I had been on and off low carb diets for about a year when I confessed to a friend at Crossfit that, while I definitely loved the benefits of low carbohydrate meals, I was finding it difficult to actually stick to the diet long enough to meet my weight loss goals. Not only was I having trouble coming up with low-carb meals that weren't boring, but I was also falling into cycles where I'd have intense cravings and fall off the wagon.
So, while I did get my body regulated and at the stage when your body uses fat as energy —and saw noticeable weight loss and muscle gain, I also often boomeranged right back to old habits. What gives? That's when my friend told me that she saw success sticking to a low carb lifestyle with the help of a meal plan and meals from the South Beach Diet. Wait, what?
My friend had recently lost almost 30 pounds for her wedding,* but I was surprised when she brought up the South Beach Diet. I had assumed it was impossible to use pre-prepared weight loss meals while sticking to a low carb meal plan. In fact, I only thought it was possible to live "carb-free" by preparing all of my meals on my own and trust me, I am no chef. The idea of getting my meals delivered right to my door was definitely appealing since it would mean more variety and also better portion control (I sometimes get a little excessive with the bacon and avocado!).
Plus, South Beach is an established meal plan that's backed by doctors and helps people see results, which is exactly what I was looking for. When I found out that South Beach had a low-carb meal plan, I was in. If I could get the benefits of The South Beach Diet and a low-carb lifestyle in one meal plan, why not give it a shot?
I signed up for the Gold plan, which would get me a 4-week plan with tons of meal variety to choose from, including three meals and two snacks per day for five days each week, with free FedEx shipping. I also would get the added flexibility and benefit of preparing two breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks on my own with the help of the South Beach Low-Carb Grocery Guide, which specifically maps out your trips to the grocery store.
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Once starting the South Beach Low-Carb Meal Plan, I found that the meals and snacks were really (really) good—and that eating six times per day helped curb my cravings and keep me feeling full and energized throughout the day. Before embarking on my South Beach journey, I had been loading my plate with foods high in saturated fat (re: bacon and avocado), but the South Beach Diet meals are high in healthy fats and lean protein without going overboard or skimping on flavor. Within a week, I had dropped two and a half pounds,* felt energetic working out, and lost my usual bloat—I was excited to see how the next three weeks would transform my body.
Now, with just a few days left to go on my 4-week plan, I have just about reached my goal weight without any major hiccups, which is a first for me. And thanks to a rotating menu with yummy options like Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Moroccan-inspired Chickpea Stew, I wasn't bored—in fact, I didn't even feel like I was dieting. My four weeks are almost up, but the most valuable lesson I learned from the South Beach Diet was how to maintain a low carb lifestyle easily and effectively, with healthy fats and foods high in lean protein, delicious flavors, reasonable portion sizes, and by incorporating plenty of filling add-ins like spinach and steamed veggies into your meals. By sending ready-to-go low-carb meals right to my door, the South Beach Diet has helped me lose 8 pounds (for comparison, that's 1/15 my body weight!) in a month*. Better yet, they've made it easy to live the lifestyle I love.