by Neil Stelling
The South Beach Diet works, for most people. Its low fat, low carb approach helps you lose weight quickly and easily. Health benefits are great too.
But there's some easy mistakes you must avoid.
Gain Weight in Phase 2
Most people do well being strict in Phase 1. But what happens when you switch into Phase 2 ? Often, you put some weight back on again. Why ? Because your body's starved of carbs for 2 or 3 weeks. At the start of Phase 2 it grabs at every carb you give it, and turns them into fat. I learned this lesson the hard way, gaining 2 lbs in my first Phase 2 week. So reintroduce carbs slowly when you go into Phase 2, and make sure they're good carbs.
Yes, if South Beach makes you hungry, you're doing it wrong. You don't need to feel hungry. Eat 3 meals a day, with snacks in between, choosing from the foods allowed in your current phase.
Stay in Phase 1 for too Long
Isn't Phase 1 great ? You can lose from 8 to 13 lbs in just 2 weeks, without being hungry. So why leave Phase 1 ? Why not keep up your rapid weight loss ? Because you must start adding some carbs back in. A healthy diet includes some good carbs like wholemeal bread, porridge and fruit. A permanent Phase 1 also gets a little boring, and you'll start to cheat. Yes you will. A few biscuits here, a few biscuits there, and soon you're cheating rather than dieting. It's better to switch into Phase 2 after 2-3 weeks, and accept a slower healthier weight loss.
Fall Victim to Bread Craving
How many people list 'bread' as an addiction ? Seriously, there's a lot. Unfortunately, white bread is right near the top of the Glycemic index, and about the worst food you can eat on your diet. When you get into Phase 2 you're allowed to eat bread, but only slices of wholemeal. Same with rice and pasta. Small amounts, and ideally whole grain versions. Bad carbs add weight.
Ignore the Health Benefits
Most people start a diet to lose weight. I guess that's what a diet is for. But some diets, particularly South Beach, have major health benefits. In fact, it's worth going on the South Beach Diet just for the health benefits, even if you don't lose weight (but you do). My blood pressure was high when I started. After 3 weeks it was back to normal. People with pre-diabetes, or potential heart problems, can much reduce their risk by following this diet. So there's lots of beneficial internal changes in your blood chemistry happening while you're losing weight.
So if you follow the South Beach Diet properly, you'll get great results. You'll lose weight quickly, keep it off, and get some major health benefits.