View Full Version : South Beach Diet

10-07-2003, 07:05 AM
DH and I just started this on Sunday and so far so good... it's not as hard as I thought it would be, although I now realize what a huge bread/carb junkie I really am.

I read the book, and having taken a nutrition class and gone through a year of nursing school, I have found the information to be very practical and logical. This actually isn't some freaky diet even though the title makes it sound like it is. There is some pretty sound nutrition information in this book and it is written by a cardiologist.

There is no starving yourself and the food is all balanced and healthy (unlike Atkins). I've mostly found that I had to go out and stock up on lots of vegetables (obviously not a bad thing) and reassess the mountain of pasta that I had in my pantry.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted in case anyone else is interested in this.

10-07-2003, 07:54 AM
Please keep us posted - I've been reading up on both South Beach and Atkins and trying to decide which route to go... Are you nursing? I am still hanging onto 15 lb which won't budge...but am still nursing and Atkins says no induction while nursing... Any suggestions?

10-07-2003, 08:04 AM
Having also read Atkins (but it was a few years ago) and deciding against it, I would say the reason you wouldn't want to do it while nursing is probably because of the ketosis because of the extreme nature of the carb cutting. I personally found that Atkins makes sense as far as fewer carbs helping you to lose weight, but didn't make good health sense to me overall because it is so restrictive in regards to even vegetables, and has a lot of high cholesterol/high fat food.

South Beach is much more like a sensible diet that includes carb cutting. I wouldn't think there would be any reason while you couldn't do a modified version of this while nursing, because it is basically a healthy diet. What I would probably do if it were me is NOT do the Phase 1 part of the diet which is very restrictive about dairy, unless you thought you could be really good about getting your calcium/other vitamins, minerals, from other sources. The Phase 2 part of the diet is a little more flexible, but still would probably help you to lose weight. You may have to up the quantities a little because of your calorie requirements, but he's not that specific about quantity anyway - basically says, eat until you're full!

10-07-2003, 08:12 AM
Thought this might be helpful:

This is what I ate yesterday (Phase 1 part of diet):

6 oz V8 juice
2 hard boiled eggs
cup of coffee (reg - just couldn't give it up for decaf yet!) with land o' lakes fat free 1/2 & 1/2

mozzarella cheese stick

green salad with radicchio, tuna (I buy tuna burgers from trader joe's and saute them in a little olive oil), grape tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette
sugar free jello

15 pistachios

grilled salmon with rosemary (super easy and oh so good)
steamed asparagus (lots of it!)
tossed salad with cucumbers, grape tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette

Almond Ricotta Creme (recipe from the book) - this is actually REALLY tasty - I'm personally a sucker for cannolis and this is kind of like eating the cannoli filling - YUM!


10-07-2003, 08:13 AM
Thanks for the info. It sounds like the second stage of Atkins is similar to Phase 2 of South Beach? I will read more about South Beach (buy the book) and see how Phase 2 looks for me now. I just want to fit into my clothes!

10-07-2003, 02:10 PM
I did the research and determined that ketosis is okay while nursing. What clinched it for me is that Dr Hale says it is okay on his website. (only that it might change the taste)

there is a yahoo group for pregnant or nursing women and lowcarbing


it's for all low carb diets, nut just Atkins.

as for that 15 pounds . . . some women hang onto weight while nursing no matter what. I am that way. The last 15 won't leave until she weans, even if I go to induction levels.

Jacob Nathaniel Feb 91
Logan Elizabeth Mar 03

10-07-2003, 02:56 PM
Karen, thanks for the tip about the yahoo group - it sounds like a great resource! DH and I are planning to have our kids close together, so this will be helpful for me to see how people manage while pregnant. I submitted my info to join.

And a 2nd thing on the ketosis - Agatston, who wrote South Beach, also says that he thinks ketosis got a bad wrap undeservedly and that he agrees with many things that Atkins has to say. I just couldn't give up all the stuff you have to give up on Atkins... too hard for me. Plus DH and I only eat fish, but are otherwise vegetarian, so it would have been challenging.

