Yesterday, I completed Phase 1 of the South Beach diet. I am now entering into Phase 2. Hooray!
This is my second time readjusting my eating habits to eat the South Beach way. I tried it for the first time back in March 2008 at the advice of my doctor, who was mainly concerned with my high blood pressure, but also with my weight gain. She asked me if I thought I could change my lifestyle to bring down both my weight and my blood pressure. If I agreed and things improved, I would not have to go on blood pressure medication, which I really didn't want to do. I immediately went to my local library and picked up a copy of The South Beach Diet, by Arthur Agatston, M.D.
For those of you who have never heard about the South Beach Diet, here is a rundown of what it entails.
There are 3 phases:
Phase 1 : 2 weeks (or 14 days) ~ This is the strictest part of the plan. During Phase 1, there is no eating cereals, breads, pastas, rice, potatoes or fruit. Not even whole wheats are allowed. Alcohol is also off limits. During this phase the idea is that you are clearing sugars from your blood stream. Food converted to sugar is one of the main reasons for excessive weight gain in the stomach and hip region. For 2 weeks, the diet consists mainly of eggs, chicken, fish, other lean meats (such as 90% lean beef and sirloins). Cheese is okay as long as it's lowfat. Beans of all kinds are great, as are nuts. Vegetables of all kinds are allowed, (except for beets, carrots, and potatoes), as these are loaded with sugary starches. Desserts are acceptable, as long as they are low in sugar and about 75 calories. One of the things I ate was No Sugar Added Fudgsicles (which taste delicious and satisfy my chocolate cravings).
Phase 2: no time frame (until your weight is where you want it to be, or until you are down a few sizes, or whatever your particular goal may be) ~ The 2nd phase of the diet is where you add back in the fruits and the cereals (oh yes!), and the breads, pastas and rice. However! These must be WHOLE wheat or WHOLE grain. So if you want a bean burrito, make sure it's wrapped in a whole grain tortilla. Any food high in sugar is off limits during this phase. Did you know ketchup is high in sugar? I was bummed when I learned this. No ketchup during phase 2. :( It actually is amazing how many foods are actually loaded with sugar. I actually hunted for a low sugar pizza sauce so I could make homemade pizza bagels (on whole wheat bagels of course! )
Phase 3: maintenance stage ~ this stage is where you basically keep eating the way you've been, but now you have lost the weight you wanted to and your job is to maintain that weight, or size. There is room for cheating, (i.e. sweets, potatoes, white breads) but everything in moderation.
*If you are interested in more specific South Beach information, including recipes and food lists, check out http://www.southbeach-diet-plan.com/
So I began this diet back in March of 2008, made it through Phase 1, and entered into Phase 2 with obvious weight loss. My clothes felt looser, people kept asking if I had lost weight, and I had more energy than usual. But unfortunately for me, March soon turned to June, summer came and weekends became party weekends with friends and family. The Saturday "no cheat" day I allowed for myself soon turned into Saturdays and Sundays...which turned into Mondays too. Before I knew it, I was back to eating regular tortilla chips, sugary cereals, and cookies galore. I was also back to the weekend margarita, a known sugar culprit, but oh so tasty and refreshing!
Since I slid off the plan back in the summer of 2008, I have wanted to start again because I know it works. It's hard in the beginning, but I've done it before so I knew I could do it again.
The beginning of a New Year seemed like the perfect time to start. I started on Jan. 2nd and made it through Phase one, just the other day on Thursday, Jan. 15th. I ate no breads, pastas, rice, potatoes, or fruits for two weeks. I drank no alcohol.
I refuse to weigh myself during this process, but instead took measurements for physical proof of change in my body.
*Beware ~ my initial measurements are frightening!
Jan 2: (At start of Phase 1)
Waist: 33-1/2 inches (I know...why do you think I'm doing all this!)
Hips: 42-1/2 inches (ugh!)
Thighs: 24 inches (yikes!)
Arms: 13 inches
*Note: I left out my bust measurements. Some things I intend to keep private! ;)
Jan 16: (After 2 weeks in Phase 1)
Waist: 32-1/2 inches (a loss of 1 inch!)
Hips: 41 inches (a loss of 1-1/2 inches!)
Thighs: 23 inches (a 1 inch loss!)
Arms: 12-3/4 inches (a 1/4 inch loss!)
Loss all around! I am so happy. Not to mention that this is with minimal walking for exercise. I did no weight lifting or excessive cardio during these 2 weeks. I can only handle so much at once. Yet I am left to wonder how many more inches I might've lost if I had begun a routine exercise plan during this time.
Now that I am entering into Phase 2, I intend to begin exercise to boost my efforts. I will post my progress, and do another measurement check in about a month.
Anyone ever tried South Beach, or any similar diets and weight loss plans? How did they work for you? Did you meet your goals? Any suggestions so I can better meet mine?
Until my next post,