How Cindy Francis lost weight on the South Beach Diet plan.
Name Cindy Francis
Job Project manager for a company that modifies airplane interiors
Weight before 210 pounds
Weight after 128 pounds
Has kept it off 11/2 years
How She Lost It: Francis had lost and regained weight before, but this time she had a plan. “I decided that I would either lose the weight or quit trying and just learn to love my body.” After one of her relatives lost weight on the South Beach Diet, Francis bought her own copy of the book. She followed the diet’s carb-restrictive Phase 1 for a month (the book suggests 2 weeks) and lost 12 pounds. In Phase 2, she ate mainly whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, and fruit. She started working out for an hour 4 to 5 days a week, and she weighed herself every day. “I figured if I went 1 day without doing it, I could go 2 days, then 3. It would be too easy to get out of control.”
How She’s Keeping It Off: She still hits the gym 4 to 5 days a week but exercises at a higher intensity: 40 minutes of cardio (stair climber or elliptical trainer) and 15 to 20 minutes of weight training. “I can really see results with weight training because there’s less fat around my muscles,” Francis says. Meal planning, she says, is a big part of her success. “I don’t count calories, but I know what works for me.” For her, that means high-fiber, low-sugar foods that will keep her full. For breakfast, it’s sugar-free yogurt and a piece of whole-grain toast topped with spray-on butter and low-fat cheese. Her morning snack is a piece of string cheese or unsalted peanuts. For lunch, she brings to work whatever is left over from dinner the night before (for instance, chicken breast with vegetables or a taco salad).
Have a plan if you start gaining a few pounds. “I went on a vacation and came back to find I’d gained 5 pounds. So I went back to Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet and lost the weight.”
Never quit. “Once you reach your goal you still have to work just as hard to keep the weight off. When it gets really hard, it helps to exercise. Afterward, I feel healthy and am less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack. I take this one day at a time, and it does get easier.”
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