10-07-2003, 04:21 PM
Thanks for this link - I will definitely join and read up on ketosis while nursing. And, it's good to hear that I'm not alone in hanging onto this annoying weight while nursing. It was no fun going out and buying some larger summer clothes but should I bite the bullet and buy some larger winter clothes too? DS is almost 8 months...reading up on weaning is another area for me to investigate.

10-07-2003, 05:51 PM
I just have to report because I'm so excited, that I have lost 3 lbs since I started on Saturday... I AM SOLD!!!

10-08-2003, 09:38 AM
Laurie, that is awesome! Keep up the great work!! :)

10-08-2003, 02:39 PM
Thanks Maureen!... I'm down another lb today for a total of 4!... I'm telling you this is unbelievable! I am not a person who loses weight easily and since I put on 50 lbs while I was pregnant, I was pretty upset. If the cure to my lifelong problem is just cutting carbs I am ready to do it for the rest of my life!

10-13-2003, 07:38 PM
Just a little update...

At the end of week 1, I can report back that I LOVE this diet! I'm not hungry, the food is great, and I can even go out to eat and find something that works! I'm also less tired and don't have these crazy "I gotta eat right now" food cravings.

I am also down 5 lbs... in one week!

If anyone has any questions about this diet, ask away!

10-13-2003, 08:16 PM
I was so happy to see your posts. I am thinking about doing this. I have PCOS and need to low carb. Sounds like it is very doable. Thanks!

10-14-2003, 06:03 AM
Melissa, let me know if you have any questions about it... I've made a bunch of the recipes in the book and while I would say everything so far has been pretty good, some are better than others. What does PCOS stand for?

Good luck!

10-15-2003, 08:10 AM
PCOS - Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Symptoms can be mild or severe, and can vary widely from woman to woman. This is part of the reason doctors often miss the diagnosis. Someone with PCOS may have one or all of the following symptoms in varying degrees:

- irregular periods: abnormal, irregular, heavy or scanty (oligomenorrhea)
- absent periods (amenorrhea)
- ovarian cysts
- hirsutism (excess facial and/or body hair)
- alopecia (male-pattern hair loss)
- obesity
- acne
- skin tags
- acanthosis nigricans (brown skin patches, often found on the nape of the neck)
- high cholesterol levels
- high blood pressure
- exhaustion and/or lack of mental alertness
- decreased sex drive
- excess "male" hormones, such as androgens, DHEAS, or testosterone
- infertility
- decreased breast size
- enlarged clitoris(rare)
- enlarged ovaries
- enlarged uterus

Note that symptoms can worsen over time or with weight gain.

from www.pcos.net

Weight loss can acutally make the symptoms go away. All of this revolves around the body's ability to deal with insulin. I am not diabetic but can become diabetic if I am not careful. They actually suggest Atkins, etc.. but South Beach really appealed to me. I don't Atkins is that healthy.

I know this is a lot of info...hope it helps! Not that I love to talk about it, but I do like making people aware of it. It affects a lot of women but no one knows about it. :(

10-15-2003, 09:45 AM

Thanks for sharing that with me, I'm actually pretty interested in this stuff (I finished a year of nursing school before I got pregnant, and have a strong interest in women's health)... I was not aware of PCOS.

It is great that you are able to control it somewhat through diet. I think you would find this diet to be very doable and the doctor who wrote this actually talks quite a bit in his book about diabetes and adult-onset diabetes and how it can often be controlled through a low-carb diet. I find this diet to be very healthy - in fact I'm probably eating way more healthfully now than when I was eating mostly whole grain carbs because I am eating much more of a variety of vegetables and fish.

I did do Atkins once for about a week a few years ago and not that I'm anti-Atkins at all, it just wasn't for me I think. Too much saturated fat and it actually made me feel really horrible... terrible headaches and constipation. I have felt absolutely fine on phase 1 of South Beach, great in fact, and I like that it includes most of what I would otherwise eat anyway - lean meats and veggies and unsaturated oils.

Good luck!

10-15-2003, 12:56 PM
I have PCOS as well and am having a tough time loosing weight.....Would you mind telling me if i have to eliminate carbs completely for the rest of my life. Or if you add it in slowly...Im dying to try out this diet...And am a tad scared..My brother is doing it though and LOOOOOOOOOOOOSING some mayor baggage he has aquired during the last 20plus years..LOL I would love to get this book but im scared to do this..Please help me not be scared i need to be back to my normal clothes my body is killing me and loosing 3pds every month or so does nothing for me...

