New Year's Resolutions :: The "D" Word

I don't really believe in diets, for myself. I don't really believe in dieting, for myself. I believe in eating well and in moderation. There have been times in my life when I've needed a diet and times when I've dieted with great success. After 2 of my children were born I had a hard time shedding those baby pounds. And now, as I near my late 40s (though some may argue that I am already in my late 40s) I feel things shifting and slowing down. I refuse to blame it on the aging process, though I am sure that is in a small way a contributing factor. I work out regularly, at least 3 times a week and preferably 5 times a week, if not more. But even, as active as I am, the mixture of delicious holiday treats and fine dining at some of my area's top restaurants have clearly taken a toll. The endless glasses of wine didn't help either.

And while the scale may lie, the jeans never do! I'm not the type who can cut out a little here and there. I will always find a way to cheat - trust me on this! I have to go to extremes. I need a strict way of eating to help me get back on track. Yes, the dreaded D word. 

Although I really don't have much to lose I do need to buckle down. For me, this means no wine. No sugar. No booze. No Carbohydrates. On Facebook I have dubbed this my "No sugar, no carb, no booze, no fun diet." Why so extreme? Well, it's really not that extreme for that long. There's a 2 week incubation period which is vitally important. While I am a very healthy eater, I often tend to snack and graze on things that are not so great for me - crackers, carbs, and such. And usually whatever it is I'm grazing on, I'm not really paying much attention to ... So, for me, it's less about eating better, but eating smarter, which means cutting out the carbs and the sugar. Unfortunately wine falls into both category. Because I have posted this on Facebook a few people have asked what it is I am doing. And so, here I am, sharing with all those who may be interested. 

There are a million diets out there from Paleo, to the Alkaline diet to Atkins, to Weight Watchers, to the Zone, to Mayo Clinic to the South Beach Diet. I have chosen the latter, The South Beach Diet, to get me back on track. I have chosen this simply because it works for me and has worked for me. I cannot (don't want to) cut out legumes or dairy - they're an important part of my diet. I don't need or eat much red meat. I love my veggies and legumes and eat a fair amount of fish, seafood and poultry. What's best with this particular diet, for me, is that I can find something to eat every day, even if I chose to go out to a restaurant. I can prepare my own meals and don't have to buy or eat any pre-fab, pre-packaged foods. And how good can those be for you anyhow? Other than removing bread and sugar from my diet, not much else changes. And after 2 weeks, whole grain breads can be added back in. I adore fresh fruit - apples, berries, etc. For the first 2 weeks these are not allowed.  

I put myself on a diet on December 27th. I didn't wait for New Year's. My real motivator was a ballgown I had hoped to get into by January 8th. (Yikes, that's the day after tomorrow!) The dress is actually a skirt - formal, taffeta, ballgown length. And it was tight. Uncomfortably tight.

I weighed myself daily for the first few days when the weight dropped quickly. After taking New Year's Eve and New Year's Day off, I decided not to hop on the scale daily. I have not been on since. I will let my clothes, not the scale tell my story. I haven't tried the skirt back on yet either. And now, I am not entirely sure I will wear it. But I do know that whether or not I wear the skirt, I will stick with this until I meet my goal. Is this a resolution? No, it's simply a desire to feel, look and be my best. 

Interested? Here's how it works according to their website. 

"Phase 1 — Star Losing Weight

During the first two weeks of the South Beach Diet™, you'll learn how to eat in a new way. Whether you're shedding a few vanity pounds or working on a major weight-loss goal, this is the realistic and delicious way to start losing your extra pounds.

What you'll eat: You'll eat normal-size helpings of meat and seafood (like chicken, beef, fish, and shrimp). You'll have plenty of vegetables, eggs, cheese, and nuts. You'll have salads with real olive oil in the dressing. You'll have three balanced meals a day. You'll eat great foods and satisfy your hunger.

The South Beach Diet™ will also help you banish cravings and avoid the sensation that you need more food. You'll be urged to have snacks twice a day. You can have dessert after dinner. You can drink diet soda. You can even eat out!

What you won't eat: For the first 14 days you won't have any bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, or baked goods. No fruit, even. Before you panic: You'll begin adding those things back into your diet again in two weeks. But for right now, they're off-limits. You also won't eat candy, cake, cookies, ice cream, or sugar for two weeks. Also no beer or alcohol. After this phase, though, you'll be free to drink wine again and eat a wider variety of desserts.

It may sound tough, but you're going to be shocked at how painlessly two weeks will pass without these foods. The first day or two may be challenging; but after that, it will seem like the only way to eat. The South Beach Diet™ may be new to you, but it has existed for several years, and has helped literally thousands of people start losing weight and eating right."

After this phase you can gradually add healthy complex carbohydrates back into your diet. I tend to keep away from the breads and grains and eat fresh fruit. I even have a glass of red wine every now and again. During this phase, known as Phase 2, you'll continue to eat this way until you achieve your desired results. Phase 3 is the maintenance phase.

This diet does not frown upon an occasional diet soda, diet iced teas (drink mixes like Crystal Light) or Splenda and other sugar substitutes. I can still have 1% milk in my coffee and have it sweetened. Purists won't like this, but it's what helps keep me focused and on track. The key to any successful weight loss routine is that it works for you, your lifestyle and body type.