Focus On: South Beach

It SNOWED in Tucson yesterday!

snowww

My snowman dreams were crushed when it didn’t stick, but still very exciting. Tucsonans don’t know how to drive in the rain, let alone snow, so we played it safe and had a low key day over here.

My only excursion:

spin bike2

A ride on the spin bike :)

Dinner was courtesy of a Pinterest find- I’m obsessed and have boards for everything: style, house stuff, fun things to do with Liv, inspiration, recipes…

chicken and veg3

and I coulnd’t wait to try rotisserie chicken made in the slow cooker.

All ya do is make a paste out of seasonings and water (I added a little thyme)

seasonings paste

rub it on the chicken (wow)

and cook in the slow cooker.

I was expecting it to be crispier like an actual rotisserie chicken, but it was more like pulled chicken meat with lots of broth. Still very good, though!

Also amazing? This kale salad:

kale salad3

I may have a new favorite beast :)

So last week when I posted the Focus On: Paleo post, I got a couple of requests to do a Focus On: South Beach post.

Ask and ye shall receive, friends <3

__________________________________________________________________________________________

As many of you know, South Beach is what helped me lose 40 lbs in college. I was overweight, lethargic and had no idea how to fuel myself for teaching and taking dance classes. I truly believe that South Beach taught me how to eat and was the stepping stone for the way I nourish myself today. My eats have changed since I started the blog, but still have a South Beach-y feel to them. It’s something that worked well for me, and is also something that I’d consider doing again in the future.

south-beach-miami Source

How it works: An eating style that starts off with an extremely low carb plan to supposedly eliminate sugar cravings, jump start weight loss, and stabilize blood sugar. Carb ratios are gradually increased throughout the three phases, bringing it into a diet that can be followed as a lifestyle.

Phase 1: Protein, non-starchy vegetables and limited fat – food list is here. Phase 1 lasts 1-2 weeks.

Phase 2: Addition of certain starches, low sugar fruit and dairy in limited quantities – food list is here. Phase 2 lasts as long as it takes for you to reach desired results

Phase 3: No food list for Phase 3- you’re in maintenance mode and figure out how to eat from your experience in the previous two phases

Pros:

-No calorie counting

-Unlimited non-starchy veggies and protein

-Easy to follow with food lists and guidelines for each meal

-Focus on smart carbs, healthy fats and lean proteins- all of which I agree with :)

Cons:

-Phase 1 SUCKS. I only lasted for a couple of days and started envisioning my friends as cookies. It made my cravings for sugar worse, and I didn’t have enough energy, so I went onto Phase 2.

-It doesn’t take activity level into account. Active people need more fuel in general, including all macronutrients.

-Emphasis on fake foods. When I did South Beach many years ago, Splenda was hailed as the sweetener of choice. I sprinkled it on EVERYTHING. Thinking about it now makes me cringe, because I used so much of it. Now they emphasize a “zero calorie sweetener of choice,” so you can use whatever you feel comfortable with. I like Stevia :)

The verdict:

I’m a fan of South Beach, minus Phase 1. I don’t think it’s really necessary to go through that, unless you have a very sedentary lifestyle, and saw I great results by just doing Phase 2 and 3. Whenever I noticed that my jeans were getting tight, I’d go back to Phase 2 and continue from there. I think that the purpose of Phase 1 is to motivate followers to stick with it, because by that point they will have lost a significant amount of weight already. Anytime you cut out all sugary fruits and starches, you’ll lose weight, but eventually gain it back as you reintroduce those foods. Unlike Atkins, South Beach enables the reintroduction of those foods slowly so you can eat “normally” again without shocking your body. It’s important to keep in mind that quick weight loss isn’t healthy weight loss, and if you take the time to get to a healthy weight slowly, chances are that you’ll have an easier time keeping it off.

I think it’s possible to follow South Beach by using whole, organic foods, instead of the packaged snacks and marketed South Beach goodies, and maintain as a lifestyle. To me, that’s a major indicator of a good eating plan: one that can be followed over the long term. That being said, just because it worked well for me doesn’t mean that it’s a great choice for everyone. For example, I LOVED my high raw lifestyle a few years ago, but it just didn’t work for me. No matter how I switched it around, the high amounts of sugar and fat I was consuming didn’t bode well with my hormones or jeans size.

