I know it sounds bad, but let me explain.
Someone in our family was diagnosed with what may become prediabetes. Note - it's not prediabetes, but symptoms are exhibited that could escalate, at some point in the future. We are trying to act proactively, so we started...wait for it...the South Beach Diet. One of the symptoms the book mentions is localized fat around the midsection (based on our ancestors' feast or famine lifestyle necessitating storage of fat while leaving the extremities leaner for escape or whatever), and that's something with which I've been struggling.
I've thought the South Beach Diet was a fad, or something ridiculous like Atkins. Follow the link above if you want more info, but I've read one of Dr. Agatston's books, and done some research online, so I'm satisfied with the validity.
The basic gist is to reduce bad carbs and bad fats while increasing good carbs and good fats, change eating habits, etc. We are in the first, most strict phase, aptly named Phase 1, which has the most severe reduction of carbs. I'm finding it not too bad, but my wife started out climbing the walls. Of course, this comes from both of us loving to cook, especially bake.
No alcohol of any kind is allowed during Phase 1. Now, I'm not one to get sodded every night, but I enjoy my Guinness. Sometimes I'm even known to enjoy my Schlitz! This wasn't that bad a restriction, but we stopped buying wine for dinner.
The diet recommends reducing caffeine (or eliminating it during Phase 1), since caffeine stimulates the pancrease to produce insulin. It also said that if you are following Phase 1 requirements, one cup (caffeinated) a day probably won't ruin your progress, and if it really makes you feel good, go ahead and do it. My wife and I talked about it, and then I figured if I'm in for a penny I'm in for a pound. Behold: the start of decaf for me.
We started the diet Monday (after a Sunday afternoon at Chuy's! Oh, snap!), and Phase 1 lasts for two weeks, or longer if you want to stay on it. At least for me, the jury is still out on staying on it or entering Phase 2, which is just the gradual, monitored inclusion of some carbs back in to your diet.
What's interesting is that you don't really count calories, or have really restricted portion sizes. You eat until you are full, with three meals and two snacks a day. Of all our meals and snacks, I feel like I'm eating a lot, volume-wise. I don't get that too-full, bloated feeling, and sometimes I feel hungry a little bit after a meal. What I think is happening is that I'm getting the nutrition that I need, but I'm so used to eating carbs and fats that I expect the full feeling, and something must be wrong if I'm hungry after eating a sirloin steak, broccoli and beans.
Don't get me wrong - the temptation is there. I make everyone's lunches, and I am at a point where I could probably destroy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in one bite.
It's only been a little over three days but I think I can already see a slight change. Some clothes seem to be slightly larger, but I'm not sure yet if this is just my imagination. I'll keep posting on any progress I see.