This I not like anything that I normally write about here, but I want to share my experience with you. At the surface, this has nothing to do with family or autism. Except, what I have learned over the past year is that I owe it to myself to take the time each day to workout and focus on my meal plan. I used to feel guilty carving out too much “me time” into my day. And then somewhere along the way I discovered how much better I can be for my kiddos when I am focusing on being better for me as well! We say this a lot in my online accountability group…it is all about BALANCE!
I have been dabbling in the Beach Body 21 Day Fix program for the better part of the last year. I decided that I want to really commit to the program in preparation for the holidays this year, so I purchased the 3 Day Refresh. This I not like anything that I normally write about here, but I want to share my experience with you.
Ok, so here it…my 3 Day Refresh experiences.
My box arrived on a Tuesday. I was half inclined to rip it open and start the next morning. However, I wanted to take the time to prepare my meal plan and grocery shop to avoid any room for excuses. I decided to start the Refresh the following Monday. On Sunday I grocery shopped and prepped my menu. They send you a “workbook” guide to fill in your menu selections. It includes a recommended eating schedule and the lists of all of the acceptable food. The box also contained 3 days servings of (1) Chocolate Shakeology, (2) Fiber Sweep and (3) Vanilla Fresh shake mix.
I went to bed Sunday night feeling focused, committed, and ready to take on the 3 Day Fix.
Daily Meal Plan:
- 6am – 10oz Water
- 7am – Chocolate Shakeology and ½ a banana
- 8:30am – Lemon Tea
- 10am – Fiber Sweep
- 12pm – 12 medium strawberries, Vanilla Fresh Shake, Kale, and 2 Tbsp. Hummus
- 2pm – 5 baby carrots, 2 Tbsp. Hummus
- 3pm – Green Tea
- 6:30pm – Vanilla Fresh Shake, “Veg Option”, 1 cup organic veg broth w/ basil
- 7:30pm – Chamomile Tea
Unfortunately life played a little “ha ha” on me going into Day 1. My 4 year old son woke up at 1:45am and stayed awake until nearly 5am. So, I went into day 1 with about 4ish hours of sleep under my belt. Not exactly a winning strategy considering I would be giving up my 3-4 cups of a coffee per day. I decided that to survive the Refresh I would absolutely need the black coffee that they listed as optional. So I mixed 6oz of STRONG black coffee into my morning and afternoon shakes.
I went into the morning exhausted, but otherwise focused and committed. I enjoyed my ½ banana and Chocolate Mocha(coffee) Shakeology while I commuted to work. After I got settled into the office I made myself tea. The morning passed very quickly and before I knew it 10am arrived and it was time to throw back the Fiber Sweep.
I have a number of friends in the 21 Day Fix world. I was warned that the Fiber Sweep was the least pleasant part of the 3 day Refresh. As I poured the packet into the water I could tell that it was not going to mix in very well. If you are someone with a texture issue, this may not be the best 30 seconds of your life. I took the first sip expecting to gag, butit actually was not terrible. I slammed it back in about 20 seconds. No harm, no fowl.
About that time, 10:05am, I noticed my stomach rumbling a bit. This was not really surprising since by this time one a normal work day I had already consumed 2 carb servings (peanut butter on wheat toast and granola in my Greek yogurt with berries). I decided to tune out my hunger by diving into work. And, diving into the 100+ ounces of water I needed to drink for the day. That was a winning strategy! I made it lunch. On the first I welcomed every single morsel of the multi-course lunch: fruit, hummus, veggies, shake, oh my! The afternoon sailed by as well. I was worried that the 5 carrots and 2 tbsp. of hummus would not be enough food to hold me over to dinner, but it really did!
On this kind of diet I think most people probably eat dinner by 6pm and then go to bed early to avoid hunger. Unfortunately, that just is not our life. The earliest I was able to eat dinner each night was 7:30am. The time from the carrots/hummus to dinner was by far the hardest. Thank goodness for water and tea. Night one 1 went to bed feeling slightly hungry, but ready to take on another day.
I woke up on day 2 feeling the way I feel on a Saturday morning when I wake up after not drinking any alcohol. I felt lighter and happy and very refreshed. I got a great night of sleep (thank you kiddos) and woke up ready to take on Day 2. I started the day with 10oz of water. Since I worked from home on Tuesday my morning was less chaotic. I had ½ a banana and then made a Chocolate Shakeology with almond extract, water, and ice. I drank my shake while I walked my little man to school. I actually had to walk to the school twice because we forgot something for his fieldtrip. By the time I got home the second time I felt like I had maxed out on cardio for the day given the really low calorie count of the Refresh.
