Ask Dani – Diet Dilemma (South Beach Diet)

This is an old-time diet. They thought that would work too.

Dear Dani,

I’ve been thinking about doing the South Beach Diet, but I’m not sure. There’s so much information on diets and I don’t know how to figure out what would be the best one for me. What diet do you recommend and how would you choose which one to go on?

Thanks, Dieting Dilemma

Dear Dieting Dilemma,

Dieting is such a dirty word. When I think of a diet I think of agonizing weeks of being hungry and wishing I could eat everything else, but what I’m allowed to eat. I can’t stop thinking about food and my whole day revolves around thinking about what I’m going to eat at the next meal. Most of the time I’m also counting how many days until it’s over, which means that all the hard work I’ve done over the past few weeks will be completely undone by a mega binge on some Coldstone Creamery, as soon as I can get my hungry little paws on it. So, as you can see I don’t like diets. They are only short-term solutions to long-term issues. It’s like putting a band-aid over a gun shot wound.

What you need is to learn how to maintain healthy eating for a lifetime, which doesn’t include cutting out whole food groups or restricting your calories so much that you’re constantly hungry. You can’t keep up that kind of thing for long and it will only backfire and make your problem worse. All of that being said, I don’t condemn the South Beach Diet. I think that it does a good job at teaching you balance, but that’s only true if you really follow their guidelines and treat it as a learning process and not a quick fix. The fact that they focus on whole-grains and fiber is a good sign, because so many bad diets will cut carbs out completely or tell you to restrict way more than you need to. Normally I would say that the fact that they cut out fruit for the first 2 weeks is bad, but I can understand them doing it in order to regulate your blood sugar levels and to kind give you a reset button. My advice though is that if you want some fruit in those first 2 weeks then have the fruit. But, if you want to really maintain your weight loss you need to do some homework, which may include keeping a food diary to track your patterns, keeping a journal to track your emotions, relearning your hunger cues and patterns, and trying to get past emotional triggers. A good diet will never dip below 1200 calories per day and will have a balanced mix of all the major food groups. Every meal should consist of a carb and a protein (so that means grapefruit diets and cabbage soup diets are a major no-no), and will never cut out fats entirely (you actually need good fats in order to lose weight, as well as for healthy akin and hair). You should never feel deprived and the emphasis should be on teaching you how to make better food choices and portion control.

If you have any questions on some of the things I mentioned, such as relearning your hunger cues or getting past emotional triggers, please don’t hesitate to ask me for help!

**Have a question that needs answering? Send em in! Every Thursday I ll be answering a new question, and it might just be yours!

Maximize Your Treadmill/Elliptical Workout

If you’re like most people trying to lose weight, you probably hop on the treadmill or elliptical at the gym and simply select the “weight loss” program thinking that this is surely going to help you drop pounds and inches fast. Well, I’m sorry to say, but the program you’re choosing is based on flawed understanding.

The thinking is that when you’re working out at a lower intensity you will be burning more calories from fat than carbs. While this is true, the real goal should be to burn as many calories as possible. It doesn’t really matter what kind of calories you’re burning. When working out at a lower intensity it will take much longer to burn 250 calories than it would if you stepped it up a bit.

Next time you go to the gym, use the “manual” or “quickstart” button and vary your intensities by walking one minute and jogging/running for 2 (otherwise known as an interval workout). If this is too difficult for you, lower the running bit to 1 minute. The idea is to end up running more than walking. With this kind of workout, you’ll be playing with your heart rate and will end up burning more calories per minute in the long run.

Have Your Carbs And Eat 'Em Too

Everyone either knows someone or has been someone who’s been on a low-carb diet at some point. It sounds promising – as long as you’re having little to no carbs, you can have all the meat, cheese, and eggs that you want, without any worry about how much. Yay quantity! But really, is it that great? I was thinking about this once and I honestly think that all the best foods are carbs – pasta, cereal, bread, pancakes (yum!), muffins… I’m just speaking for myself, but I LOVE carbs. I don’t feel satisfied without them. And I don’t think that you’re really learning how to live like a normal person by cutting them out completely. Being social and going out to eat is a part of life and how can you really sustain this diet when you’re out with your friends without being the weirdo that orders the pasta Primavera, but asks the waiter to only bring the Primavera part, not the pasta. It’s just another band-aid that you’re sticking on your weight problem.

