My South Beach Diet Experience

This was written in 2009. Today is December 27, 2011. For those of you actually see me in person, I obviously have not been eating healthy lately. But today was a new day.

Dear South Beachers-to-be,

I’m posting this in response to some questions I’ve had about the South Beach Diet. I have emailed this to some of you in the past, but now that summer is here, I’m getting more inquiries!

In a Nutshell

The first two weeks will require you to avoid carbs and sugar. After the first two weeks, you will add some of each back into your diet. However, eating a dozen cookies a day is never conducive to maintaining a healthy weight.

Phase 1 Food List

The first link is for the phase 1 food list. It tells you what you can eat and what to avoid for the first 2 weeks (or longer, depending on what you want to do). Very helpful! This list is the new updated list. The food list has changed since the first publication. It is A LOT friendlier!

Additional Eating Info for Phases 2 and 3

The second link is for the main page that has all of the different threads with tons of information available to “South Beachers”. It includes how to eat in Phases 2 and 3 along with recipes and other helpful advice.

Things you need to know if you don’t have the book:

  • Be sure to check all of your ingredients on what you buy at the grocery store. Just say NO! to HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). It’s normally one of the top three ingredients if it’s in there. (Ingredients have to be listed in order of amount) I have found that it is in pickles, peanut butter, jelly, salad dressing, cool whip, and BREAD! It’s in just about everything.
  • Don’t buy FAT-FREE! Fat-free typically means they have replaced the fat with sugars! You want to buy SUGAR-FREE or Lite! Again, be sure to check your labels and your nutrition information.
  • Stay away from things high in saturated fat and sugars. This isn’t about calorie counting, but use common sense.
  • You DON’T have to drink a ton of water! I replaced my normally oh-so-sweet tea with artifically sweetened tea. I use a liquid sweetener (Fas-Sweet or Sweet-n-Low) and make the whole gallon at once. (Update: I am now getting away from articifial sweeteners altogether. Natural sugar is better for you, but we still shouldn’t be consuming it like we do.)
  • Stay away from sweeteners that end in -tol. Like sorbitol, malitol, etc. These have the same effect on your body as sugar.

  • The book teaches you how to eat. The best thing I got out of it is that processed foods are horrible for you. The reason they are so horrible is because they are processed to the point that it takes your body extremely little work to get to the nutritional value. For instance: instant oatmeal is so processed, that your body gets no workout digesting it. Regular unprocessed oatmeal gives your body a workout breaking down all the roughness of it. This is also applicable for breads. About 90% of the popular breads have “bleached enriched flour”. This means that it was so stripped of its natural nutrition that they had to add some back to it. Crazy! I’m at the point where I can have bread, and I buy Nature’s Own 14-grain bread. It’s $2.74 a loaf instead of $1 for the cheap unhealthy stuff, so I’m investing in a bread machine where I can make my very own healthy bread for roughly a $1 a loaf (bread machine costs $60, but I will recoop that within 6 months at the longest). Even the stuff that says 100% whole wheat often has HFCS! Again, read your labels! (Eat raw fruit instead of canned or juice)

Note: Have a bread machine at your own risk. I love fresh bread, and this was my downfall.

  • Do not ever put a regular white potato into your mouth again! It’s the same as eating sugar, no matter how you cook it. Baked is actually the worst way. But sweet potatoes are okay.

Here are some things I learned while researching:

  • The weight that you lose in the very beginning is going to be “water weight”. So what is water weight? Let me see if I can break this down as non-scientifically as possible:

Sugar in its raw form is known as glycogen to your body. For every pound of glycogen that your body stores, it also stores 3 – 4 POUNDS OF WATER! (In your liver, if I remember correctly). So you will be peeing like crazy for the first two weeks as your body flushes itself free of all of the sugar you have abused it with.

  • You want to consume as much protein as possible every day. Ideally, 1/2 gram of protein for every pound that you currently weigh. Because protein builds muscle and muscle burns fat. I have to say the two keys to our success have been drinking protein shakes (with fat free milk) and eating lots of protein bars. I buy the Super Advantage Whey Protein (chocolate) at Wal-Mart. It costs approximately $14 and lasts me and Jimmy at least a month of drinking at least 1 shake each every day. And it is very good! I view it as a treat because I love chocolate so much. You can freeze it and serve with Sugar Free Cool Whip with crushed nuts on top! Yummy!
  • However your body can only process roughly 30 grams of protein at a time. Any thing more than that will get flushed. One protein shake has about 34 grams of protein so you can see where you will benefit from the shakes. (powder = 26 grams, 8 oz milk = 8 grams)
  • The dinners that I have made since we have embarked on this journey are some of the best dinners that have come out of my kitchen, according to my husband, who thought I was an excellent cook before. He is a very hard man to get 5 stars out of but my food has been restaurant quality! Better really because service with a smile goes a long way with us!


I did extremely little exercise (aside from chasing my 2 year old monkey around the house). I’m 5’7″ and on 11/1/08 I weighed approximately 175, maybe a little more. I had a bad scale then. Before Christmas I was already down to 158. I did fall into some bad holiday eating and added about 4 pounds back but I’m back down to 158 as of this morning. If I take a really hot shower, I might weigh in at 157.9!

My husband has also lost 15 pounds, because he was smart and realized he should do this with me! (Update: He has now lost 25 lbs! 6/15/09) is a great place for recipes. If you search on “South Beach” you’ll get a ton of recipes. As you learn your list of foods, you’ll be able to modify recipes accordingly.

And most importantly, this is a life-style change–not a diet. Check the book out at your library so you don’t have to pay $30 for it. But be sure to get the new version called “South Beach Supercharged!”

BTW, my sister Melissa did weight watchers and had similar results. But I know my weaknesses! I can’t allow myself to have any real sweets or it all goes down hill from there. My body reacts very badly to sugar! It is my drug!

So this may not work for you. You may not agree with some of what was listed here. The good news is that you don’t have to! Find something that works for you. Do your own research. Build a plan based on education and your own desires/downfalls.

Be blessed and be healthy!

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One thought on “My South Beach Diet Experience

  1. Pingback: South Beach Diet Low Carb Low Sugar Recipes «

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