South Beach Diet Phase 1 Tips and Advice

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Are you starting the South Beach Diet Plan Phase 1? This two-week weight loss plan is the first stage of a complete program to lose weight and live a healthy South Beach Diet lifestyle.  For many dieters, it is the hardest part of the plan. Some dieters even quit before the two weeks are up.

So how do you survive Phase 1? South Beach dieters should gather essential information to make it through this critical phase.

With that in mind, I've researched information on the official South Beach Diet website, The South Beach Diet Supercharged (book version) and I've interviewed a South Beach Diet registered dietitian. I've combined their information with my own experience and expertise as a weight loss coach to compile these quick tips to help you through Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet.

How to Start The South Beach Diet Phase 1

Not every dieter should start the South Beach Diet with Phase 1. This phase is designed specifically for people with more than 10 pounds to lose or for people who have unmanageable cravings for sugar and refined starches like white bread, potato chips, pasta or soft drinks.  Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet is also not meant to be a permanent eating plan for weight loss.  It is simply a way to jump start your program for long-term weight loss and maintenance.

It's also important to remember that even though the South Beach Diet was developed by a medical doctor, Dr. Arthur Agatston is not your doctor.

In general, it's a good idea to check with your own primary care provider to make sure the diet is right for you. The South Beach Diet Phase 1 is also not designed to be used by pregnant mothers. Anyone who is pregnant or nursing should consult with their own doctor before adopting any eating plan.

Quick Tips to Survive South Beach Diet Phase 1

Are you ready to slim down? Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet is designed to be the "quick weight loss" phase of the program. Follow these tips to lose weight successfully.

  • Buy the book. I usually don't like to recommend that dieters buy products in order to lose weight. But The South Beach Diet Supercharged contains quite a bit of information about the diet that is not readily available on the free website. The diet is more than just a list of allowed foods. If you learn the reasoning and science behind the diet, you may be more motivated to stick to the plan.
  • Be realistic about the challenge. You may read that Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet is not difficult because you don't have to be hungry while on the program. I would suggest that you take that statement with a grain of salt. Changing your habits is exceptionally difficult. If you go into this plan expecting it to be easy, the difficulty could come as a surprise and could cause you to quit.  Instead, understand that learning to eat new foods is a (worthwhile) challenge. Even if you're not hungry, weaning yourself from the foods that you love is difficult. If you prepare yourself for the challenges ahead you'll be better equipped to deal with them as they arise.
  • Create a vision board. When you start any new diet, I always recommend that dieters create a vision board and post it in a place where they will see it every day. This tip is especially critical for Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. On your board, place printed lists of allowed foods and add healthy recipes from the website or the book that you plan to try. Then, add a two-week calendar to your board and check off each successful day on the diet. This vision board will remind you of how far you've come on the plan and can serve as a source of motivation on the days when you want to give up.
  • Schedule your success. In some of the South Beach Diet materials, Phase 1 is pitched as the easier part of the plan. Dr. Agatston calls it “simple and to the point.” That may be true for some dieters, but not so for others. I’m a healthy eater and this diet would require some substantial work on my part to get my kitchen in order.  So before you start Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, schedule some time to prepare your kitchen and your work/life routine for this new commitment to your health. You'll also be more likely to reach diet success if you schedule your workouts and food preparation time every few days.
  • Be proactive to banish fatigue. In The South Beach Diet Supercharged, Dr. Agatston acknowledges that some dieters may feel sluggish during Phase 1. He suggests that it may take a few days to adjust to the eating plan. I would also add that dieters should plan ahead to combat fatigue.  First, don't start the diet at a time when your schedule is already overwhelmed. The additional challenge of a new diet might be overwhelming. Then once you've started Phase 1, use natural methods to boost your energy levels even before the fatigue hits. Stay hydrated, get plenty of rest and even be mindful of good posture at work.

Are you ready for some tips to manage the South Beach Diet Phase 1 eating plan? Keep reading for more essential tips.

Now that you've tackled a few of the lifestyle challenges that may arise when you start Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, use these tips to learn how to cook and eat Phase 1 foods.

More Tips to Survive Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet

  • Focus on what you can eat. Even though many foods that you're used to eating are not allowed during Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet, there are so many foods that are allowed during this part of the plan. Print out copies of Phase 1 Foods to Enjoy to help you focus on foods that you can eat and worry less about the foods that you can't.
  • Calories and portion sizes still matter. Even though you don't specifically count calories during Phase 1, calories still matter. Eat foods that are naturally low in calories and be mindful of portion sizes. Familiarize yourself with recommended serving sizes for Phase 1 allowed foods. For example, eating a lean steak for dinner is allowed, but the recommended serving size is just 3 ounces - much smaller than a typical steak. Still hungry after eating? Dr. Agatston recommends that you eat a single serving first, then add more food after waiting 20 minutes. But remember sweet treats should be limited to just 75 -100 calories per day.
  • Read ingredient labels. Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet can be tedious because you have to avoid eating certain common foods but you also have to avoid any foods that contain those banished foods. For example, soup is allowed but soup that contains corn and carrots would not be allowed unless you remove those ingredients. Common foods like salad dressing, ketchup and salsa are allowed, but only the brands that don't contain added sugar. When you start reading ingredient labels, you'll be surprised to see how many products contain sugar and other foods that are not allowed.
  • Learn to cook (in bulk). If you don't cook already, Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet might be a good time to start. Why? Because most processed convenience foods contain ingredients that are not allowed during this phase and not recommended in Phases 2 and 3. You'll find plenty of great recipes online and in The South Beach Diet Supercharged. My suggestion? Cook in bulk so that you always have leftover food ready to eat. For example, make a big batch of Beef and Bean Chili on Sunday and then eat it during the week when your schedule gets hectic. Busy dieters can also check into food delivery services. But South Beach Diet food delivery is only available for Phases 2 and 3 and it may be too expensive for some dieters to sustain.
  • Eat snacks. Snacks are actually required on Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. So eat them! Eating healthy foods on a regular basis will help to curb hunger cravings so you don’t give in and indulge in foods that you are supposed to avoid.
  • Get fiber from vegetables. Changing your eating habits might cause your bowel habits to change. Some dieters may get constipated on Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. Try to get enough fiber from vegetables during this stage to prevent constipation. If that doesn't help, Dr. Agatston provides a recommendation for a fiber supplement in his book. He says that "plant derived psyllium or synthetic methylcellulose or polycarbophil are safe and effective" as long as you take them with water.
  • Exercise (but don't call it exercise). During Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet you are supposed to start the South Beach Diet exercise program. The exercise plan is not outlined on the free website but it is detailed in The South Beach Diet Supercharged and it is available to members who pay for the subscription tools. As a general rule, I don't recommend that dieters start a new eating and exercise plan at the same time. It can be too overwhelming and may cause you to quit. But the South Beach Diet Supercharged Fitness Program is not vigorous and it is simple to follow. Exercise may also help to relieve symptoms of constipation. If you prefer not to buy the book or pay for the tools to get the prescribed fitness routine, try to follow an easy program to increase your daily activity during Phase 1.

    Remember that Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet is just the first step of a new lifestyle for improved health. Invest as much time as you need during this critical stage to learn about the program and the foods on the plan. Then moving to Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet should be an easy transition.

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