Tuesday, August 16, 2011

South Beach Phase 1 Wrap Up

So I finished Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet on Sunday. (It was a 2 week phase.) Let me give you the breakdown on how it went:

Total Weight Loss: 5 lbs. That is actually a pretty good loss for 2 weeks. But I am a bit disappointed it wasn't higher considering that the book says you'll lose 8-14 lbs the first two weeks. AND because I lost four of those 5 lbs the first week and only 1 the second week. In fact, I lost that 5th pound the first day of week two, and nothing thereafter, so watching my weight plateau for 6 straight days was frustrating. Still, I can't complain too much for dropping 5 lbs so easily.

How It Went: I stopped doing daily play by plays of my food intake and stuff because I didn't want to bore anyone. But I continued to eat either eggs or my spinach pie muffins for breakfast with a glass of milk, usually a salad for lunch (or sometimes leftovers), and a lean protein with vegetables for dinner. My snacks mostly consisted of string cheese, nuts, hummus with cucumbers, or a PB eggnog. Except for the occasional feeling of being "proteined out," it was a pretty satisfying diet.

As far as hunger goes, after day 3 I hardly ever felt hungry. In fact, my hunger was way less on this diet than it normally is between meals when I'm not dieting. See, aside from the strong sugar cravings we all know we get from eating sweets, not eating any carbs made me realize that carbs in general are what cause hunger, that gnawing "I'm starving!" hunger. Because once I stopped eating carbs altogether, I simply didn't think about food and never felt starving. I often didn't eat breakfast until 9 or 10 (after waking up at 7) and often delayed meals and snacks because I simply wasn't hungry. What a novel experience...to be on a diet and not be hungry!! For that reason alone, I can highly recommend this diet. And the sugar/dessert cravings that usually plague me 3-4 times a day just went away. It's been 3+ weeks since I've had a single treat and although I'd enjoy one, I hardly miss it. But the main thing about this diet is, I feel good. I know the extra greens and veggies have done my body good. Like I said, occasionally my stomach has felt over-proteined and heavy, but then I'd eat a big salad and I felt fine again. So other than that, this has been the easiest and body-friendliest diet I've ever done.

Now on to Phase 2.

Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet is where the real weight loss is supposed to take place. Not at the high rate of Phase 1, but Phase 2 is the long-term diet. Phase 1 is really only supposed to cleanse your system of all the carb-havoc you've done, get rid of the cravings and the insulin resistance you've built up, and allow you to diet for real without feeling hungry and craving sweets. On this phase of the diet (which lasts as long as you still want to lose weight), you are supposed to lose 1-2 lbs a week. You slowly reintroduce good carbs into your diet (whole grains and low glycemic index fruits and veggies). In week 1 you have one serving of either fruit or whole grains a day. You monitor what your body does--if it doesn't gain weight or start up your cravings again, you go up to two servings of either fruit or whole grains a day in the 2nd week, and so on.

Yesterday, I started off with my new carb being a strawberry smoothy. I used to eat those on HCG--just strawberries, non-fat Greek yogurt, milk, ice and Truvia--and they are satisfying and healthy. But at lunch my whole grain Kashi tv dinner was calling my name, so I ate that (which had a small portion of whole grain rice-ish stuff). Then I decided maybe I'd take the whole day off my diet, and I had fajitas (with two tiny tortillas) for dinner. So I actually had 3 carbs yesterday instead of one, but today I feel fine, no extra cravings or hunger, and no weight gain. And the break was nice. I feel totally ready to go back to super-low carbing.

So, today I'm not sure what whole grain or fruit I'll have, but I'm only going to weigh myself 2x a week now--Monday and Friday. As long as I'm not gaining, I'll feel OK to increase to 2 carbs next week.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Deep Thoughts, by Arianne

I used to be really anal retentive about my kids' play-doh. I would make them be super careful not to mix the colors, and to put it away immediately when they were done to keep it soft and fresh. And then I realized, "Hey, I don't give a crap!"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

South Beach Days 5 and 6

Yep, pissed was a good word for it. When I weighed myself on day 5 (yesterday) I had GAINED A POUND. What the? I'm not sure why. I kept to the diet pretty well the day before. I had one small cheat where I ate 1 of bid daddy's coconut shrimp when we went out to dinner. Shrimp is allowed, but coconut is not allowed. And there was probably approximately 1/2 tsp of flour attached to the coconut breading, also not allowed. But other than that, I did really well. Even going out to dinner, I ate very well. Salad, no croutons. (But there were carrots. Hmmm.) Vegetables for my side dish. And Halibut Oscar for my entree. I even drank a, gasp, DIET Coke. So I don't know. Maybe water weight being recouped from my stomach bug? Who knows. But I was not happy about it. I decided, however, to stick with the diet, even after 3 days of no weight loss. And I'm happy to report that today, Day 6, I'm back down that 1 lb I gained yesterday, and within .4 lbs of my lowest weight on this diet. So it's not all bad. Still, after nearly a week, I'd hoped to be down more than 3 lbs. I guess I still have today.

