South Beach Diet: Why It Helped Me Where Other Diets Failed


Since I have been on a continuous journey to become healthy and lose weight, I have read several books in which the author outlines their key steps to success. Every book claims that this will be the book that will change your life.

The author fills the book with food and fitness plans that will bring success along with testimonials to let you know that others have paved the way to reinforce the claim that this particular plan will change your life. Each time I began reading the book, I did so with a positive outlook and firm belief that the author’s claims were true – this book will change my life.

My experience has shown that the book will change my next couple days, weeks or months; not life. Each time I had tried something new and didn’t follow through with it, I lost a little more faith in my ability to reach my goals; and I usually gained back the weight I lost while following the plan.

While I hadn’t stuck to one plan to completion, there is one plan that I still incorporate in my life today – The South Beach Diet.

The South Beach Diet was founded by Dr. Agatston, a cardiologist who found himself on a quest to find the best heart healthy diet for his patients. Not only did Dr. Agatston succeed at his quest, he also found that he created a diet that could help people lose weight and experience other benefits as well.

When I say diet in regard to the South Beach Diet, I mean the foods that we eat. The South Beach Diet is not so much a limit of things we cannot have, but a lifestyle change. Let me explain.

One of the first things I learned about the South Beach Diet was that it consists of three phases.

  1. Phase One should last for two weeks and the purpose is to eliminate cravings for things like white flour and sugar and the bonus side effect of losing 8- 13 lbs.
  2. Phase Two is the weight loss phase and should last until you reach your goal weight. Following this phase will lead to what is considered a healthy loss of 1 – 2 lbs per week.
  3. Once your goal weight is reached you move on to Phase 3 which is the maintenance phase, where – you guessed it! – you will maintain the weight loss.

What I like about this book is that it explains the different food groups and why certain foods are eliminated or added into your diet based on the effect the foods have on your body. It’s about feeding your body the nutrients it needs to perform at maximum efficiency.

Dr. Agatston details why foods like chocolate cake and potato chips not only cause weight gain, but also cause cravings. When we eat unhealthy foods we misinterpret cravings. We could be dreaming of gummy bears when really our body is telling us an orange is in order. Phase One eliminates cravings so that our body can begin to understand what it needs instead of eating nonstop to satisfy a craving we don’t understand.

I experienced a great deal of success with The South Beach Diet. The first time I followed it, I lost about 45 lbs. and was able to follow it for about nine months. Then I got pregnant and decided I was going to have a french fry and ice cream party every day and no one could stop me! I gained back all 45 lbs. and an extra 30 lbs for good measure. I had struggles after having my son for several years and hadn’t really been able to stick to The Beach.

I do now, however, understand that when I cut out white flour and sugar, and add in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, and lean meats, my chances to lose weight and have more energy increase.

While this book didn’t get into the nitty gritty of why I overeat, it did give me a better understanding of healthier foods to eat and foods that are best avoided. I also read the more detailed companion book Good Fats Good Carbs Guide. There are now several companion books to The South Beach Diet including a Restaurant Dining Guide and a few Cookbooks.

If you haven’t checked out The South Beach Diet yet and think you could use a better understanding of the food you eat that has nothing to do with calorie count, try this book. It may change the way you view what you eat for the better.

One response to “South Beach Diet: Why It Helped Me Where Other Diets Failed”

  1. Mom Kohn Avatar
    Mom Kohn

    Hi April,

    Loved this article!!!! Thanks for this reminder about the South Beach Diet! It’s inspired me to dust off my book and get back on the program again. The last time we were on it ( you were my inspiration at that time too ) I lost 28 lbs. Most of it has mysteriously come back. But you’re right. It’s not just a diet plan. It’s a lifestyle. And like you, I have learned from this book.

    I forwarded this email to my friend Carol and we’re fired up!!!!

    Thanks again!!!! And thanks for so generously sharing your personal story.

    Love, Mom ( Can I say that on here? )