10-15-2003, 07:59 PM

Don't be scared to do this. I know it is hard but in the end, you will be thankful. You eliminate carbs for 2 weeks but then slowly add complex carbs back into your diet. You need to low carb for the rest of your life to avoid becoming diabetic. With PCOS, it is a great possibility.

Some good resources on-line for PCOS include www.soulcysters.com and www.pcos.net . Soul Cysters is run by someone who lost a lot of weight low carbing and has excellent resources available on-line for free. Check them out.

I am in the same boat as you. I am a Boriqua too and not ready to give up my rice and beans yet. But I think about Matthew and how he needs a healthy Mom and I am all ready for it. Buy the book. It is 30% off at Borders and B&N. The receipes in the book sound delicious and nothing is really off the wall.

If you need a buddy, I will be your buddy. E-mail privately if you want :) We can do this...so let's do it!! We can even meet when you come up to NC...I live in the Raleigh area...

10-16-2003, 05:44 AM
Linda, you can do this! I have now lost 7 lbs in the first week and a half and I have a terrible time losing weight!! And this is not some wacko diet... trust me, my whole life was about beans and rice and loads of pasta up until a few weeks ago when I read this book. DH and I are both vegetarian except for eating seafood, so it made it even harder to consider doing something like this, but I was so tired of being a pudge, but more importantly, I felt like the extra weight I was carrying around was really bad for me.

I've always been a little on the "soft" side, but never really overweight where anyone would notice until I was put on bedrest during my pregnancy. Well, I felt like total crap after Emma was born... at first just for the normal reasons of having a new baby, etc, but then after a few months had passed and I still felt really lethargic and my legs hurt, etc, from carrying around my big booty, I realized I was committed to doing something serious to change things. Don't get me wrong, going to low-carb is a lifestyle change, but I was surprised at what a doable change it was! I have to say that I have even cheated some already in phase I, (just a couple of glasses of wine) and I've still lost all that weight! I've even got my mom doing it because she has such a hard time losing weight and she's a big cheater, LOL! (no willpower :), and she's still lost a few lbs in the first week. This is a woman who has been struggling along with Weight Watchers for about a year and lost ~14 lbs, only to gain a few lbs back here and there because she just had a hard time "being good".

I promise you that this really isn't something weird. I am a super healthy eater, but just never lost weight very consistently with my lowfat and high carb way of eating. This way of eating forces your body to use food more efficiently and help you to feel more full. You will not go hungry and you can eat out no problem - you just have to follow the rules. I have eaten out about 3 times in the past two weeks and had a serious meal and I'm still losing.

Let me know if you have any questions about this!

10-16-2003, 05:51 AM
This is an article from CNN.com the other day that my DH saw and it's very interesting... Harvard School of Public Health just did a research study on low-carb diet and they found that the people doing low-carb in the study actually lost the same/more weight than the people eating low fat, even though the low-carbers were actually eating 300 calories MORE per day! It was a controlled study where the food was prepared for the people instead of them just making their own food, so it should be pretty accurate.


10-16-2003, 05:55 AM
This is another article reprinted from the NY Times that's very interesting...


10-16-2003, 06:17 PM
Definately....I WOULD LOVE A BUDDY OR BUDDIES!!! LOL Melissa you sneaky person you.....URRGGGHHHH i cant believe you never told me...LOL

10-21-2003, 10:28 AM
Well, I'm just keeping you all updated... I lost 8 lbs in the first 2 weeks/Phase I of this diet, and I have to admit that I even cheated a little bit, but mostly I was pretty good. I am a very happy camper!

10-21-2003, 12:48 PM
Congratulations! Your are inspiring me! How has your body changed with the 8 lb loss? How much weight are you aiming to lose? I still haven't decided if I'll go the south beach or atkins road, but I've given myself a target start date of Mon, Nov. 3 (there's no way I'd get through halloween without eating candy!)

10-21-2003, 04:03 PM
I would say that I'm mostly losing in my midsection and butt - does it get any better?! I noticed the difference immediately in my clothes... shirts that I didn't want to wear before because they clung around my tummy are suddenly fitting great and my pants fit better... this is going to sound weird, but I even noticed that my underwear is looser ;), which to me means that I really am losing real weight and it's not some wacky diet where you lose water weight or something. My DH told me my butt really does look smaller to him!

