In which she does not know if she has cheated (The Diet, Day 25)

I’m not sure South Beach is all it’s cracked up to be. At least, I’m not sure I should have started it after school started back when I had limited time for working on my own meals. Phase 1 is difficult to figure out, particularly for a vegetarian. Because the book doesn’t discuss a vegetarian plan, I’ve been relying on websites, and the websites by virtue of having been written by different people are somewhat contradictory. I’ve realized this is why I’ve been so confused over whether veggie burgers and string cheese were allowed. Opinions vary on the matter.

Figuring it all out requires reading labels, and reading them carefully. You have to look at the whole mixture of calories, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. I usually notice one or two of those and don’t think about the others until I’ve already purchased a salad dressing not on the diet and brought it home to clutter up my refrigerator.

I have many questions for the book. I feel a little betrayed by the book to tell you the truth. It did not, for instance, warn me that I would feel dizzy, nauseated, headachey, shaky, and extremely thirsty a few days into this diet. It did not mention that I would self-diagnose and un-self-diagnose myself as hypoglycemic several times throughout the day.

My friend says this is the result of going into ketosis from the extreme restriction of carbs. She says it is normal for low carb diets. Evidently, she’s right. The internet abounds with people complaining about the same symptoms on message boards. It seems more often than not they eat ice cream sandwiches and walk out of the game at this point. My friend said she once made an entire pot of noodles and ate them in one sitting when she had gone into ketosis. People rob Frito’s trucks over this. It isn’t pretty.

I drank a Muscle Milk today. I’m not sure that even counts as cheating. It’s a low carb, high protein drink. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be allowed on Phase 1 of South Beach, but I can’t find anything that says it is. It seemed medically necessary at the time, though. The alternative was a double-chocolate sweet cream shake from Cold Stone. The Muscle Milk made me not feel dizzy. It made me feel like I was capable of eating something.

This is another uncharted territory for me. I’ve never in my life not felt like eating, but yesterday and today, when it was time for supper, I felt like I couldn’t force a bite down myself at gun point.

Yesterday, I cowgirled up and forced some black-eyed peas down my throat regardless.

Today, I drank the Muscle Milk, and about thirty minutes later I felt okay, so I made a salad and actually enjoyed it. Since Muscle Milk is of a questionable nature, though, I’m going to try drinking a glass of skim milk tomorrow and see if it has the same effect. It will probably need some chocolate syrup added to it to do the job, but I’ll try it straight first.

I’m quite frustrated with South Beach today. The Diet is no longer amusing.

My main frustration is that I can’t find the information I want about my reaction to this diet from anything I would consider a reliable source. People on South Beach Phase 1 are reporting feeling this way all over the place. Those are people, though, not doctors or nutritionists. Explanations of low carb diets from doctors and nutritionists, though, are surprisingly sketchy on the physical results. None of them that I’ve found so far have mentioned that you might actually feel like you’re going to expire of whatever it was Julia Roberts’ character had in Steel Magnolias if you don’t immediately eat the red velvet armadillo cake.

Make an appointment to see a doctor or nutritionist so as to speak in person, you say? Oh, pish. They should be blogging. I want an electronic house call.