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UPDATE: Be sure to check out my review of Shakeology!
This summer, it seemed like Beachbody’s 3 Day Refresh was everywhere I looked. Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest. Bloggers everywhere were raving about this thing. Post after post said that if I did the 3 Day Refresh, I was going to lose a few pounds, sleep great, feel energized…all without feeling hungry!!!
Well, I bought it. I bought the hype – and I bought the 3 Day Refresh.*
While the kids were home for the summer, I’d been running less and eating poorly. I’d put on a few pounds that I couldn’t seem to shed. I didn’t like the way I looked or the way my clothes were fitting. I knew the 3 Day Refresh wouldn’t be easy and that it wouldn’t reverse 3 months of bad habits. But I admit, I did like the idea of a quick fix. I’d read about people who’d lost as much as 9-10 pounds in 3 days – and I only
needed wanted to lose 3. Sure, it would be challenging. But I’m a badass marathon runner. I can handle challenges.
Optimistic? Totally. Naive? Probably.
See, here’s the thing about those rave reviews – all but one or two of them were written by Beachbody Coaches. Beachbody Coaches are (among other things) independent distributors of Beachbody products. The 3 Day Refresh is a Beachbody product.
See where I’m going here?
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m absolutely not discrediting product reviews written by Beachbody Coaches. If you’re affiliated with a company, it stands to reason that you like its products. And if you like Beachbody products (like Shakeology) enough to become a distributor, then it makes perfect sense that you’d be a fan of a program like the 3 Day Refresh. But to be fair – Beachbody Coaches do earn money when you purchase products from them. And it doesn’t take a business or marketing degree to know that if you want people to buy your product, you need to say good things about it.
So am I discounting reviews that were written by Beachbody Coaches? Absolutely not. Was every single one of them glowing? No. But is it fair to call those reviews unbiased? Nope.
To get a truly impartial opinion of a product, it needs to be tested by someone who is not personally invested in it – someone who doesn’t stand to lose or gain anything by how the review is perceived. I read TONS of blog posts before deciding to purchase the 3 Day Refresh, and I only came across one review that I’d consider negative. Some reviews listed pros and cons, but not one post said, “The 3 Day Refresh stinks” or even “This program was not right for me.”
So I’m here today to tell you that, in my humble and unbiased opinion: 1) This program was not right for me; and 2) The 3 Day Refresh stinks.
So what exactly is the 3 Day Refresh? It’s a low-calorie meal plan that combines clean foods and supplemental shakes. You can read a complete description of the Refresh HERE. Instead of breaking down the details, I’m going to give you my summary of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, based on my own personal experience.
Let’s start with what wasn’t terrible.
1. The Results. As promised, I lost 3.6 pounds. I don’t think I lost any inches, but I can’t be sure since I was measuring myself on a caffeine-deprived brain.
2. Caffeine-Free Life. Speaking of caffeine, the only coffee permitted in the Refresh is black – no thank you. I drank lots of tea during those 3 days, and I really enjoyed it. I experimented with some different teas, including Lipton Green Tea with Mandarin Orange and Yerba Mate. Both were yummy.
3. Fresh Veggies. I don’t get enough veggies in my diet, so it was great to be reminded how much I enjoy fresh veggies, either raw or lightly steamed.
4. Avocados. Best. Healthy. Fat. Ever.
1. Stevia. It’s 100% my fault for not checking the ingredients before purchasing the Refresh. But all 3 nutrition supplement products (Shakeology, Fiber Sweep, and Vanilla Fresh) contain Stevia. I HATE STEVIA. Actually, to be fair, I hate, despise, loathe ALL artificial/non-sugar sweeteners – including Stevia. I chose Vegan Tropical Strawberry Shakeology as my breakfast shake, and it wasn’t terrible, but I did have to add some extra frozen fruit to mask the taste of the Stevia.
2. Fiber Sweep. This is actually the one element of the 3 Day Refresh that received negative reviews across the board. Have you ever used Metamucil? It’s kind of like that – thick and gritty with a citrusy flavor. On the bright side, it’s only 8 ounces, so it’s pretty easy to chug. Unfortunately, it didn’t really seem to do its job for me. More on that in a minute.
3. Caffeine Withdrawal. Sure, I drank my two cups of caffeinated tea each day. But the caffeine headache attacked with a vengeance, especially on day one. And keep in mind, I drink ONE cup of coffee every morning. I seldom drink caffeine past 10:00 a.m. If you’re used to drinking lots of caffeine throughout the day, you should really consider weaning yourself off it before starting the 3 Day Refresh.
4. Fatigue. I had absolutely no energy. My whole body felt heavy and tired. And running? Forget about it. I didn’t exercise at all during those 3 days. I couldn’t. And this lovely improved sleep that I was expecting? Didn’t happen. I didn’t sleep well at all – partly because I was so dang starved every evening.
5. The Food. Okay, so I guess the food itself was fine. The problem was that there just wasn’t a whole lot of it. No meat, no dairy, no carbs, no sugar – in other words, not a whole lot to fill your tummy. Carrots are great, but they don’t make me feel full. Neither does organic vegetable broth.
1. So. Freaking. Hungry. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Did every review describe feeling “not hungry” during the Refresh? No. But plenty of them did.
