Thursday, July 30, 2015

Surviving South Beach Phase One

Normally I am not a fan of elimination diets.  Diets where you have to completely give up something forever, or at least until you reach your goal weight.  This is not realistic because we live in America.  And unless the people you spend time with regularly are completely committed to eating the same way you will be around the foods you're asked to elimitate indefinitely.  This isn't to say self-control isn't important.  It is. I'll talk about that another time, though.  

My point of the above is to explain WHY I chose the South Beach diet over all the other diets offered on the marketplace.  South Beach asks you to give up ALL fruits, starches, and carbs for two weeks.  I can do a lot of things for only two weeks.  At the end of the two weeks, introducing fruit back into your diet is encouraged, along with limited whole grains that you choose as you work your way into Phase Two.  Phase Two lasts long enough to achieve your goal weight.

After Phase Two, you move into Phase Three, or the lifestyle maintenance phase.   Essentially you're committing to eliminate the majority of unhealthy foods for the long term and replace them with healthy grains after you've curbed your sugar addiction and once you lose enough weight you remember to eat more moderately in the carbs and starches department to avoid regaining that weight in the future.

It's doable because it's teaching you how to make a lifestyle change instead of being a diet that stops once you get to your goal.  Phase Three lasts as long as you live or you can put yourself into phases one/two if you gain a bit, say after the holidays or a long vacation.

My breakfast for 14 days

I planned my meals very carefully for the two weeks I did Phase One and I followed the rules almost completely.  I did not switch out condiments that contain sugars, such as ketchup or ranch, because that can get spendy and switching from buying inexpensive carbs to more chicken and fresh veggies is already a bit on the expensive side.

A delicious dinner, with a side of salad!

One way I kept my meal plans simple was repetition.  I ate the same meal for breakfast, lunch, and  snacks for fourteen days.  Dinner time I varied the menu.  This made life much easier.

Secondly, I had an accountability partner.  She knew I was doing it and I didn't want to fail.  We talked regularly about what each one of us was doing to eat healthy.

Finally, I kept reminding myself it was for just two weeks.  After two weeks, I would have accomplished the hardest part.

I met a couple of challenges while going through this plan.  The little things are just how picky I am and an allergy to fish (which would've been a filling, yet low-fat protein to eat).

The bigger challenges had me thinking a bit more creatively.  In my area, the average high in June is 73, but the western states have been in the middle of a major drought for a few years and June seems to love ninety+ days this year.  Today, the last day of June, topped at 97 degrees.  Cooking the South Beach meals I'd planned involved days where I turned on the oven for dinner.  I switched a couple of meals around and utilized the grill a few nights to make it work.

Steak and a side salad...who says eating out is unhealthy?

The other big challenge was people being nice.  My in-laws, in a generous mood, offered to take us out for dinner at the beginning of my second week to avoid the heat.  I could've gone off plan and indulged in a free meal.  But I didn't.  (Which actually may have ended up costing my in-laws more!)

Instead, I ordered a 7 oz steak and a house salad without croutons.  Very delicious, very filling, and I stayed within my plan the entire time.  

While it wasn't always easy (like when my seven year old ate a delicious brownie when we went to help with our local soup kitchen) I accomplished it and moved into Phase Two with strength and conviction to keep going strong.

She sat next to me and made yummy noises while she ate!

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