Thursday, January 03, 2008

Heading to South Beach

Last fall I started evaluating my physical being inside and out. The melanoma scare was enough for me to start looking towards making changes in the way I live. I will never forget out tired I felt all the time during treatments; not having any energy is not something I was familiar with. My lifelong quandry was having too much energy and not knowing how to harness it.

During this self-inspection one thing was obvious: my diet sucks. Now, I know that going on a diet is pointless as you don't learn or re-learn how to eat properly. Counting calories isn't the way to go either because you can consume less calories but not get enough nutrition. There are many overweight and undernourished people.

There was one recurring thing I was hearing from friends throughout the year when I asked them about their own diet: The South Beach Diet.

"Diets do not work!" I insisted. "I need to teach myself how to eat properly. I know having too much fatty stuff all the time is bad . . ."

"That's it in a nutshell," one friend responded. "The South Beach Diet is about knowing how to eat. You aren't deprived. It's a lifelong commitment - your regular diet." My friend expounded on other features of the diet and then said to me, "Nancy, I think you would like it. It has plenty of variety. The first two weeks are slightly difficult because of the sudden changes but after you get through that, foods you are used to are slowly added back in. There are three phases. Get the paperback and check it out."

Yesterday afternoon that's exactly what I did. And my friend was right - the first two weeks you do away with pasta, bread, baked goods, all booze, and candy. After three days the cravings for such things start to disappear. You eat regular food, regular portions of the food but the menu is somewhat restricted. But, again, that's just for the first two weeks. All that denied to you before is slowly added back but you learn how to make better choices. For instance, you buy wheat pasta. You buy unprocessed flour rather than white flour. You have baked goods once in a while and not every morning for breakfast. The same for beer. I love sampling new beers. I did not know until I was reading this book written by the doctor who came up with the South Beach diet that beer has a high glycemic count than candy. Pizza, by and large, is good for you but what gets you is the crust. The crust is the big nutritional downfall. Order thin crust instead. However, you can occasionally order the deep dish if you really like that better. Occasionally. That's the operative word.

I skimmed through the paperback last night and told Kay about it. She's game to work with it too. Phase 2 of the plan is continued until you reach your goal weight. Phase 3 is the life-time maintenance. You can always go back to Phase 1 if for any reason you start to slip more than you like back into eating poorly.

There are even prepared foods in the store freezers for South Beach diet participants.

Being ignorant of certain foods and their nutritional value or detriment is what sandbags most folks. This book is quite fascinating and after I finish the food (and beer) I have in the fridge, we are going to start this new eating plan and see where it takes us.

No comments: