In recent years, the South Beach Diet has become one of the most popular ways to lose weight. Consisting of three phases, the objective of the diet is to retrain the body so that cravings for carbohydrates are reduced and a balanced, low glycemic index healthy eating plan is followed for the long term.
Phase One of South Beach lasts for two weeks and involves cutting out most carbohydrates that many people eat daily. These are replaced with high protein, high fiber foods with a low GI. It can be very difficult to get through this phase, and it is important to be prepared before beginning, to avoid hitting obstacles along the way.
Food Shop Ahead of Time to Avoid Temptation
The best way to prevent a slip-up during Phase One is to food shop ahead of time. Dieters can avoid the temptations of the grocery store by buying everything needed for the two first weeks of the diet on the day before they begin. Approved foods like beans, meat, eggs, certain vegetables and nuts should all last the two weeks. If a trip to the store is absolutely necessary within Phase One, dieters should at least have enough food to last them through the most difficult craving days, (three and four), and can food shop when their cravings have started to subside, usually in week two.
Drink More Water to Flush Toxins and Curb Cravings
Most people do not drink enough water, even though it is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. When dieting, water is even more important, as it helps to flush toxins, keeps energy up and helps keep the stomach satisfied between meals. Also, being dehydrated can cause the body to think it is hungry, when really, it is thirsty, which is a dieting disaster and an instant recipe for cravings.
Stock Up on Snacks to have on Hand
Keeping snacks at the ready helps prevent last-minute snack stops during the day. Hunger makes it harder to make the right food choices, causing many people to give in to cravings. At home, work or in the car, dieters should have nuts, vegetables or lunch meat available for a quick bite when they start to feel hungry or if they have a craving coming on.
Cut Down on Socializing that Revolves Around Food
If dieters can help it, they should try not to plan any social activities involving food or alcohol during Phase One. It’s difficult to resist temptation in a social setting, especially when others aren’t aware of a dieter’s situation. It is a common worry that it is rude to decline a host’s offer of food or drink at a party, but those things could throw Phase One off course, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Be Creative with Recipes and South Beach Approved Foods
Phase One food can be boring, but there are great resources available for those who are looking to jazz up their meals a bit. Libraries will have copies of South Beach guides and cookbooks, which have delicious recipes for all phases, and online searches produce countless articles and recipes on how to improve meals and snacks. Recipes like Black Bean Brownies, Turkey Mushroom Soup and Tuna Mediterranean Salad are just a few favorites. The possibilities really are endless.
Remember the Benefits of the Diet
Especially during the first week, Phase One is very difficult for most people. When giving up seems like a better option than living without bread for another seven or more days, dieters need to remind themselves of why they began South Beach in the first place, and the benefits that they will reap as they continue through the phases. A healthier body and lifestyle are the light at the end of the tunnel, and are worth focusing on through the more difficult times and cravings.
*Article originally published on Suite101.com in April, 2010.