Monday, August 20, 2018

Body Reset Diet Review

About two months ago, I completed the 15-day Body Reset Diet by Harley Pasternak, trainer and nutritionist to the stars. Surprisingly, during my research before doing it, I didn't find that many personal posts of people completing the diet and their results, however, I decided to give this a try anyway. I wanted to share my experience and results and let this post be an additional data point for someone else thinking about trying it!

In this review, I'm going to go through:
  • Why I decided to do the Body Reset Diet
  • What the Body Reset Diet is
  • What it was like completing the diet 
  • My results 
  • Final thoughts 

Why Did I Do the Body Reset Diet? 
I went to a nutrition class led by Harley Pasternak and I liked his no-nonsense approach to health and fitness. He talked about things like:
  • Any diet (e.g. Atkins, keto, low carb, Jenny Craig) works, but different things work for different people. You have to pick the diet that works for you and allows you to have a sustainable lifestyle 
  • Juicing is crap as it's just drinking vegetable/fruit water and doesn't have any of the nutrients from the skin and seeds
  • Eating collagen doesn't give you collagen and isn't even a high source of protein. He likened it to, eating hair doesn't give you hair
  • Drinking alkaline water doesn't help to balance the acidity in your stomach
  • The key to living a healthy life is: hydration, moderation, being active throughout the day, getting at least 7 hrs of sleep a night, incorporating resistance training, turning off technology at least 1 hour/day, and eating foods that include both protein and fiber
which all made good sense to me, so given that I was in line with his overall approach to health, I thought I'd check out his book, Body Reset Diet... which I did.. by checking it out from the library! #Free! I totally forgot about that wonderful resource! The diet promises to teach you how to drop a lot of weight rapidly and how to keep it off. And since it was already summer and I have a bunch of pool parties coming up, I thought, "Let's do this!" 

What is the Body Reset Diet? 
Harley Pasternak created this diet because he said that the "slow-and-steady" method (e.g. losing half a pound a week over 20 weeks is better than 10 pounds in one week) wasn't what people wanted. People want to drop pounds fast, especially celebrities, so he created this as a healthier solution to rapid weight loss. A lot of people think this reset diet is a cleanse, but Harley strongly disagrees with this; he says this diet is to reset your metabolism, digestion, and palate by eating 5 times a day in regular intervals that keep your blood sugar stable and metabolism efficient. I actually messaged him on Instagram about my concerns switching to a "liquid diet" and to my surprise, he actually wrote back! and then he said, "Smoothies are not a liquid diet. Juice is a liquid diet" and advised me to start on Phase 2 if Phase 1 was too difficult for me... um... pretty sure a smoothie is still liquid... potato potahto... anyways... the diet is 15 days long consisting of 3 phases of 5 days each where you start off with 3 smoothies and 2 snacks and slowly phase out the smoothies for healthy meals. I've summarized what the diet is in this table:

An S-Meal is a "Simplicity" meal where the S stands for Simple and Single dish. He includes recipes in the back of the book for Salads, Sandwiches, Soups, Stir-fries, and Scrambles.

My favorite smoothies from the book:
White Smoothie: Apple Pie Smoothie
325 calories, 4g fat, 56g carbs, 19g protein, 8g fiber
  • 1 tbsp almond meal (or 5 raw almonds) 
  • 1 red apple, unpeeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 6 oz fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c fat-free milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Red Smoothie: Very Berry Smothie
275 calories, 5g fat, 42g carbs, 21g protein, 10g fiber
  • 3/4 c raspberries (fresh or frozen) 
  • 3/4 c cherries (fresh or frozen, I used blueberries)
  • 3/4 c fat-free milk
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 2 tbsp unflavored protein powder (I used 1 scoop of Tone It Up vanilla protein powder)
Green Smoothie: Sweet Spinach Smoothie
315 calories, 7g fat, 43g carbs, 25g protein, 9g fiber
  • 2 c spinach leaves
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled, cored, and chopped (I didn't peel mine)
  • 15 grapes 
  • 6 oz fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped avocado
  • 2 tbsp lime juice

My preferred snacks from the book:
Since the smoothies were all sweet, I specifically chose snacks that were salty.
  • Jolly Time 100 calorie pack popcorn
  • 3 Wasa crackers + 1 mozzarella string cheese
  • 5 Melba toast crackers + 2 Laughing Cow cheese wedges
  • 1 bell pepper + 4 tbsp hummus
  • 3 mini cucumber + 4 tbsp hummus