And I have to tell you, I am AMAZED at the change in my body. Not how I look, but how I feel. I have pretty much stopped being hungry! I am eating far less calories a day than I have for the last year (around 1200-1400 a day) and I am NOT HUNGRY. Last night, for example, we went to a family reunion. We were all asked to bring our favorite hors de oeuvres. Knowing I probably wouldn't be able to eat anything there but maybe a burger patty, I made deviled eggs, which I can eat. Then right as we got there, Pippa had a blow out. By the time I got her changed into new clothes and a fresh diaper, nearly all the food was gone. And there were no burger patties there at all. It was ONLY hors de oeuvres. So all I got was a scoop of spinach salad, some of that cream cheese covered with shrimp and some red sauce (no crackers), a couple of Swedish meat balls, and some bean dip. Not even a single deviled egg! It was about half a plate of food. And yet, I wasn't hungry for the rest of the night. It's amazing how little I think of food now. I don't get cravings for desserts, and I can subsist very comfortably on way less calories than I should. So that's one thing I can say for this diet--getting my body off the carb cravings has been very eye opening to how powerful they can be and how much they cyclically make you hungry for more.

So the results for today? Down 1 lb, down 3.2 overall.

And I feel very encouraged about continuing this diet. Especially since those spinach pie muffins turned out DELICIOUS and I've been eating them every day for breakfast, hallelujah no more eggs.

South Beach Day 4

I have to say, this diet is getting easier. I'm getting more used to what I can and can't eat. I'm feeling less and less hungry. And I miss carbs so much less now. Yes, I'd still like a nice big slice of chocolate cake every day. But I don't crave it. And I don't miss carbs at lunch and dinner so much. I even went to a party last night where there were plates filled with fresh fruit, cookies, candy, and fresh salsa with chips and I didn't have any of it! I did, however, eat quite a few chunks from the cheese plate. Thank goodness for cheese. ( I also may or may not have had a dream about making out with a gooey chocolate chunk cookie. Allegedly.)

Really the only hard time for me is breakfast, like I've said. It's when I do my best job of loading carbs directly onto my hips. But I am trying a recipe today that may help. Have you ever had those Greek spinach pies (spinakopita)? It's a recipe for those with no phyllo dough. I got the recipe here. I put mine in muffin tins so I could heat up a couple for breakfast (it made 11 spinach pie muffins).

Here's what I ate yesterday:

Breakfast: 2 hard boiled eggs + 2 slices of turkey bacon. 1/2 cup 1% milk.
Snack: Peanut Butter Eggnog (no egg. My stomach felt too off for a raw egg.)
Lunch: 6 oz broiled Dijon salmon, steamed lemon spinach
Dinner: Cobb Salad + 8 squares of various cheeses
Snack: Celery with Laughing Cow Cheese on it

How It Went: I think I was still feeling the effects of the stomach flu, so I wasn't terribly hungry yesterday and nothing really sounded that appetizing. So eating minimally was pretty easy.

Result: 0.2 lbs gain. :( I can't say I'm completely surprised. I got very dehydrated from that stomach bug, so I think my body has been trying to recoup all liquids for the last two days. BUT...if I'm not losing weight again by tomorrow, I'm going to be very sad. No, pissed. Pissed is more the right word.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Hammer and a Nail

Make that a blow dryer and a nail. Last night I went to a party that featured Jamberry Nails, a new company that sells self-manicures, so to speak. They make absolutely adorable patterned (and even plain) nail covers that are somewhere between vinyl lettering and shrink wrapping your nails. They last a long time and look oh, so cute! Check it out...

I was sold just on the fact that they don't chip. I only paint my finger nails about twice a year because I HATE how the very next day they are chipped. It's just not worth all the effort. But these stay shiny and look fantastic for quite a while, I'm told. I've only had mine on for a day, but after having done the dishes, washed the kitchen counters, and cooked breakfast (requiring me to wash my hands several times), they are still on, still looking perfect. Woo hoo!

It starts with a page like this:

You cut them down to the right size, hold them to a blow dryer for a few seconds, apply, and smooth down. The ultra clingy adhesive sticks down really well. And yet it peels off easily, without damaging your nail, when you're done with them. After having done glitter nails, which looked awesome but ruined my toe nails when I tried to take them off, I'm all for this.

Just thought I'd pass it on!

