If you’ve been sticking to your South Beach diet these past few years, you’ve probably been through all three phases of the program as you approach your goal weight. The South Beach Diet is a doctor-designed plan for ‘fast and healthy weight loss.’ It’s based on a book by Arthur Agatston, and has been in the media spotlight for the past few years as the next Big Diet after the Atkins debacle.
Phase 1 is designed to last for two weeks, and gives you a summary of carbs, proteins, and fats you can and can’t eat. Foods are labeled as ‘good carbs’ and ‘bad carbs’ based on their glycemic index-your body’s ability to convert and obtain energy from sugar. It’s also designed to reduce or remove your cravings for lots of sugar and carbohydrates naturall. Phase 2 starts to introduce some rice, cereal, and fruit for a little more freedom. Still, moderation is key; as you move into Phase 3, the goal is to balance the meal plan with all food group.
If the South Beach Diet is yet another ‘tried but failed’ diet, despite your confident New Year’s resolution, here are eight myths that you may have overlooked on your plan:
1. You can eat regular bread, pasta, and rice in Phase 2. Since you’re just starting back on eating more carbs, it’s best to stick with foods lower on the glycemic index spectrum. Continue to eat oatmeal, brown rice, and natural wheat-pasta except in larger quantities than Phase 1. You’ll feel much better, and are more likely to start losing those pounds easily.
2. Low-carb means you can eat regular sugar once in a while. Sugar and sweets are a big no-no on this plan; you’ll need to make extra effort to pick up some Splenda or natural sugar products to keep your blood sugar levels in check.
3. You can eat some fruit in Phase One. Phase One is often considered the ‘carb crash’ phase, meaning that you cannot eat any sugar, even natural fructose. Phase One is designed to help your body readjust to relying on natural foods instead.
4. The diet is low in fat. Not necessarily; you’ll find many oils and fats are encouraged on the plan, including olives, avocadoes, flax seeds, and fish. You’ll want to limit the unhealthy bunch; peanut oil, soybean oil, coconut milk, and even some forms of mayonnaise. ‘Traditional’ fast such as butter, lard, shortening, and margarine do need to be avoided as much as possible.
5. You have to eat meat on the South Beach Diet. Many vegetarians do well with this program, simply because you can modify many recipes to your lifestyle and diet goals. You can still make healthy and nourishing chili, salads, stir-fries, and baked goods with vegetarian components.
6. You’ll lose weight in Phase 2. In most cases, people start t gain weight in Phase 2 simply because your body’s been starved for carbohydrates for a couple of weeks. Still, it’s usually just water weight that can settle on its own after a couple more weeks.
7. You need special meals and fancy snacks to make this work. You’ve probably come across plenty of South Beach branded cereal, bars, and snacks at the supermarket. The truth is, you can customize your diet with ‘real’ food just as easy.
8. You need to avoid your favorite foods. Modification is the key word here; almost all recipes can be adapted to be South Beach-friendly, and you’ll have many opportunities to flex those creative muscles!
If you’ve been hesitant to get back on the South Beach diet wagon, assess your setbacks and just restructure your plan. It’s likely that you’ve fallen for some of the common myths, and fell short of your goals. A change in attitude or perspective will get you on the right track; good luck with your South Beach diet success story!