My favorite S-Meals:
I didn't love the meals in the book, but I did like two of the ones I tried:
  • Steak Salad with Mustard-Cilantro Vinaigrette
  • Creamy Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup
  • I thought the Breakfast Burrito and the Greek Tuna Melt were both kinda soggy/messy
  • I thought the Roast Beef and Caramelized Onion wrap was messy and ok tasting
  • The Ginger Shrimp with Spinach and Bell Pepper was also only ok-tasting and I was hungry after
What Was It Like Completing the Body Reset Diet? 

Prior to Starting

  • I was excited about potentially seeing fast results
  • I was excited about trying something new
  • I was nervous about all these upcoming social events where there was going to be delicious non-healthy foods and alcoholic beverages during my diet
  • I was concerned about all the sweet foods (i.e. smoothies) given that I prefer savory foods
  • I was nervous about being hungry
  • I was curious whether the results would stay or if I'd go back to how I was right after it was over
  • I only read up to the chapter explaining how to do Phase 1, and then read the other chapters as I was doing the diet
  • I used my pre-printed meal plan grid (pictured above) to plan my 5-day meals at a time and track my exercise

During Phase 1
  • Cost of groceries = $115.88 
  • I noticed that I was getting really hungry at the end of the night and realized that I tended to eat my meals earlier in the day and then had huge hours without food at night. For example, I'd eat breakfast at 8 AM, Snack at 11 AM, Lunch at 12:30 PM, Afternoon Snack at 4 PM, Dinner at 7 PM, and then I wouldn't sleep until 1 AM. Had to readjust my meal timing
  • Had a team dinner where they were providing catered tacos and margaritas and I knew I wouldn't be able to partake! wah! I prepared beforehand and brought my smoothie and snack to the dinner... My snack was "delicious" cucumbers and smoked salmon... REQUIRED SELF CONTROL! 
  • Had internal debates about pushing the "boundaries" of the diet like "well if I can have popcorn... can't I have corn tortillas?" or "what's one taco? it's corn, vegetables, and meat!" but I stuck to my diet! 
  • I hit my 10,000 steps 4 out of the 5 days. One of the days I got 8,754... close!
The team dinner where everyone was eating tacos, chips, and margs.... and I had my cucumber and smoke salmon

During Phase 2
  • Cost of groceries = $88.81
  • Dating and Dieting do not mix! My friend had a rooftop pool party and guys were asking to buy me drinks and I had to respond, "no thanks, I'm drinking water..." lol 
  • My friends and I also went out to eat at a pizza restaurant, and although I'm not supposed to eat out at all on the diet, I decided that it would be better to be there and just make healthy choices. So, as my friends ate delicious lasagna, artichoke dip, meatballs, and pizza... I ordered balsamic roasted vegetables and broccolini with an egg. SELF CONTROL wins again! 
  • I hit my steps 4 out of 5 times this phase with one day being 9,673 steps.. seriously, had days pacing back and forth in my apartment while listening to Kevin Hart's audiobook, I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons just to hit 10,000 steps
  • Was supposed to do resistance training 3x but only did it twice
During Phase 3
  • Cost of groceries = $81.98
  • Found that I was less satisfied with the S-Meals than with the smoothies. Smoothies were more filling initially because of all the liquid, while the S-Meals were like, wait... that's all the food I get? 
  • I hit my steps 4 out of 5 times this phase with one day being 9,350 steps... 
  • Ok so... didn't do my RT like I was supposed to. I only got it in twice, oops, but I got my steps!?

Get To It Already... What Were Your Results?? 
So originally, I wasn't going to post my before and after photos because the before looks exactly like my after! womp womp.... but since this is real life and if I were you, I'd be curious what the differences were (or lack thereof), I'm posting them.. >.<  You'll notice from the table, however, I did see changes in inches, so THAT's good! I guess it goes to show that noticeable differences takes TIME (ugh), but it's important to measure yourself because those things may be happening, but you just can't see it.

FYI, I'm 5'5" and to measure my body fat, I used the Omron Body Fat Loss Monitor.

