South Beach Diet Unmystified

I’ve been a true South Beach advocate since I first tried the diet and lifestyle back in 2005. I’ve never liked the idea of diets, which in my mind always equate to temporary, cosmetic fixes that require you to either compulsively count “points,” “calories” and/or eliminate whole food groups, i.e. low-carb-high-fat diets or high-carb-low-fat ones. Aside from the South Beach Diet, I’ve never found a way of eating that I could sustain and implement over a long period of time. I’ve watched family members and friends yo-yo diet or get weight-loss surgeries with temporary success and even yours truly has tried some outrageous quick fixes, including veganism, SlimQuick, Weight Watchers, Atkins and calorie-counting.

Disclaimer: I realize witnessing a diet is a little like witnessing a religion, so take everything I say as it is: an opinion. If you are one of those rare individuals that has found incredible long-term success, mental health and happiness by eliminating whole food groups, having your stomach stapled or consuming nothing but grapefruits and cabbage, good for you! They haven’t worked for me, which is why I’m writing this! 🙂

The South Beach Diet, is based on some pretty common-sense principles. Eat good, fiber-dense carbs, healthy fats, low-fat dairy, tons of vegetables and implement sensible snacking to maintain blood sugar levels. Its about permanent lifestyle changes, not a quick fix. It’s both about the quality of food and the quantity. You should also be active, do interval training and some form of core conditioning and strength training throughout the week.

The diet is broken up into three phases, the first one being the strictest and meant to catalyze weight loss and eliminate cravings. Weight loss is slow after the initial phase, which is good in my opinion since it will be a more stable and maintainable weight loss. The only reason I did not “stick” to this way of eating back in 2005 is because wasn’t ready to accept life-long change in my eating and wasn’t committed for the right reasons. It’s really hard to accept that weight loss and overall good health takes permanent, constant small changes over a long period of time. It’s hard to accept that you can never go back to eating “whatever you want” after you achieve your ideal weight. You need to be changing for the right reasons as well. While “looking good” is a motivator for most of us, feeling good and achieving life-long health should be the main catalyst.

If you want some more info and a detailed list of foods you can eat and how the diet works specifically visit the South Beach Diet Forum, or you can buy the book!

So far, I’ve lost 6 pounds in the past few weeks, with a goal of 70 total to lose. Seems like a lot of weight for the average Joe, but 70 for me is probably equivalent to 35-40 for the average 5’4″ female. Anyhow, my doctor spelled it out plainly for me when I visited her in January. She said, “Since you were overweight as a child, you have a 70% chance of being overweight throughout adulthood. Since your parents are overweight, that means you’ll have an 80% chance. With diabetes, heart disease and cancers running in your genetics, you need to eat like you have a disease.” That was enough of a motivator for me.

Later tonight I’ll post a few recipes to show what types of (delicious) foods I’ve been able to concoct, including a recipe for these tasty stuffed mushrooms!

Off to Pilates!


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