Day 0

by millicentparsons

So my wedding gown is a little tight across the tummy, and I’ve been having discomfort from my wheat sensitivity, so it’s time to go on the South Beach Diet again.

The South Beach Diet uses 21st century understanding of nutrition to teach people how to eat healthily. It focuses on heart health, which means losing stomach fat and altering the hormones that make you gain weight and want to keep eating even when you’ve had enough. It talks about blood sugar levels and how sugars cause us to gain weight. It’s a no carb/good carb diet. Instead of focusing on animal fats as the culprit for weight gain, it identifies sugars as the menace and teaches people how to eat less carbs and to eat good carbs. Its three phases help you lose weight quickly and then learn how to eat well for the rest of your life to keep off the weight. I lost 15 pounds in about 6 months and have kept it off. I’ve continued to incorporate its guidelines into my regular eating habits and I can tell a difference when I’m not eating right. Following the SBD also helped me diagnose what was causing my frequent heartburn and digestive irregularity–wheat products. When I stopped eating carbs I stopped having all my digestive problems. I hadn’t even realized how uncomfortable I always was until those symptoms disappeared. Now I know when I’ve had too much wheat and I know what I can eat to regulate my system again.

One aspect of the SBD is that it doesn’t limit how much you eat, it’s not about counting servings or calories or points, it’s just about eating the right kinds of things. But it did teach me portion control. We’re all programmed to like fatty, salty, sugary foods, and since those are our favorites we tend to eat more than what we need to sustain our bodies. We enjoy these foods so we eat them for entertainment rather than just because we’re hungry. So when I could only eat vegetables, meats, and dairy for two weeks, I was eating things that I like, but get tired of more easily. I started eating just until I was full. And it’s kind of hard to find SBD-approved snacks. Even things like cheese and nuts should be limited, so I stopped snacking as much. I’ll admit I was hungry sometimes, which isn’t supposed to happen on the SBD, but it’s only because I didn’t put the work into having approved snacks available and I could only eat so much broccoli or chicken. Even when I’m not on the diet now I am careful about how much food I serve myself and I don’t snack constantly like I used to.

So tomorrow I start Phase 1, two weeks of no carbs. No grains, fruits, or sugars of any kind. No bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit, candy, cake, juice, etc. And I’m supposed to eat as many lean and fat-free things as possible. That’s the really hard part, and I’ll admit I don’t make that part the biggest priority. Technically I should only eat very lean meats and fat-free dairy. But my area grocery stores have extemely limited and expensive choices for these products. But even eating cheap ground beef and sausage and regular cheese I managed to lose the expected 10 pounds the first time I did this, so as long as I’m still eating plenty of veggies too it’s okay.

I’ve been preparing all week to do this. I ate all the chocolate I had in the house so it’s gone. I went grocery shopping today and bought tons of fresh veggies and stocked up on meat and and string cheese and nuts. I found sugar-free jello on sale which was great because it’s the closest thing I can have to fruit for two weeks. I even got sugar-free pudding so I can have a little bit of “chocolate.” I started thawing meat so it’s ready to cook when I need it. The problem with American eating habits is we’re bad at thinking ahead, so we get hungry, have nothing healthy prepared, and reach for pre-made stuff which is almost always processed and lacking in nutrients. And I knew to thaw that meat because I made a weekly meal plan, complete with notes on when to start thawing frozen items for the next day’s meals. So now I won’t forget to take things out of the freezer the night before and I won’t come home from work and wonder what in the world I can make for dinner. I’ll already know.

This time around I’m going to try some new tricks, like eating some salad at every meal. This is something I want to start doing anyway. I figure if I start with a salad then I’m getting some good fresh veggie vitamins before I fill up on less vitamin-rich food. It also satisfies that desperate hungry feeling that makes us want to eat a lot, so I’m not starving when I dig into a main course that might be more fatty or carby. I’m also going to experiment with flavor elements, like herbs and spices, which is basically calorie free and thus healthier than fatty, salty things like cheese and margarine. I think a lot of people don’t  like “diet food” because it’s lacking in flavor, but it doesn’t have to. There’s plenty of wholesome, nutritious, natural flavorings to use if you’re willing to learn new recipes or experiment.

Now with all this shopping and the fact that I’m also planning my wedding and have to write a talk for church tomorrow, today is pretty busy. So as a “last meal” I had frozen pizza for lunch. It only took 15 minutes in the oven, during which time I did dishes, and it was delicious and filling and with a glass of water was only 360 calories, according to the box. So actually not THAT bad, but definitely not SBD-approved. It’s probably good to get it out of my freezer so it’s not a temptation over the next two weeks.

I plan on posting my carb-less meals and recipes on here for the next two weeks and keep track of my weight loss. The first time I did this I didn’t seem to lose any weight the first week, and then suddenly I was 8 pounds lighter by the end of the second week. Then two days later I had reached the 10 pound mark and I’ve lose the additional 5 pounds since then by trying to eat vegetables in every meal, fruits and nuts for snacks, and only whole grain products or a limited amount of processed carbs.

So here I go! I’m currently 135 pounds. Let’s see if I can get down into the 120s by the end of the month and fit into my wedding dress better!