South Beach diet anyone? Pros and Cons ?? (1 Viewer)

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bhelms

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Well, I just got back from my routine semi-annual check-up. The news has not improved. I am healthy in general with few ailments or sicknesses. I have chronic HBP (medicating for that successfully), occasional mild asthma (lifelong, also medicating), and high cholesterol. I am about 20 lbs overweight, have been most of my life, and a good bit of it is in my "beer gut". Part of the cholesterol problem is hereditary; the rest is just plain poor eating/drinking habits.

The Dr. is leaving it up to me, but he is strongly recommending that I start medication (statins I suppose) to lower the LDL in particular to below 100 (I'm now typically ~120) and improve the ratio. I asked for "one more chance" to improve the situation on my own and I have until July. Interestingly, I have been tested regularly for the past several years, and I am cyclical. My lowest readings, sometimes below 200 overall, tend to come in the fall, and the higher ones in the spring. That may reflect poorer winter eating habits and lower activity. The Dr. says my problem is with carbohydrates, not necessarily saturated fats. I do exercise every day, currently by doing about 50 minutes of "power walking" on my treadmill every weekday, and more on the weekends. I rarely miss this schedule!

Anyway - some time back I read the South Beach Diet by Dr. Arthur Agatston (the guy that "invented" it.) Everything in there makes sense. The tough part is giving up certain carbs that are a big part of my diet, like potatos and especially beer. I think I can cut down on the potatos and substitute other veggies. And I know I can get smart about prepared goods like cereals and breads, avoiding anything "enriched". I drink a lot of soda, but almost exclusively sugar-free varieties. I rarely eat desserts or sweets.

But the beer part will be tough for me. I realize that "light" beers are better, but I find that I just drink more due to the lack of flavor and "buzz", thus they're a wash. I probably drink half a case a week of regular beer, almost exclusively on the weekends. I have considered drinking red wine as a partial alternative. There are other heart-smart positives to the wine, and some may be lower in carbs vs. beer. That will work if I'm drinking at home, but I'd never hear the end of it if I order a wine when out with my "buds" (fraternity brothers)!

And I think I can get my spouse behind an altered diet as well. She's type 1 diabetic and should really control her carbs as well, but she never really has done so in all the years I have known her, depending instead on her insulin to do that for her.

So what have the rest of you folks done to launch a successful low-carb diet? How successful were you? How much weight did you lose, and how much did you improve your cholesterol? Have you been able to truly make a lifestyle change, and what are your secrets for sticking with it?

Any advice and encouragement would be accepted. TIA and BRgds...
 

JAG72

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Are you 100% wanting to do a low carb diet? I have had really good luck on weight watchers. I don't go to any of the meetings just received a book that got me through the process. After the couple of months I have been on it everything is pretty easy to keep track of. The part that I like is you can eat what you want. It is truly a life style change to do it right. I don't know of many people that were able to do a full life style change on a low carb diet.

I have been on the life style change for 3 months now and have lost a total of 40lbs without any problems. I would fully recommend weight watchers to anybody that is willing to commit to changing there eating habits.
 

rockymtnhigh

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Three years ago I weighed 215; six months later 155. Now about 180 (and I want to drop at least 10). How did I do it? A combination of a low carb diet and high exercise diet. It was during the Adkins craze; and I certainly cut out a lot of carbs from my diet. But not all.

And the thing with carbs is you need to cut out the bad carbs and not the good carbs. The difference: simple carbohydrates digest VERY quickly and the sugar goes right to the blood stream and forms fat. Complex carbs are just that, complex. THey do not break down as quickly during digestion -- and thus, they get passed through your system.

So, eliminate stuff like bagels (really bad); potatoes (starch is nothing buy simple carbs); white bread; go find low-carb bread (Sara Lee know makes a wheat bread called "Deliteful" and it is way low in carbs, but actually tastes like NORMAL bread. Eliminate pasta; eliminate white rice. Eliminate cookies; and brownies, and cake, etc...

