Getting Started on the South Beach Diet
1. Start By Reading the Book
2. Learn About the Glycemic Index
3. Get Rid of Foods You No Longer Want to Eat
4. Stock Up on Low-Glycemic Foods
5. Decide How You Will Track Your Weight
As soon as I started the diet, I bought a digital scale and put it in a prominent spot in my kitchen. On the counter I put a week-at-a-glance calendar. Each morning I weighed myself as soon as I got up and wrote it on that calendar. I know many experts say you shouldn’t weight yourself every day, but it worked for me. I still have that same scale and a calendar in the same spot, although now I sometimes go days without remembering to weigh!
6. Take Measurements When You First Start
This is something I really wish I had done from the start, because after a few months of dieting I realized sometimes I wasn’t losing that much weight, but my clothes were getting looser. I did take measurements a few times that first year, but I wish I had a way of knowing exactly how many inches I lost, especially on my waist, which is where the South Beach Diet really works miracles.
7. Plan How to Fit Exercise Into Your Life
If anyone tells you that you’ll be able to maintain your perfect weight and optimum health without exercising, don’t believe them! The truth is that diet and exercise are meant to go together for good health and weight control. You don’t need to turn into a gym rat, but you will look and feel better if you manage to exercise fairly vigorously 3-4 times a week. I think lots of types of exercise are good; the important thing is finding something you’ll stick with. I’m a fan of walking for exercise, (and always have good intentions of doing yoga and pilates more frequently!)
8. Schedule in Food Prep Time on the Weekend
When I started eating the South Beach Diet way, I used to spend hours on the weekend cooking things and freezing them. That way I always had plenty of options to take for lunch to school or eat when I got home late and didn’t have time to cook. Now I don’t cook ahead quite as much, but I still spend at least an hour every weekend washing lettuce, cutting up veggies, and prepping other foods to cook during the week. That’s my way of making sure I have food ready to keep me on track. (I’ve never been so organized that I actually planned my meals for the week in advance, but that could be a great diet strategy if you’re that kind of person.)
9. Plan Snacks to Take With You When You’re Away From Home
One of the things I started doing early on in my South Beach Diet routine was planning snacks to take with me when I was away from home. On Monday I’d take a bag of snacks to work, and if I was going to be out and about I’d take snacks in the car. Snacks were something that helped prevent me from feeling deprived, and South Beach actually encourages eating a snack between meals for the first two phases of the diet. I wrote a post about My Top Ten Favorite South Beach Diet snacks if you’d like some ideas.
10. Check with Your Doctor if You Have a Lot of Weight to Lose
I actually didn’t tell my doctor when I started the South Beach Diet, but if you need to lose a significant amount of weight, I highly recommend that you do check with your doctor when you start. Just for the record, when I started on South Beach I was on medication for cholesterol and blood pressure both, and now I don’t need medication for either. My own doctor is a South Beach Diet fan, especially after seeing those results and how I’ve been able to maintain the weight loss, with a few tune-ups along the way! Occasionally I’ll get e-mails from other patients of his saying he has recommended my blog to them to help them stick to the diet.
Whew. I think it’s been more than six months since I promised a fellow food blogger I would write this post. I hope it will be helpful to anyone who’s considering the diet. As I mentioned, I’ll be doing phase one myself for the next few weeks, although maybe not phase one for the whole month, like I did last January! You can always find plenty of phase one ideas in the recipe archives on the left, where every recipe indicates which phase of the diet it would be suitable for.
If anyone is reading this who’s also a committed South Beach Dieter, I’d love to hear about your success in the comments.