Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

May 23, 2008

My South Beach Diet Journey

This is my third day of the journey.
It started with the clear determination of losing weight. Being over 40 and a chocolate/sweets lover, would not make it easy to shed any extra pounds, but definitely qualifies me to gaining some. Actually this is exactly what happened. Slowly, slowly, the dreadful extra pounds were piling up. To the point of running out of cloths. Change the wardrobe, or lose weight? It’s a no brainer, right?

The question was: what diet should I try?
In the past I have tried the low calorie diets and it did not work well. Low-calorie diets intend to be short term because you have to restrict your total calories to as little as 500 per day (to a maximum of 1000).
Do you remember the horrible ‘cabbage soup diet’? Brrr.. Even pronouncing its name make my skin crawl and I dry heave. I tried the ‘juice fasts’: drink only fruit and vegetable juices for a few days.
Same bad result. After just one day I got dizzy, cranky, on the verge of blacking out most of the time.

My friends tried different diets and I have gained some perspective via their experience.
Two of them were on Atkins and lost lots of weight. But as soon as they resumed normal eating, and got out of Atkins diet, they gained everything back, plus extra pounds.
Although in the beginning I was tempted by Atkins after some reading I considered it too dangerous for my health- all those ketones building up into my system did not sound right.

Some people say that ketones build-up it’s just a myth launched by Atkins detractors but I don’t agree.
Why?
Because of the following facts:
– In order to provide the necessary energy for our body to function well, we have to use three main sources: glucose- coming mostly from carbs but it may come from proteins as well, fat – both from diet and from the body fat and ketones- which are derived from the metabolism of fats.
– Atkins allows eating fatty meats; so ketones derived from the metabolism of body fat, adds to the ketones derived from the metabolism of fatty food, resulting in the possibility of unhealthy ketones build-up. Our body can eliminate (via urine) only that much ketones and as smart as it seems to be regulating the level of ketones, sometimes it may be too much.

Another friend of mine started the Nutrisystem diet. Well, I guess it works for somebody who likes to eat prepackaged food, which is not my case. I try to avoid as much as possible processed food and rely on fresh one, something I can cook at home and have control over it. Plus, I like to cook something I enjoy eating, something that suits my own palate not be forced to eat whatever the company is eager to provide.
Let alone the monetary issue. I still find it hard to believe that it’s cheaper to buy prepackaged food vs. buying fresh from the store. As it stands right now, monthly cost can range from $250-$300 for food, not including additional groceries- you have to supplement the program with fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

After doing some research I decided to give it a try to the South Beach diet.
The first two weeks seem to be the most difficult ones, because I can’t have any fruits. Normally I don’t eat much fruits, and very often I have to force myself to do it. But now, I crave fruits because I know I can’t have them.
Except that, I feel great.

My first observations:
Pros
– After 3 days I lost more than a pound without feeling dizzy or cranky
– I don’t have to cook especially for me, which makes it so much easier
– I started eating much healthier because I have to balance my meals to get the nutrients without the addition of extra calories
– I found lots of interesting healthy recipes that I am going to try in the near future

Cons
– It takes time and discipline to prepare the food for the next day to take to work
– I have to cook more often than I used to do, as in ‘everyday’

All together so far so good. Seeing the scale going down it’s a big incentive. Feeling the cloths getting looser it’s even better.


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