I'm aiming to lose 40 lbs (including the 8 I've lost so far), so 32 left to go. This would put me at 12 lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight (and at close to my ideal weight for my height/build). We are planning on having children close together and ideally I'd like to start out the next pregnancy weighing a bit less than last time, because I felt like the extra weight I started with, plus my substantial weight gain during the pregnancy, was really hard on my body. We'll see what happens - I'll be happy if I at least make it back to my pre-preg weight though!

10-22-2003, 11:05 AM
I just wanted to chime in that I have been on the South Beach diet for about two months. I have lost 12 pounds. I actually lost the 12 lbs in the first month and a half. I have cheated the last few weeks and have not lost but also not gained. I just have to say that I think this diet is great. I am not hungry all the time and I am still losing weight. I also have not been working out. I think if I start working out I could lose even more weight. I used to eat all low fat food and not that much of it and not lose any weight. It was so frustrating. I am now back to being strict and hope to lose 10 more lbs. If anyone has any questions about the diet, I would be happy to answer them. Also the ricotta desserts on the diet are great. I never used to eat dessert because of the calories. Now I eat dessert and lose weight. Gotta love it :)

10-27-2003, 04:12 PM
Emmasmamma, my DH and I are starting on this diet (he started last week when I was sick and I just started it today!) My DH is like you -- a pescetarian. I can eat more foods and though I try to come up with possibilities, I think he's a little bored with the first stage. I think he can't get past what he CAN eat if it's not bread/pasta/rice/etc... He's already dropped 7-8 lbs but I think he was starving himself a bit last week. Can you tell me any good meal/snack ideas that would work well for a vegetarian/pescetarian??

I wish they had a greater variety of legal foods/vegetables listed. If it's not on the lists, I don't know if we can eat it or not! I found out online that Celery Root has a very low glycemic index so might make a good potato substitute. Also "pearled" barley is low (unlike regular barley or grains) -- it's actually lower than some of the vegetables. I'm tempted to use chickpea flour to make things like fritters or battered fish for him! I'm also keen to try making spaghetti squash "spaghetti"! :)

10-28-2003, 01:49 PM
Well, that's kind of a tough one with Phase I - I basically just toughed it out for the first two weeks and ate a ridiculous amount of fish. I did also eat some garden burgers and tofu though to break up the monotony. I've made all of the recipes for phase 1 that were pescetarian friendly I think. I particularly liked the rosemary grilled salmon which is very easy and tasty, and the orange roughy with ginger and scallions. I like your idea about chickpea flour though, that's creative!

Roasted veggies are also my new favorite thing once I discovered how easy they are to make. I've been experimenting with different vegetables. I tried a combo of red, yellow and orange peppers and sliced portobello mushrooms, and one red onion. I think the key with the roasted veggies is that you can use whichever ones you want that are allowed, just make sure to have that red onion, which gives it a great flavor (just to mention that I HATE raw onions, but the cooked ones are totally fine and don't give you that nasty breath or indigestion if raw onions in salads and stuff normally bother you).

I have to say that my DH and I both really like the surprise south beach mashed potatoes as well, that you make with cauliflower (and I don't like cauliflower normally!).

Spaghetti squash is pretty good I have to say, but I already ate that before this diet and liked it. I'm just starting to research more low carb options. My mom made a low-carb lasagna that turned out great... let me know if you're interested and I'll see if I can get the recipe - I think she found it online and tweaked it a little.

For snacks I usually have the mozzarella cheese stick or almonds which I love.


10-28-2003, 01:52 PM
Well, I was a little bit of a cheater this past week, but nothing too out of control... mostly with red wine (why am I such a lush?!) and some fried calamari one night, which I just couldn't resist... but I still managed to lose one pound overall.

I'm back on the wagon this week and am aiming to be down 2 lbs at least... wish me luck ladies!

10-28-2003, 03:02 PM
I agree that the "suprise" mashed potatoes are great. Madison loves them too and she will not touch most veggies.

10-28-2003, 03:34 PM
Any thing you all think is a MUST have and i should go BUY!! im making up my grocery list now....

