The South Beach Diet

  Health 3

Created by respected cardiologist Dr Arthur Agatston, the South Beach Diet is generally regarded as both effective and safe. Unlike most ‘fad’ diets, the South Beach Diet aims to modify your lifestyle slightly, in order to get you eating the right fats and carbohydrates, while actually enjoying it – this of course means you will be able to stick to it with less trouble than other diets! This is, of course the main reason why we here at like it so much. A cardinal point of Dr Agatston’s theories is that eating ‘bad’ fats and carbohydrates actually makes you hungrier, and so you eat more. Proponents of the South Beach Diet claim it is entirely possible to lose between 8 and 14 pounds in just 2 weeks – a rate of weight loss that would usually be regarded as ‘dangerous crash dieting’.
The South Beach Diet is composed of 3 ‘phases’, the first 2 are for a limited timespan, the third is for the rest of your life. It doesn’t really rely on calorie counting, or portion control as such, more on creating a sensible eating schedule you can stick to. You won’t feel deprived, or constantly hungry, and the meals you eat will be full size enjoyable ones, not mung-bean snacks or some such nonsense. You will even be able to eat chocolate cake if you really want to! The meals you create will be of good variety, so not only will the South Beach Diet stop you feeling hungry, you won’t even get bored with the menu! Couple this with the tendency to see amazing results in a short timespan, and you can begin to see why the South beach Diet is so popular.
Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet is the strictest phase, and lasts only 2 weeks. Portion sizes are normal, but you have to restrich carbohydrates. Lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish) are emphasised, and you can eat both low-glycemic-index vegetables and low fat cheese, nuts and eggs. In this phase, you can shed up to 2 stones of weight, depending on your starting size. Typically, a South Beach Dieter on phase 1 will eat ordinary foodstuffs like chicken, beef, turkey or fish, with lots of vegetables, eggs, cheese, nuts, and garden salads. A salad dressing of 100% olive oil can also be used. For these first 2 weeks, you eat 3 well balanced meals a day, and the best part is you can eat until your hunger is satisfied. Honestly, it really IS part of the diet! (Dr Agatston believes that you can’t become healthy by depriving your body of food).
In phase 1 you can also eat a snack for elevenses, and another one in the mid afternoon. The interesting point here is that you really do need to eat these snacks, or the whole diet will be compromised. Eating the snacks helps to keep your appetite under control, and you won’t want to eat so much at the main meals – clever, isn’t it?! Unlike other diets, coffee and tea are ok in this phase, and of course you must be sure to drink lots of fresh water.
The bad news is that there are certain foods you have to steer clear of (although its only for the first 2 weeks) – cut out all bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, baked goods, fruit, candy, cake, cookies, ice cream, or sugar. Also banned are beer and all other kinds of alcohol. Sounds tough? It’s only for 2 weeks! A tiny price to pay for reaching your ideal weight, and a life of health! For a list of South Beach Diet ‘Good’ Foods and ‘Bad’ foods, consult
Now we move on to Phase 2. The good news about this phase is that you can start to re-introduce some of the ‘banned’ foods, while still losing between 1 and 2 pounds per week. You continue this phase until you reach your target weight – the weight you ideal want to be at.
This phase lasts as long as it takes you to lose your ideal weight, so the duration depends on you – where you are starting from, how well you follow the diet, and how your body reacts. You should be entering this phase in a good frame of mind – after all, you should already be up to 14 pounds lighter! You may also find that your old cravings for unhealthy food have subsided, or reduced considerably, making it much easier in this phase. So what are the keys to this phase? Surprisingly, it’s NOT about eating less, its about cutting out those foods that start cravings and store body fat in the first place. You CAN add some ‘goodies’ back in, but in moderation. You can have chocolate cake, but don’t eat it every day. Make it a treat, as it should be. Weight loss in this phase tends to be between 1 and 2 pounds a week – the maximum doctors recommend to maintain health, and keep the weight off.
After that, you move on to Phase 3, which is the maintenance phase, and lasts for ever – you maintain your ideal weight while eating a healthy and balanced diet. If weight begins to rise again, you return to Phase 1 and repeat. You should have changed your entire outlook on food by now, and want to eat a natural healthy diet without having to use any willpower at all. You will feel healthier, and will be at less risk of weight-related illnesses, such as heart problems, and diabetes.
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