Amanda Rose on the cover of Woman's World with article snippets

Three-Day Challenge Modifications

The original Three-Day Challenge shopping list and meal plan is extremely basic and based on the most popular dressing and ingredients in the community. I do get asked daily about modifications. Yes, absolutely make modifications to the basic approach, but do be sure to learn the framework so that you know that your own modifications fit with your needs and your goals.

(Find the Three-Day Challenge here if you’ve missed it. It is a free email sequence with a shopping list and videos.)

My original purpose of the Three-Day Challenge was simply to expose people to the main meal type driving the success in the community. I imagined a lot of people doing it alongside other things they were doing, just educating themselves about what we do and then jumping in at some later point.

The Three-Day Challenge has instead become a major driver of success because of that education factor but also because many people actually use it as a tool to dive right in, buckle down, and grind off the pounds.

I am blown away at how many people take this approach but I should not be: Eat Like a Bear attracts life-long dieters with a whole lot of diet experience. Many, many people are ready to dive right in at this very minute and get the grind behind them.

Do adapt all of this to meet your own needs. Obviously, if you loosen it up and make it a bit less strict, your weight loss will be slower than it might have been. That’s your decision. Really though, consistency is the ultimate success factor and all of us needs to get into our own heads on this and work toward that long game play.

Watch the Videos

I discuss the meals in more detail in the Three-Day Challenge videos themselves, which you get via email each day. I really would not miss the videos. I am certainly biased on this issue since I created those actual videos, but I don’t know of a success case here on this platform of someone who just took the one-page PDF and ran with it. There is a lot to what we are doing that cannot be captured in one page of anything. It’s all very simple but it’s probably best not to take it for granted.

Adapt the Menu

Some years in to Eat Like a Bear, we have an extremely easy way for you to create your own Three-Day Menu: Try our Recipe Finder tool, select three Ridiculously Big Recipes, and use the tool to generate your own meal plan and shopping list. You may even find a 7-day free trial option right here: Recipe Finder (CLICK!)

Otherwise, like thousands of people before you, just go with the Three-Day menu as written in the original challenge.

Other Adaptations

Here are some common adaptations:

Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks for Weight Loss! ACV Shots, Gourmet and Customized!

Add Apple Cider Vinegar

I’ll give the nod here to the editors at Woman’s World magazine who asked “Can you add ACV to your Three-Day Challenge?” “Sure,” I said, and the Three-Day Challenge proceeded to be featured in a national magazine.

Apple cider vinegar is not in the original Three-Day Challenge not because it is not a super-fantastic tool, but because I really did try to make the original Three-Day Challenge as simple as absolutely possible. I chose to use Ranch Dressing in the original primarily because it is the most popular salad dressing in the community. However, a basic vinaigrette is popular as well and is a great non-dairy option, and so here we are.

Use a vinaigrette on your salads in the challenge instead of the Ranch. In the videos themselves I actually use lunch meat on those salads and they end up being more in the “Cobb Salad” family when they are topped with the ranch. Personally, with a vinaigrette I would be more inclined to use something like a chicken strip or boiled eggs. I leave the flavor choice to you. (If you need help with that I literally wrote the book on it — “Half My Size with The Ridiculously Big Salad” which teaches you the framework and gives you recipes and six weeks of shopping lists and salad ideas.)

As for your Day 2 meal and the ACV — I would probably just take it before the meal, just chug-a-lug style. I would dilute a couple of ounces in 4-8 ounces of water and swig as you prepare your meal. You will find yourself coming to fullness much faster with this tool.

Vinaigrette Recipe

For one Ridiculously Big Salad:

1⁄4 cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 teaspoon (1 ml), each salt and pepper

Pickled Onion in Herbs, Spices, and Apple Cider Vinegar!


People do ask for a non-dairy approach. To go non-dairy on the dressing, you can take the vinaigrette approach or swap out the Greek yogurt in the Ranch with a non-dairy yogurt of some sort. Community members tend to use coconut or nut-based yogurts. These tends to be a bit higher in carbohydrates, but surely not as high as much of the foods that got us here on a weight loss website.

As for the cheese in the recipes, you could simply cut that ingredient out, you could use a non-dairy cheese, you could have something like avocado. With anything you do add, I would just be mindful of adding carbohydrates and calories.

Other Variations: “Can I do X,Y,Z”?

Q: Can I do “XYZ”?
A: Yes, absolutely. Do anything you choose to address your own needs and meet your goals. If you wish to leverage our community’s knowledge base in your own process, the meals I highlight in the Three-Day Challenge have driven massive success among us. There are good reasons for the success of the framework and if you learn the framework and why it seems to be working, you can leverage it for your own success.

Q: Can I really do anything I want?
A: Absolutely. You should always make your own decisions since you are the one who has to live with the consequences.