Its not easy for sure. But what I did was 1) start with portion control. Instead of having a large main course with a small salad, I would eat a dinner plate with lots of veggies on it, and a simple dressing (maybe an Asian dressing or a basic vinagrette -- no creamy dressings for sure); and a small salad plate for the entree. It works, trust me.

For snacks, nuts are very good for you. But they are loaded with calories, so you have to eat them in moderation. But they are good for satisfying eating urges.

I also recommend eating smaller meals or mini-meals; instead of breakfast, lunch, dinner, which leaves you starving in-between, a small healthy snack is ok. OR a big glass of water. (I tend to drink hot tea when I am in the starving mode; with a little splenda; it fills the tummy).

THEN PART 2. EXERCISE. Weight loss is all about expending more calories than you take in. I started exercising religiously. Whether it is on a treadmill or an eliptical machine at the gym (I prefer the latter as its easier on the knees); or it is swimming laps, or running on the road, or speed walking, etc... you have to burn calories exercising.

Eventually if you stick to it, your stomach will actually shrink, and you WILL NOT be able to eat as much as you could. You'll feel sick if you over eat.

So, there is the diet gospel according to Rocky. ;)
 

JimMcC

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Diet

I agree that Weight Watchers is a very balanced, common sense plan to follow. I would never follow a low carb diet. The South Beach Diet is a low carb diet like the Atkins diet, right? If so, forget it. Lo Carb diets are very unhealthy because by design, you eat too much fat and protein. But reducing certain carbs is a good idea. Junk foods such as : white sugar, white flower, soda, beer. The healthiest diet to follow is a high carb(complex carbs) moderate protein, low fat diet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, limited fat-free dairy products. And make sure to exercise daily, walking is all you need.
 

rockymtnhigh

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I agree that Weight Watchers is a very balanced, common sense plan to follow. I would never follow a low carb diet. The South Beach Diet is a low carb diet like the Atkins diet, right? If so, forget it. Lo Carb diets are very unhealthy because by design, you eat too much fat and protein. But reducing certain carbs is a good idea. Junk foods such as : white sugar, white flower, soda, beer. The healthiest diet to follow is a high carb(complex carbs) moderate protein, low fat diet. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, limited fat-free dairy products. And make sure to exercise daily, walking is all you need.

What I did was reduce bad carbs; and generally limit most carb intake to breakfast and lunch.

But I don't agree that you should go high-complex carb; I think moderation is good with both carbs, protein, and fat. But with fat - you want unsaturated fat.
 

bhelms

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Tks, all, and keep the dialog going!

The SB diet is not a low carb diet per se, but a "right carb" diet, like rockymtnhigh described, high in complex carbs and low in the simple, enriched stuff. The SBD book is very clear on all this. So it's not really the same as Atkins at all. JimMcC, what you mentioned in the latter part of your post is correct, and aligned with the SBD.

My goal is first and foremost to lower/control the cholesterol, then secondarily to reduce weight, which may automatically happen if I can switch to a right carb diet and control the intake more. I do keep track of everything I eat - I write it all down with an estimate of calories and fat grams. But I'm now realizing that I need to spend at least as much effort keeping tabs on the carbs. I already eat several meals during the day (spreading my lunch over several hours), but I guess I'm still eating a lot of the wrong things. I also eat a handful of mixed nuts every day, mostly for the phytochemicals (?) they contain. And I do exercise every day. That alone dropped me 30 lbs., then I gained about 10 back.

Is Weight Watchers sensitive to the carbs issue, or just to the correct balance of calorie intake/output? I don't want to end up spending a lot of $$ on their foods (required if you're enrolled in the program, right?) if they still contain the simple and/or enriched carbs. My issue is more than just one of eating the right quantity of food. To control the cholesterol I also need to eat just the right carbs. Perhaps I need to get that book Jag72 mentioned and read it as well. Maybe I can combine the two programs.

rockymtnhigh - Why did you experience the weight "bounce"? Also, we REALLY need to be careful eating Boy Scout cooking...LOL...!
 

