Not an Extreme Diet

Doug and I have been doing the South Beach Diet for about a week now and have had some incredible results. I thought I’d share what the diet’s all about and my experience with it as a breastfeeding mom.

The basic premise of the South Beach Diet is to cut carbs and certain fats. Most food that is allowed, you can have as much as you want and you shouldn’t feel hungry. There are three phases:

Phase 1:

This phase is only two weeks long and is meant to re-balance your insulin levels by depriving your body of sugar and carbs. You may eat all the vegetables, lean meats, and legumes you want. You can also have dairy, but limited to low-fat varieties and only a few servings a day. In this phase, as with the other two, you’re supposed to exercise 20 minutes a day.

Phase 2:

Now you can add in one carb a day, whether it’s fruit or whole grain. Still no sugar. You can stay on this phase for however many weeks, months, or years you need to lose your desired weight.

Phase 3:

At last, this is the life-long weight maintenance phase, where you can have a few servings of carbs a day, but your eating habits are to be governed by the lessons you learned in the first two phases. If you start to gain weight back, you can return to Phase Two for a while.

A typical day for Doug an me involves no hunger or discomfort. For breakfast, we’ll have an egg-white omelet with mozzarella, ¬†onion, peppers, ham, mushrooms, and salsa. Lunch is usually a salad of some sort with meat in it. Then dinner is usually something Mexican using lettuce instead of tortillas or salmon burgers using lettuce for a bun. If we need to snack, we’ll eat celery with Laughing Cow spread in it or a bowl of cottage cheese or leftovers from dinner the night before. We can even have desserts made with splenda, such as pumpkin pie or cheesecake.

We’ve been on the South Beach Diet, Phase 1 for a week, and have each lost seven pounds.

So how do I feel?

I can’t say I feel totally normal. Yes, it’s an easy diet and I’m not starving myself, but in reality, the human body needs carbs to function. That’s why Phase one is only a couple of weeks. I fatigue easily during exercise- I believe it’s because my body uses carbs to make glycogen, which is the type of sugar stored in your muscles for exercise. I also feel ready for bed earlier at night. I have not noticed a difference in producing milk for my nursing baby- some people say they do, and that’s why nursing women are supposed to skip Phase One and start on Phase Two. ¬†And lastly, to me, the most noticeable negative is that my mind is slow and I’m having a hard time focusing, especially when I need to be quick, like during a conversation. It’s hard to be interested in the usual things and I’ve also been a bit more grumpy.

But there are some positives that make this diet worth it. Yesterday I went running and had the fastest mile times I’ve had postpartum. My clothes are starting to fit a little better. I’m bumping against corners less because my body is returning to the size that it’s used to. But of course, the biggest perk to the diet, the reason I’m doing it at all, is because I’m getting quick results with no pain. Seven pounds in a week is pretty good for someone who’s not starving herself.

I intend to continue Phase 1 through next weekend and then doing Phase 2 through the holidays. I have 30 pounds to go and a whole stack of non-maternity jeans calling my name. Wish me luck!

A quick note on Gratitude

It’s November and time to evaluate our lives, count our blessings, and give credit where credit is due. I thought I’d write a quick note on what gratitude means to me and a few things I’m grateful for.

As adults, I think we focus on identifying problems and fixing them. Some would call this criticism. I think it’s a healthy habit and necessary for success. It’s empowering to see that we can make better choices every day and see the improvements in our lives. Being independent is crucial to being functional members of society, and having faith in ourselves is the only way we’re willing to take risks and work hard to become who we’re meant to be.

So why do we even need gratitude?

My theory is that it’s all about vulnerability.

We are naturally alone in the world. We can only hear the thoughts in our own heads. We can only control our own actions. We can only really understand ourselves because we know ourselves from the inside. This solidarity is a fact of life, but it also limits our power. We cannot accomplish as much alone and we can’t be happy and balanced without our relationships with others.

Vulnerability is sharing yourself with others. It takes vulnerability to admit you can’t do everything yourself and to show others that you need them. When we show gratitude, we admit to ourselves and others that the relationship is greater than the sum of the parts. Vulnerability and gratitude are a gateway to developing love, which is our chief goal in life.

I’m grateful for my family who develops me through work, play, frustration, and affection. We have a good life and I enjoy the time we have together. My husband is cheerful and witty and always puts me first. My kids are wiggly and cute and make my life busy and full. We have a house that’s safe and climate controlled. I have a religion that provides me with a wonderful community and a faith that never ceases to exercise my intellect and open my mind. I have close friends who have complementary brain-waves and understand me, even when I don’t understand myself. I’m grateful for life and every day I reflect on how excited I am that it’s my turn to be a 28 year old. I’m grateful for my imperfections which give me character, my talents that make me adequate, and my autonomy to craft my life into my own unique creation.

I’m grate full for my reader(s). What are you grateful for?