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How I Lost 4 Pounds in 3 Days Without Going Hungry

By JESS BARRON

If your summer has been anything like mine, you’ve likely enjoyed your fair share of BBQs, parties, happy hours, wedding celebrations and vacations already. Perhaps, also — like me — you are starting to pay for those good times because your clothes are becoming tighter, you’re feeling bloated and you’re watching that number on the scale creep up.

Just like last summer, July came along and completely derailed my diet plan. A two-week vacation in Spain and Croatia eating tapas, bread and pasta, followed by visits from family and friends where we indulged in everything from cronuts to chicken and waffles, meant that I gained seven pounds in July.

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Last summer when July completely derailed my lean living plan I turned to a couple weeks of 5:2 intermittent fasting and a 3-day green juice cleanse to get the weight off.

This summer, one of my former colleagues from Beachbody invited me to try their new 3-Day Refresh program. Full disclosure: I used to work at Beachbody, and I even lost 20 pounds in 2 months in a Beachbody test group in the summer of 2012. I’m not a Beachbody Coach, and we at LIVESTRONG don’t receive any compensation for covering Beachbody’s — or any company’s — products. I tried this simply because I was curious and motivated to lose some weight before bikini season was over.

I weigh myself almost every morning, using my Withings digital wifi scale that is synced up with LIVESTRONG’s free MyPlate calorie tracker, and I ended up losing four pounds in just three days. (See the chart directly below.) Also, unlike the juice cleanse and 5:2 intermittent fasting 500-calorie days, I did not feel hungry on the 3-Day Refresh, and I was able to eat solid foods in addition to the shakes. My day one weight was 125 pounds, and I got down to 121 pounds by the morning when I woke up on the fourth day.

My MyPlate Weight chart sync'd with my Withings scale during the days I did Beachbody's 3-Day Refresh.

MyPlate Weight chart sync’d with my Withings scale during the days I did the 3-Day Refresh.

Here’s how I did it:

I got the Beachbody 3-Day Refresh Package on a Sunday, opened it up and looked at what the eating plan entailed. The whole thing is great. It’s portioned out for you in a box, with each day’s shakes lined up. There is also a program guide book which tells you the plan for what you will eat each day.  After reading the booklet, I decided which recipes and fruits and veggies I wanted to eat during the refresh, created a quick shopping list, and I went grocery shopping to get the fresh produce I needed. Then I chopped and portioned all my veggies into small containers and put them into the refrigerator so that it would be easy for me to grab my meals each day when I was leaving for work. I started the cleanse on Monday, and my three days went through Wednesday night.

My 3-Day Refresh box with my container of sliced red peppers and sliced strawberries in my travel blender.

My 3-Day Refresh box with my container of sliced red peppers and sliced strawberries in my travel blender.

Here’s what I ate:

Breakfast: Vegan Chocolate Shakeology blended with water and one serving from the fruit list. (I chose a half banana, and mixed it in the blender with the Shakeology, but you can eat it separately too.) Unsweetened herbal or green tea. (Stevia sweetener is allowed.) I don’t like the taste of stevia, so I drank my tea unsweetened.

Mid-Morning Snack: Fiber sweep drink with filtered water.

Lunch: Vanilla Fresh Shake blended with water and one serving of fruit. (I chose the 12 medium strawberries, and mixed them in my portable Hamilton Beach travel blender at my desk with the Vanilla shake — which was delicious — but you can eat the fruit separately too. You also get to eat one serving of veggies and one serving of a healthy fat. I chose a small sliced red pepper and two tablespoons of spicy hummus.

Afternoon Snack: One serving of vegetables and one serving of healthy fats. I ate five baby carrots and a teaspoons and a half of almond butter.

