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3-Day Cleanse to Lose Belly Fat and Jumpstart Weight Loss

9 min read
a young woman is holding her jeans, showing they are too big for her, smiling, 3-day cleanse to lose belly fat
Melissa Mitri post Reviewer Melissa Mitri post Reviewer
Verified by Melissa Mitri
MS, Registered Dietitian, Former President of CT Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Learn how to effectively do a 3-day cleanse to lose belly fat, adopt healthy weight-loss habits, and gain your first visible result.

Table of Contents

Many people looking to drop a dress size seek a quick fix, like detox pills and juices that produce few results. The desire for that initial jumpstart can be strong, but it’s important to do it right. As opposed to pills and juices, detox diets or cleanses can be a great option for achieving a flat tummy as long as they’re planned appropriately. 

In this article, we will outline how to do a 3-day cleanse and how to use it as a way to lose belly fat and start a healthier lifestyle.

How to Lose Belly Fat: The Basics

Many people start fad diets and take detox supplements to drop their excess weight, although these are not the most effective methods for tackling stomach fat. In fact, weight loss is only achievable by being in a sustained calorie deficit. There is no exact food, supplement, or exercise that can target belly fat specifically, as fat loss happens based on a combination of factors. 

Is there something you can do to jumpstart your weight loss? Following a healthy diet and performing exercises that target the abdomen can be a great way to tone up this area and make your stomach look tighter. 

Despite their bad reputation, detox diets aren’t necessarily a waste of time. In fact, they can be of great help in reducing abdominal fat, as long as they comply with these main principles:

  • Maintaining good hydration levels
  • Staying in an appropriate calorie deficit (10 to 20%)
  • Limiting the consumption of ultra-processed foods in favor of minimally processed options
  • Reducing abdominal bloating

Any diet, whether it’s called ‘detox’ or not, that prioritizes whole foods and emphasizes these rules will help you target belly fat and lose some weight.

3-Day Cleanse to Lose Belly Fat

Your tummy may not get slimmer simply by having detox juices. However, following a well-planned and nutrient-rich diet can really set you up for a healthier lifestyle and encourage belly fat loss in the long term. 

Cleanses can be used as a transition phase to get you used to eating healthier foods and help you understand how to set up your diet for lifelong results. 

Below you can find the main rules of a balanced and well-planned 3-day cleanse diet that may help you adopt new habits more easily, leading to a healthier weight and improved overall well-being.

#1 Stay Hydrated and Track Your Water Intake

Keeping hydrated aids in digestion and allows your body to let go of excess liquids, making you drop a few extra pounds and feel less bloated. Drinking water before eating is also ideal when dieting, as research shows it decreases the number of calories you’ll consume at that meal. [1]

Your specific water intake goals vary based on sex, age, activity level, and environment, but as a general rule, men should drink 2.5 liters and women should drink between 1.5 and 2 liters of water a day. [2]

However, people living in warm places or those who exercise a lot may need to drink more to stay hydrated. Simply monitor your urine color to determine if you need to drink more: the darker the color and the more intense the odor, the higher your level of dehydration. 

#2 Ensure You Are in Calorie Deficit

Even if you are using detox products, you will not be able to lose belly fat if you keep eating more calories than you need. If you are aiming to drop fat, then you must ensure you are in a calorie deficit, which can be calculated based on your sex, age, weight, height, and activity level. 

In fact, failing to achieve calorie deficit is the main reason people cannot lose weight even on a plant-based diet or intermittent fasting.

With this, you may be wondering should you count calories? It’s not that necessary but may be helpful if you are at the beginning of your weight-loss journey. The golden rule is to cut 10-20% of your maintenance calories.

#3 Prioritize a Quality Diet

Eating within your calories is essential for dropping fat. However, what you eat is just as important for achieving sustainable results. Below you can find the main concepts of a healthy diet that prioritizes quality ingredients and nutrient-rich foods:

  • Stock up on vegetables and fruits, and use them to add volume to your meals
  • Include nuts and seeds to add fiber and healthy fats
  • Favor wholemeal and wholegrain products instead of refined ones
  • Include protein in every meal, particularly high-quality sources
  • Choose healthier cooking methods, like roasting, grilling, steaming, and air frying, and use condiments sparingly
  • Limit your intake of ultra-processed foods that are high in added sugars and fats

#4 Go Vegetarian One Day of Your 3-Day Cleanse

We took this tip from our guide on how to change your eating habits, and this is still appropriate and beneficial.

Since cleanses are aimed at boosting your health, you should try opting for a plant-based menu for at least one full day of your 3-day cleanse diet. This is because plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the likelihood of developing chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. [3] [4]

This is also a great habit to adopt after the 3-day cleanse – at least one vegan or vegetarian day per week is enough. 

