A little over a month ago I participated in a bar crawl and day-drank my afternoon away (typical). That night after sitting in the bathroom contemplating if I would ever feel normal again, I stumbled into my room, started seeing stars, and hit the ground at the foot of my bed.
Luckily a bruised knee and ego were the repercussions. But that moment proved to me I needed a lifestyle change…and fast.
What is the Beachbody Ultimate Reset?
Beachbody’s Ultimate Reset is a 21-day program that rids your body of toxins and helps you adopt healthy lifestyle habits. It’s divided into three phases (one for each week): Reclaim, Release, and Restore. You’re given a box full of different supplements that you take each day, and these supplements vary depending on the week. The program also includes a meal plan and recipe book that outlines breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day with an optional snack. The kicker: no alcohol or strenuous exercise. Period.
Phase one focuses on reclaiming your body; you slowly remove meat and dairy from your diet (so long cheese). Phase two is called release; can you guess what that means? COLON CLEANSE! But it didn’t leave me perched on the porcelain throne all day (thank goodness). By phase three you’re wishing this damn thing would end already. The final week is all about restoring body and digestive system. You’re restoring pre- and probiotics back into your system and only eating fruits and veggies (but remember, you’re not working out so it’s doable).
Throughout the program you’re encouraged to drink distilled water mixed with a dash of Pink Himalayan salt. In terms of exercise, restorative yoga and 30-minute walks outside are about as active as you’re going to get. Your insides are getting the real workout.
I decided to do this particular cleanse because it involved REAL food (non of this liquid diet shit). However, that meant I had to cook every damn meal — and my culinary skills stopped at pouring milk into a bowl of cereal. I would stand in the grocery store Googling questions like “how to choose a beet,” and “substitutes for jicama.” I spent my days and nights food prepping, chopping vegetables, putting Band-Aids on my fingers after slicing skin instead of the onion…But on the plus side I made a lot of delicious meals that I still continue to eat. Here’s an example of what I would eat during weeks one, two, and three.
Week 1 meals:
- Breakfast: 1 slice whole-grain toast; 2 scrambled eggs prepared with 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, and 1 1/2 cups steamed kale or spinach
- Lunch: Lentil-Lime Salad; Microgreen Salad (mixed greens with carrots, peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, jicama if I wasn’t lazy…); 2 tbsp. Toasted Pumpkin Seeds; 1 serving dressing
- Dinner: Nori Rolls with Tempeh and Veggies (couldn’t find tempeh, so just carrots, cucumbers, and avocado); Japanese Cucumber Salad; and Miso Soup
- Snack: 1-2 cups raw veggies and 1/4 cup hummus
Week 2 meals:
- Breakfast: Fresh fruit plate (example: 1 kiwi, 1 cup mixed berries, 1 cup peach slices, 1 cup diced honeydew melon)
- Lunch: Sweet Potato and Roasted Red Pepper Bisque; Greek Salad (lettuce, tomatoes, and Kalamata olives) and Greek Dressing
- Dinner: Quinoa-Lentil Pilaf and 1 1/2 cups steamed broccoli with lemon juice and 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Snack: 1 cup blueberries and a medium green apple
Week 3 meals:
- Breakfast: Fresh fruit plate (example: 1 1/2 cups sliced green apple, 3/4 cup sliced pear, 1 cup mixed berries, 3/4 cup peach slices, 1/2 cup diced honeydew melon)
- Lunch: Microgreen Salad; 1/3 cup Toasted Pumpkin Seeds; 1 serving salad dressing
- Dinner: Curried Cauliflower and Lemon Kale (I went with green beans because I had leftovers from a previous meal)
- Snack: 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa and 1/2 medium avocado (I never ended up eating a snack during the third week)
My number one challenge was attending social events and not drinking. Hosting a pregame swamped with people drinking champagne, vodka, whiskey, beer, and taking shots of tequila while you sip on distilled water isn’t easy. And do you know the look you get if someone asks you what you’re drinking and you don’t respond with some sort of alcohol? My response: I’m pacing myself (which was bullshit but easier to explain than the truth).
Is it miserable staying sober? No. I still had a great time. Is it easy staying sober? No. You have to want to do it for yourself. If you’re not doing it for the right reason, you’ll have no motivation to turn down a free drink.
My second challenge was food prepping. The program encourages food variety, so I spent more time in the kitchen than anywhere else. I woke up, food prepped, went to work, came home, food prepped, and went to sleep. I also traveled two out of the three weekends to New Jersey (both for family celebrations) where I brought my own meals in Tupperware. Showing up to a party with your own food? I’m thankful my boyfriend’s family accepts me for who I am.
We live in a society that socializes with alcohol and food.
There’s always going to be an excuse to eat and drink, and we SHOULD indulge. But how much and how often is a personal choice we have to make for ourselves. I don’t feel the need to eat (and drink) everything in site at a party, celebration, or social gathering because I know there will be another opportunity in the near future.
My Permanent Lifestyle Changes
Throughout the 21 days I started adopting habits that I’ve carried with me post-cleanse.
- Drink water – Ever been hydrated? I highly recommend it. My skin glows, I don’t have headaches, and I get an extra dose of cardio by walking to and from the bathroom 50 times a day.
- Practice yoga every week – Before this cleanse I couldn’t fathom waking up and ONLY doing yoga. I’m a hyperactive monkey, I can’t sit still. But after a few practices I realized yoga is a powerful workout for your body and mind. Realizing what your body is capable of is empowering. When I sit down to practice it’s just me, my mat, and yoga blocks (because your girl isn’t crazy flexible. I look like an awkward baby giraffe doing some of those poses.).
- Meal prep – I can’t meal prep everyday like I did, but I do aim to have meals ready for the week ahead.
- Eat raw foods for snacks – I’m a big snack eater (although not as much as I used to pre-cleanse). But now instead of grabbing a protein bar, I’ll try to have veggies and hummus, an apple with nut butter, or my new favorite — roasted pepitas!
- Don’t drink to excess – Am I going to give up alcohol? Hell no. But I’ve stopped overindulging because now I feel even more like shit after doing so. I’ll settle for a happy buzz over a hazy drunk.
My final thoughts
I didn’t do this cleanse to lose weight (although I lost almost 10 pounds). I did it because I needed to change my lifestyle, and this program helped me do so. After the three weeks I felt more connected to my body; I fed it the foods it craved and stopped abusing it with sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. Before the cleanse I hadn’t gone 21 days without drinking a sip of alcohol since I first started drinking…that realization blew my mind! I also hadn’t gone 21 days without doing strenuous exercise. Now that I eat mindfully, I don’t workout to compensate for a shitty diet. My workouts are now about building strength and seeing what I’m capable of instead of keeping the pounds off.
Once I started respecting my body I started respecting myself. You don’t have to go on a cleanse to make these changes, you just have to want to do them for the right reasons. Yes I eat as much unprocessed food as possible and yes, I love working out 5-6 times a week. But I still go out to dinner and indulge in sinful meals. I still clink wine and beer glasses. I still sit on my couch and watch mindless TV. I can’t be a super human all the time. And I don’t want to be. I’m all about living a balanced life, and you better bet your ass that includes wine and cheese.
Cheers to living your best life!