In general, I eat healthy 95% of the time and feel like I eat a good proportion of macros each day. However, I was feeling a little sluggish and besides the obvious of getting more sleep (with two little kids…yeah, right), I considered it could be from the sugar in my diet. Sure, I eat mostly whole foods, but little things like a drizzle of honey on protein pancakes here, vanilla almond coffee creamer there and some dark chocolate at night really add up in the sugar category.
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I’m currently in the middle of 80 Day Obsession and have done Beachbody workouts and nutrition plans in the past, so I was familiar with the 3-Day Refresh, a 72-hour sugar detox where you eat vegetables, fruit and drink Shakeology and protein shakes to meet your protein intake while flushing out toxins and helping reduce cravings. I wanted to try it a year and a half ago, but decided to hold off as I was still nursing Blakely frequently and didn’t want to cause a dip in supply.
With summer around the corner, I decided to finally give the 3-Day Refresh a try – and I ended up going for it over Memorial Day weekend. In hindsight, I probably would avoid doing this on a holiday weekend in the future – but I made it (mostly!). Here’s a little bit about it:
What I Ate
One of the things I like about this particular sugar detox is that you don’t starve yourself. I have admittedly tried juice cleanses in the past but I know enough about nutrition now to know that depriving yourself of basic nutrients is never healthy. My 3 days looked like this:
- 7:30am – Glass of water after getting out of bed
- 8:30am – Packet of Vegan Cafe Latte Shakeology blended with strawberries along with a cup of black coffee
- 10:00am – Fiber Sweep packet mixed in a glass of water
- 12:00pm – Vanilla Fresh protein shake with 1/2 banana and dash of cinnamon, a serving of carrots and hummus
- 2:00pm – Mug of green tea
- 3:30pm – A serving of wilted spinach with a tsp. of olive oil and a few drops of balsamic vinegar
- 6:30pm – Vanilla Fresh protein shake with dash of cinnamon, 1 1/2 cups of veggie stir fry and 1 cup of vegetable broth
- 8:00pm – Mug of hot green tea
I’ll be honest – this was a very well-developed meal plan, the macro ratio was on point and the amount of water, veggies and protein kept me full between meals.
What I Learned From Doing a 3-Day Sugar Detox
During the 72 hours I was following this ‘refresh,’ I had lots of time to think and process how I was feeling. In general, I don’t have a problem eating something different than others in my house AND I love fruit and veggies, so I had no problem sitting at the table while everyone else ate things like pancakes, leftover pizza and even Memorial Day turkey hot dogs. Since I already avoid dairy and grains, I’m used to skipping out on certain foods anyways.
However, something I did have a hard time with was not snacking after dinner. We’ve started to eat dinner earlier so the girls can get to bed earlier (at least on weeknights), so when we finally sit down to catch up on Netflix, we often will have some sort of snack, whether it’s dark chocolate, popcorn or apples and peanut butter. Truth: I actually follow a pretty strict meal plan during the day and hit my macros daily, but that nighttime snacking can quickly derail this. The 3 nights I was doing the 3-Day Refresh were very hard when it came to my willpower and I actually gave in one night and had some dark chocolate. I don’t believe in depriving yourself, as that usually comes back to bite you when you end up overindulging. So I allowed myself to have the dark chocolate and then put it away and didn’t think about it again. I was concerned I’d wake up the next morning and not feel great, but luckily I was still feeling 100%.
I read a lot of reviews before I actually ordered the 3-Day Refresh, and I really enjoyed hearing others’ honest thoughts about it, so I thought I’d share my own little takeaways.
- This detox is totally doable, since there’s no deprivation and you’ll feel satiated each day.
- If you drink too much coffee (and go through a lot of creamer), this is a great way to help you cut back. Because I don’t love black coffee, I only had a cup a day and I realized I don’t need to drink coffee all day. I also realized I don’t need all that much sugary creamer, so I finally bought NutPods and I love how indulgent it makes my coffee taste with zero sugar.
- If you don’t drink enough water, these 3 days will help you realize how good you feel when you’re not dehydrated 🙂
- The guide says to limit yourself to light workouts during these 3 days, but as I’m in the middle of 80 Day Obsession, I continued my normal workouts. I didn’t notice anything being more challenging; in fact, I felt really energized all 3 days I was following this detox. I did try to workout about 30 mins to an hour after my afternoon snack for a little extra energy.
- I read this in a lot of reviews, but if you’re still feeling hungry, you could always add the other 1/2 banana to your evening protein shake (you’re technically not supposed to have fruit in the evening). You can also use unsweetened almond milk in your protein shakes instead of water. I did a combination of about 3/4 water and 1/4 unsweetened almond milk in mine.
- Stock your fridge before you start the 3-Day Refresh and plan your meals! I made sure to have all of the fruit, veggies, green tea and vegetable broth on hand so I could simply go in the kitchen at meal times and not have to figure out what I wanted to prep.
- Even eating a mostly Paleo diet, there are still areas where I can easily cut down on my sugar intake and avoiding sugar for 3 days helped me get more in tune with that. Now I use less creamer in my coffee, don’t automatically add honey to my protein pancakes and stick to balsamic vinegar or salsa for salad dressing (not sugar-free, but a better alternative).
- I chose to do this on a weekend, because I tend to cook more elaborate meals on weeknights and don’t really make a plan on the weekends (so sometimes we have leftovers or even oatmeal). It was easier for me to skip weekend foods rather than weekday foods, plus I wasn’t sure if I was going to be more tired than usual from eating a low-calorie diet, so I didn’t want to be useless during the week when I’m busy with the girls. You may find weekdays easier, especially if you work in an office since meals are very structured and being away from home could be a good way to avoid the temptation of snacking.
- The guide comes with veggie recipes for dinners (including a homemade stir-fry), but I made it simple and bought frozen stir-fry vegetables and sauteed with 2 tbs vegetable broth, ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes.
I didn’t really focus on weight with this detox, but more on how I felt. I think I lost 2-3 pounds (water weight, I’m sure), but I felt a huge difference in how toned and tight I felt. The muscle tone I’ve gained from 80 Day Obsession became really noticeable!
I know there are some great benefits to Shakeology and I used to drink it regularly, but I stopped when pregnant with Blakely and just never started back. Overall, I really liked my experience with the 3-Day Refresh and would probably do it again for a sugar detox – maybe every six months or so just to reset. If the 3-Day Refresh kit is out of your budget (it is a bit pricey), I think you could easily recreate this type of sugar detox on your own using a vegan protein powder (like Vega Protein and Greens) and a fiber supplement. Again, you may be missing some of the nutrients that Shakeology provides, but overall, this type of detox will still help your body reset and give you time to learn some things about your diet.