At first I pretended not to notice. I continued eating what I wanted when I wanted – trying not to care too much when fat pants moved into regular rotation and my good butt jeans fell to the back of the closet. After all, anything is better than smoking, right?
Denial can only last so long.
While visiting my father, I came across a scale in his bathroom. I don't know about you, but when I happen upon a scale, it's as though the thing has gravitational pull. I can't help myself.
The results were not good. I’d gained almost 15 lbs in one year.
To be fair, I still fall within the limits of a healthy BMI, but it’s more than just the weight gain. I feel unfit, unhealthy and just generally blah.
At my father's suggestion, I decided to try the South Beach diet. "The beauty of South Beach is that you can eat as much as you want," he explained, "I ate an entire chicken in one sitting and still lost weight!"
Obviously there's a bit more to South Beach than chicken.
The plan was designed by a cardiologist to improve the health of his patients. It's divided into three phases:
Phase 1: This is the strictest phase. It lasts 2 weeks during which time you may eat: no sugar (natural or refined), no carbs (good or bad), no caffeine, no alcohol, lots of veggies, lots of protein, low-fat cheese, minimal amount of nuts. The dieter should lose 8 to 13 lbs during this first phase.
Phase 2: Complex carbohydrates and fruit are reintroduced in a minimal way. Menus still contain lots of protein and vegetables. Length of time spent on this phase is up to the dieter. Typically, people lose 1 to 2 lbs a week.
Phase 3: This is the “rest of your life” phase. All the hard work is done and it’s all about using the principles of the diet to make healthy choices moving forward.
My choice to follow South Beach came down to a positive review from my dad and a free copy of the book but there are lots of great diets out there. It's worth doing the research to find the one that works best for you.
Follow me over the next 4 weeks while I attempt the first and second phases. I'll keep you up-to-date with tips to make dieting life easier and, most importantly, I'll hunt down some Canadian Living recipes that taste good and fit the healthy South Beach criteria.
Wish me luck!