While it may be frustrating, it's not uncommon to reach a plateau during Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet, especially as you get closer to your target weight. Weight loss on this Phase of the South Beach Diet is much slower than on Phase 1, but that's preferable over the long run, since slow and steady weight loss is best for long-term success. That said, if you'd like to jump-start your weight loss, here are some strategies to try:
- Eat different foods. Sometimes people get into a food rut, eating the same things day in and day out, and this can lead to overeating as a result of dissatisfaction with the routine. Add a selection of vegetables, fruits, and grains you don't typically eat to your meal plan to combat boredom. This may be just what you need to get past stalled weight loss.
- Get adequate exercise. A plateau may result when you lose too much muscle mass (or fat) from not exercising. Begin a fitness program or, if you already exercise, take it up a notch by increasing the intensity and/or length of your workouts. Dr. Arthur Agatston, creator of the South Beach Diet, recommends maintaining muscle mass with core-strengthening and resistance exercises that target your abdomen, lower back, pelvis, and hips. These strengthening moves also help prevent injuries so you can enjoy staying active throughout your life.
- Keep track of what you eat. In general, the South Beach Diet does not require you to count calories or measure portion sizes for most foods. That said, too much of certain foods can keep you from losing weight at a steady pace. Take a close look at the amount of nuts and low-fat cheese you're consuming, and cut back on these calorie-dense items if you're eating too much.
- Return to Phase 1. If you have plateaued for several weeks and still have a fair amount of weight to lose, return to Phase 1 for a few days or a week for a kick start.
Finally, it's possible that your weight loss has stalled because you've already reached your healthiest weight — even if it's not your desired weight. If your cholesterol and blood sugar levels have normalized, your desire to lose weight may be a matter of cosmetics. In this case, rather than focusing on the number on your scale, focus on how much better you look and feel.