Diet Miami-Style – Go South Beach

In the 1980s, the American Heart Association was recommending that people adopt a low fat diet to improve their health and decrease their risks of heart disease. The problem was – it wasn’t working, and Dr. Arthur Agatson, a Florida cardiologist, was seeing its failures in his office everyday. He knew something had to change, and the result of his brainstorming and research became known as The South Beach Diet.

Agatson’s South Beach Diet turned “conventional” wisdom about dieting on its ear. No longer were fats and carbohydrates the enemy, and no longer was protein the golden child that could do no wrong. With his first “guinea pig” – himself! – he found out that this way of eating was not only amazingly effective at losing weight, it did an outstanding job of lowering other risk factors of heart disease – and it didn’t make him feel deprived at all.

The new science of the glycemic index, developed in the 1980s, was key in the development of the South Beach Diet. The foods that flooded the body with glucose quickly (high glycemic index) were restricted, and the foods that allowed a more slow and steady glucose release (low glycemic index) were promoted. Trans-fats and saturated fats were frowned upon, but unsaturated fats, and fats that contained omega-3 fatty acids (like nuts and fish) were encouraged. These “good fats”, in moderation, helped patients not only feel more satisfied, but they promoted HDL cholesterol – that’s the good cholesterol.

When you’re on the South Beach Diet, you start off on the most restrictive phase, phase 1, where you’ve gotten rid of sugars, fruits, processed carbohydrates, and some high-glycemic index vegetables. You’re only on this phase for 2 weeks, however, to stabilize your blood sugars. After that, you stay on the more liberal phase 2 until you reach your target weight. You don’t measure your food intake – you eat allowed foods until you’re satisfied. You learn to use the right carbohydrates and the right fats, and you don’t have to overdose on meat. Vegetarians can be quite happy on this plan.

If you’re looking for a way to lose weight and keep it off, using a diet plan that you can actually follow without a degree in nutrition or the willpower of a saint, you owe it to yourself to check out the South Beach Diet.

Weight Loss Starts In Your Head

It’s no surprise that a lot of people are on some sort of weight loss program – the United States has become one of the “fattest” nations in the world – but it might come as a surprise to you why many of them will fail.

Weight loss is, on the surface, a simple formula; burn more calories than you eat, and you’ll lose weight. If you go a little deeper, however, you come to the troubling questions of:

A. How much am I eating, anyway?


B. Why am I eating too much?

If you want true, healthy, permanent weight loss, you need to get the honest answers to those two questions.

Many people are shocked when they find out the true size of a serving of – anything. We live in a super-size it world, but our bodies have kids-meal requirements. If you want to lose weight, and get into a healthier way of living, you need to know now only what a healthy serving of food is, but how much you’re actually eating.

A serving of most meats is the size of a deck of playing cards. The next time you order a steak, take a look at what’s on your plate, and compare that to a deck of cards. Big difference, isn’t it. A serving of grains is about the size of a golf-ball, and a serving of dairy is the size of that yogurt cup that you eat for a snack. Before you take a bite out of your next meal, take a good, honest look at the serving sizes you’re using. It’ll probably be a real eye-opener.

After you get a handle on real portion sizes, it’s time to take a look at just how much you’re really eating. Best way to do this: keep a food journal. It might sound time consuming, but there’s a reason why so many successful food plans have journaling as a component – it works.

For the first few days, don’t modify your eating; simply write down what you eat (and the portion sizes you consume, using your newfound portion knowledge). If that steak is the size of three decks of playing cards, write down three servings of protein. Be honest; no one has to see this but you, but if you lie to yourself, you’ll get no real answers. Write down when you eat, and how you felt when you ate, as well.

Why record times and emotions? Simple; if you want to identify trends such as emotional eating or stress eating, you’ll need that information written down.

Once you’ve kept that food journal for a week or so, sit yourself down and really analyze it. Look for patterns, and total up the amount of food you eat each day. The chances are good that you’re going to be shocked – and somewhat dismayed.

Don’t be dismayed. Now that you know what’s going on, you’re halfway to changing it! Knowing yourself is the first step in changing yourself. Celebrate your new knowledge, and go forward.

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