Q: Why are you equivocating? Why won’t you just tell me what to do?
A: The weight loss industry has clouded a critical message about the locus of control of weight loss. Marketers try to convince us that the secret lies in their product. A key part of the massive success you see in this community is that people learn a key lesson: The locus of control of weight loss is ourselves.

To win the long game, you need to take control. Use my materials for some breadcrumbs on the trail (so to speak), but I would do you a disservice in this process if I told you exactly what to do. You would try it. It would not work for you and you would quit. It would not work for you because there is really nothing out there that is going to work for everyone, with all of our varying circumstances and psychological starting points. The long game play is winning that fight in your own head and you’re the only one who can do that. This message is a core part of the psychology content I create on the site these days.

Q: But I need a specific plan. Can you provide one for me?

A: It is probably wise to start with a very specific plan. This is why I created the Three-Day Challenge in the first place. If you are looking for a specific structure to follow, implement the Three-Day Challenge meal plan.

Each of the recipe-oriented books (The Ridiculously Big Salad and the Soups, Skillets, and Sautes book) do include a 6-week meal plan with shopping list, so check those out if those would be useful. Read more about our premium learning products (CLICK!).

Do you need to buy the premium (paid) content here?

I get this question all the time: Do I need to buy the paid content?

Obviously I succeeded without it, as did some of the community’s earliest success cases (who met their goals before I could get around to this content).

In fact, it was all of we early success cases that helped me shine a light on what is driving our success. We learned early on that a specific meal framework was a key success factor, and so I wrote a book centered entirely on the model. The premium content comes out of everything we’ve learned here as a community and do drive additional success.

So should you buy this stuff?

I do think you should buy it. The premium content will simply help you get there faster.

I have seen dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of people comment with remorse that they didn’t buy a course or a book for six months, only finally buying it after a stall, and realizing how many details they had missed along the way. They could have gotten to their goal six months faster with the premium content.

Considering that this premium content isn’t really all that expensive AND that it teaches a very frugal way of eating (which you can definitely use to save money), it pays for itself readily. I’d definitely encourage everyone at least to look at the offerings.

The premium content takes a deep dive into the factors that are driving the success you see in this community. I describe our free and premium resources further here.


      1. Hi Gail. We don’t get much into “can” and “can’t.” It’s all about finding what works for you. We do have Veggie Bears and I am sure some have beans. We also have people who are pretty sensitive to carbs and wouldn’t make much (if any) progress with beans. My best advice to you is to give it a try and see how it goes. Report back!

  1. Amanda I feel after watching you for the last several weeks that you are my friend! One that is encouraging me to succeed. I want to do what you did. You are such an inspiration to all. I am 68 and had basically given up. I have dieted my whole life , only to be at my largest. I thought Im too old to start now. Then I watched some of the videos of others . Oh my I have hope , Hope I can do this for me before its to late. Thank YOU for sharing what and how you did it. Ive always wondered what I want to be when Im grown up. Well I want to be you. Kind loving and sharing. And understand what it was like to be excuse me for saying it fat. But did something about it. THANK YOU. Pam

    1. Thanks so much, Pam! I appreciate it. (It only took me a month to find your comment lost in the pool of spam.. Sorry about that!)

    1. So this is the second time I have taken a look at ELAB. The first time I just don’t think I really got it. This time however I have prayed over what direction I should go and taking a second look I am convinced that this is the direction that I should go with a few personal tweaks. I’m starting the three day challenge but I had already begun a week ago with my focus and I lost almost five pounds. And I agree that one size does not fit all. I do appreciate your support and the fact that you emphasize that I am the one that determines how it goes not a remedy. Thank you for the direction and inspiration. Btw although I’m about 20+ years older than you we have a very similar story of weight and knee injury. I am the grandmother of 16 and none of my grands have ever seen me under 200# and at our New Year celebration I learned that one of my daughters is expecting our 17th grandchild. At this point in time I would not feel safe carrying this baby across the room. I have managed to stay active but it is getting more difficult to navigate stairs etc so this has become a more than necessary need to change. Thank you for hope!! And my key word is #Baby

  2. I have bought & tried many so-called miracle products in hopes that I will adhere to the principles of WW or Keto or Whole 30…and it's never worked. The secret: it's within me to make the change is enlightening — and simple — and it's shocking that while I know I need willpower to lose weight, I never thought about it in the terms Amanda shares.

  3. You don’t say went to eat this large meal. And will using 3 ounces of chicken and maybe 3 ounces of egg for your protein for that one meal is that gonna be OK

    1. Watch the Three-Day Challenge videos! It’s all a framework and ideally you eat the meal early enough that it digests before bed

  4. Hello, Amanda — one word: IMPRESSIVE!!! What you have done not only with your AMAZING weight loss — but even more so with all the effort you have done to create a platform that has made it possible to share your experience, success, and knowledge with virtually endless thousands. BRAVO!!! I belong to zero groups. However, the reason that your format really interests me is because of the individual freedom to choose. Thank you so much.