“I was not hungry at all.”
“The shakes satisfy your hunger throughout the day.”
“I didn’t feel hungry at all.”
“Best part…you’re not hungry.”
“It was easy and I was not hungry.”
I could continue, but you get the point. So here’s what I want to know. The 3 Day Refresh is about a 900 calorie/day diet. How is it possible for an average adult to NOT feel hungry on just 900 calories a day? Personally, I was famished. I mean, stomach growling, pounding headache, zero energy, almost to the point of nauseous hungry. And that was just before lunch. I ended up having to eat an extra 1/2 a banana before bed each night just to curb my hunger enough to sleep.
2. Vanilla Fresh. I’m just going to say it. I found the Vanilla Fresh to be disgusting. I absolutely hated it and could barely get it down. This, above all else, was a complete surprise and disappointment – because everything I read described the Vanilla Fresh as fine, good, yummy, tasty, or delicious. Surely there’d been some mix-up in shipping and I’d gotten the wrong stuff, because my shakes were just godawful. I tried them blended with fruit, with and without ice, with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract – but nothing helped. I couldn’t drink more than half of a shake, which of course left me even more calorie-deprived and hungry.
On day 2, in a hunger-fueled frenzy, I went online and searched for someone who could offer suggestions or relate. The only thing I found was a forum where some poor, hungry soul like myself had posted seeking advice about his dislike of the Vanilla Refresh – and most of the responses he received were (how do I say this nicely?) less than supportive. The only constructive suggestion was that he return the 3 Day Refresh and ask for a refund. This was day 2 for me, and at the time it sounded like a fabulous idea. I couldn’t drink any more of these terrible shakes. I went as far as packing everything in the box to return it – but then I decided that since I was already halfway done, I might as well stick the darn thing out. So I did.
3. Tummy Bloat. Ahem. How do I put this delicately? I don’t think the Fiber Sweep actually “swept” anything. At the end of every day, I was so bloated that if you stuck a pin in my tummy, it would have popped. It was really, really uncomfortable. Look at the pictures below and you’ll see what I mean. The one on the left was taken at about 6:00 a.m. on day one, and the one on the right was taken at about 10:00 p.m. that same day.
It probably took about 3 or 4 days after finishing the Refresh for the uncomfortable bloating to completely stop.
1. Would I do the 3 Day Refresh again? Heck no.
2. Would I recommend it to other people? Who? Sure. I’d recommend the 3 Day Refresh to people who are already fans of Shakeology and other Beachbody products, as well as people who enjoy/tolerate protein shakes and don’t mind the taste of Stevia. If you need to lose a few pounds FAST and if you can handle being hungry for 3 days, you might do well with this program. As much as I hated it, I DID lose 3.6 pounds. That part is undeniable.
3. What happened on day 4? I put about half of the weight back on almost immediately – like the next day. But once I got past the bloating problem, my stomach did feel flatter and my clothes fit a little better. It’s been about a month, and I’ve managed to keep off about 2 of the 3 pounds.
Above all, remember that all of the above is just one girl’s opinion. Your mileage may vary. Just make sure you do your research before investing your money in this (or any) program, because as I learned the hard way, it’s NOT for everyone.
Do you have questions about the 3 Day Refresh that you’d like answered by a non-Beachbody Coach? Ask away in the comments below. Just don’t shoot the messenger.
[Updated 5/17/16: If you’re reading this post, chances are it’s your first time on this blog – and I’m glad you’re here! This post was written in October 2014, and I’ve learned a lot since then. I’ve read every single one of your comments, many of which made me laugh (with you, not at you, I promise). And some of your comments have helped me understand why I did not have a successful experience with the 3 Day Refresh:
- I was looking for a quick fix – a way to lose a few pounds in a few days. But from what I’ve come to understand, the 3DR is not designed as a weight loss program – it’s more of a detox or cleanse. So in theory, my body was shedding toxins and other gross stuff – not necessarily pounds. It’s also why I felt so horrible – a detox isn’t supposed to feel good, you know?
- Several people have suggested that my extreme bloating and gas might have been related to my diet before the 3DR, which was not great. My body had a lot of crap to shed. It seems like people who maintain a healthier diet in general tend to have less of a problem with bloating on the 3DR.
- A few people have taken issue with me referring to Stevia as an artificial sweetener. To be fair, my exact words were “artificial/non-sugar sweetener.” Yes, Stevia comes from a plant, which makes it non-artificial. But it IS a sugar substitute. And I hate ALL sugar substitutes. My opinion has absolutely nothing to do with the origin or manufacture of Stevia. I just simply hate the way that it tastes.
Thanks for reading – and maybe stick around for a bit? Life has taken some interesting turns in the last couple of years. I’m actually just about to have back surgery (a spinal fusion). I’m journaling about my experience both pre- and post-surgery here, if that’s of interest to you. Either way, I’m glad you’re here, and I hope that your experience with the 3 Day Refresh turns out better than mine. xo, Sharon]
* I’m not affiliated with Beachbody in any way, and I purchased the 3 Day Refresh with my own money. No discount, no blogger perk, nothing. I contacted a Beachbody Coach to make the purchase, and not the other way around.