#5 Eliminate These Foods for 3 Days

Limit your consumption of the following foods as much as possible during the 3-day cleanse. For best results, it would be ideal to fully abstain from them for the duration of the cleanse. 

  • Highly processed foods
  • Alcohol
  • Refined sugar
  • Refined fats (such as margarine, corn oil, or canola oil)
  • Soda and sweetened beverages

#6 Eat These Foods if You Want a Detox Effect

The word ‘detox’ is a bit confusing as many use it with regard to weight loss. However, a true detox refers to supporting liver function, as the liver is a natural detoxifier in the human body. 

Including antioxidant-rich foods in your diet can help enhance detoxification. [5] These foods include berries, citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli.

3-Day Flat Stomach Diet Meal Plan

Below, you can find an example of a 3-day cleanse diet to help you achieve a flat stomach.

Day 1

BreakfastPoached eggs on toasted multigrain breadGreen juice 
Snack 1Chia pudding topped with nuts and dried fruit
LunchOven-baked salmon with roasted vegetables and steamed potatoes
Snack 2Yogurt bowl topped with finely chopped apple, steamed beets, and almonds
DinnerSteamed sole topped with fresh herbs, garlic, and lemon juiceWarm barley salad with grated carrots and zucchini 

Day 2 (vegan)

BreakfastBowl of soy yogurt topped with fresh fruit, seeds, and bran flakesGreen tea
Snack 1Hummus with veggie sticks
LunchGrain salad: barley, quinoa, green lentils, lettuce leaves, red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, shaved almondsDressing: olive oil, salt, finely chopped fresh mint, and lemon juice
Snack 2Energy balls made with dates, peanut butter, and grated coconut
DinnerMarinated grilled tofu with a side of sweet potato mash and sauteed greens

Day 3

BreakfastOvernight oats (oats, Greek yogurt, flaxseed, and peanut butter) topped with fresh strawberriesHerbal tea
Snack 1Chopped apples cooked with cinnamon and topped with quark and nuts
LunchChicken skewers with mixed grilled vegetables and wholemeal pita bread
Snack 2Berries and greens smoothie topped with flaxseed
DinnerBean, grain, and vegetable stew (mixed beans and whole grains cooked with finely chopped tomatoes, carrots, onions, spinach, and celery) 

Continue to Follow These Rules to Get Sustainable Results

It is important to note that having a 3-day cleanse is not enough to achieve sustainable and satisfying results. In fact, healthy lifestyle changes should be sustained for a long period to help you reach your goals and improve your health. Below you can find some rules to apply to your lifestyle to attain sustainable results. 

Exercise Regularly

Exercise is essential to achieving satisfying results, as it helps tone up your muscles and prevent loose skin.

Below is a list of ab-focused exercises to tone up your stomach:

  • Leg raises
  • Sit-ups
  • Crunches
  • Windmill
  • Russian twists
  • Reverse crunches
  • V-sits
  • Bicycle
  • Jackknife

You can also try these 10 yoga poses for the core if you are a yoga fan.

Pay attention to these 8 ab exercises if you have bad back.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

To eliminate the fat on your tummy, you must ensure your detox diet is mainly composed of little to no processed food. To make it sustainable over time, you don’t need to avoid these items altogether but rather limit their intake. 

A great way to balance out your diet is to follow the 80/20 rule, where you aim to eat unprocessed and nutrient-rich foods 80% of the time, while calorie-dense foods make up the remaining 20% of your calories. [6]

Ensure You Are in a Calorie Deficit

If you have stopped losing weight on your diet, it might mean you are no longer in a calorie deficit.

This is because as our weight decreases, so do our calorie requirements. Therefore what used to be a deficit when we were heavier might turn into a calorie balance as we lose weight. It is therefore suggested that you re-evaluate your dietary requirements every so often along your weight-loss journey. 

Wrapping Up

Cleanses are not an ideal crash diet to drop fat, but rather a great way to introduce you to a healthier lifestyle. Below you can find the key points about the 3-day cleanse to lose belly fat:

  • There is no individual food, exercise, or supplement that specifically targets belly fat, as fat loss occurs systemically. However, ab exercises can help you tone up your stomach.
  • Excess belly fat cannot be reduced by simply following a 3-day cleanse. However, it can be tackled by maintaining a healthy lifestyle for a prolonged period of time.
  • Healthy cleanses are aimed at maintaining good hydration, keeping a sustainable calorie deficit, limiting the intake of ultra-processed foods, and reducing bloating.
  • 3-day cleanses are a great way to get you used to eating healthy and help you jumpstart your weight-loss journey.
  • To maximize your results during a 3-day cleanse, be sure to track your water intake, stay in a calorie deficit, eat nutrient-rich foods, have at least one day where you only consume plant-based food, and eliminate highly processed foods and alcohol.
  • After your cleanse, stay active, maintain a healthy diet, and monitor your calorie requirements if you want to achieve sustainable results and drop belly fat.
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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