Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Diet #28, The South Beach Diet

Turns out the only way that Paul McKenna can make me thin if I was too thin to start with, and he has just made me "normal" thin (highly unlikely!!!). I put on 5lbs this week. Here's me Slowly and Consciously plowing my way through a plate of chocolate brownie and Ben & Jerry's Phish Food ice cream (I heard that if you eat standing up it doesn't count...)

This week, The South Beach Diet. This puts me firmly in mind of denim-hotpant-wearing, bikini-clad girls rollerblading along the sea front, a la 1980's tampons advertisement. More surprisingly, what you get is a very serious, middle-aged cardiologist, who has (unlike virtually every diet book I've read this year), thoroughly researched his material and presented his findings to a series of highbrow sounding conferences. He's just lucky enough to live near Miami's South Beach!

This is a long, slightly dull, very text-heavy book, filled with scientific facts, and peppered with anecdotal evidence from previously fat, seriously unhealthy, mostly Americans, who have had long-term success in keeping the weight off with this method. Predictably, it follows the same formula as many: Slag off other diets (Piritkin - worsens cholesterol and triglycerides; Atkins - too much saturated fat; Ornish - too many carbs, too little fat, too hard to follow), so what's a guy to do but make up his own, best-selling, multi-million dollar generating diet.

Actually, in this instance, this is a bit unfair. Dr Arthur Agatston, the author of this diet, seems to have fallen into this totally accidentally (much like me and blogging). As a cardiologist treating a number of overweight patients, he saw that many diets weren't working, and developed his own. A news channel picked up on his success, and featured a series of dieters following his plan - worldwide acclaim followed.

In brief, this diet is relatively simple. For the first two weeks (Phase 1), there is severe carb restriction. Phase two begins to reintroduce carbs slowly, until desired weightloss is achieved. The carb restriction is more Atkins than Dukan - it allows for vegetables which makes the biggest difference to the managability of this plan.

Whilst I initially loved Atkins, and the immediate results I achieved, more recently, Dukan has put me off carb restriction for life, even for such a short period of time, so this is difficult to stick to. I'm sick to death of eggs for breakfast, so yesterday polished off what can only be described as a bucket of yoghurt instead. The first phase of this diet doesn't allow for any fruit, so I'm having to be inventive with my vegetables, so that I don't die of scurvy.

A positive side of these diets is that i'm having to be truly creative when it comes to interesting food. Yesterday, an early morning trip to Tesco resulted in a babybel-stuffed celery snack, and my lunchtime jaunt to to M&S inspired a bag of salad and mackrel - all for only £2.59. Bargain!

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