10-29-2003, 07:12 AM
Linda, well you've probably already gone to the grocery store by now, but what I did was I took the recipes for the first week that I thought looked good, and all the snacks, etc, and just made a list from that... it took me a little while to make the list and it was LONG, but since then I've just been able to build on what I need and have a set grocery list in my head.

10-29-2003, 08:13 AM
Alice, I do have one other suggestion for you and your DH - I'm currently in the process of checking out low-carb cookbooks for more ideas and so far I think this one is quite good (although I haven't started cooking from it yet) - it's called, "500 low-carb recipes" and it's by Dana Carpender. While it doesn't have tons of fish recipes, it does have ideas for low-carb breads, muffins, waffles, etc, and lots of egg/omelette recipes, so I'm looking forward to trying some of these out. It also has ideas for alternatives to flour for cooking and other creative ideas for low-carb cooking that increase the flavor without the carb count. It might be worth checking out!

I also just got "low carb meals in minutes" but I haven't had a chance to go through that one yet.


10-29-2003, 09:25 AM
THANKS!! I'll check them out! :)

Hmmm...all this talk is making we wonder whether we should start a recipe thread for all the really GOOD low or no-carb recipes we've tried (and would definately do again!) To be fair to copyrights, we might just mention where we found it and a summary without listing the exact ingredients/procedures. Just a thought!

P.S. DH is getting more involved in thinking of yummy ideas that work within the diet. Today he suggested Huevos Ranchero for breakfast. I made a quick salsa: chopped tomatoes, onion, cilantro & avocado with lime juice; then fried up some eggs, topped them with low-fat feta & my salsa -- YUMMMM!!! :)

10-29-2003, 09:31 AM
That sounds like a great idea! This week is a little crazy, so I'm not sure I'm going to get to trying out too much until the weekend, when I have time to make a real grocery list and whip up some stuff. I'll keep you posted if I come across some recipes that are really yummy from the new cookbooks!

Your huevos rancheros sound fantastic!

10-29-2003, 09:35 AM
I have a question for you South Beachers. Do you feel like this diet will be your new life style? Or do you feel like it's something for now to lose weight? The reason I ask is because personally I never did a real diet because of the fear I couldn't keep it up for a lifetime. Instead I just eat more healthy in general and learned what a real portion looks like. No one wants to gain weight back after losing it. I am just curious how this diet projects itself. Something to remember ladies is that dieting is great, really it is. But please make sure you are exercising too. The fat you lose when only dieting is actually the little muscle mass that you have. But an effective diet lifeplan along with exercising is the best plan for you and your family. I personally have never heard of the South Beach Diet before. Keep up the daily discipline you are doing for you health!:-)

10-29-2003, 10:26 AM
Good question!! For me, I definately see this as a "diet" and not a life-time thing. However, when I did previous low-fat diets, I noticed that I came away with an aversion to many fats so although I wasn't as strict, I still ate pretty low fat afterwards. I'm hoping that with the South Beach Diet, I'll learn new ways of eating that don't depend on so many carbs (esp. refined carbs) so that I may end up eating with more moderation after I get to where I'd like. Also, I'd like to try to conceive again in the future, so sticking to a "diet" then will be extremely difficult!

Of course I agree with what you say about exercise! I'm trying to do that as well, although it's nice to see some pleasant results on the scale just from the diet. After 2 days (I know...too early to weigh but I just couldn't help myself! :) ) I'm down 3 lbs. After 10 days, my DH is down about 10 lbs.

10-29-2003, 10:57 AM
In an effort to jump start the scale, I am starting this today. I read the web site about what was off-limits and what was OK. But I'm not sure I have the whole picture. Are there other web sites you might recommend which provide more detail about what is OK and not? Thanks!!

11-03-2003, 07:57 AM
Well, I have to say that what started out as an "experiment" because I was convinced that eating this way couldn't possibly really work, is turning into a way of life. I have never believed in "dieting" because of the reason you mentioned. If you can't keep it up, then ultimately, you will go back to your old ways and you will gain it all back, which is even worse for you. Basically all I have done to change my the way I eat is subsituted vegetables for all of the bread and pasta I was eating and being very careful about how much sugar I eat. I eat until I'm full and it's not like I can "binge" on vegetables anyway, so the portion size issues that I had with a big plate of pasta no longer exist.

