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Dying to Try The South Beach Diet

Updated on May 27, 2010
South Beach before the Diet!
South Beach before the Diet!

You have to toss something Overboard!

“At your age, you probably have friends who have died,” said my doctor, gravely.  I stared at him, his words not sinking in.

A year ago I enrolled in a life insurance program which required a physical and forms to fill out.  The nurse conducting the tests remarked how simple my answers were, as I have been fortunate not to have any health issues so far.  She said most people my age required extra pages to list all their ailments, treatments and medications.

Feeling good, I was now sitting in my doctor’s office for the old check-up and expecting a tune-up and oil change, nothing major.  He hadn’t even raised the hood to have a look at my engine and he’s scaring the heck out of me.

“What did you say?” I asked, thinking he had the wrong file open on the examination table.

“At your age, you probably have friends who have died.”

 “Yes, sadly I do,” I replied.  My brain was screaming, “I’m barely 50 years old!  That’s not old in boomer years!  My friends were just unlucky.  Their fate doesn’t apply to me!”

“It could happen to you,” he continued, “You can change your lifestyle to reduce your risks or start taking drugs for the rest of your life.”

“But I’m a low risk candidate, just ask my new life insurance policy,” I said, rather confidently.

He laughed, “Am I treating you as a person or as dot on a statistical curve of monthly payments?”

So I shut up as he explained my options, as I imagined myself in a life boat miles from land, slowly sinking as I paddled frantically in a circle.  I knew this day was coming, the day I would be asked to toss something near and dear to me overboard: my extra weight.  Sure, it had been creeping up over the years, but that was just aging.  Right?  No, apparently your excess weight is directly related to what you eat.  Go figure!

He recommended something called “The South Beach Diet”.  Now, I have never been on a diet in my life.  I’ve been amused for years by my wife’s infatuation with dieting, but strictly as an observer as her weight went down, then up, then down – well, you get the idea. 

So, the word caught me off guard.  “What?  A diet?” I asked.  “South Beach?  What, you eat sand?”

He explained the diet wasn’t about starving but making choices, “You eat this instead of that.”  He motioned with his hands in the air, at an imaginary bowl of chips on his right and a bowl of low-fat yogurt on the left.

So, with lead feet I walked out of his office and over to the book store to find the book by Dr. Arthur Agatston.  I read the book.  I set it aside.  I picked it up again a few weeks later.  My wife and I discussed it and then we unrolled our towels on South Beach and settled in for two weeks of “Stage 1”, the first of three stages. 

Simply put, the South Beach Diet kills your cravings for stuff you shouldn’t eat and teaches you how to eat the good stuff.  The first two weeks are strict, eliminating bad carbohydrates like white bread and pasta and fruit and cereal and – oh, I’ll stop now or you’ll bail on me.  What I really want to say is it works.  I am 30 pounds lighter, 8 months later.  I feel better, eat healthier and I have the rarest of all commodities on earth: energy!

How it works, and it does work!

South Beach is all about three simple principles: lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. It is easy to follow and, most of all, the cravings for junk food truly disappear. Two weeks of a strict diet and then a more normal “eat this, not that” meal plan until you reach your ideal weight.

I have become something of an evangelist for the South Beach Diet, buying the book for friends and watching them slim down with a smile on their face. It takes all my willpower to resist speaking to total strangers in the supermarket, seeing their cart filled with crap food. “Stop eating that stuff!” I want to scream at them. “It is really all about what you eat, not smaller portions!”

But I stop myself. I decided to write this personal account of my own experience with my very first diet. I’m posting it so maybe that person in the supermarket will go home, rip open that bag of chips and plunk themselves in front of their computer and find this article and pause, chip in hand, almost shoved into their mouth. Maybe, just maybe, they will consider changing their eating habits too.

“Hallelujiah, South Beach be praised!”

Good Lord, maybe I am an evangelist after all.

For more health tips, visit


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      6 years ago from Arkansas

      I have completed Phase I on the South Beach Diet multiple times each with significant success. I just use the first phase to detox my body from all the sugar and processed food that I normally eat. It has become easier to follow with the Smartphone app that is available and all the recipe resources available online. Good luck with the diet! If you stick it out, you will see results.


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