Healthy Balance, Healthy Life

What is the South Beach Diet All About? And What Will it Do for My Health?

Posted on: July 14, 2010

Got a question from Spagate. She’s a newlywed who began her weight loss journey in January 2010. In her own words, this has been her plan.

“My gimmick – if you will – is simple. WeightLOSS is a simple equation, one must consume fewer calories than they burn in order to lose weight. Because I wanted to lose weight “relatively quickly” but healthfully and in a “lifestyle change” way – I made it a goal to consume 700 to 1000 calories less per day than I burn. For a girl who loves food, who married a man who loves bad-for-you food – this requires time at the gym!

Here are her questions:

“What’s the deal with Southbeach? My fear with anything with a name is that it’s going to make it so that I can’t eat something – and I like to be able to eat… well everything. Not unlike you apparently, I am a hungry girl. I am just learning that the “healthier” I eat, the more I can eat (without gaining weight)!

What kind of weight do you think you’ll be looking to lose? I’d love a motivation buddy! I need as many people kicking my butt and holding me accountable as I can get!

If you don’t mind me asking – what kind of health issues do you have to contend with? So far, I’ve had my thyroid tested, and nothing’s wrong there. My dad is diabetic, so I am trying to avoid that… and there is a potential threat of Huntington’s Chorea that even though I just don’t dare to get the genetic testing, I’d like to be as healthy and fit as possible when and if bad news strikes…”

My Answer:

Hey! South Beach is awesome. Although it’s a popular name, it’s really less a fad diet and more of a lifestyle change–which is what we’re looking for anyway. I’m currently on my first day eating a DELICIOUS vegetable fritatta. Mmmm!

Here are some things the South Beach Diet does:
– Teaches you to rely on the right carbs and the right fats (the good ones) and enables you to live without the bad ones.
– Within the first two weeks of the diet, you lose between 8 and 13 pounds–probably in your midsection.
– You have three balanced meals a day–you are required to eat until you are satisfied (no hunger!).
– You will have two snacks a day.
– You will have dessert.

The Diet is broken up into three phases:

Phase one is the strictest phase and lasts two weeks. during this time you can’t have anything with sugar–no bread, no fruit, no cookies. This phase gets rid of your cravings and resets the way your body handles food.

Phase two is when you add some foods back. Fruit is definitely back. Bread and pasta are fine. Potatoes. Etc. You remain in this phase until you meet your weight loss goal.

Phase three lasts the rest of your life. It doesn’t really feel like a diet because you’ll be eating normal foods and you can forget about the Diet as long as you remember to live by its basic ideals.

Also, although there are lists of what you can and can’t have in each phase, you may find yourself at a loss of what to make or eat with those ingredients. Fortunately, there are a ton of recipes in the books from quick and easy 20 minute recipes to gourmet spreads and they are all broken down into the different phases!

I had Lyme Disease for about a year–hopefully it’s gone now! I am hypo thyroid and heart problems and diabetes run in my family.

I am not familiar with the prevention and treatment of Huntington’s but we all know that living a healthy lifestyle is the smartest way to avoid mostly anything negative.

South Beach is great for your health–it was created by a cardiologist, Arthur Agatston, for his patients! In addition to creating weight loss and changing the way your body responds to food, it alters your blood chemistry for the long-term benefit of your cardiovascular system.

**If you are interested in this diet, I recommend you either buy the book or loan it out from your library (that’s what I’ve done with the general diet book and one of the cook books!)**


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I am a 22 year old social work graduate student living in beautiful Burlington, Vermont. I love do-it-yourself projects, being active, and cooking delicious, healthy food! Feel free to leave comments or email me at You can also anonymously ask me questions at I would love to hear from you!

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