I also do a little bit of yoga and walking, but I'm planning to get more serious about my exercising too because I want to tone up as well.

11-03-2003, 09:02 AM
Have you seen this website? It is Prevention magazine. I think it is pretty thorough...


HTH! :)

11-03-2003, 09:13 AM
You inspired me to start South Beach today! I bought the book last week and shopped for the "right" foods over the weekend. ANd, I must admit I carbo/sugar binged over the weekend with thai, sushi, pancakes and leftover halloween candy. But, I'm psyched today and ready to work on these annoying 15 pounds. My challenge is with work and the baby it's almost impossible for me to make a "real" breakfast - so I had an atkins drink - figuring that would be okay. Also, what does SB say about diet sodas (non-caffeinated)? I look forward to keeping you updated!

11-03-2003, 11:46 AM
So Laurie, how much weight have you lost? I'm so excited for you!! :)

11-03-2003, 12:03 PM
Well, since you asked ;)...

I managed to lose 3 lbs last week - Yaay! So, my total since I started South Beach on October 5th is 12 lbs! And my grand total post-partum loss to date is 35 lbs... so I have 14 lbs to go until I'm at my pre-preg weight...

11-03-2003, 12:04 PM
Well, I'm not sure about web sites, but you can get the book at Sam's Club for about $15 I think.

Good luck!

01-08-2004, 06:58 PM
Question for Laurie-

What do you recommend for low-carbing without meat? Like you, we eat fish but not a lot of meat and I would prefer to continue that way. Any recommendations?

DS 12/02/02

01-08-2004, 09:29 PM
Naomi, we eat a lot of seafood, mostly salmon, but also a fair amount of other types of fish - we like catfish, tuna, sea bass, tilapia, trout... really I'll try just about anything, though and I've been much more motivated to try out different types of fish and new recipes with this diet. I try to eat ocean-caught salmon and tuna in moderation because of the mercury content, but I find that most salmon is farm-raised now anyway, so it's less of a problem. We also eat crabcakes (high on the crabmeat, low on the "cake" ;) and shrimp. When I'm looking for a quick meal though, I usually go with some sort of Boca or Gardenburger product as our protein source. My new quick dinner is spaghetti squash with Newman's Own Marinara (fairly low carb) which I try to go light on and Gardenburger "meatballs". I serve this with a salad tossed with oil and balsamic, grape tomatoes and crumbled gorgonzola cheese. We really like this as a quick meal that seems like something fancier and it's easy to keep on hand because the "meatballs" are frozen and the squash keeps for ages. I have a steamer that I find I use all the time since starting this diet because it's easy to cook with and I can just throw it in the dishwasher after. I just halve the squash and toss it in the steamer for 30 mins and go about my business. The rest just gets quickly heated up once the squash is pretty much ready and voila! I also use Boca burgers, esp at lunch time, and put one on top of a tossed salad, topped with some blue cheese and tomatoes. For something super quick it's not half bad.


01-08-2004, 09:34 PM
I hadn't really updated this in quite a while, but since the thread has been revived today, thought I'd just give an update on my overall progress with this diet.

It has now been 3 months since I started the SBD and I have lost a total of 24 lbs. I am 2 lbs away from my pre-preg weight - woo hoo!! I've been kind of stalled at the same weight for a couple of weeks now, but I think it's just a plateau... I hit a similar one after I'd lost about 12 lbs, but then it picked back up again.

I'm very excited about all of the other people having success with this on the board and wish all of you the best of luck reaching your weight loss goals!

01-11-2004, 07:25 PM
Thanks for the tips, Laurie. I start tomorrow!

btw, has anyone tried the Fish Ceviche from the book? The one that supposedly gets cooked by the acidity of the lime rather than heat? I'm a little suspicious...


01-11-2004, 08:59 PM
I have not tried that recipe, but it is a common technique. And I can assure you it works.

01-11-2004, 09:50 PM
I guess I am just not usually that adventurous! I'll think about it...

I start tomorrow, wish me luck!


01-11-2004, 10:54 PM
LOL! I've never done it at home, but I've eaten it in restaurants. :)

Good luck!