South Beach Diet Diary - Phase 1 - Week 2

Mini-quiche
Mini-quiche. Cultura/BRETT STEVENS / Riser / Getty

Weighing in after one week on the South Beach Diet, I was down 4.6 pounds. I can tell a distinct difference in my stomach, breasts, and face becoming leaner after only one week. Now I entered the second week, still in Phase 1.

Things I Didn't Do in Week 2 of the South Beach Diet

  • I did not eat any of the forbidden foods
  • I did not count calories or portions
  • I did not stick with their daily menu plans, I instead used their food lists and rules of thumb.
  • I did not get hungry.

Things I Did in Week 2 of the South Beach Diet

  • I ate the recommended minimum amounts of vegetables and lean protein at each meal and as snacks
  • I made several of the recipes and each was delicious, all were real keepers and husband-pleasers. The book is worth it just for the recipes.
  • I filled up at each meal.
  • I maintained my high coffee intake, although that is not recommended.

Cravings: I did not have any real trouble with cravings for carbohydrates, probably because I wasn't hungry. The only real craving was for a warm chocolate chip cookie at the potluck. I held off for awhile but then had a small portion at the end of a satisfying meal, when I figured the carbs would mix with the protein, fat, and fiber and not affect my blood sugar.

Energy: I have had significantly fewer episodes of drowsiness after the first four days on this diet. I have had plenty of energy for walking, although since I have kept my mileage low due to iliotibial band syndrome, I have not fully tested that.

Convenience: The only real negative of this diet is that it is hard to do if you don't have access to refrigeration for take-along snacks. The only approved item I can see that doesn't require refrigeration is nuts, and those are supposed to be limited in intake. I take cheese sticks which hold up OK, but not for a long walk in the sun.

Cooking vs. Eating Out: As said, this is a great cookbook and I plan to use more of the recipes. But if you hate to cook, you have to instead navigate how to eat appropriately at restaurants, fast food joints, and with prepared items from the supermarket. It works great if you grill many of your meals as I do.

Breakfast: I have heard many people complain about this diet because they usually do not eat breakfast and that is difficult for them to change. I have always eaten breakfast, and I find that making a quick omelet or plate of scrambled eggs with veggies to be as quick as making toast. And the veggie mini-quiches are fantastic as breakfast or snacks.

Constipation: The book notes that some people will have constipation on Phase 1, and recommends they take some Metamucil or other fiber. I noticed a definite slowdown from my usual regularity.

Day 8

Vegetable mini-quiches for breakfast and snack as I went to circuit training class and treatment massage. Mediterranean salad for lunch. I didn't plan my snacks very well and was pretty hungry by the time I got home to make up another salad immediately.

We grilled very thick pork chops and veggies for dinner.
In the morning, I had dropped again, now down a full five pounds.

Day 9

Weight: The scale dropped a bit today, now down a full 5 pounds.
Breakfast: Vegetable mini-quiches for breakfast and morning snack.
Lunch: I went to Subway and had a grilled chicken salad with the red wine vinaigrette. It was a nice, fast, tasty meal.
Atkins Shake Snack: For the afternoon snack, I tried one of the Atkins Advantage chocolate royale shakes. The South Beach Diet recommends not using Atkins convenience foods, but I wanted to give it a try since they are more portable. The shake had 170 calories and "effectively" 2 grams of carbohydrate. It tasted OK.
Walking: I then set off on a hot (over 90F) evening walk. I was wearing my Camelbak hydration system and I found myself drinking a lot more than usual. On a low-carb diet you need to keep drinking, as the byproducts of protein digestion are toxic and you don't want to get dehydrated and let them build up. I had lots of energy - it felt like the shake had given me a jolt of caffeine, although I doubt it was caffeinated. I walked quite fast the first two miles.
Dinner: The goal of the walk was a local sausage festival. I bought a sausage in a dish of sauerkraut, keeping with the diet plan. It was great. As I left the festival I met up with my friends Elaine and Naomi, who had turned me on to the South Beach Diet. They had eaten the same sausage and kraut. We chatted about the diet and life as we returned to the start.
Post-walk: I often feel a big drop in energy after finishing a walk, but had no such problem this evening. At home, I had a serving of cottage cheese as some hunger returned. I made my husband a spinach salad with shrimp and caesar dressing.

Day 10

Scale surprise: I was down over a pound from the previous morning, down to a loss of 6.4 pounds. I know I ate far fewer calories yesterday, and was happy that the Atkins shake didn't disturb my weight loss.

Breakfast Two of the veggie mini-quiches.
Walking There were twelve of us who headed off to the Dahlia Walk on a sparkling sunny day (likely the last one for awhile). The conversation was wonderful, the friends were fantastic. Some of headed off ahead at a fast pace and got lost. We wandered through the farmers market and bought produce. I extended the walk and finished 10 miles without any real pain from my iliotibial band, so I am feeling better about the upcoming marathon. We shall see. After over three hours of walking, I had a handful of peanuts as my snack. I had not felt any hunger during the walking, which is a bit unusual.
Lunch: I had the last mini-quiche and two cheese sticks as I raced to get to my hair appointment. After the appointment I went shopping for ingredients for the evening's small barbecue at a friend's house. Upon returning home, I finished off the remaining half cup of cottage cheese in the carton. I bought some edamame and had some of those.
Dinner Party: I was in charge of the appetizers for our little party of six. I made the "Fresh Mozzarella-Tomato Salad" dish from Phase 3 of the South Beach diet book. I also brought a relish tray of celery, red pepper, and edamame with a low fat spicy hummus dip (bought prepared at the Wild Oats Market) and pita chips. Everyone had difficulty with the edamame as I kept telling them to shuck them but they didn't listen and tried to eat them whole. Oh well. Everyone was enjoying margaritas or muscato, but I stuck with water. Dinner was grilled tenderloin, caesar salad, sauteed mushrooms and sauteed green beans, grilled italian bread, and potato souflee. I had all but the bread and potatoes.