I once had a friend who went on this diet and he lost over 20lb. in what seemed like 3 weeks. He’d come over to my house and instead of his regular chips and salsa buffet he’d just ask for some cheese, which he’d eat and eat and eat and eat. He basically just replaced all the carbs he was eating with protein and had himself an all-you-can-eat cheese fest. He dropped the weight quickly, but there was only so long that he could go on like this without seriously craving some bread, and when one day he actually gave in to his craving he couldn’t stop and all the weight came back and then some.

And you want to know something? It’s not just carbs that cause you to put on weight, it’s protein too. Any time you have too much of something your body will store it as fat! Ouch!

Walking down the street, I can point out to you people who are yo-yo dieters, without knowing anything about them. There is this puffy look that they have and a way that the fat distributes on their body that all point to a history of riding the roller coaster scale. People crash diet, because it’s an easy fix to a troubling problem and it’s quick. The problem is that it’s short-lived and you never really learn how to control your weight AND have the foods that you love. Which is where the Glycemic Index comes in…

Ok, let’s start from the beginning (and I promise I will do my best to be brief and make it as simple as possible). The Glycemic Index (GI) is a system for classifying carbohydrate-containing foods, according to how fast they raise blood sugar levels (also known as glucose). When we eat, our bodies convert digestible carbs into blood sugar, our main source of energy. Our blood sugar level can affect how hungry and how energetic we feel, both important factors when we are watching how we eat and exercise. It also determines whether we burn fat or store it.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Our pancreas secretes insulin, which helps transport blood sugar to our cells where it’s used for energy. When we eat simple carbs, such as white bread or candy that are quickly processed into blood sugar, our pancreas goes into overdrive to produce enough insulin for all this blood sugar to be used for energy. This insulin surge tells our bodies that we have enough energy from the blood sugar, so it should stop burning fat and start storing it.

The real problem now is that this insulin surge causes too much blood sugar to be transported out of our blood and this results in our blood sugar dropping below normal. This leaves us feeling tired and hungry and wanting to eat more. The worst part is that it makes us want to eat something else with a high sugar content. And when we do, we start the cycle all over again.

To be more simple: 1. Carbs = Blood Sugar (Glucose)—> increases insulin.
2. Simple Carbs = Blood Sugar spike —> insulin spike
3. Too much insulin —> causes us to store fat

So, what you want to do is eat the foods that will keep your blood sugar levels in control. By choosing foods that have a low to moderate GI rating you can be sure that you won’t have the crash and burn later. A low GI rating is 54 or less, moderate is 55-69, and high is 70 +. For example, oatbran bread has a rating of 46 (low), while white bread has a rating of 70 (high). You can still have bread, you should just have the right kind. There are no foods that are off limits, but going back to my 80/20 rule that I mentioned yesterday, you want to eat the foods that have a moderate to low GI value 80% of the time, and high GI foods the other 20%. The fantastic part of following this type of plan is that it’s not about counting calories or grams of carbs, it’s just about choosing the foods that will leave you feeling satisfied and energetic, which means that you can have your pasta, cereal, bread, muffins, etc., and even cake sometimes too. And, you won’t be falling into a food coma any time soon.

If you want to learn more about this, I’m running a 12 week weight loss (or weight management for those of you who just want to learn how to eat more healthfully) group that begins the last week of March. I will be giving a FREE introduction in the next 2 weeks, so that if you’re unsure and just want to learn more, you can have a chance to see what this is all about. You will learn how to make this an effortless lifestyle and not just a temporary solution. Even better, you’ll lose body fat, not muscle, so you will slim down without having that skinny-fat look. Stop the yo-yo dieting and finally learn a way to enjoy food again and keep the weight off for good. Food isn’t only something we need to survive, but it should bring pleasure to us as well.

