I am three meals away from finishing the South Beach Phase 1 Diet. The plan is straightforward and does not have complicated rules, but it takes discipline to be consistent over two weeks. During this time, I lost an astounding 7 pounds.
Here's what I learned:
1. It's motivating to lose this much weight so quickly. Granted, much of it is water, but after months of little to no weight loss, it's a welcome change.
2. Sometimes a diet within a diet really works. In other words, I have my a regular food plan, which is 1,500 to 1,7000 calories a day and includes moderate portions with no forbidden foods. Then, there's short-term jump start diets like SB Phase 1, which is about 1,000 to 1,200 calories. I think that if I have a really wild food day, following this diet for a day or two will help me get back on track.
3. Crash diets make you cranky. Around day 9 or 10, I started resenting this diet and was ready to throw in the towel. It's crystallized for me how unsustainable crash diets are, but I do concede they have their place every once in awhile--especially after two weeks of overeating during the holidays!
4. Being 12 pounds from my goal weight feels amazing! Some of my size 12 pants are getting baggy. There's even one pair I can't wear without a belt. Once I lose more chub around my middle, I'll be a solid size 10 pants. I'm still a size 14 on top, thanks to the boobage, dang it.
5. Workouts are tougher while crash dieting. I've been doing okay with the exercise in the last week, but I noticed while lifting weights that my muscles were getting tired faster.
6. This diet forced me to be vigilant about what I was eating. After a year, the daily tracking of my food, etc. was turning into a grind and I was slacking off on my food choices, eating more calories, etc. I'm sure that's why I plateaued so much in late 2012.
7. I didn't plan to take a two-week break from everything during the holidays, but I think it shocked my system and revved up my metabolism. I was probably eating 2,500 calories+ a day while visiting my folks during the last week. Then, when I suddenly cut my calories to the bone, it restarted my weight loss. I think this is similar to what's called "refeeding" but I'm not sure. It's the logic behind why fitness experts are now recommending cheat meals every week or so.
Well, after breakfast tomorrow, I'll be back on my regular eating plan, but I'm going to work hard to keep the calories between 1,200 and 1,500 a day and incorporate healthier whole grains. I do have a cheat meal of BBQ ribs planned for Saturday, which I'm looking forward to.
Onward and downward!