MikeD-C05

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I have tried ATkins and Weight Watchers. Southbeach combines the best of all diets. You eat low carb and low fat. You eat the best of lean proteins, the best of carbs and the best of low fat - no sugar added products.

I went on Southbeach on 3/05/07 and to date I have lost 24 pounds. My cholestreal has dropped down to good levels again and my blood pressure is back in the low numbers again. I have lost 2 inches in my waist size . I am 44 and I had to go on Zeita cholestreal pills in February due to my weight ballooning up to 234. I am now 210 and my goal weight is 190.

STAGE 1 THis diet starts like ATkins for the first 2 weeks EXCEPT you do not eat high FAT meats and butter. You normally lose about 14 lbs the first two weeks.

STage 2 you start eating more healthy carbs including a piece of whole wheat bread a day , an apple, and fiber is a plus. You can eat non fat milk and a fiber cereal. During this stage you will continue to lose about 2 lbs a week on average till you get to your goal weight.

Once you reach your goal weight you go to STAGE 3 and eat this way for life. IT is a sensible diet that gets your good cholestreal up and your bad cholestreal down and your blood pressure down to low or manageable levels. IT is a diet you can learn to eat on for life.

You will not be hungry and if you are, you can have a peice of meat or eggs or a diet ceral bar that Southbeach makes. They also make prepackaged meat wraps in the lunch meat section . So you will be eating 3 square meals a day and up to 2 - 3 snacks.

Get the book and follow it . It is very helpful and tells you what foods you can eat and what foods to avoid. IF you go off the diet and gain weight you can go back to stage 1 and start over and lose the weight again. IT WORKS but remember it is a way EATING FOR LIFE not a part time DIET. The best part of the diet is that you don't have to exercise but it does help and the first thing it targets is BELLY FAT!

ONe note that will help EVERYONE. Cardio exercise , while good for your heart, makes you hungrier. Weight lifting for up to 20 -30 minutes ,3 times a week, builds muscle which burns more fat and gets your metabolism up . YOU can actually eat more and lose weight, the more you lift weights. You are changing your bodies metabolism when you lift weights. You will also build bone and muscle which will help you fight the aging process that will decrease your metabolism every year your live after age 30.
 

bhelms

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Maybe I need to look into a Bowflex after all! Tks, Mike - all good information. I wasn't aware of the difference in exercise types. I need to keep up with the cardio part for other reasons (breathing and asthma) but I could certainly add some weight training...
 

JAG72

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I don't want to end up spending a lot of $$ on their foods (required if you're enrolled in the program, right?) if they still contain the simple and/or enriched carbs.

Weight Watchers does not make you purchase any of their food. You can purchase some of it that already has the points calculated but you don't have to. I have yet to purchase any of there food.

As far as the cholesterol is concerned, I was at 195 a few years ago. I just had it rechecked and I am now down to 150. It could not have gone down prior to Weight Watchers because I know that I was eating really bad.
 

rockymtnhigh

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Mike is right about needing to incorporate exercise into whatever you do.

Absolutely! Its critical. And indeed, its been my biggest problem the past two months. life has been VERY busy and I fell out of my exercise regime, and you end up adding on the pounds... :(
 