Have Your Carbs And Eat ‘Em Too

Everyone either knows someone or has been someone who’s been on a low-carb diet at some point. It sounds promising – as long as you’re having little to no carbs, you can have all the meat, cheese, and eggs that you want, without any worry about how much. Yay quantity! But really, is it that great? I was thinking about this once and I honestly think that all the best foods are carbs – pasta, cereal, bread, pancakes (yum!), muffins… I’m just speaking for myself, but I LOVE carbs. I don’t feel satisfied without them. And I don’t think that you’re really learning how to live like a normal person by cutting them out completely. Being social and going out to eat is a part of life and how can you really sustain this diet when you’re out with your friends without being the weirdo that orders the pasta Primavera, but asks the waiter to only bring the Primavera part, not the pasta. It’s just another band-aid that you’re sticking on your weight problem.

I once had a friend who went on this diet and he lost over 20lb. in what seemed like 3 weeks. He’d come over to my house and instead of his regular chips and salsa buffet he’d just ask for some cheese, which he’d eat and eat and eat and eat. He basically just replaced all the carbs he was eating with protein and had himself an all-you-can-eat cheese fest. He dropped the weight quickly, but there was only so long that he could go on like this without seriously craving some bread, and when one day he actually gave in to his craving he couldn’t stop and all the weight came back and then some.

And you want to know something? It’s not just carbs that cause you to put on weight, it’s protein too. Any time you have too much of something your body will store it as fat! Ouch!

Walking down the street, I can point out to you people who are yo-yo dieters, without knowing anything about them. There is this puffy look that they have and a way that the fat distributes on their body that all point to a history of riding the roller coaster scale. People crash diet, because it’s an easy fix to a troubling problem and it’s quick. The problem is that it’s short-lived and you never really learn how to control your weight AND have the foods that you love. Which is where the Glycemic Index comes in…

Ok, let’s start from the beginning (and I promise I will do my best to be brief and make it as simple as possible). The Glycemic Index (GI) is a system for classifying carbohydrate-containing foods, according to how fast they raise blood sugar levels (also known as glucose). When we eat, our bodies convert digestible carbs into blood sugar, our main source of energy. Our blood sugar level can affect how hungry and how energetic we feel, both important factors when we are watching how we eat and exercise. It also determines whether we burn fat or store it.

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Our pancreas secretes insulin, which helps transport blood sugar to our cells where it’s used for energy. When we eat simple carbs, such as white bread or candy that are quickly processed into blood sugar, our pancreas goes into overdrive to produce enough insulin for all this blood sugar to be used for energy. This insulin surge tells our bodies that we have enough energy from the blood sugar, so it should stop burning fat and start storing it.

The real problem now is that this insulin surge causes too much blood sugar to be transported out of our blood and this results in our blood sugar dropping below normal. This leaves us feeling tired and hungry and wanting to eat more. The worst part is that it makes us want to eat something else with a high sugar content. And when we do, we start the cycle all over again.

To be more simple: 1. Carbs = Blood Sugar (Glucose)—> increases insulin.
2. Simple Carbs = Blood Sugar spike —> insulin spike
3. Too much insulin —> causes us to store fat

So, what you want to do is eat the foods that will keep your blood sugar levels in control. By choosing foods that have a low to moderate GI rating you can be sure that you won’t have the crash and burn later. A low GI rating is 54 or less, moderate is 55-69, and high is 70 +. For example, oatbran bread has a rating of 46 (low), while white bread has a rating of 70 (high). You can still have bread, you should just have the right kind. There are no foods that are off limits, but going back to my 80/20 rule that I mentioned yesterday, you want to eat the foods that have a moderate to low GI value 80% of the time, and high GI foods the other 20%. The fantastic part of following this type of plan is that it’s not about counting calories or grams of carbs, it’s just about choosing the foods that will leave you feeling satisfied and energetic, which means that you can have your pasta, cereal, bread, muffins, etc., and even cake sometimes too. And, you won’t be falling into a food coma any time soon.

If you want to learn more about this, I’m running a 12 week weight loss (or weight management for those of you who just want to learn how to eat more healthfully) group that begins the last week of March. I will be giving a FREE introduction in the next 2 weeks, so that if you’re unsure and just want to learn more, you can have a chance to see what this is all about. You will learn how to make this an effortless lifestyle and not just a temporary solution. Even better, you’ll lose body fat, not muscle, so you will slim down without having that skinny-fat look. Stop the yo-yo dieting and finally learn a way to enjoy food again and keep the weight off for good. Food isn’t only something we need to survive, but it should bring pleasure to us as well.