No diet is easy, and while the South Beach Diet may be one of the simplest weight loss plans to follow after the first two weeks, Phase I can be a deal breaker for many dieters unable to give up all carbs, sugars and fat proteins until their unnatural (and unhealthy) dependence on insulin is broken.
With absolutely no breads, cereals, rice, sugars, processed foods, potatoes, fruits or even juices allowed during Phase I of the South Beach Diet program, you might be wondering what's left to eat.
The answer is plenty, if you are willing to look at the foods you eat very carefully. Once I realized that practically everything I ate on a daily basis was prohibited during Phase I, I had to really look at the unhealthy way I was eating. After all, even during this overly restricted part of the program, I was still free to eat all the fresh vegetables, lean meats, eggs and low-fat cheeses I wanted.
I certainly wasn't going to starve (or even feel the least bit hungry), and I wasn't being forced to eat bland tasteless rabbit food, so what was the problem?
The problem, as I finally saw it, was the fact that I was addicted to everything that was making my insulin levels go crazy inside, depleting my energy reserves and causing me to eat and gain more and more weight. Sure, cutting out all the breads, sweets and other high carb food items for two weeks was going to be tough, but it was going to be worth it - I hoped.
Still feeling a little hesitant, and a lot scared, I leapt full force into Phase I, unsure of how long I could really hold out. The first ting I did was pack all the junk food away. Knowing myself all too well, and my inability to stay off all the carbs and sugar if it was anywhere near me, I packed it up and sent it to live at the neighbor's house for the next two weeks. It seemed as if my family lived there more during Phase I than at home. Guess they couldn't hack it.
It's true, the first couple of days on Phase I were hard - very hard. I wanted everything I couldn't have and doubted whether or not I could survive. But on day three when I stepped onto the scale I was four pounds (yes, four whole pounds) lighter than I had been a few days earlier, I figured I'd try and stick it out just another day or two. By day five I was settling into my new eating routine and the cravings were starting to subside.
One of the tricks I used during that first week was trying out some new recipes. I've always loved to cook, so I went looking and found the three websites below that gave me some ideas for tasty new dishes to try. I wasn't disappointed. Those sites are chock full of wonderful menu ideas, complete recipes and cooking tips for those of us who love to cook, and even those of you who don't.
Another thing I decided to do to help me with my diet was making mealtime special. For the first time in years, I insisted that my family sit together during mealtime and talk. I pulled out the good dishes, my fanciest tablecloth and even a few candles. If I couldn't have everything I wanted to eat, I was determined to make the food I was eating a celebration. I must admit, that may have been the best part of Phase I, enjoying my meals and my family once again.
There's one thing I did avoid during Phase I though, and that was socializing. I guess some people can go out with friends or to a social gathering and not feel deprived by their diet (or cheat on it), but that wasn't me, so I made the conscious effort to avoid temptation for those two weeks and stay home. Again, I found the easiness of my new schedule very soothing.
By eliminating all the food-related social gatherings from my life for 14 short days, I was able to concentrate on me for a change and managed to enjoy several bubble baths and good books. I began to really like this diet!
I'll admit it, without the help and support of my family I never would have made it through Phase I. My husband was great, reminding the kids to keep their junk food out of the house, and helping me find alternative things to eat when a craving struck.
A few friends who have been on the diet themselves were great as well, offering tips and advice when needed. And the support I found online was fantastic. I may have started out looking for solid dieting advice, but I managed to find a few new friends along the way.
Phase I on the South Beach Diet may be hard, but isn't any diet? And at least it only lasts two short weeks.
By the 15th day, most people have kicked their sugar and carb addiction and are ready to start reincorporating some of their favorite must-have foods back into their diet in a more manageable way.
The tricks to surviving this very restrictive phase of the plan are to find what works for you; whether that's getting all of the no-no foods out of the house; staying away from temptation outside the home; learning to cook and present the foods you can eat in a more pleasing way; or joining a support group. How you ultimately decide to get through Phase I is up to you, just understand that you can do it!