It’s up to us to research and try different things to see what works best for our own bodies <3

Any other South Beach fans (or non-fans) out there? What’s your favorite whole grain, or smart carb recipe?

Mine: roasted eggplant with marinara and goat cheese

eggplant parm

More Focus On posts:

BodyPump

TRX

Turbofire

Stretching

Rest Days

Zumba

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. I know a LOT of people who love South Beach and have been successful with it. I’ve never tried it personally though.

    I need to check out pinterest one of these days. Seems like everyone jumped on board the bandwagon and I’m a little behind.

    WI had 78 degrees yesterday and AZ had snow. What is the world coming to?

  2. Hi Gina,
    Just curious if there is any specific work out DVD’s you’d recommend for after having a baby to get the weight off as quick as possible. I am having a baby in July and getting married in November! So there is a huge crunch for time to be able to fit back into my wedding dress..

    • Fitnessista says:

      i say don’t stress about it. you have plenty of time, and a lot of weight will be gone a couple of days after delivery. i think it’s just important to stay active during pregnancy and eat well, and continue to eat well during your recovery.

  3. This weather is not right! Its 85 in Chicago, but snowing in Tuscon!!?!?!

  4. I lost about 30 lbs in high school with South Beach after being lazy in my eating and exercise habits for far too long. Like you mentioned, it taught me so much about good carbs and protein, and has been a great stepping stone to the lifestyle I now live. Thanks for this feature!

  5. I tried South Beach one summer when I was home from college and needed to get rid of a little “partying weight.” Phase 1 was terrible, but I liked the concept of phase 2 and 3. It’s a great starting point and emphasizes the right concepts, but like any other big “diet” plan (Atkins, Zone, etc.), the commercial aspect and pre-packaged snacks tied into the diet are a problem. I’d love to see a South Beach 2.0 with less convenience foods.

    • Also, I really love these focus on posts! I’d love to see one on free weights vs. machines or weight room safety/common mistakes. A lot of us make major mistakes in the weight room without even knowing we’re doing something wrong.

  6. I just had to comment, because I am a HUGE fan of the South Beach Diet. After college, I was almost 200 pounds and realized that I needed to make some major life changes and get healthy. I was skeptical of South Beach and never thought I could do it until a friend wanted to do it with me. I stuck with it, and two years later I was down 70 pounds. It introduced me to nutrition basics, and I have to say – totally changed my life. I’ve been maintaining for a few years now, and while I don’t follow the diet explicitly, I have to credit South Beach with giving me the baseline knowledge I needed to get healthy. I’ve also inspired other family members, and my parents have never looked better! It’s a great feeling!

  7. I’ve done a very limited version of SB before, but I have a really hard time giving up carbs—especially fruit!

  8. Love your focus on posts!

    i’m going to have to try that chicken recipe! Looks good.

  9. I just did a diet analysis project on the South Beach Diet. I think it’s definitely one of the better, realistic diets out there! I think once you get the hang out it, it’s easy to incorporate foods you love into your life without being overwhelmed and gaining weight back. I do agree with you about Phase 1 though!

  10. I have read a lot about the South Beach diet and really like it. It’s very similar to what i did to lose 30lbs. Now I just eat clean. But someone wanting to learn about nutrition its a wonderful start.

    Nice post :)

  11. When SBD first came out, I did it by the book for a while– his recipes and all. The recipes were very good but it was a LOT of chopping/prep and was pricey for all those new ingredients/condiments. I got wooed by the Atkins bandwagon soon after. Gah. Rebound gain of 30 lbs. which Weight Watchers Core Plan took off. It’s very SBD-like.

  12. I really like the south beach recipes that are in the original book. There is a white/black bean soup that I still make frequently, so good. I agree with the oversaturation of fake food that happens with all popular diets, thankfully as they fade from the category of “flavor of the month” and those items start to get discontinued. I remember when I was in high school in the early 2000s, there was a “Low Carb Market” on what seemed like every corner of my town (but I feel bad for those store owners now as they are all out of business). I am so glad that Atkins/SBD mania has waned, I will be ecstatic when I don’t hear the word “carb” 50 times a day. I hate how carbohydrates are still demonized.

