The ranking at Google.com for top searches in January 2004 shows the South Beach Diet is now the No. 1 top searched weight loss program with Weight Watchers coming in second and the Atkins Diet third. Since the South Beach diet is simply a modified Atkins Diet but less restrictive, this isn’t surprising. Both diets are based on the principal that reducing carbohydrates and increasing protein will help you lose weight, and it is true. Reducing carbs is the easiest and quickest way to reduce water weight. In fact, if you need to lose a quick five pounds to get into a party dress, I can’t think of anything short of fasting that would do the trick better than a week of very low carbs.
With either plan, for the greatest weight loss success, the key is the quality of carbs you eat. The following are some ideas for better success with the South Beach or Atkins Diets:
1. Reduce or eliminate fast food – that’s right, all fast food. It is simply not a healthy choice to order a McDonalds or Burger King without the bun. If you want a burger, make one at home – far more healthy, and you’ll save an enormous amount of money to buy the new clothes you’re going to need because you’re losing so much weight!
2. Reduce or eliminate soft drinks. Whether using sugar or artificial sweeteners, by drinking sweetened drinks you are keeping your desire for sugary foods alive. This includes fruit juice. Eat a fresh whole orange instead of orange juice, or a fresh, crisp apple instead of apple juice. Consider who long it takes to down a small glass of juice compared to how long and how enjoyable it is eating a juicy apple? Wean yourself off if necessary, cut back to one less a day than you now have.
3. Question the wisdom of adding so called “low carb” foods back into your eating plan. If you are following a low carb diet and now you think you can add back some carbs by getting the low carb brands, think again. You’ll gain weight as soon as you add carbs (water), any carbs, and you will be getting an unhealthy food in the bargain. Eat whole foods – whole baked potatoes, fresh carrots, salads, vegetable soups, bean dishes. Eat the real thing! Stay away from the modified versions whether low fat, low carb, or low anything.
Think about it. If you want to lose weight and stay reduced, there are a few things that will need to happen. 1) your diet must include healthier foods in greater quantity than unhealthy foods. I’m not talking “good” or “bad” foods. Any food is fine, in moderation. The trick is moderation – I love cake but I don’t eat it every day. I love all kinds of sweets but I don’t eat them every day. If I did I’d gain weight – it’s that simple. My choice is to stay a smaller size by eating them when I want, but that is infrequently because I want more to maintain my size.
So, by eating pancakes, what’s that do for me? It makes me want syrup, and maybe something sweet later that day too. It sets me up for craving sugary sweet foods. Not what I really want right now, is it? Later, when you’ve reached your goal, staying at goal is the most important thing, and it becomes important enough that a breakfast of pancakes is not going to derail you.
What about bread? Wouldn’t I be better off eating the low carb bread? No. Choose a healthy, whole grain bread. The low carb brands are not whole grain, they are white flour, with added corn starch then artificial sweeteners added. Then they reduce the size of the loaf, and slice the pieces teeny tiny, and claim, “Only 4 Net Carbs per Slice” or something equally ridiculous. Check the loaf. Is a sandwich made with two 4-year old sized pieces of bread going to satisfy you or is it going to make you want another sandwich? Eat the real thing, and you’ll feel satisfied from having eaten an adult sized sandwich, and you won’t feel deprived or crave for more.
4. Think high food quality for the money spent. Is your food dollar being spent wisely when you buy a tiny loaf of bread with Barbie Doll sized slices? No. Is your food dollar being wisely spent by Jello that brags of their low net carbs yet they’ve taken a package that used to serve four according to them (who can’t eat all four servings?) and now it suddenly serves six! Yes, they did add a little Cool Whip to stretch the recipe. I don’t know about you but I’m not satisfied eating two ounces of Jello. I want real food!
Just because the package says a low number of “net carbs” read the label. See the serving size and then calculate how much you will really eat. Then, stand back and count to ten while asking yourself, “Is this a good value for my food dollar?” Most likely the answer will be no, then start slowly moving away from the low carb aisle and get yourself down to the fresh produce. You’ll be safer down there.
If you want to follow a low carb lifestyle, you’ll want to learn to eat less of the white bread, crackers, chips, and packaged cookies, not simply switch to the low carb brands. Incorporate any of these suggestions, even just a little and you’ll get a better result from your efforts at slimming down or reducing your body weight. Small changes add up to big results.