  5. I am so grateful to have found you. Thank you for putting all of this effort forth to help us know we are not alone in our battle and that there is hope. I greatly look forward to your emails. Thank you.

  6. I hate onions, tomatoes, and cauliflower! Any suggestions for the second meal? I figured to just leave them out of the big salad but I’m lost about meal two?! Help

  7. After losing my job, COVID-19, empty nesting, and turning 50, I had started to feel hopeless, worthless, and lost. I started IF last week and a dear friend encouraged me to listen to your story! The tears rolled!! Feeling hopeful and ready for a new start! Thank you for sharing!!

  8. I am going to try, I can't be any worse off than anyone else. The salads do look easy. I am trying to wrap my brain around not overthinking it or the fact that I have already blown it because I was up eating in the middle of the night. I want to pick my hour to work with my hour at work. I am telling you this because you seem like a safe person to tell. I don't feel particularly confident, and I am quite sad with my body. I am telling myself hunger won't kill me. It is literally the crap I am eating that will! I tried to order your book and it says it is sold out, but I don't need it for this three-day challenge. So I will try this first. Thanks for sending me the free materials.

  9. I'm really going to try this? I'm diabetic and have several health issues. I've had heart surgery and my A1C is 10.2 ,so I really need this to work?

  10. Have made my grocery list and shop tomorrow. Today I skipped breakfast and didn't eat lunch until2:00pm. Dinner was a taco salad lettuce, tomato , taco seasoned hamburger sour cream and chedder cheese. Getting myself ready for start I can do this. Thanks for the support and the way.

  11. Just came across this on. Facebook I've been struggling over the years, an after having six kids to lose weight an boy….. its not easy that's for sure I would lose weight, here an the but if so many can an have done this an kept the weight off so can I cant weight to jump an this here's to a new me:)

  12. Currently cooking the soup that was written in Women's World magazine for today. I just need to buy some romaine for salad . I have 100 lbs to loose.

  13. Your comment about making your own decisions since you have to live with the consequences—- wow. So true and easy to remember: when co-workers set cookies out, there’s still half a bag of chips left, finish off the bottle since it’s not enough to keep.
    Thank you for this clarity.
    I have been living with my decisions. I don’t need to feel guilty, I enjoyed them! But now, the consequences are making it hard to zip my winter coat. Time to make decisions that fit how I want to be and really enjoy those wonderful consequences!
    I’m doing well on the 3-day challenge, and yes it’s only the second day. My US Coast Guard son said he made it through one of the hardest boot camps by only looking to his next meal- his view was only a few hours. It dawned on me to take the dame approach- plan just today – and don’t think about the 82lbs I need to loose. Headache means I’m flushing out toxins so more water – I’ve felt worse-like not being able to get in my car because someone packed close and now I have to go through the passenger side and get goosed by the parking break. One day, one small achievement, and all my own decisions.

  14. I have tried to utilize ACV in the past, but it really causes digestive upset. I do, however, enjoy oly Kraut sipping brine(sauerkraut brine) w,ithout the gastric upset. Do you know if it has similar benefits to ACV?

    1. The biggest benefit of ACV is that it brings you to fullness faster, so the best way to know about the brine is simply to have it before the meal and see if it helps in the same way. There’s no real downside! Good luck, Mindy!

  15. Some very kind person told me about ELAB, Ave told me it would change my life. After reading everything just sent, I can’t wait for tomorrow’s email and to get started. IF it’s feasible for me. Here’s my problem. I can’t eat anything that is high in fiber due to a painful health issue. I used to love salads but then the bowel and gastric issues took that favorite food away from me. I have several raw veggies I can tolerate, it’s the lettuce that causes issues.
    Iceberg or Romaine, if it says crunch, I can’t munch. Is there anyway I could adapt this to avoid the crisp lettuces and such? Would it be as effective with maybe baby spinach or baby salad greens? Also, allergic to tomatoes.
    I have always put strawberries in my spinach salads as a tomato substitute. Would that be too much sugar or can I eat berries like a bear lol. This totally sounds like it matches my lifestyle so I’m ready to learn anything you have to share. My weight is quickly ruining my quality of life and at 64, I will lose all mobility soon if I don’t find something that is a good fit for me. I truly think this might be it, unless crunchy lettuce is the key to success. Hope not. Thank you for sharing this. You are brilliant. Hugs from Kat

    1. It’s easier than all that, Kat, because you can just cook any of this stuff as well. But, yes, play around and adapt it. The vegetables are the key to filling up with fewer calories. Whether they are crisp or raw or whatnot is not a critical factor (except insofar as flavor/texture experiences)

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