    I have a friend who is trying to lose weight and is very disordered in her eating, to the point of a full blown eating disorder, she is obsessed with carbohydrates even though she really doesn’t even know what a carbohydrate is. I have steered her toward your blog, as it is super-fabulous for not only an idea of what healthy eating is, but also because you somehow making eating healthy seem exciting and fun (at least to me!) and I am hoping that she can get that same excitement and *want* to do this for her health, not *have* to do it to lose weight.

  13. Omigosh snow? That must have been exciting to watch from indoors, not so exciting to drive in! Growing up in Sacramento it only snowed once and I remember it being the most exciting thing- but so disappointing when my math teacher wouldn’t let us go outside for it! haha. And interesting recap on south beach! I followed a low-carb diet in hs when I needed to lose some weight and it worked for me, but now I think it’d be hard to go back- my body needs whole grains and carbs but it is a great way to lose weight.

  14. I am loving Pinterest lately, especially for wedding ideas and motivational quotes! I always pin tasty looking eats but never make them… Need to start!

    Did you use a whole chicken [skin and bones]? Could you just use breasts? How long did you cook it for? Thanks :D

  15. I’ve never done South Beach and honestly don’t know much about it.

    What I’d like to know more about is how am I going to get myself to that beach in that photo you posted? Gosh, GORGEOUS!!! I wanna be there right now with a pina colada :)

  16. I just booked a trip to SoBe yesterday (the beach town!) – but I agree it’s not a reasonable plan for everyone! :)

  17. what about doing a focus on Weight Watchers? Its not a workout dvd/routine, but it is a healthy lifestyle that helps a lot of people, like the SB diet does.

  18. you should have seen the little snow storm we had here yesterday, it was ridiculous! its still on the ground this morning too. But i still think i’d take your weather over Saskatchewan’s.
    I’m following Paleo now, so i’m not a south beach-er. but paleo has helped me out tremendously and I feel waaaay better than i used to, in only just one week so far too.

  19. I agree that phase 2 and 3 are great and really just about healthy eating. My problem with sb was all mental in that once I saw success on phase 1, I became afraid to move past it and reintroduce carbs. I spent months living very strictly on phase 1 and being miserable, so now the whole diet kind of makes me cringe, but I just have a tendency to hyper focus in life. I think for a person who doesn’t lean towards extremes, the diet can be fantastic.

  20. Try this crock pot chicken recipe next time. Really similar to yours, but we love the onions that this one includes. It’s from “Everyday Paleo” and is delicious even to non-Paleos like us. (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=305818352793398)

  21. Hey G! Have you ever done/heard about Bar Method? I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now and would love to see it as a Focus On post :)

  22. I know many people successful with South Beach. I need some kind of direction; I’ve gained weight since my trainer friend bolted!

    I can’t believe you got snow; it’s been in the 80’s here for a couple of weeks; weird! Kids are in the pool.

  23. Before going vegan I tried South Beach to lose about 30-40 extra lbs. the problem for me, was that I already ate fairly clean, so I ended up adding a few extra pounds. I hated it too, I just didn’t feel right. My mother swears by South Beach, though.

  24. Interesting to read more about South Beach! I’ve never done it – I did use weight watchers to lose 20 lbs in high school, though, and go back to it whenever I’m looking to lose extra holiday weight, or the like. I think the principles of south beach sound very similar to a book I just read – Ultra Metabolism by Mark Hyman. It basically suggests eating only whole foods – nothing that comes in a package or has a label – and also has a similar “carb detox” phase like phase 1 of south beach. Really good book, I think you’d like it!

  25. I love the south beach diet. It was really successful for me back in college but I let life and stress get the best of me and gained all the weigh back. I actually decided to start on phase 1 yesterday and that combined with exercise will get me to my goal weight by July for my birthday.

  26. Thanks for the insight Gina! I read the South Beach book and didn’t really follow the diet myself but I did like the areas you picked out as pros. I’d agree with the cons too. I think that even if people don’t want to follow it exactly, if their eating habits are currently bad enough, it can definitely help to even just follow phase 2 and skip 1. Like you said, it’s all about finding what’s good for you!

