It's the sensible diet that helps aid weight loss, so be inspired with our top tips here
With past celebrity fans including Nicole Kidman and Oprah Winfrey, the South Beach Diet has got some serious staying power after its popularity surged in the early Noughties. As one of the kinder diets to help aid weight loss, it’s renowned for maintaining all the major food groups, so if you’re getting ready to don a party frock and want to lose a pound or two, find out how right here
It’s the age-old diet adage: drink eight glasses of water a day. We all know water cleanses the system by flushing out toxins and re-hydrates the skin to keep it glowing and the South Beach Diet preaches just that too. If you struggle to follow the mantra, keep a pint glass or two-litre water bottle on your desk at work and top it up throughout the day.
The great thing about the South Beach diet is that the majority of our diet weaknesses aren’t ruled out altogether. Case in point is the caffeine rule. While you will need to cut down your intake if you’re a caffeine fiend, the good news is you can still allow yourself one indulgence a day, so make sure you save it up for that particularly lethargic moment ? the 4pm addiction.
As you phase out certain food groups at the beginning of the South Beach regime and before you gradually reintroduce healthier alternatives as the diet progresses, it’s a good idea to increase your multivitamin and mineral daily supplement intake. In addition to your diet changes, start taking one multivitamin, flaxseed oil for a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids and a fibre supplement, such as Metamucil, during phase one of the diet.
Before you start trying to cut out fats altogether, we all need them to help nutrient absorption, but consume too many and we risk weight gain and heart disease. The key is to replace bad fats with good fats in our diet. Monounsaturated fats are good fats that lower cholesterol. So that means including more of the following in your daily meals: walnuts, almonds, avocado, olive oil, salmon, corn and soy. Steer away from the bad, saturated fats including meat and dairy.
South Beach Diet creator, Dr Arthur Agatston, recommends adding fibre to your daily diet to boost weight loss efforts. Fibre works at weight loss by increasing the rate at which food passes through the body, plus fibre-heavy foods like wholewheat pasta and brown rice are more filling, so keep you from snacking in between meals and control cravings. According to Agatston: ‘Most of us eat half the fibre we really need.’
You might not know it yet, but carbohydrates were not created equal. There are good carbs and bad carbs and thankfully, the South Beach Diet doesn’t rule them out altogether, but does advocate the good ones. Good carbs not only nourish your body but also help you lose weight and their biggest signal that they’re the right food to be tucking into? They are still in or similar to their natural state. So stock up on beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables, whole grain breads and fruit. The bad kinds with a high glycemic index, found in sugary, fatty foods like doughnuts, snack foods, and fast-food meals, damage your body’s ability to burn off what you eat. Worse, eating them actually triggers cravings and makes you even hungrier!
We all know that eating protein is essential to a healthy diet. However, getting the right type of protein is key. While foods like hamburgers are high in protein, it is lean protein that you should be hunting out to follow this plan successfully. Ensure a good mix of fish, seafood, skinless poultry and high fibre vegetables like asparagus, green beans, broccoli and spinach are present in your daily diet. What you might not know? Protein-rich foods act as a natural appetite suppressant.
Just make sure they’re the right ones. Anyone who’s halfway human has that mid-morning hunger pang and late afternoon urge for a sugar rush, so instead of reaching for the biscuit tin, pick up a low-GI carbohydrate snack instead ? an absolute essential when exercising and adhering to the South Beach Diet. Low-GI snacks are made with carbs that break down sugar more slowly and evenly, which will make you feel full for longer. Stock up on granola and cereal bars, plenty of nuts and seeds and the all-important fruit ? so easy to keep it all at your fingertips in your handbag.
Adding cardiovascular exercise to the South Beach Diet will accelerate your weight loss, but don’t panic, there’s no need to sign up to an extortionate gym membership. Try and use what you have around you ? start regular running or power walking in the park and make use of your local swimming pool with half an hour dips to keep your heart pumping.
After a month on the South Beach Diet and provided you have achieved the weight loss you desired, it may be time to re-evaluate your goals, as maintaining the regime long-term is a tough task. Continue to eat sensibly with the knowledge you’ve taken on board, exercise regularly and allow yourself the occasional indulgences once a week – it’s impossible to always resist the odd brownie.