Sunday, July 20, 2014

3-Day Refresh Review

(Day One already complete!)

Since I am a health and fitness junkie, one of my favorite things about Beachbody coaching is trying all the fun new programs that are released every few months. Two brand new products were launched this past June:

-PiYo, a low-impact pilates/yoga inspired workout (that I will review soon!),
-and a mini-cleanse or detox program called the 3-Day Refresh.

I immediately jumped on board with PiYo and am currently running my first official test group with a fabulous group of ladies, but I was originally prepared to ignore the 3-Day Refresh. I don't trust juice cleanses, detoxes, or short term "quick fixes" that are supposed to strip your body of evil toxins and make you magically healthier, and I don't believe that drastically restricting certain food groups is necessary for long term health if you don't have any intolerances or sensitivities.

Suffice it to say: I was skeptical.

Aaaaaand then July happened. Summer fun! The 4th of July, froyo runs, bridal showers, spontaneous late night Japanese BBQ adventures, margaritas on the patio, sound familiar?? I was trying to balance all my splurges by working out twice as hard, but let's face it...that's not really a healthy mentality and doesn't work. I ended up feeling exhausted and a little crappy about the five pounds I've gained since May/June, trapped in my endless bad eating habits, and a victim to my sugar cravings.

I decided I had nothing to lose. Since I'm an "all or nothing" person, I ordered the 3-Day Refresh and planned to try it when I had two days off work, and while Ben was gone on a fishing trip so he didn't have to deal with potential crankiness (and so I didn't have to deal with my primary froyo and beer enabler). Those three days happened to be the past Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I've successfully come out on the other side, I feel absolutely fantastic, and I want to tell you all about this program!

So what is the 3-Day Refresh?

The 3-Day Refresh is advertised as "a 3-day program of specially formulated shakes and plant-based snacks and meals that have been scientifically designed to help you lose weight, break the cycle of bad eating, and improving the way you feel."

Unlike juice fasts or liquid cleanses that are high in sugar and low in protein, the 3-Day Refresh is scientifically designed to help support your metabolism while nourishing your vital organs. You don't eat meat, dairy, grains, caffeine, or alcohol, but you do get plenty of protein in the shakes and TONS of fiber. Honestly, I was surprised how well my system handled the fiber overload--I guess I do a pretty good job of getting my veggies in on a normal basis!

Why Refresh?

• You need a clean break from a period of unhealthy eating.
• You used to eat pretty well but have recently fallen off the wagon and need some help getting back on.
• You want to jump-start healthy eating habits for a new workout program.
• You want to quickly lose a few pounds for an upcoming event.
• You’ve never been a healthy eater, but are ready to kick-start better nutrition for the first time.
• You want your clothes to fit better.
• You want more energy.
• You love food and want to be satisfied while you lose weight and get healthier.
• You’ve tried liquid fasts or other fad diets and they simply don’t work.

When you order your kit, this is what you get! A set of shakes for every day, and an easy-to-understand guide that lays everything out and tells you exactly what to eat and when.



It's really structured and fool-proof. Each day's shakes are organized and the guide tells you the hour-by-hour plan for each day. All three days have the exact same meals and routine so you get the hang of it pretty fast.



Here's how my 3-Day Refresh went down!


First, head to the grocery store to stock up on tons of fresh fruits and veggies! You are about to eat the entire produce department. Side note: I think I freaked out my poor bagger with all my damageable items, and he bagged every single piece of produce in its own bag. Le sigh.

For breakfast every day, I made a vegan tropical strawberry shake with ice and water, and also got to eat a fruit. The first day I blended frozen banana into my shake to make it creamier, but then I decided I'd rather eat fruit on the side so I actually got to chew something, so I had it with fresh strawberries!

Mornings were the hardest for me to get through, since I usually NEED to eat a second breakfast. On the Refresh, you can drink herbal or green tea, but all you get until lunch is this thing called the "Fiber Sweep." Uh huh. The Fiber Sweep is basically just ground up fiber: psyllium husk, flax, and chia, flavored with lemon and stevia. I kind of felt like the gorillas at the zoo when we give them cardboard to chew (yes that is a thing). The sweep was actually pretty tasty, but you have to chug it right away or it starts to get this unpleasant gelatinous texture.

You're also encouraged to drink a ton of water throughout the day. Because.....FIBER!


I had some herbal tea every day too. And did some "feel good" reading on the side to keep my spirits up ;)

Once lunchtime hits, you get to eat a veggie, a fruit, and a healthy fat, as well as this surprisingly delicious Vanilla Fresh shake that includes 20g of plant based protein and you guessed it, more fiber! I was always surprisingly full and re-energized after lunch.


Day one: I ate celery and apple slices with almond butter with my shake.
Day two: a salad dressed with lemon and vinegar with an apple and almond butter.
Day three: another big salad with avocado and a plum.

Mid-afternoon you get to have a snack, more veggies and another serving of healthy fats.


