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.
Here are some common adaptations:
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.
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
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.