A week at the Beach — South Beach, that is

Pour Me Some Whine has returned to its not-so-regularly scheduled appearance. Sorry for the absence …

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It took me a while to become convinced that I needed to try the South Beach diet.

Friends had used it and had much success. They touted its benefits and even talked about how much they liked it.

“Liked it?” I can hear your thoughts from here. “Really? They liked it?”

That’s what I thought too. It’s a diet, after all – what is there to like? How could you possibly like something that restricts your foods in both quality and quantity, no matter what the end result could be? And South Beach? The one that says no breads or starches, no sugar and no fruits for the first two weeks? Really?

This photo, taken in early October 2010, spurred my motivation to start the South Beach diet. That's me on the left, in the short-sleeved green shirt.

Really.

I’ve been on the South Beach diet for a week now and, I have to say, it’s not too bad at all.

In fact, I kind of like it.

To back up a bit, I’ve been slowly gaining weight over the last three years or so. When I was divorced in 2002 I lost a LOT of weight – about 115 pounds – and dropped to a size smaller than I was even in college. I loved it, although some people (read: my Mom) thought maybe I was too thin. (There’s something I’ve never said before or since.)

I managed to maintain that weight and size for about five years – mostly because, I think, I was dating a man who smoked and, having always loved the smell, I started smoking again. I continued smoking for about a year after the relationship ended, then I quit – cold turkey.

Having quit smoking before, about 14 years earlier, I knew what could happen with my weight. I was determined that this time it wouldn’t happen, I would be careful because I was aware.

But it happened anyway.

I never denied that I was gaining weight, I think I was just unaware of how it looked. Then the picture above was taken recently at a friend’s birthday party. I knew I needed to get serious. (I do have to say that part of it depends on the photo – the one I use for my Facebook profile was taken exactly four weeks earlier, and I’ve maintained the same weight since February.)

Enter South Beach.

My friend and cousin Cara had recommended the South Beach diet a few times after having to listen to me whine about my weight for weeks. She did it a few years ago, loved it and has managed to keep the weight off.

“Eh,” I thought. “Maybe.”

Then came the before-mentioned photo. I couldn’t get to Barnes & Noble fast enough to get a copy of the South Beach book.

Of course, pessimist that I am, I skipped straight to the “Foods to Avoid During Phase I” page. All alcohol, all baked goods, all fruits (Fruits? Aren’t they supposed to be good for you? Oh, yeah – that natural sugar thing …) and fruit juices. Even some vegetables, like carrots, green peas and all potatoes, are on the list of things to stay away from during Phase I.

Then I looked at the “Foods to Enjoy” section – all six pages of it. I couldn’t believe it. White meat poultry, lean cuts of beef and pork, all the vegetables (except the banned ones) my heart desires – with a minimum of 2 cups at both lunch and dinner. It doesn’t really feel like much of a diet.

One week – and one weekend – down and I’m feeling pretty good. Have I lost weight? I don’t know, I banished the scale from my house years ago. But I feel good, I’m not starving and I can really see this as something that will last beyond the time it takes to get to my goal (two sizes by Christmas, for those wondering).

Pour Me Some Whine won’t become a diet journal – but there will be occasional updates … 🙂

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