  27. How weird is that you get snow while us at the other north end of north America, in Montreal, right now, get 86ºF… kind of crazy. Record of high temperatures here.

  28. My dad lives in Tucson during the winter, I will have to call him tonight and ask about the snow. It is 87 here in Georgia… And a pollen count over 12,000. People are miserable here, I just did a half marathon on Sunday and it was unbearable due to the heat.

  29. Funny, I also lost 40 pounds with the help of South Beach Diet! I think it was great in helping me with the tools to weights loss, and I also agree Phase 1 was silly!

  30. Thanks for the focus on SB post! I just started an 8 week eating plan that is similar to phase 1 – but quite a bit more restrictive and obviously longer. I’m going to stick with it for the first week and then evaluate my energy levels to see if I need to adjust anything to suit my needs and lifestyle. I do know that eliminating starches from my diet (mainly sugars) will help me to see results!

  31. Hi Gina,
    I’ve been reading your blog for about six months now and have Just now realized I have yet to leave you any feedback. I am a semi new blog reader/runner/fitness nut and you have been such an inspiration. I am a huge fan and fitnessista is a daily part of my routine. The South Beach diet sounds interesting and definitely doable! Thanks for all of the info.

    P.S. congratulations on your baby girl! She is gorgeous.

  32. Gina-

    You probably know all about this so maybe you can answer my question. I eat super healthy (minus a few sweet treats) & so pretty much follow phase 2 or better as it is. However, I am wondering why carrots & bananas are restricted? I eat a lot of both of these, just wondering why. I’m not concerned because I know what my body likes, but I always like to learn more about nutrition!

    Thanks :)

  33. I love these Focus on Posts Gina! This is a good one. I’ve been thinking about cleaning up my diet a little for spring, and I think the South Beach approach is a good one – modified with a little extra carbs for my activity level! Thanks for the reminder.

  34. Hi Gina,

    In case you missed my question on Facebook, would you please tell me how many grams of fiber and grams of sugar you aim for each day?

    Thanks for this post on South Beach, super helpful to know that it was a long term, sustainable plan for you! :)

  35. Hi Gina!

    This post could not have been more perfectly timed. I’ve recently been reading a lot about South Beach, low carb, and diets based on the glycemic index. I’ve really been leaning towards trying the South Beach plan because it seems so sensible and sustainable. I know I eat too many refined carbs and sugars, and I definitely need to get those habits under control. Were there any specific resources you found helpful when you were following the South Beach plan? Thanks!

  36. Great post. I agree. I do not like diets or the idea of them as I try to encourage my clients to not focus so much on diet anything but rather lifestyle change.
    with that said…
    I do give “Souch Beach” 2 thumbs up for an approach to getting the ball started to a healthy Lifestyle. It is Not too strict and a good set up to make changes for life.

  37. Very interesting & good to know! I’m not close to anyone who has followed the South Beach diet, but I remember it becoming real popular when Jen Aniston revealed she followed the guidelines.
    Question: What are the differences between the South Beach diet & the Zone diet?

    My fave whole grain is quinoa cooked in a veggie broth & topped with sauteed broccoli & garlic! YUM

    • Fitnessista says:

      the zone pays particular attention to macronutrient ratios: 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein and 30 percent fat

  38. Thanks for all of you “focus on” posts. They are very helpful and informative. Your blot has become a great resource for me in my quest for better health. Would you consider creating a “focus on” tab for your website that makes those posts more easily accessible? Thank for all you do! Frannie

    • Fitnessista says:

      yes, that’s what i’m planning to add to the “fun” page: focus on posts, reader’s requests, video posts, etc
      for now, if you click the link that says “focus on” right under the title of the post, that will take you to all of the posts i’ve tagged as focus on posts

  39. Ha! I mean blog… not blot

  40. I always think it’s so funny when people from warmer climates don’t know how to drive in the snow OR in the rain! We’re from Ohio and it’s just standard….most people around here even learn to drive by the time they’re twelve with helping around the farm and everything so it’s just so funny! It makes sense but it’s hard for me to fathom. I have a friend who moved here from Tuscon and her husband had to drive her to work the first year it snowed because she didn’t know how to do it! You guys would have to teach me about rattlesnakes and scorpions and how to stay cool though! ;-) As far as South Beach….I also loved it about 7 years ago but I agree about the emphasis on fake food. Even then, it bothered me but I didn’t have the knowledge to do anything else. Thankfully we have found what works for us and I think knowing your body is the most important thing! Have a great week!

