Saturday, January 26, 2013

SoBe and me

I'm toward the end of Phase 2 of the South Beach diet, having lost 14.6 pounds in 25 days. (Tonia is down 9.4 pounds.)

I lost 10 pounds in the two weeks of Phase 1. I only lost 1 pound in the week 3 (the first week of Phase 2). But the pace has picked up again and I'm down 3.6 in the first four days of week 4. (Update: after a month of Phase 3, I'm down one more pound.)

Why bother?

1.) It wouldn't hurt me to lose 15 pounds or so. 

2.) It's been a topic of conversation in our families recently. My siblings have been changing diet and exercise over the last year. And Tonia's side of the family talked about diet over the holidays, leading five us to hold each other accountable and do South Beach for the New Year. (Tonia's brother is a doctor and said that the diet allows the body to go after fat for energy.)

3.) It turns out that Phase 1 of the diet is quite similar to what my friend Kristen Sauder is doing as she battles cancer. So, we're also treating this as a fast-- to pray more fervently, particularly for Kristen.

South Beach allows protein and most veggies. The key: few if any carbs in Phase 1-- most notably, no breads, pastas, or fruit. The biggest, surprising omission required: skim milk! In Phase 2, you get one serving of carbs and one serving of fruit. (Phase 2 lasts until you reach your desired weight.) They require you to eat five times-- three meals and two snacks. For the snack, I've been hitting flavored almonds-- especially Blue Diamond's Wasabi, Dark Chocolate, and Habanero/Chili (all of which are excellent)! (The co-founder of the diet is Marie Almon, which may explain the relevance of that particular nut!)

Tonia got creative with her cooking and it's really been pretty easy. We started with leftover chili and vegetable soup from our New Years' party. Since then, our favorites: spaghetti squash with sesame, tahini and soy; Cajun Beef & Cabbage; cauliflower rice (better than regular rice and I don't like cauliflower); and spicy Asian brussels sprouts. Ironically, I've also eaten quite a bit of McDonalds-- their side salads; the grilled chicken club-- and now into Phase 2, oatmeal and Egg McMuffins. You could carefully, all day, at McD's and lose a lot of weight.

Some people report getting irritated and I had a little trouble with anger flaring up, in the first two weeks. Perhaps there's something chemical going on, but it's probably a case of straining your body and then your (true) character emerges-- a la C.S. Lewis' "rats in the cellar/basement". Some people have trouble with constipation, but all of that's been easier for me. We have been lower energy, especially in Phase 1. Significant exertion-- e.g., basketball with the boys; teaching a large class-- left me really tired. (Fortunately, I started this before classes began.) Likewise, I haven't worked out at all. Part of that has been busy-ness, but I wouldn't recommend it in Phase 1 anyway. (I hope to start back later this week.)

As with most things like this, it's difficult to discern what's the diet per se-- and what is the focus on food, having to work harder to get food, being more purposeful, or simply becoming more disciplined all the way around. Early-on, I had some early food cravings-- and have been struggling with that increasingly over the past six months or so. But those have faded too. Good news all the way around.

Your experiences? Any questions?


At January 26, 2013 at 8:56 PM , Blogger Markw501 said...

I would love to do this diet too, but with a new baby and not much sleep, it's not likely. THanks for sharing. I hope it's available for reading when I do start the diet. Great idea making the first part a fast.

At February 11, 2013 at 12:29 PM , Blogger Pony Convertible said...

I did that a few years ago. Lost a total of 25 lbs. I have since gained most of it back. I found that once I started eating carbs again, it kicked off a carb graving that was very strong. Eating carbs seems to trigger a desire for more carbs, which leads to more carbs, which.....etc. So, once you get to your desired weight, don't give on discipline.


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