11 South Beach Diet Do’s and Don’ts to Stay on Track

Article posted in: South Beach Diet South Beach DIY
stay on track

Wondering how to absolutely smash it on South Beach and consistently stay on track? The main principles of the diet are easy enough to follow. In fact, you’re probably feeling pretty comfortable after just your first week on the plan! But if you’re ready to kick things into high gear and get your new healthy lifestyle going, we have some great, easy advice to help you stay on track.

Check out our list of 11 do’s and don’ts to stay on track with the South Beach Diet:

1. DO: Get to know your meal plan

meal plan

Spend some time getting to know your meal plan. The Palm will include everything you need to know about your meal plan moving forward. Thoroughly reading through each article in the South Beach Diet section will set you up for success and ensure you’re on track.

2. DON’T: Skip meals

skipping meals

A study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, found that skipping meals can lead to abdominal weight gain, which is often associated with insulin resistance and a higher risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So keep following your South Beach meal plan as prescribed to stay on track.

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3. DO: Befriend the produce aisle

This is great tip for when you’re just getting started on the South Beach Diet. Maybe you’re not the biggest fan of veggies, or perhaps you’re just not sure which ones you like. Either way, take a look at the Grocery Guide for a full list of South-Beach-approved veggies, or browse recipe ideas here on The Palm to figure out a few ideas to get started with. That way you won’t feel lost on your first trip to the product aisle to stock up!

As you become more comfortable with the diet, really get to know the produce section of your favorite market. Try new-to-you seasonal veggies when they’re at their freshest. Find out which of the many variations of greens you like best. Make it a goal to try at least one new veggie each week. This will help expand your palate and provide a greater variety of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients to boot!

4. DON’T: Fear fats

fear fats

Your South Beach Diet plan is formed around the inclusion of heart-healthy good fats, which is contradictory to some other low fat approaches to dieting that you might have tried in the past. But your body needs the Healthy Fats from avocados, nuts, seeds and olives; they help keep you satisfied, stabilize your blood sugar and may help lower your cholesterol levels.

And if you need more evidence that low fat is NOT where it’s at: A study, published in the Journal of Marketing Research, found that low fat labels on foods actually caused people to eat more. Study participants assumed those foods have fewer calories, which increased their perception of the proper portion size by up to 25%!

5. DO: Become label literate

food label

Get in the habit of thoroughly reading the nutrition labels while shopping. Added sugars and unnecessary ingredients can be lurking in the most unsuspecting places—like modified cornstarch in tea bags and high fructose corn syrup in whole wheat breads. Avoid buying anything with a long list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce, and stick to the perimeter of your grocery store for the simplest ingredient labels.

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6. DON’T: Start the week without a plan

food plan

We know that weekends can be just as hectic as the work week sometimes. But if you can pencil in 30 to 60 minutes on Sunday evening, you can do a thorough prep session that’ll help you stay on track the entire week. Chop veggies for side dishes and DIY meals, grill up a batch of chicken breasts, hard-boil eggs and mix together your favorite nuts and seeds and portion into single-serving containers that you can grab on the go.

Even if you can spare a few minutes to think of a loose plan and hit the store for some easy snack options (we love keeping cheese sticks, pre-hard-boiled eggs, roasted almonds, single-serving hummus cups, baby carrots and cherry tomatoes on hand), you’ll be much better off than you would be starting the week with no plan at all.

7. DO: Stay hydrated

drink water

Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated will help keep you full and take the edge off cravings between meals. Drinking water helps regulate your body’s essential functions like carrying nutrients to your cells and waste out of your body. A study, published in the Annals of Family Medicine, found that study participants who were inadequately hydrated had a higher body mass index (BMI) and were 60% more likely to be obese than people who were adequately hydrated.

Aim to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of fluid each day. However, if you’re breaking a sweat regularly, you may need to increase that amount in order to keep your hydration levels up. Speak to your doctor to ensure you are hydrating properly for your specific needs.

Start your morning with at least eight ounces of water. Make it room temperature or warm water with a squeeze of fresh lemon to help aid digestion. Carry a refillable bottle with you throughout the day so you don’t forget to sip!

8. DON’T: Forget to track!

a smiling woman in the kitchen, looking at her phone

It’s important to stay accountable with your food intake by keeping tracking your meals for the best weight loss results. Whether you prefer to use your smart phone or kick it “old-school” with paper and pen, don’t forget to keep a log of what you’re eating and drinking every day, along with your daily activity and water intake.

Research shows that dieters who track their food, activity and progress are more likely to stay on track than those who don’t—plus this healthy habit helps keep you tuned in to your body, so you get to know what’s going on (and why) during every phase of the South Beach Diet.

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9. DO: Rethink your “process”

processed food

Look for ways to avoid heavily processed foods—specifically, you want to decrease your intake of the chemicals, artificial preservatives and dyes that are commonly found in these food items (along with those sneaky added sugars that you’ll find as an avid label-reader!) and focus on whole, unprocessed foods as often as possible to get the most nutritional value from what you’re eating.


10. DON’T: Discount all processed foods

whole grain bread

Some low-processed foods like pre-cut veggies, whole grain bread and milk that’s fortified with calcium and vitamin D, while minimally processed, are still good for you and can help make meals and snacks more convenient—and nutritious!

11. DO: Get enough sleep


A lack of shut-eye can be detrimental to your diet. In a sleep-deprived state, your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin, which tells your body it’s time to eat. At the same time, another hormone called leptin, which tells your brain when you’re full, plummets, signaling your brain to eat more food.

With a lack of sleep, your body also produces more of the stress hormone cortisol, which signals your body to conserve energy (aka that weight you’re trying to lose!) to use as fuel when you’re awake.

All of these factors work together to create the perfect storm of diet destruction: Eating too much and your body hanging on to unwanted fat. So do yourself and your body a favor, and be sure to catch enough “z’s”!