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Monday, May 10, 2010

I can proudly proclaim that I just survived the first seven days of the South Beach diet.

If you're not familiar with the plan, the first two weeks are known as "Phase One". In that time, you cut out mostly all carbohydrates and focus on protein, "good" fats, and the lowest glycemic index carbs needed for satisfaction and blood sugar control. It is aimed at ending unhealthy cravings for sweets, baked good, and starches (unhealthy cravings? - yup, check). After 14 days you begin to reintroduce more carbohydrates into your diet.

I am not a fat person, and by most weight charts I am not overweight. I have had at least a dozen people tell me they can't tell that I have gained weight, and I guess that is a by-product of my genetic make-up and structure. I'm fairly tall, and tend to gain weight evenly, throughout my body. I carry weight well. I can easily gain or lose ten pounds and you won't be able to tell. (Not so fun when you lose the ten and a friend tells you she didn't notice!)

By the time the new year rolled around, I had gained about ten pounds since last summer. So I instituted big, lofty New Year Resolutions. Admittedly, they fell through with a resounding thud. I wasn't really into it, and I don't think I took the weight gain seriously. Fast forward to a few months later, and I had gained yet a few more pounds, taking the total up to a jaw-dropping EIGHTEEN pounds. I began to become more than a little alarmed. 90 per cent of my wardrobe wasn't fitting, and I was suddenly wearing yoga pants every day . . . and not looking so great in them.

I was one of those people who lost their baby weight from nursing. I really, truly could eat whatever I wanted and not gain weight (don't throw heavy bricks at me!). When Thing 3 weaned last summer, my metabolism took an unexpected jolt and plummeted. Suddenly a new reality set in and I was not able to eat whatever I wanted any longer. . . although I still did. And for the most part our family does eat very healthily - my issue has always been snacking. If I'm stressed or overwhelmed, out come the chips or cookies or ice cream.

It seemed simple. Summer is coming, and I refuse to buy new clothes. I am determined to fit into my summer wardrobe from last year. Most importantly I wanted to feel better, physically and emotionally. I want to have more energy, to have more even, balanced moods, and to lose that full, bloated feeling I always seem to get after filling up on carbs and high-sugar foods. I had heard great things about the South Beach diet and witnessed first hand the success my husband's cousin had on it (she looks fabulous!). I toyed with the idea before, but was always nursing or pregnant, so I knew I could never take on the task of eliminating so many carbs like that. Now seemed like the perfect time to try it.

Yes, it's hard. But not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I've completed the first week and am into the second week of Phase One. It's been an absolutely gigantic lifestyle change for me. "Bad" carbs were a staple for me before, and usually the center of my meals. We are aggressive casserole and pasta eaters. Now I am usually eating a salad with protein for lunch, and maybe a grilled chicken breast with vegetables for supper. The snacks (there are two a day) are really filling me up, so I was surprised to find that I wasn't starving all the time. I have an abnormally large appetite - possibly because I have never been filling myself up with the proper foods in the past - and have often been known to eat more than most men sitting at the same table as me. So not being hungry or feeling that dip in my blood sugar is of crucial importance to me.

The absolute best part is I have indeed started to lose my cravings for the "bad stuff". I am feeling good - no, great - and it's affecting my whole personality. I don't feel exhausted or worn out, I feel energetic pretty much throughout the entire day. My moods aren't up and down, I'm not "tense" and "edgy" by the end of the day with the Things. I don't feel yucky or bloated, and there are no sugar crashes. Everything is more on an even keel. I haven't weighed myself yet so I don't know how much I've lost (I have committed to not weighing myself until the two weeks are over) but I can tell it is something. My face is thinner, and I can now button up a couple pairs of pants! Placing a little emphasis on my own personal self-care is doing me a world of good, I'd say.

Baby steps.

Tune in next week when I move into Phase Two and reveal my results from Phase One!

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