I ended up eating veggies and hummus every day, since that's what I almost always have for my usual afternoon snack!

For dinner you have another Vanilla Fresh shake with water (so. much. water), and a recipe from the list that is included in the guide. The recipes are all simple and easy, and are basically some sort of combo of vegetable and healthy fat. I ended up making a garlic basil veggie saute every night because it was so delicious and satisfying.


You can also have a cup of organic veggie broth, which I had day 2 but overall I was really shocked at how this simple meal made me so FULL! I was also surprised at how I didn't crave any meat, grains, or sugar at all. The only things I REALLY missed were coffee and almond milk in my smoothies. I'm not gonna lie--mixing a shake with water leaves something to be desired!

As you can see, you actually get to eat a substantial amount of food. You are discouraged from working out since you aren't eating enough calories to properly fuel your body, so I stuck with light yoga and walked some errands. I definitely had really low energy levels for all three days and was pretty hungry in the mornings, but once I hit lunch I felt a lot more energized. Day Two was probably the hardest, I think my body was dealing with some sugar and caffeine withdrawals. The morning of Day Three I felt amazing and made it through a long day at work, but by evening I was ready for dinner!

Overall I am really glad I tried the Refresh. It was pretty much the exact experience I expected, and gave me the results I wanted! A couple of my girlfriends did it with me, and it definitely would have been a LOT harder without their support and commiseration (and random mid-day digestive updates, haha).

And finally what you're here to see, my final results!

I ended up losing 2 pounds (of what I'm assuming is water weight), and I feel a lot slimmer and leaner now that I've debloated all the sugar and junk from my system. I also learned that I can survive without coffee, grains, and animal products! Although I am not ready to cut out meat, grains, and dairy, I will say that I had a small cup of coffee this morning (day 4) and it made me SO jittery that I'm going to try eliminating caffeine from my daily diet for good, and I am going to be doing more research into alternative diets and the effects of grain and dairy on our systems! Who am I???

Most of all though, I am truly re-committed to my healthy eating routine, and have a renewed sense of confidence in my willpower and abilities. In the end, it's not how I "look" or how much weight I could lose. It's about how I feel when I know I am making the best decisions for my body, fueling it with healthy and delicious food, and enjoying treats in moderation when the opportunity arises.

I really want to be able to practice mindful or intentional eating, but I struggle with an emotional connection to food. When I get in a bad habit (e.g. froyo/ice cream every other night) I start to feel deprived if I don't get what I think I want, and then I feel guilty when I do indulge. It's a bad pattern and not the way I want to live!

I would definitely recommend the 3-Day Refresh to anyone who wants a jump-start in their weight loss or healthy eating routine, or anyone who need a "reset" after too many indulgences. I do strongly believe that the results you achieve from this cleanse are maintainable, IF you continue to stick with a structured healthy meal plan.

That being said, I am really excited to debut my first ever 3-Week Clean Eating Challenge starting August 4th, for anyone who wants support and accountability through the 3-Day Refresh and then for the following few weeks to maintain your momentum!

If you are interested in ordering the 3-Day Refresh or joining our Challenge Group, email me at annikalikes@gmail.com.

If you have any questions, feel free to email or comment below, and I'd be happy to answer them!

And now, I am going to go out for date night with Ben and mindfully enjoy a treat meal of pizza and wine.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Almond Joy Oatmeal


Happy Friday!

Even though we're in the middle of summer, we've been blessed with a few days of relatively cool, low-humidity weather and I was inspired to whip up some hot oatmeal for breakfast yesterday morning! I woke up to some exciting news, and also wanted to reward myself for getting out the door for a run at 5:30am, so I decided to make fancy oats inspired by Almond Joy bars. Sweet, salty, creamy, chocolatey, this bowl of yum turned out just as delicious as it looks and sounds.

Almond Joy Oatmeal 
Serves 1

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup old fashioned oats
-dash salt
-dash cinnamon
-dash vanilla extract
-dash coconut extract

Toppings:
-1 T unsweetened shredded coconut
-1/2 banana, sliced
-1 tsp almond butter
-1 tsp chocolate chips

Bring 1 cup water and a dash of salt to a boil. Add oats and cinnamon, stir and cook on low for 5 minutes. Add extracts. Serve with toppings and enjoy!

(I prefer my oats unsweetened, but you can add a drizzle of maple syrup if you want!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

life in June


If May was the month of relaxation and spontaneous fun, June was pretty much the complete opposite!
It was here and gone in a blink.










June was full of froyo runs, healthy dinners, weekend trips, crazy days at the zoo, late nights and early mornings working on wedding projects and fitness challenge groups, bridal showers and family visits, apartment redecorating, and lots and lots of painful and agonizing personal growth as I figure out what direction my life is heading.

It was a very messy month, but I accomplished a LOT and came out the other side feeling calm, confident, organized, and extremely excited to take on July.

Big news is coming soon :)