Off-diet, I had a glass of red wine once dinner was served, and dessert was cheesecake and I indulged in that. The book reserves these for Phase 2 or 3, but I had walked 1000 calories worth and believed that eating them with the meal would deal with any insulin effects.

However, weighing in the next morning, my drop of the previous day was gone. Was it spurious to begin with, or an effect of the carbs and alcohol?

Weighing in on Day 11, I had bumped back up to nearly the level of Day 9, leading me to believe the big drop was spurious. Ah, well, could have been abetted by the cheesecake.

Breakfast: Whipped up a little omelet and drank a glass of V8 juice.
Walking and snacks I met up with my walking friends and we drove 30 minutes to a nice walk and enjoyed an easy paced 10-kilometer walk. On the way back, I passed around the remaining edamame and these friends had no trouble obeying the instruction to shuck them before eating.

Neither had eaten edamame before and both enjoyed it. We stopped at a farmers market on the way back and I stocked up on some produce.
Lunch and Biking: I had a salad with some grilled chicken for lunch, and for a later snack I had some hummus on celery. In the afternoon, I finally got to take my new Trek 300 Navigator bike out for a spin.
Dinner: Grilled pork chops with grilled vegetables.

Day 12

Weighing in: down a half pound, still not down to that false low registered on Day 9.
Breakfast: A quick scrambled egg plus a cup of gazpacho.
Snack and lunch: Gazpacho and grilled chicken, with string cheese as a snack. Afternoon snack of hummus on celery.
Dinner: Shrimp salad. I bought frozen cooked shrimp and let them defrost/marinate all day in a bowl with some Paul Newman's Caesar Dressing. I prepared greens with some tomato and onion and a little reduced fat shredded cheese. Then topped with the cold shrimp and more caesar dressing to taste.

My husband loved it. Dessert: Mocha Ricotta.

DO NOT DO THIS DIET WHILE MARATHON TRAINING!

I got email today from one of my walking team who was extremely impressed by the change in me in only 10 days - and she wanted to go on the diet right now.

I told her, "No, the marathon is only a month away and you are doing both speed and distance workouts.

If you go on a low carb diet your endurance and energy will be sapped because it depletes your muscle glycogen. Even worse, during a distance walk you will be bathing your muscles in ammonia as your body tries to use protein as a fuel source."
Even in the South Beach Diet book, Dr. Agaston says that you should eat carbs when you exercise. After an hour workout, he says to have some white bread or whatever to replenish your muscle energy. He is right. For anyone training for a marathon, half-marathon, or speed event - do not go on this diet. Stick with a diet that uses traditional amounts of carbohydrates.
I chose this time to go on the diet specifically because I had two weeks where I had to walk slower and at far shorter distance than I was used to walking. In coming weeks I will be walking half-marathon distances but at a fairly slow pace. I will be in Phase 2 of the South Beach diet and able to add back in fruit and whole grains as carbohydrate sources. During those longer workouts, I will be eating carbohydrates the evening before, morning of, and taking in Gatorade or other carbo-electrolyte sports drink throughout my walks.

To do otherwise is just plain wrong.
I also plan to walk the Portland Marathon in a month, barring further flare up of my iliotibial band syndrome. I will have carbs for two days before and during, and then for at least a day afterward.

If I see any problems with carbs, I will go back onto Phase 1 after the marathon for a week or so before again starting Phase 2. For me, safety for my body comes before weight loss.

Weighing in, I am back down to where I was on Day 9, so progress is steady.
Breakfast: I modified my favorite Indian breakfast - Anda Bhurji - to make it fit onto the South Beach Diet by eliminating the potatoes and using the egg substitute. As a plus, it is very fast to whip up if you have the ingredients handy.
Wendy's Indian Eggs Recipe
Lunch and Snacks: I went to circuit training class and then to work. I brought along the Oriental Cabbage dish from the South Beach Diet book, some grilled chicken to have with it, and a serving of the Gazpacho soup. For further snacks I also had string cheese, edamame, and a small serving of the Mocha Ricotta dessert.
Dinner: Grilled mahi mahi and the wonderful Stuffed Mushrooms recipe from the South Beach Diet book. For dessert, the Lemon Ricotta.
Energy: My body feels good, but it didn't stop me from nodding off during a dull work meeting.

Day 14

Weigh-in: Now down to a new low, over half a pound from yesterday, 7.4 pounds total now.
Breakfast: More of my Indian Eggs
Lunch and Snacks: The Oriental Cabbage needed something, so I added a packet of Equal to it and a bit of salt. That really improved the flavor. I had the Oriental Cabbage topped with grilled chicken strips for lunch. For a snack, I had some of the Gazpacho Soup with edamame on the side as protein. Edamame are fresh soybeans boiled in the pod, often salted. You shuck them and eat the beans. They are delicious and very high in protein and low in glycemic index.
Dinner: Mediterranean Salad with romaine, feta, kalamata olives, onions and a dressing made of olive oil, fresh lemon juice, fresh tarragon, and dijon mustard. I also made the Edamame Salad from the book - it is delicious and couldn't be easier to make.

Final Weigh In After 14 Days

Weigh-in: Down 7.6 pounds total

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