You have to starve to lose weight, right? Wrong! I had always thought the only way to lose a few pounds was to starve myself until the weight was gone. Boy was I ever wrong.
When I first heard about the South Beach Diet, and watched the people around me eating all kinds of great foods, I figured this was just another fad diet that would disappear after everyone realized it didn't work. But it does work. People are losing weight and eating too.
Completely flabbergasted at how much food my brother was eating on the program, I logged onto the South Beach Diet website to find out what it was all about. That's when I learned the simple truth about dieting: not only do you not need to starve yourself to lose weight - you actually lose more weight if you eat!
Unlike a lot of other diets that make you count calories, count carbs and either eliminate all fats and protein, or gorge on them all day long, South Beach doesn't require counting anything, and it lets you eat plenty of nutritious foods like all the other people around you.
Developed by a leading research cardiologist with Mount Sinai Medical Center, I found South Beach to be completely safe and heart healthy - a plus for someone like me in their 50s who's worried about their cholesterol and what it's doing to their heart.
Unable to completely give up food - even to lose a few pounds - I was thrilled to discover that the South Beach Diet would allow me to eat until I was satisfied, as long as I chose highly nutritious foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and cheeses and low-sugar snacks.
Scrambled eggs for breakfast, all types of soups and salads for lunch, and plenty of grilled or sauteed fish, chicken, pork and even lean beef are all allowed in Phases II and III. Believe it or not, dessert isn't even off limits with this diet.
So, how does South Beach work if you're allowed to continue eating until you're full? The answer is in Phase I, which by the way, is the hardest part of the program. During this first 2-week time period, the diet does severely restrict what you can eat, but not how much you can eat.
In the first two weeks of the South Beach Diet, followers are required to give up all sugars and carbohydrates in order to break their body's unhealthy addiction to processed foods, starches and sugars.
Since you're basically going "cold turkey" on sugar and carbs, you can expect to feel pretty lousy for the first several days. I personally experienced headaches, listlessness and severe crankiness. But, to be honest, it didn't last long, and since I had plenty of other food choices to keep me feeling full, I wasn't hungry at all.
Once my addiction to the junky foods was broken, and my body's glucose levels were able to naturally even out and stay at the same levels throughout the day, I suddenly felt a burst of energy like I hadn't had in years. No more ups and downs during the day depending on what snack food I was relying on to keep me going. Better yet, my cravings for sugar and carbohydrates were disappearing - a miracle!
Once my addiction was broken and my cravings subsided during Phase I, I was able to reintroduce some of those forbidden foods like breads, brown rice, fresh fruit, juices and even some desserts. Funny, though, with my carb addiction broken, I didn't crave those foods like I once had, and a few bites of a baked potato along with a nice piece of chicken and some grilled vegetables straight from my garden now satisfied me.
Before long I was noticing that my pants were getting bigger and my waistline was getting smaller, all while I continued to eat as much as I wanted of the foods that were good for me.
I can honestly say that South Beach has been less of a diet for me and more of an awakening on how good I can feel eating the foods that my body most deserves. Try it. You'll be surprised at how good you can feel - and look!