Ok, way more”hangry” today then the first day. I was going strong in the morning and then around 4pm the hunger set-in. Of course it does not help that my crazy life and schedule usually result in another later dinner. So at 4pm I drank a cup of tea and I had to accept the fact that my next bite of food would be 3+ hours later. By the time we finished our family commitments for the day I was able to begin prepping my dinner. The hunger took over my usual pleasant self and somewhere between 7:30 and 8pm I began irrational lashing out at my husband. Whoops. We both knew it would happen at some point during the 3 days. 900 calories a day is no joke. And, at that very moment he was standing in between me and my bland broth and kale! I advised him to steer clear of me until Thursday. He obliged.
I could barely eat my broth because my hands were a bit shaky. But, as soon as I got the kale and broth down, I felt like a million bucks. I had a tough time finishing the vanilla shake because I just felt so full. I was tired from a long day and went to bed excited to have made it through 2 days.
The headache set in upon waking up on Day 3. I could tell that my body was changing, and quickly. I still had the same feeling of lightness. And, I was surprisingly energized. But, the headache arrived first thing in the morning and persisted throughout Day 3. I imagine this is why the Refresh is only 3 days long. My body was letting me know that it was just about ready to be done with this low-cal business.
My stomach rumbled on and off throughout most of the day. Luckily for me by this point my commitment was strong. There was no way in heck I was blowing 3 days of hard work with only hours to go. I hunkered down with my water and threw myself into work to get through the day. At both lunch and dinner I struggled to get all of the food down. It is amazing how quickly your body can change relative to the food it wants/needs. This was an important take-away for me.
I headed into bed around 10pm and told my husband not to be alarmed if he woke up at 1am and heard me doing a kitchen raid. Kidding J
Ok, my take-aways:
- I needed this! I needed to prove to myself that I could commit a meal plan, demonstrate will power, and say NO when I wanted to say yes.
- I lost 10 pounds in 3 days. Yes, I know, that is not healthy. Yes, I know, I will probably gain some of it back. But, what I really gained is the focus and commitment that had been lacking. And I know by restoring those things I can keep the number moving in the right direction.
- I wish the vanilla shakes were worked in as snacks rather than with lunch and dinner. Sometimes I felt as if I was going way too long in between eating and that at each meal I struggled to get all of the food down.
- It is really just not a lot of food. So you kind of have to wrap your head around that, accept the challenge, and push forward.
- Be smart in everything you prepare. Look through the book and really maximize each thing you get to eat. Strawberries, Watermelon, banana, and Cantaloupe are by far the most substantial servings of fruit. Do not mix your fruit into your shakes…savor each thing you get to eat.
- I loved Kale for my lunch veg portion, but for dinner the other options are more filling. I recommend the asparagus or green beans.
- FLAVOR…use the “free foods” list to enhance this experience. The vanilla fresh is a bit grainier than normal Shakeology. So, I used almond, pumpkin and vanilla extract to enhance the experience. In the veggie broth I used cayenne and basil. And, each night I put ¼ of my veg dinner portion into the broth to make it seem like a more substantial soup.
- The headache and dizziness for 4 hours on Day 3 was really the only negative side effect I experienced. And, as soon as I drank the fiber they both subsided.
- If you are going to refresh do it during the week! Set yourself up for success. There are just too many temptations. I had to block my work calendar for lunch all 3 days to let people know that I just was not available. I sat through a meetings with donuts, brownies, and said “no” to pizza with my mom before she left for 2 weeks. It was not easy, but it was all a part of recommitting to myself.
Ok, sorry for such a long blog! I wanted to share the full experience and there you have it! All in all I would definitely do it again! In fact, I think I will do it again the first week in December. I think there is a lot to be said about exercising our self-control. We learn something every time we push ourselves to do something that is not easy.
I will link my coaches’ info below! If you are interested in checking out the refresh or any of the Beach Body programs (I love 21 Day Fix and Piyo) check it out!!
My Beach Body Coach: Kelly Davis (http://www.fitfamilylifestyle.com/)