TheForce

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I slowly gained weight since retiring from professional diving in '93. about 15 months ago I weighed myself and discovered I was at nearly 190! Yhat's why my 34" pants are getting tight! I decided to go on a healty kick, no special fad diet but did follow the eat less, more often, drink more water, and exercise more. Agreed the exercise more was easier than the eating habits change but cutting out red meat except for once per week, replacing with raw fish meals, eliminating bread except for rare times, 2-3 per months, and over 12 months I lost 20 pounds, and reduced my belt size to 32" Then i plateaued, for several months. I still come in at about 169-172. In January I was under tremendous stress from clients making huge demands on my time. I was getting only 2-4 hbours sleep a night, the rest working. Travel was consuming my little time left. Example work all day in White plains NY, finishing up at 7PM and then drive to Richmond, VA and be on the job at 8 AM was a typical schedule. After 4 weeks of this, I collapsed while on the job and was taken to the hospital with suspected heart attack. After that was ruled out, I was diagnosed with brain problems, After about $15,000 of test after test, they decided it was heart problems again and after several more tests decided I was just suffering from exhaustion. So, for 2 months I was real good at getting 8 hrs sleep each 24 hr day but the work load began to suffer and clients began accusing me of slacking off. IT's a real tough balancing act but I have learned to say no to several unreasonable clients sending them packing. But then my best client has now doubled his work load and that is causing me to fall into the same rut once again. What all this does is eat into my exercise time and interrupts the process of a controlled, quality weight loss and healthy life style.
But at the end of the day, if I can keep my sleep normal, and eat quality food on a normal schedule, I should be OK. Time will tell but in the next 3 weeks, I have travel with typical 15 hour days and no time off. On top of that, I am expected to edit and prepare the shows we shoot for air from the hotel room after I return.

Another issue is the quality of sleep I do get when I get it. It is Poor in my opinion. I often lie awake planning the daily schedule for better multitasking efficiency.

Now with all this I have avoided the typical solutions others in my industry have resorted to, especially the younger set. Drugs! When you mentioned SB diet, I smiled. Do you know what this is caqlled or defined as in my business? The South Beach Diet is- Work all day, doing Coke throughout the day and drinking high caffeine coffee throughout the day, then leaving the office at 7PM quiock change of clothes and going to the local disco and doing salsa dancing until 1AM, coming home downing a few sleeping pills with some merlow wine and repeating this the next day! Weekends are for recovery during the day but Saturday night the schedule lasts until 5AM This is why all the South Beach beautiful people have such beautiful size and shape., high energy, until they die at age 32!
 

bhelms

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Interesting lessons, Don! I won't be following the SB diet that you laid out, tho' that one was close to what I did in my younger days! I also commiserate with the sleep problem, but I refuse to medicate for that.

I've launched my program, at least the precursors of it. I am re-reading Agatston's book. I am now looking at labels on store-bought food again, but this time more for the information on complex vs. simple carbs and total carb content per serving, and I am elimininating most of the simple carbs from my diet. My intent is to clean-out my cupboards of all simple carb products before I start "Phase 1" in earnest, tentatively next week. Even that will be somewhat modified. I refuse to give up beer entirely. But I will buy "lite" beer for the foreseeable future. I also bought a gallon of wine (by concidence, a merlot) and I intend to offset some of my beer consumption with the wine. I'll see if by doing most of the things required in Phase 1 I can start the weight loss. If successful, that should also be an indication that my blood chemistry is improving at the same time. If that doesn't work, then I need to revisit my commitment and formulate a "plan B" more closely aligned with the diet as specified...

I'll keep ya'll posted...
 

Brikp

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If you loose the weight and heat health you may be able to eliminate the drugs, improve your BP, lower your cholesterol, minimize or eliminate the effects of asthma and live longer!

Do this how ever it works for you. I can vouch for a low carb diet. I lost 65 lbs, my blood work came back "excellent", no HBP, normal cholesterol, etc. I started out with high LDL and BP.

I suppose I sort of did the Atkins thing. I did not do a high protein diet, just a low carb one. I cut all sugar and starch. I did not worry about carbs in veggies, salads, etc. Yes, i cut the beer out almost completely with exception of an occasional Mic Ultra when out to dinner.

A few other things - When I was at the peak of my dieting I did not do the subtract sugar alcohols or whatever the book said you could do. I only looked at carbs. I did not differentiate between good and bad. I just kept it simple. I started out under 20g per day for a few weeks.

I also did not eat any of the "low carb" snack bars or other junk food labeled as low carb. Good luck, loose the weight, how ever you must, and get off the drugs.
 

bhelms

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Tks, Brikp. Looks like the best carbs are mostly in the veggies (white potatos excepted) so I'll be focused there. I still need a satisfying workaround for the beer. I can't imagine even a 2-week complete hiatus...!
 
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