Dinner: Vanilla Fresh Shake blended with water and a bit of cinnamon sprinkled on top. I didn’t enjoy the vanilla shake as much without the strawberries mixed in, but the cinnamon helped to downplay the flavor of the stevia. One serving of any of the dinner recipes found in the book. I chose the veggie stir-fry made with green beans, carrot, bell peppers and fresh grated ginger.  It was a small portion, but tasty and filling. Plus, you get to have an optional 1 cup of organic vegetable broth. I seasoned mine with cayenne pepper and some chopped cilantro. It was tasty.

I pretty much ate the exact same things all three days, but that is because I tend to be something of a repetitive eater, and I enjoy that. That said, there are plenty of different dinner recipes such as roasted asparagus with almonds, spinach salad and coconut steamed veggies. Also, there are plenty of other fruits and veggies on the approved list to eat for lunch and snacks during the day.

How many calories was I getting per day? I track my calories using MyPlate, and it shows on my daily intake analysis above that I was taking in anywhere from 940-980 calories per day.

And how much fiber and protein? MyPlate showed that I was getting 38 grams of fiber (slightly more than the daily recommended average for women, but in line with the recommendations for men) and 58 grams of protein. The cleanse is vegan, but there is plenty of protein in the veggies you eat and in the Beachbody shakes.

Did I exercise? The 3-Day Refresh Guide book suggests only mild to moderate exercise during the cleanse. I didn’t exercise on day one. I did a yoga class on day two, and I didn’t exercise on day three.

What I Loved About the 3-Day Refresh:
* It prompted me to plan out my meals and snacks for the three days and to buy fresh organic produce and cut and portion it out for the three days. There was nothing wasted, and I enjoyed eating it all.
* The shakes were convenient to eat and they kept me feeling cool during these hot summer days (and nights).
* I loved the taste of the Chocolate Shakeology I had for breakfast and the taste of the Vanilla Fresh shake when mixed with strawberries at lunchtime.
* Unlike with a juice cleanse, I got to chew real food several times per day.
* I never felt hungry. The shakes kept me feeling full, as did the veggies and small portions of fat and almond butter.
* My jeans fit noticeably better by the third day.
* I lost 4 pounds by the end, and I’ve kept it off a week later.
* The entire meal plan was vegan, and I didn’t find myself missing meat or dairy at all.

What I Didn't Love About the 3-Day Refresh:
* I had a mild headache throughout the first day of the cleanse. You are not allowed to drink coffee during the cleanse, so it was likely a caffeine headache due to my cutting down to just green tea. It went away by day two.
* I didn’t love the taste of the Vanilla Fresh shake by itself (without fruit mix-ins) at dinnertime. Adding in ground cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg helped a bit to distract me from the stevia flavor, which I do not like.

Conclusion - Would I Recommend This to a Friend?
Yes, I would recommend Beachbody’s 3-Day Refresh to any friend of family-members trying to get themselves back on track with healthy eating and hoping to kick-start a weight loss and exercise plan. It’s great that it encourages you to purchase and prepare some healthy produce, and get yourself back into a healthy eating regimen.

Readers - Have you also gained some weight from overindulging this summer? How did you gain it and how many pounds do you have to lose? Have you tried any juice cleanses or other types of cleanses that have worked this summer? Has anyone else tried the Beachbody 3-Day Refresh? What kind of results have you seen? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Jess Barron is Editor-in-Chief of LIVESTRONG.COM. Read some of her other health and fitness articles here. A longtime foodie and fan of farmers markets, Jess particularly loves heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs with burrata cheese, and anything with pumpkin or peanut butter in it! Her love for food fuels her desire to exercise daily. In the summer of 2012, Jess lost 20 pounds in a test group for a new fitness program. Some of her favorite workout routines include walking, running, yoga, P90X, INSANITY and mixed martial arts. Jess's writing can also be found at Poprocks.com. She has appeared on MSNBC's The Most, ABC News Now and XM satellite radio , and her writing has appeared on Wired.com and Yahoo.

Follow Jess on Twitter @jessdandy. Also, you can add her on Google+ and follow her on Pinterest.

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