The South Beach Diet was created by Dr. Arthur Agatson, a well-regarded cardiologist, with the intent of helping millions of people lose weight while developing healthy, life-long habits. The South Beach Diet does involve avoiding certain types of food entirely, but not forever. Followers of the diet are encouraged to approach their weight loss in three different phases.
The point of these phases is not to encourage very rapid, unhealthy weight loss or put you on a diet roller coaster, but to ease you into a healthy lifestyle and a lean body you can be proud of.
South Beach Diet: Phase One
The first phase of the South Beach Diet is the most restrictive. During this stage, you may eat normal sized portions of food, but you must avoid all carbohydrates, sweets and starches. This phase will last for two weeks. The healthiest approach to this phase is to eat only lean meats like chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish and lean cuts of beef. You should also choose vegetables with a low glycemic index (GI), such as asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower and celery. Nuts, eggs, low-fat cheese and soy products are also excellent choices to keep a healthy diet during the first phase of the South Beach Diet. It is crucial to avoid some foods that might be considered carbs yet are still inappropriate for a low-carb diet, such as fatty cuts of beef like prime rib, honey-glazed or sugar-cured ham, beets, corn, and carrots. During this phase, you can expect to lose 8 to 12 pounds if you follow the guidelines correctly.
South Beach Diet: Phase Two
After two weeks have passed and you have achieved a large proportion of your weight loss goal, it is time to move on to the second phase of the South Beach Diet.
During the second phase, you will continue to lose weight at a slow, steady rate, about 1 to 2 pounds per week. This can last as long as you would like it to. During this time, Dr. Agaston encourages you re-incorporate some carbs and higher glycemic index fruits and vegetables into your diet. It is important to control your portions of these foods, and continue to avoid most of the foods forbidden during the first phase. Acceptable foods for phase two include whole grain bread and pasta, moderate GI veggies like peas, peppers and onions.
It is extremely important to continue to avoid sweets, high GI carbs like white bread and heavy fats during this stage of the South Beach Diet. Not doing so could halt your weight loss.
South Beach Diet: Phase Three
Phase three of the South Beach Diet is also known as “The Maintenance Phase", because it involves keeping healthy eating habits and monitoring your weight for the rest of your life. During this phase, you may reincorporate the foods you stopped eating during the first two phases. However, it is crucial that you use the knowledge you've accumulated about high-carb foods to create a diet that will not cause you to gain back the weight you've lost. Keeping those carbs in check and replacing unhealthy carbs like pasta and white bread with whole grains will help. Of course, if your weight ever gets out of control again, you can simply go back to the first phase of the South Beach Diet and get your healthy body back again.
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