurements for all the world to see 🙂

I (will be) Soldier Fit!

Dealing with body issues is one of my least favorite things to talk about. I hate being stereotyped as one of “those” girls who talks constantly about dieting and needing to lose weight. But…the truth is, I do need to lose weight. 20 lbs would be a good start. 40 lbs would put my BMI back in the healthy range.

When I got pregnant with Boo Boo I weighed 130 lbs. I was the “ideal” weight for my height. I was somewhat careful with what I ate. I counted calories, I ate a lot of lean cuisine, etc. I didn’t work out. I HATED working out. I was lucky enough that if I noticed a few pounds creeping on I could just watch what I ate and cut back on calories and the weight would just fall off.  So, I was thin, I had a somewhat flat stomach-but I wasn’t in shape by any means. And then came pregnancy. Pregnancy was rough for me in several ways.

To start, I left Boo Boo’s father and moved home from Germany (moving in with my parents.) I was depressed. My doctor started me on zoloft which helped the depression, but it was still a very difficult time for me, emotionally. I was lonely, confused about what was happening with my relationship, nervous about becoming a mother. I was also unemployed. The bigger my belly got, the more my job prospects diminished. So I spent a lot of time laying around the house, watching TV. And eating. I craved milkshakes and I indulged in them regularly. Mmmm, french fries dipped in a Frosty…heaven. I started developed Carpal Tunnel, Sciatica and restless leg syndrome. I was uncomfortable and by the end, just in pain. So, with all of this going on, by the time I weighed in at the hospital I was 180 lbs.

20 lbs was gone by the time I left the hospital. Another 10 fell off over the next couple weeks, probably from breastfeeding. (Did you know breastfeeding burns tons of calories?) My breastfeeding journey is for a different post but I’ll just sum up here by saying it didn’t work out for us. After 2 weeks I switched to formula. It was a very difficult decision and one I still question, so please, no judgement. That 10 lbs slowly crept back on and for the next couple years I stayed pretty consistent at 160. I was not happy with my weight or my body by any means, but I lacked the motivation and will-power to really do anything about it. I briefly joined weight watchers but didn’t stick with it.

Then, about a year and half ago, I got really depressed. I gained weight. Then I hurt my back. I gained more weight. I upped my Zoloft dosage. I gained more weight. At my last weigh in I was 178 lbs. So, I’ve realized that it’s time to DO something about my body. I complain about it. It hurts my self-esteem. I have back pain and heel spurs and all kinds of other health issues that are directly related to my weight gain. And dieting is not really working for me. One because I suck at dieting, and two because my body has changed over time and things have shifted and skin has stretched.

I started searching for that magic cure. You know, the one that lets me lose weight without really having to go on a diet or workout. In case you were wondering, that doesn’t really exist. I did try the It Works wraps. I see pictures posted on facebook all the time of the “miracle” results. Maybe I just didn’t do it correctly, but it definitely did not work for me. I also tried their fat fighter pills that you take with your meals. No results. And  yes, I did also change my diet. I completely eliminated fast food, which I had been consuming way too much of. I almost completely eliminated sweets, baked goods, etc. I tried cutting out all artificial sweeteners. I even went cold turkey on my Coke Zero. Which, if you have ever met me, you know was an amazing feat. But, like so many addictions, it didn’t last. I’m back on the Coke Zero now. Despite these changes I really haven’t lost any weight. I was getting pretty discouraged. But, I still really, really want to lose this weight.

I’ve come to the realization that the weight is not going to come off without drastic changes. I am going to have to, gasp, work out.Did I mention I hate working out? Like, for real. I hate it. I have exercise induced asthma. I get hot flashes (side effect of the zoloft.) I’m super out of shape. Working out at home is not a good option for me because I’m lazy. I am. At least I know it and can admit it. I am not very self-motivated to do things I dislike, so I will usually quit 5 minutes in, if I even start. But, I don’t really like going to the gym either. I hate all the machines. I never know how to use them. And, because I’m still on my own, I tend to quit way too soon, before I’m actually doing any real work. I’ve done classes before. Aerobics is okay-except I’m super uncoordinated. I am always going the opposite direction from everyone else. I think Zumba sounds fun, but again with the coordination. I have done pilates in the past and really enjoy it but that is not going to burn off these pounds.

So, I am taking drastic measures. I just signed up for Soldier Fit this week. Soldier Fit is a boot camp style workout that is becoming extremely popular in my area. It is exactly what I need. A group setting, a hard-core workout, and lots of motivation. I went to my first class on Monday. I thought I was going to die. Like, for real. I had to leave the room twice because I thought I was going to puke. The first time I left, I was thinking, “I can do this. I’m not going to let them see me fail. I’m going to cool down and get back out there.” And I did. The second time I left, I was thinking, “I’m going to die. These people are insane. I’m never doing this again.” But I went back and watched the rest of the class and then joined back in for the cool down. And when it was over, I went and signed a year-long contract. I haven’t been back for my 2nd class yet because I can’t really walk yet. But I’m going back tomorrow. I’m going to try to take it a bit easier on myself so that I don’t need 4 days to recover this time. Because I really can’t walk yet.

It’s not going to happen overnight. But, I WILL lose this weight. And I WILL be SoldierFit.

536858_10150693051945989_1761464015_nIf you live in Maryland or Northern VA and want to check out Soldier Fit, let me know and I will get you a free pass for your first class!