I enjoy food – really. It plays an essential role in our lives, granting us both pleasure and nourishment. So, if you are planning on changing the way you eat and losing weight, you want to make sure that you are on a diet that includes food you enjoy.
Since the South Beach Diet aims to resolve a condition known as insulin resistance (the inability of your body to properly process fuel, fats or sugar), it focuses on a variety of nutritious foods – lean meat and fish, low-fat cheese, healthy oils and nuts, vegetables and the right carbohydrates. All of these are foods with a low glycemic index. (The glycemic index measures how much a certain food increases your blood sugar. The higher the food indexes, the more it will contribute to your weight gain.)
The foods you will primarily enjoy on the South Beach Diet will be satisfying and wholesome. You will learn how to incorporate the occasional indulgence without going off track. Most of all, you will learn how food affects your body.
The South Beach Diet takes a three-phase approach to weight loss. In Phase 1, you will resolve your insulin resistance and rid yourself of carbohydrate cravings. Phase 2 will incorporate more variety and help you accomplish your weight loss goals. Phase 3 is maintenance – how to eat for the rest of your life.
Foods You Can Enjoy on Phase 1
During this time, you will mainly be eating lean meat, pork and chicken and low-glycemic index carbohydrates. You will also incorporate a variety of mono- and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil.
Foods You Can Enjoy on Phase 2
At this point, you can start re-introducing certain healthy carbs (with a slightly higher glycemic index) – fruit, whole grain bread, whole grain rice, whole wheat pasta and sweet potatoes. You can even have chocolate. You won’t be able to have all these things all the time. But, you will be able to have them in moderation. As you add items back in, monitor your weight loss. If you notice your weight loss slowing, you should cut back on these items.
Foods You Can Enjoy on Phase 3
You will enter Phase 3 when you have lost all of your excess weight. There is no set food list for this phase. You should continue to eat according to the principles you learned in Phase 2. If you want something and it doesn’t undo your sacrifices, enjoy it. If you overindulge, get on Phase 1 for a week or two. The important thing is that you maintain your weight loss.
Remember – the three phases are flexible. If you have fallen off the wagon, switch back to Phase I for a couple of weeks and continue losing weight. You should feel free to move between the phases as you see fit. After all, this diet is meant to accommodate foods you enjoy.