(And no, they didn't pay me to say this. But they probably should!)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

South Beach Diet, Day 3

So my stomach flu continued all day yesterday. I had been up all night with Beck, who was puking. Pippa slept through the night, but she puked a lot during the next day. So between my runs and those two kids' issues, it was a long hard night and an exhausting day. And my appetite never returned, so I ate very little. My calorie counter put me at about 850 calories.

Breakfast: 1/2 cup Carnation Instant Breakfast, 3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese. (When I woke up and got hit with a huge wave of nausea, I had to put something in my stomach immediately that would calm it so I wouldn't barf. So even though this was a cheat, it was a lifesaver for my nausea.)

Lunch: Turkey burger patty with provolone cheese and 1 TBS guacamole

Dinner: 1 1/2 cups bean with bacon soup.

Late night snack: two handfuls of pistachios

How it Went: Surprisingly easy! LOL. Nothing like an upset tummy to squelch your cravings. I didn't even want any faux dessert.

Result: 0 weight loss. Yeah, that was a disappointment because, after eating so little, I'd expected a couple more lbs loss. But maybe I ate so little that my body went into starvation mode. Or who knows. But after the 2.4 lb loss the day before, I'm still down 3 1/2 lbs for 3 days of dieting, which is super awesome.

So far, overall, this diet isn't that hard. It's not that hard leaving off the carbs at mealtimes. I don't really crave the rice or pasta I usually eat with dinner. It would be nice to have it, but it isn't killing me to go without it. Breakfast, on the other hand, is hard. I don't really like eggs. I have to choke them down. So right now, with my stomach still being off, there's no way I can attempt eggs. And low fat cottage cheese just isn't that filling or delectable. So I'd kill for a bowl of oatmeal or a piece of toast right now.

Also, there is a general lack of fullness you feel when you're not eating ANY carbs. Even when I had that delicious piece of salmon with veggies, and the taste and amount were totally good, there's a feeling of satisfaction you get in your stomach from carbs that just doesn't come from protein or veggies. You always feel just a little bit hollow, even when you're full. I'd love to have just a half a slice of whole grain toast with each meal. I guess once I get through this 2 week cleanse, that's precisely what I'll be doing. And it will feel GREAT.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

South Beach, Day 2

Day 2.

Breakfast: Peanut Butter Egg Nog* (This is a little thing I ate a ton growing up. It's not like the rich, decadent eggnog you have at Christmas. It's a thinner, poor man's version, made with milk, not cream. You put nutmeg in the original version, which gives it a vaguely egg-noggy taste. Or you can make the peanut butter version, which ups the protein quotient and gives it a yummy flavor. See the recipe below for my South Beach version).

Snack: Hard boiled egg (about the only way I actually enjoy eating eggs.)

Lunch: Spinach salad with spicy pecans, feta, and dried fruit. Yes, I did eat that 1 TBS of dried cranberries and pears that came with it. I thought about throwing them out, but I don't love spinach THAT much, so I guess that counts as my first cheat.

Snack: Cucumber slices with hummus. YUM! Not terribly filling, it turns out, but super delicious. Also, I ate a sugar-free fudgsicle. In case you've never tried one (and why would you...you're sane, right?) let me just say, they are only vaguely reminiscent of fudgsicles. Slight buttery taste, very slight chocolate flavor, a faint sweetness...pretty gutsy trying to pass those off as a dessert, Fake Fudgsicle People, but better than nothing at this point, I guess. How diabetics do it, I don't know.

Dinner: Chicken Cordon Blue, roasted veggies.

Desssert: South Beach Peanut Butter Cup (Which is a sugar free fudgsicle, 2 tsp lite cool whip, and a TBS natural peanut butter all stirred together until smooth. It was so delicious I literally LICKED THE BOWL.)

How It Went: Better than yesterday. No hunger headaches. I felt mildly hungry several times during the day (mostly at/after snack times, which are usually my big carb load ups), but nothing awful. And knowing I could go have another snack if I really wanted to helped me from feeling deprived and wanting to gorge on dark chocolate truffles just to show my stupid diet who's boss. (I'm not the only one who does this, right? I just hate a controlling diet, always telling me what to do!)

Result: 2.4 lbs loss!!! (Now before you get too excited, I need to add that I got the stomach flu in the very early morning hours, and by the time I weighed myself, I'd already made about 7 trips to the bathroom. So, this is not a normal weight loss.)

*South Beach Peanut Butter Egg-Nog
1 1/2 cups low fat or fat free milk
1-2 TBS natural peanut butter, depending on how peanut-buttery you like it
3 Packets Truvia
1 egg
Mix in a blender or with a hand blender until frothy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

South Beach, Day 1

I've just finished my first full day of the South Beach Diet, so here's a little breakdown on how it went.