  41. Ok so it’s snowing in Tuscon, but 80 degrees up here in Canada? Something really strange is going on! :P

  42. I’ve said this before, but just wanted to say again what an inspiration it is every time I stop by your blog…which is often! Thanks for all you do.

  43. Eats Veggies says:

    Even though I read, I don’t think I’ve ever commented (or maybe I have once or twice?).

    I’m a huge South Beach fan…and by huge I mean, I love the general idea of SB (more whole foods, less processed foods), but I don’t love all of the details. I completely and 100% credit SB for ‘teaching’ me to eat healthier which caused me to lose over 70 pounds when I was strictly following SB. I truly don’t think I would have lost any weight, let alone that much, if it were for SB. However, I stopped following SB over a year ago when my food ideas no longer meshed with the SB philosophy. I was to the point where I was getting frustrated because I wanted an apple but…I had already had 3 fruit servings. Or I couldn’t get why Larabars were not ‘recommended’ (I think it was the dates?), but Splenda was okay. Stuff like that. Truthfully, I was probably ‘unofficially’ in Phase 3 even though I wasn’t at maintenance weight.

    Buuuut…SB is *still* a part of my life. I feel that the general principles of the plan are how we should eat anyway (whole grains, real foods, etc.).

  44. Christina R says:

    Thanks for another great focus on post! I really love them. Any chance you could do a focus on post about Medifast program? I recently started seeing a dietician and she recommended the program – I would love to get your feedback and read the comments about it!

  45. My husband and I both did the South Beach Diet a few years back! We had great results and didn’t find it difficult at all! Even phase one!! We were actually eating more than we were before starting it, and we were losing weight! We would still go out to eat, but ask the waitress to not bring the bread to the table! I have had health issues of late, so i am not able to do it now (and don’t need to either)! But I think I need to get my husband back on it again to lose his belly for our daughter’s wedding in the fall! He has almost 6 months! If he can continue to lose 5 lbs a month, he would be almost at his desired weight for the wedding!!

    I agree with you on the activity level and amount you are eating on SBD! I lost slowly but continuously with little to no activity! My husband lost more quickly, but he was also more active! We both cheated a little, but did really well trying to stick to it! If I needed to drop some weight, I would definitely try it again!

    It was a lot of prep work for me in the evenings preparing the next days food, as we needed to pack lunches and actually make breakfasts and snacks! But it was worth it!

    • What are some ways you were able to find time for the prep work? I am following the meal plans laid out in the book for Phase 1 and with classes and work resuming today, I am concerned about finding the time to prep all my veggies. Also, how did you manage to keep the fresh leafy greens fresh for longer than a few days? I don’t have time to grocery shop more than once a week.

  46. Back in high school I lost about 20lb on SB. It was great, except I ended up with a carb-hating complex that still lingers today (a very, very strange trait for a vegan to have!) and a fear of real sugar. Obviously, my views on animal-based proteins has changed since then, but I still think the concept of a higher protein, lower carb diet as a basis for weight loss has a lot of good about it.

  47. Thank you! I LOVE these focus on-posts :)

  48. I’m slowly becoming addicted to pintrest. Love the recipes. I have plenty of friends who have had luck with South Beach Diet. I have said before, my belly isn’t a fan of starchy anything anyways – except sweet potatoes. I can’t get enough of them. They are my starchy carbs.

  49. Lucy Bini says:

    I loved your blog and will keep it under “bookmarks” in my computer for easy access. I’m entering a new phase in my life that I feel the need to connect with my body and make the right decisions for a healthier and long life. I loved that you blog about different activities and what you like and don’t like about them. Love the tips and advices… I will definetly be checking in from time to time for ideas and guidance.
    Thanks

Speak Your Mind

*