How Does It Work?
Now that you know what the South Beach Diet isn’t about let’s look at what it actually is about.
Dr. Agatston bases his diet off of the low-carb, high-protein mentality. Since our body works better with protein, limiting the amount of carbs can help you lose weight and maintain a healthier physique. Proteins are turned into lean muscle, which in turn helps burn fat even when you aren’t active, so you are creating a winning situation all around. The diet emphasizes fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins like chicken and turkey, whole grains, and nuts.
The South Beach Diet is composed of three phases. Done properly, members can lose up to 13 pounds within the first two weeks, with progress dwindling down to 1-2 pounds per week in subsequent weeks.
Diet and Fitness Plan
The South Beach Diet plan consists of the following three stages:
Phase One: No bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, starchy foods, alcohol, dairy products, juices, or fruits. You can eat lots of protein, fats like olive oil and avocado, and vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, and eggplant. Dieters should note that while this seems extreme, the first phase only lasts two weeks. After that, many foods become acceptable again.
Phase Two: Gradually begin to add some of the restricted foods back into your diet. Begin with whole grains, rice, and fruits. Sweet potatoes and whole grain pasta can also be slowly introduced.
Phase Three: This phase is only moved into once you hit your target weight, and it’s the phase you’ll maintain for the rest of your life (hopefully). There is no specific food list. By this point it’s expected that you know what’s good for you and which foods to avoid.
While exercise is not a standard part of the weight loss program, the South Beach Diet’s updated version does include some fitness training, along with recommendations for weekly walking and core muscle strengthening.
Tracking Weight Loss
The online weight tracker is easy to use for anyone. Just plug in your weekly weigh-ins, and let the system track your progress on easy-to-read charts. Online members also receive shopping lists for their menu plans.
Their mobile app is also a great way to keep track of your diet goals. Available on iOS or Android devices, the South Beach Diet app helps you log daily activity levels, food intake, and water consumption for a full, comprehensive view of your lifestyle.
Weight Loss Community
Along with a support forum, Dr. Agatston provides plenty of helpful advice for staying on track and getting the most out of the South Beach Diet. He offers tips such as:
- Consume 4 ½ cups of veggies each day.
- Have 2 cups of milk or dairy products daily.
- Seconds are fine, just eat slowly, so you give your body time to digest the food you’ve already eaten.
- In phase two, have three servings each of starches and fruits.
- Wine and snacks are acceptable from phase two on.
There are hundreds of message boards with helpful information as well.
Drawbacks and Limitations
Many nutritionists warn about the possible harmful effects of the excessive first phase of this weight loss program. Since the majority of people don’t respond well to zero carbohydrates for an extended period, there is no need to limit caloric and nutritional intake so dramatically.
An easy solution to this issue, of course, is to simply skip the first phase or tailor it to your body type. While you might not see the same results, over time, you’ll still lose plenty of weight and be able to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
It is also important to note that individuals with dietary restrictions may not be able to use this diet plan. Men and women who keep Kosher or Halal, those with nut allergies, and those who maintain a vegan lifestyle will not be able to benefit from this diet plan.
Dieters can simply purchase the book in hard or softcover or opt for an eBook option. For those who want more tools and interaction, online membership is optional and costs between $4-$5 per week depending on what you are looking for. There is also a 7-day free trial, something unusual even for the best weight loss programs.
While slightly misunderstood, the South Beach Diet has shown millions of people that they can lose the weight, keep it off, and feel good about the way they look and live. This diet is highly recommended, moderately easy to follow, and might be the answer to your weight loss challenges.