First, if you don't know anything about the South Beach Diet, its simplified version is pretty logical and sound: Eat less processed sugar and white carbs, eat more whole grains, lean meats and vegetables. It was started by a cardiologist who invented the diet for his patients to make them more healthy and improve their "blood chemistry." But he noticed a lot of weight loss occurring, so he tweaked the diet to make it a more mainstream weight-loss diet.

Phase 1, the first two weeks, you eat NO CARBS. None. No sugar, no flour, no grains, no fruit. Nothing. The idea being that we've all become totally insulin dependent and our bodies are completely whacked out from all the refined flour and sugar we eat. So this a sort of cleanse to get your body responding normally to food again. During this phase, you DO eat as much as you want of the approved foods, so it's not about starving yourself. Approved foods include most vegetables, most meats (no bacon, sausage or super fatty cuts of beef, though), eggs, dairy, nuts, olive oil, and even full-fat dressing! After HCG, this feels positively liberal. You're supposed to lose 8-14 lbs during Phase 1.

Phase 2 lasts as long as you want to continue to lose weight. You are supposed to lose 1-2 lbs a week. In this phase you slowly re-introduce whole grains and fruit back into your diet. Oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, etc. are all allowed now, as well as fruits.

Phase 3 is basically eating normally. The hope is that your new "normal" includes lots of whole grains, lean meats, veggies and fruits and very little processed sugar and white flour. However, it does allow you an occasional indulgence, as long as you don't overdo it. If you do overdo it, and you notice a weight increase, you go back to Phase 1 until you have it under control.

Sounds good, right?

So here's how it went yesterday...

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with ham and cheese
Glass of milk

Snack: String Cheese

Lunch: Chef Salad, Crystal Light

Snack: Pistachios, Dt. Mountain Dew, later a piece of lime-marinated turkey breast

Dinner: Pan-Seared Salmon and Sauteed vegetables

Dessert: Sugar free hard candy

How it Went: First of all, I don't really like eggs. So eating eggs for breakfast each day is going to be very hard for me. I choked them down (they're more palatable with cheese and ham, but still not that great). By 10:30 I was pretty hungry. So I had some string cheese. Within half an hour I was so hungry I had a headache. I usually do fine with a salad for lunch, but I think the lack of carbs for breakfast and no carbs for a pick me up left me feeling quiet hungry after lunch. So I ate some pistachios and took some Advil with my Mountain Dew, just in case it was caffeine related, not hunger related. I was still really hungry after that, and my headache was still there, so I found a lime-marinated turkey breast from a few days ago in the fridge and ate that. That satisfied me for quite a while. By dinner I was hungry again, but my headache was gone and I wasn't starving. We ate out and asked them to replace our potatoes with more vegetables. It was a fantastic dinner and left me feeling very satisfied all evening. I got a little hungry before bed, which I always do. I thought about making an approved dessert (there are a few), but I decided not to eat any calories before bed. Instead I just sucked on some fruit candy, and, surprisingly, that kept my mouth and mind off food. Overall, it wasn't too bad. I definitely could have used a slice of wheat toast with lunch, but the rest of the day didn't feel too different.

Result: 1.2 lbs loss! WOOT!

Visiting Florida, Metaphorically Speaking

I'm in South Beach! No, not this kind. Not even the white sand beach in Florida kind. I wish. It would be a lot more fun than the South Beach DIET, which is what I'm really visiting. But the sad fact is that any and all baby-weight loss that was going to happen on its own stopped long ago, and now it's sliding back uphill. It has left me about 23 lbs heavier than I was pre-baby. WAH. So I'm going to have to buckle down and start doing something about it.

If you have read my blog, you'll know that I did the HCG diet last summer. It was very successful. I got down to my college weight (i.e. my super mega dream weight), and I felt fantastic! But the HCG diet was brutal. Really brutal. I-want-to-die-just-thinking-about-it brutal. So clearly I don't want to have to do it again unless it's an absolute last resort. I thought about (and actually signed up for) Weight Watchers 6 weeks ago, but either my pregnancy hormones were messing with me or it just wasn't enough of a diet because I lost no weight in that time. So I thought I'd try something new--The South Beach Diet.

I was a little worried about posting my progress with a new diet on my blog. I don't want to come off as a wacky, repetitive crash dieter or anything. But the fact is, I need somewhere to document my progress and to force myself to be accountable. And last time I did that with the HCG diet, it really helped me to be able to post what I was eating, how I was feeling, and how well it was working. I even got a few people respond with their experiences, which helped a ton too. So if you don't like reading about me dieting (those 3 of you left who still read my blog), I'm sorry. I'll try to post a few other things to keep you all from completely abandoning me. But if you have comments, questions, thoughts, support, or know someone who is in the same boat/has experience with this diet, please chime in, send them over, or just give me a WOOT should I actually happen to shave an inch or two off my gut.

Here goes...South Beach or bust!