Why I Quit the South Beach Diet Phase One Early

South Beach Diet Phase One

Source: Diet and I

If you've been reading my blog since the New Year, you might have read a few posts concerning my try at the South Beach Diet.  I'm definitely on a quest to get healthy and completely overhaul my junk food-laden diet.  The reason I chose the South Beach Diet program to begin with is because I liked how it began with a detox portion and then slowly introduced more and more foods, eventually ending with a healthy, nutritional diet that is to be maintained for life.

The South Beach Diet Phase One though is definitely no joke and much harder than it looks.  During this phase, you are allowed no fruits, little to no dairy, no starches or carbs and even some vegetables, like carrots, are restricted.  I knew this wasn't going to be easy, but not exactly for the reasons I had originally thought.  I thought that I would be craving sugar and carbs like crazy, but was surprised when this didn't happen.

You see, I'm not the biggest fan of food and actually don't enjoy eating a lot.  I eat when I'm hungry and I like feeling full all day.  Perhaps this is why I would typically snack on starches, carbs and dairy...they always did a great job of filling me up.

Unfortunately, with these foods excluded, I was left to dine on just vegetables and protein sources like meat, nuts and eggs.  This left me feeling quite hungry and made it so that I had to eat every couple of hours.  If I didn't, I felt horrible and grumpy.  When I did eat, I still never felt full and was usually hungry right after I finished eating.  Since all foods on the South Beach Diet Phase One need to be freshly prepared, that left me needing to cook something else again, even though I just ate.  Also, because I recently was placed on hormone meds due to my Hashimoto's disease, I couldn't eat as often as I needed to because this would interfere with the medicine itself.  Again, this left me feeling QUITE hungry.

After seven days of this, I decided to call it quits on phase one.  I no longer had any unhealthy cravings and my husband and I had systematically rid our pantry of anything and everything processed or containing high amounts of sugar.  Also, the South Beach Diet began to interfere with a few of my definitions of "healthy eating."  For instance, when I began this plan of eating healthier, in my mind that also meant avoiding any and all artificial sweeteners and eliminating processed foods from my diet too.  If a food item contains enriched anything, more than 5 or so ingredients, artificial colors or other stuff I can't pronounce, then it's out.

South Beach DietThat's primarily where the South Beach Diet and I disagree.  During phase one, you are encouraged to eat tons of egg substitute, cream cheese substitute, fat-free and low-fat varieties of all approved foods.  Also, sugar-free Fudgsicles, gelatin, gum, popsicles, etc. are designed to help curb your sweet tooth, but all of these products contain artificial sweeteners.  This is why I found following the South Beach Diet Phase One so challenging.  I was trying to stick to my new whole foods goals on a diet that didn't necessarily believe the same thing.

The good news is that I lost 3.6 pounds and 1.5 inches in my waist during my seven day stint on the South Beach Diet Phase One.  I was completely surprised by this, since my hormone levels are virtually non-existent thanks to my Hashimoto's disease.  Of course, as soon as I reintroduced just a few servings of fruits and grains back into my diet, I gained 0.5 pounds back each day.  This might not be the fault of my diet though, for right now I am in a highly hypothyroid state.

All in all, I still think the South Beach Diet is a great way to get healthy.  It's just that for me, it wasn't ideal.  I still plan on using their cookbooks to prepare great tasting meals for my family and am happy that after nine days, I haven't cheated once.  My new dietary goals though seem a bit different from the classic South Beach Diet plan.  Here they are in a nutshell:

  • No processed ANYTHING...just whole foods with minimal ingredients.
  • Eat at least 1.5 cups of fruit each day and 2.5 cups of vegetables, as recommended by the CDC.  (They have a cool tool here to help you calculate the amount of fruits and vegetables you should eat for optimal health.)
  • All foods eaten should help keep my blood sugar levels steady and not cause unhealthy spikes.

What's more, I'm lucky to have found a great cookbook which offers plenty of yummy recipes that support my healthy eating plan.  It's called The Sugar Solution Cookbook from Prevention Magazine.  I cooked a delicious and extremely healthy dinner using a recipe from this cookbook, which I'll be sharing later this week.  Stay tuned!

What's your idea of "eating healthy?"  Do you have any food-related goals you're trying to stick to this year?


I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!

Melissa @ Mommy Living the Life of Riley!
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16 Responses to Why I Quit the South Beach Diet Phase One Early

    Jane Says:


    I thought, meat adds up the fats. Don’t they? If not, I wold like to ask you, which type of meats are most preferred. Would be glad to hear your reply.

      Melissa Says:


      You’re right, Jane…meat definitely has fats, but I believe that the South Beach Diet and any other healthy eating plan for that matter, is about eating lean meats, thus healthy fats. Even though we’ve all come to believe that eating fats will make you fat, that isn’t necessarily true. Our bodies all need healthy fats, the kind which comes from lean cuts of meat, nuts, etc. I think that it’s the gobs of unhealthy fats we eat which make us all overweight.

    Fee (Phyllis) Roberts Says:


    I don’t diet. I have been the same weight since high school and I’m pushing 50. I was raised eating foods off my grandparent’s farm so I don’t eat processed foods. I also don’t eat anything white as it turns to sugar in your body. I consider myself a healthy eater. I feel great and have maintained a healthy size and weight. I also eat a lot of soups, salads and sandwiches. Most soups are very nutritious containing nearly everything you need in one meal. Sandwiches are the same as long as you make them yourself. Of course my soups are homemade. I don’t use dressings on my salads, instead I add fruits and nuts and it gives my salads a wonderful flavor. I feel I’m quite lucky to have the eating habits I have had since I was a kid. I wish you luck in achieving your healthy eating goals :)

      Melissa Says:


      That’s amazing Fee! Your eating habits are exactly what I aspire to have one day. I’m with you about the dieting part too…if you eat healthy and only when you’re hungry, I don’t see the need for it. Your weight will take care of itself. Thanks so much for stopping by today! :)

    Tanya Says:


    I think its great the your wanting to get healthier. I think as long as your making changes in your life style you will succeed. 2 years ago I started counting calories and have lost 80lbs. I still have a lot more to go so my goals for this year are adding more protein and less carbs and bad fats. Hopefully I will reach my goals this year. I’m sure you will too if you keep at what your doing.

