South Beach Diet

When I was working for Microsoft, I managed to put on quite a bit of weight. In fact, I started gaining weight during my third year of college. At one time, I weighed 202 lbs (92 kg) and I’m just under 5’11”. When I first moved to Dubai I joined a gym and started getting back into shape…spending lots of time on the eliptical and exercise bike. I got down to about 191 (87 kg), but sort of got stuck at that weight. I finally decided that and adjustment in my diet was necessary.

I decided to try the South Beach Diet, though I can’t really remember why I picked it…seemed milder than the Atkins diet I think. The diet has three phases. The first phase last two weeks and is the strictest. You basically cut all of your carb and fat intake and should experience rapid weight loss. You then switch to the second phase which lasts as long as you would like. It is designed to move to more gradual weight loss (1-2 lbs per week) and reintroduces “good” carbs. The third phase is the rest of your life where you keep control on your diet and all that jazz.

Before I get into how this diet worked for me, I should probably say that everyone’s body is different and for some people diets like these work and for others they don’t. I had a lot of excess weight and my body fat percentage was pretty high. If you already have a low body fat percentage, you shouldn’t expect to loose as much. I lost about one pound per day during phase 1. During the first two weeks of phase 2, I lost another two pounds. I’ve now finished the diet and lost a total of 16 pounds (7.5 kg). During this period I did not exercise (was travelling a lot), drank plenty of liquids (you loose lots of water weight in the beginning), and took vitamins to make up for what I wasn’t eating. I followed the diet very strictly during phase 1 and did not cheat even once. It wasn’t easy, but I’m happy with the results. I’m working out again now and have been steady between 176-177 lbs (80 kg) for the past three weeks and feel great. As I start to do some weight training in the next few weeks I expect to put on a little weight, but hopefully reduce my body fat percentage further.

A lot of people have asked me for advice. My advice would be the following:

  • Buy a book and learn about the diet you choose, why it works, and any possible side effects.
  • Either do the diet religously, or don’t bother doing it. If you cheat, don’t be disappointed when you don’t loose much weight.
  • If you have any health problems, speak to your doctor first.
  • If your body fat percentage is below 25% already, don’t bother. Go to the gym and control your intake of fat and carbs and you’ll be fine. I have friends who are much thinner than me trying this diet and I can’t figure out why. No one thinks they are overweight, it’s all in their head.

Anyway, I’ll note my progress on this page if there are any major changes.

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