How to Be Successful on the South Beach Diet

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Photo © Karen Struthers

If you're just starting out on the South Beach Diet, you are likely eager to get the results promised. This diet boasts weight and fat loss, improved metabolism, stabilized blood sugar levels, and reduced cravings for sugar and junk foods. It's also a physician-created diet plan that is heart-healthy and encourages a balanced approach to eating for life. 

The South Beach Diet was created in 2003 by Dr. Arthur Agatston, who noticed that patients on the Atkins diet were losing weight and belly fat. Being a cardiologist, he was concerned by the amount of saturated fat on Atkins, so he developed his own high-protein, low-carb diet that is lower in saturated fat. 

While it can seem strict in the beginning, this diet is meant to kickstart weight loss. Here are a few ways to maximize your success on this three-phase diet plan. 

Do Your Research

It’s great to be able to find free South Beach Diet information online, but there’s really no substitute for reading the original books by Arthur Agatston, MD. Before embarking on any diet, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into over the long haul and to thoroughly understand the reasons for the food choices you’ll be making. There are several different books on the South Beach Diet that you can order online or download straight to your Kindle. Until you get your copy of the book, we have plenty of ​South Beach Diet resources on this site. Additionally, you can check out the South Beach Diet website for more information.

Get to Know Phase 1

There are three phases of the South Beach Diet. Phase 1 is the most restrictive (no fruit, grains, starches, or alcohol) and lasts one to two weeks to help your body reboot and get used to burning fat instead of carbs for fuel. After that, you’ll be able to slowly add foods with carbohydrates back into your diet. Here is what you're permitted to eat on Phase 1, in varying amounts: 

Minimize Stress With Meal Planning

When beginning a new way of eating, it's extremely important to plan your meals and food choices ahead of time so you don't find yourself in a food emergency—which is when you're so hungry you end up grabbing the nearest edible thing in sight. This really cannot be emphasized enough; plummeting blood sugar levels are a surefire way to blow your diet. Before the start of the week, plan five to seven days worth of meals (fewer if you're making big servings and will have leftovers to eat) and do your grocery shopping. Make sure to look ahead to Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet

If you don't have time to meal plan or cook, or it just isn't in your wheelhouse, the South Beach Diet website offers fully prepared meals that are shipped right to your home. This takes the guesswork out of figuring out portion sizes and what to buy.

Get Support

This could be the most important factor of all. Getting support from family and friends, or finding someone else to do the diet with, may help you stick with it.

There are also online discussion forums, as well as Facebook groups, where you can ask questions, get support for the new steps you're taking, find help through the rough patches, and chat with people who have similar goals. 

The first week of any new way of eating can be challenging. Know that there will be rough spots, especially as your body gets used to foods that weren't previously in your meal rotation as often, or cooked in that particular way, or ever. Give yourself compassion if you make inadvertent mistakes, and stay enthusiastic about your transformation. Remember that these nutritious foods are meant to improve your health and whittle your waistline. 

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