      Melissa Says:


      Wow, Tanya! That’s so great that you’ve totally changed your eating habits and lost all of that weight! Good luck to you in the new year…I’m sure 2013 will be much healthier for both of us! :)

    Eileen Says:


    OH my Gosh Melissa I have had the same issues dealing with this type of eating plan! I have Hashimotos plus I also notice I get hypoglycemic when trying to cut out too much at once. I know this plan works SO well for many but eating plans can not be the same for each person. Science tells us that, as we all do have different metabolism and chemistry. I could not do the phase one cleansing part as I’d be on the floor in a heap. I just really believe that too many people concentrate on weight loss and not real health. We all know that most of our country doesn’t get the proper vitamins and minerals we need, with overproccessed foods and sweet happy food and drink. I also used to think that fats make you fat but know now how fats keep our body systems lithe by helping our joints, heart and skin especially. I’m a good generation or more above you and have seen all those diets through the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s…and now. It’s amazing how all have an angle. And the best angle is to simply eat clean foods, don’t overeat, and eat balanced to get what your body needs. And exercise (something I cant do much now due to ill health and pain) I grew up on a farm too. We didn’t question any “bad” foods then as a kid. ONLY when old enough and you start listening to a society that says thin is in for LOOKS and not health, then we all jump on every plan that comes along. I am done with it all. I bought into it as a teen and created an eating disorder. I feel too many women, not just teens have these. Too sad that we all buy into it.

      Melissa Says:


      So true Eileen! I’m with you…I think the best “fad” diet now is to eat balanced meals when hungry and make sure that we’re not buying into all of the “man-made” stuff that I think is making everyone sick these days.

      We’ve somehow survived just fine for thousands of years on basic foods like fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy and I think getting back to those roots will help us all feel better and be healthier for the long haul.

      Wow, I didn’t know you had Hashimoto’s too Eileen! I had never heard of this illness before they told me I had it, but after doing some research, it actually seems fairly common in women.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and giving this post a read! Have a great day! :)

    Brenda Says:


    The South Beach Diet sounds like my living nightmare. I set out late in 2012 to eat healthier (not as much!) and it has been working out okay. I’m starting to look at labels and if it has a high sodium count, I don’t eat it. I try to look at the ingredients and see what the first few are since ingredients (I have heard) are listed by what is the highest percentage in the food to the lowest. I have enjoyed reading your tips and seeing your progress.

      Melissa Says:


      LOL Brenda! :) I’m happy that you are on the road to eating healthier too! You’re definitely right about the ingredients listed. Whatever is listed first is the highest percentage of what’s in that food and it goes down from there. The good thing about looking at labels carefully is that you make better food choices, but the bad thing is that it takes WAY longer to grocery shop! :) Thanks so much for stopping by and giving this post a read.

    Karen Hartzell Says:


    Are you using a book for the diet? I started it this week and it advises whole foods, limiting artificial sugars, and dairy is 2-3 servings a day. Maybe your version is not up to date? I know some of the changes, like the dairy, are new. Either way, I’m glad you made the best choice for you and changing if it made you feel bad.

      Melissa Says:


      Hi Karen,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I’m glad to hear of the changes you mentioned to the South Beach Diet. I was using a book when I was still on Phase One, but I got it from the library and I think the copy I was using was one of the first ones printed. LOL! Glad to hear that you’re using this diet too and I wish you the best of luck…hopefully, we’ll all be happier and healthier in 2013! :)

    Robin Gagnon {Mom Foodie} Says:


    I really don’t think ANY diet out there is one size fits all. It is all what works for you. Cutting out the artificial crap, now that is good for everyone :)

    Heather Says:


    I really think the biggest idea with any diet is to read it and take from it what works for you. I absolutely love the SB diet and for the only reason I make it what I want it to be and try not to focus too much on what i can and cant eat. The only phase of it I have ever been more “strict” with is Phase 1 but even still if something calls for sugar substitute, I use real sugar (mainly because the calories are no different and its cheaper), or egg substitute…use egg whites…i dont even know what egg substitute is and do not care to look for it, or ground turkey…often just use ground beef again because its cheaper :) To tell you the truth I never knew the “correct” way to go on the SB diet because I didnt want to have to read the book haha. I just bought a recipe book, got the gist of the diet from the blurbs in the front and then just picked recipes from the book for the corresponding phase I was on. Only now as some of my friends are trying it out, am I hearing about things they “say” to do or not to do. But again I always make sure to tell them to make it doable for them and to not make too many “rules” to live by.

    In my opinion, any of us should go on a “diet” that we can see ourselves living with long term. When we restrict ourselves too much thats when we crash. Been there done that :) I hope as you get more recipes etc you will make a “diet” that can be a lifestyle change you can live with long term :)


      Hi Heather,

      Great comment! You’re definitely right too about taking the gist of a diet and making it your own. That’s what I ended up doing with South Beach Diet and I love the results. I’m eating healthier than I ever have in my life and am starting to feel much better than before too. Thanks again for stopping by and commenting today…I really appreciate it! :)

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