So in the end I didn't lose a ton of weight or inches, although in the last several years I've never been able to drop into the 130 pound range and stay there, and I did on this diet. Also, strangely, in the two weeks after I finished the diet and resumed eating normal foods and drinking a few alcoholic drinks on weekends... I've continued to drop pounds... weird!

Final Thoughts
It was interesting to me that I was doing things on this diet that was so opposite from a majority of other diets (i.e. not working out, eating a TON of fruit, eating a TON of dairy), yet I saw positive results from it. I've learned that I don't have to be afraid from all the sugar from fruit, that you can still lose weight by including more basic, easy activity (i.e. walking) in your day and not killing yourself at a workout (hello Barry's Bootcamp), and different things work for different people (e.g., dairy makes some people bloated, but not me).

  • Only 15 days
  • Smoothie and snack prep is super fast (as long as you have done some planning and grocery shopping ahead of time)
  • Effective in losing some weight/inches
  • Pretty simple to complete
  • I've done other diets (e.g. Tone It Up 7 Day Slim Down, intermittent fasting, working out twice a day + low carb diet), but this was the most effective one in such a relatively short period of time
  • Although only 15 days, it was still was a STRUGGLE with social events
  • I didn't love the S-meal options
  • I wanted more guidance around what's appropriate to eat that wasn't one of the recipes in the book and I felt that was lacking 
  • On the same lines as the last bullet, for the section of the book around navigating the rest of your life, I wish that Harley provided more guidance around what makes a good meal that keeps you on track with staying slim, but that is more than "you've got to have fiber, and you've got to have protein" and isn't a recipe from the book. 
If you're going to try this diet, here are my recommended tips: 
  • Measure Yourself: Take measurements and photos before you start and afterwards so you can see what the difference is 
  • Plan Ahead: Plan for the week ahead - Write out your meals for the week so you know what you're having when and it'll help you with grocery planning
  • Prep Meals in Advance: If you're busy like me, prep things all at once (that you can) for the next day so it's faster. For example, at night, I'd cut up my fruit and make my breakfast and lunch smoothies for the next day and keep it in the fridge. I'd also prep the snacks (e.g. put the crackers and cheese in a ziploc bag or pop my popcorn and put it in a ziploc bag). Then, in the morning I'd blend the smoothies - and take the lunch one to work (with my glass straw) along with my snacks. Since I have more time at night, I'd make my dinner smoothie right before eating it. 
  • Get a Good Blender: Get an easy-to-clean blender like a Nutribullet or a Ninja. I had a Nutribullet
  • Mentally Prepare: Mentally prepare how you will handle outside-of-diet situations (e.g. someone brings in donuts from a specialty donut store into the office, your team does team lunch/dinner, you're at a birthday party and there's cake/brownies/ice cream and you're really hungry, someone offers to buy you a drink at the bar) 
  • Adjust Timing of Meals Accordingly: Space out your meals so that you're eating in regular intervals from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed
  • Entertain Yourself While Walking: Download some good music/podcasts/audio books for all that walking! Maybe even do a Fitbit challenge with coworkers to motivate yourself to walk!
  • Walk and Drink: If you can, drink your smoothie meal while on a walk! I was able to take some lunch smoothie walks around my office or take my breakfast smoothie on a walk during the weekends. 
  • Find Motivation: While it usually makes sense to reward yourself after you've reached a goal, I kind of rewarded myself beforehand and bought new Nike sneakers. This actually motivated me to go on my walks because I wanted to wear them! Just an option you might want to try for yourself. 

Things I'm Taking Away From This Diet: 
  • I've become a fan of smoothies as a super quick meal and have been drinking them more as breakfast as I can drink it on my drive to work. Surprisingly, don't find them to be too sweet.
  • I've been walking more in general. From this diet, I learned that walking is an easy, yet non-tiring way to burn calories, so I'm trying to incorporate more ways of doing that (e.g. walking to my nearby workout class vs. driving)
  • I've been incorporating more protein + fiber snack combos 
  • I've been trying to continue to eat less quantity-wise. I think what made this diet work was the fact that I was eating less but still being pretty active with the walking, so I'm trying to continue that while splurging every once in a while! 
  • I learned that being super restrictive of my eating makes me really sad and requires a lot of mental energy, so I'm trying to approach eating and exercise in a more balanced way keeping the things I've learned in mind.

Good luck to you if you decide to try the diet! Would love to hear how it went for you! 

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