The South Beach Diet is popular for several reasons. It is practical, because you don’t need special foods or medications or surgery. It is easy to adopt the South Beach Diet without making a public announcement, since the “allowed” foods are commonly eaten by non-dieters so you won’t stand out. Plus, there is a lot of variety to the meal options so that you don’t get bored eating nothing but one food for weeks at a time. This flexibility means that you are managing the diet instead of the diet managing you.
Phase one of the South Beach Diet is sometimes called the induction phase. During phase one your food selections minimize refined sugar and starch. For two weeks you limit yourself to lean proteins and high fiber vegetables. Think chicken breast cutlets and broccoli with low-fat cheese sauce. The aim here is to reduce your craving for sweets and carbohydrates.
After the two week induction phase, the second phase focuses on actual weight loss. In phase two the meal selection adds whole grains, so you can have brown rice, whole-grain breads and whole-wheat pastas. Fruits come back into your life. The calorie restrictions and low-fat, low-carb meals will let your body lose weight in a gradual and safe manner. During phase two you can easily keep to the diet when you eat out or dine at a friend’s house by carefully (and inconspicuously) selecting the things that you choose to eat. My favorite aspect of phase two? I can eat dark chocolate again!
Once you have reached your goal weight, you enter phase three. Phase three is maintenance, keeping the weight off long term. Your meal plans stay pretty much the same, but your calorie limit is increased to match your burn rate. You still stay away from high fat and carb-heavy foods, but your menu choices are still very broad. This will be your diet for life. The good news: lots of variety and plenty of choices that you already love.
Diets are never easy. At the core, a diet is the reduction of a pleasurable experience: eating. Staying with a diet during the plateau weeks and occasional back-slide is tough. Most people have much better luck going on a diet with a friend. That way you can offer each other encouragement and support. If you don’t have a friend ready to take on a diet with you, check out WannaBuddy.com, a site that connects local people who share a passion for healthy living. The South Beach Diet can help you to reach a better body weight while lowering your “bad” or LDL cholesterol and reducing the incidence of stroke, heart disease and type II diabetes. Give it a try; it might be perfect for you.