I’ve been on the South Beach Diet since last July 2008; shortly thereafter I was privileged to run across RedRox on a SBD Forum. While RedRox has lost and maintained an approximate 40 pound weight loss, his most impressive accomplishment to me is that is he still available to those early in their weight loss journey; RedRox is a terrific source of knowledge, facts, and plain spoken advice. I am privileged that RedRox agreed to let me do a short interview with him to find out more about what makes him tick, as well as some words of wisdom for those of us on the SBD.
RedRox, your tagline on the forums is, “Ramblin’ along in P3 since June ’05″. That is quite an accomplishment. Can you tell me a little bit about RedRox before the South Beach Diet?
I was pretty much just your typical overweight, sedentary, middle-aged couch potato! However I had been a pretty decent athlete in my youth and an avid downhill skier as an adult and I was getting particularly frustrated with my inability to ski very well anymore. Plus my cholesterol and fasting blood glucose numbers were getting pretty out of whack and I knew I needed to do something about those. Years of neglect of my physical body were just beginning to add up in all sorts of ways and none of them in a good way! I had never “dieted” before so wasn’t really looking forward to the idea of it to begin with for sure!
Anyone who frequents many of the more popular South Beach Diet Forums knows who you are. It is unusual for someone to stick around after they have achieved their goal and be there for those who are just learning or who are still in phase 2. What is your inspiration?
Currently it is my yoga practice which actually started and developed along the way after I had lost most of my weight. There are concepts of “Karma yoga” and “seva” in the yogic traditions which deal with the ideas of selfless service to others and to a higher power. It kind of hit me along the way that this is one way for me to practice my seva and help others. I certainly had my own moments of self doubt and frustration along the way and some very nice people on SB message boards talked me down from the proverbial ledge and helped me along my path. So it is also both a way of honoring them to pay them back and to pay it forward to others. I guess it’s just a way that maybe I can make a difference in the lives of others and “Be the drop!” instead of surfing the ripples created by others.
There is often more to weight loss stories than just the diet. Can you tell us other things you feel played a role in your weight loss success story?
Honestly, I had pretty good success with just the diet part of it for the first few months. But when I started to stall out I realized I had to add the dreaded “E-Word”, exercise, into the equation. For the next 6 months or so I was in an interval based sports conditioning class at a health club that I suspect is not terribly different in concept to what Dr. Agatston now includes in his “Supercharged” book. That really helped work through the slow periods of weight loss and for the most part I enjoyed it until my health club went out of business. A few months later I found my new passion in heated power vinyasa yoga and for the first time I have found a physical activity as an adult that I can see myself keeping up for the rest of my life and enjoy along the way! So really nothing anyone hasn’t heard before. Proper diet and regular exercise are they key to maintaining a healthy body, brain and active lifestyle! It would be nice if there were magic pills and short cuts, but all the ones I’ve ever seen have a lot more negatives than sticking with the tried and true!
What do you think separates the people who succeed on this diet from the people who do not succeed?
I believe those who adopt it as their lifestyle program will eventually be successful if they continue to work and adapt the basic guidelines to their specific situations. So those who succeed generally don’t ever quit and just keep pushing forward regardless of what life, or the number on the scale throws at them! Basically, my standard observation that it is not short term perfection, but consistency and longevity that will win out and the end. It’s also been my observation that that attitude tends to appear in those who are motivated more by long term health issues than those who are motivated more purely by weight loss in terms of more short term goals like specific events, vacations, or swimsuit season. I think if you are changing your diet for short terms goals, then maintenance becomes extremely difficult to sustain and it is maintenance mode that is for life. Quite literally actually!
If there was one word of advice you could offer to a person considering the South Beach Diet, what would it be?
Start. Don’t stop! Wait, that’s three words! Really though, just understand this needs to be a lifetime commitment to your health and well being. There will always be speedbumps in the path of life. Detours can always be overcome if you know your destination. Consistency and longevity will win out over short term perfection every time!
If there was one word of advice you could offer to a person who is in phase 2 of the diet, what would it be?
Enjoy the ride! Wait, that’s three words again! Seriously though, P2 and P3 don’t vary too much from each other. So use P2 to find the foods and recipes that work for you and that you can eat for the rest of your life. Take ownership of it and make it your own. If you can’t find a way to make P2 work for you where you enjoy what you eat pretty much everyday, then you won’t stay with it when the scale stops moving. View any plateaus along the way as practice for P3. Once you remove the positive feedback loop of downward scale movement from the equation, you are ultimately faced with continuing to make healthy choices simply because you know it is the right thing for you and your body and those around you. Plateaus are a good place to work through those thoughts and emotions for when you do eventually get to your final healthy weight. (Which might be higher or lower than your expected “goal” weight)
Is there a diet-related website you would like to promote here?
Well since I am on three different SB message boards (and banned from an LC/SB one!), I really won’t recommend one over any of the others. Two really good resources I’ve used and recommend to others are www.nutritiondata.com which gives a whole bunch of basic nutritional data about pretty much any food you want to look up and does have some “diet” features too, but I’ve never used those parts of the site and the Harvard School of Public Health’s Nutrition Source website at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/index.html . SBD incorporates a lot of the ideas and concepts of Dr. Walter Willett, who is the Chair of the Nutrition Department there. I keep a picture of their “Healthy Eating Pyramind” on my fridge! It’s just a really good website for explaining what constitutes a healthy eating program and what the current scientific thinking is on a variety of different food groups and foods like eggs for instance.
I want to thank RedRox for the interview and for being an inspiration and a source of wisdom for those early in their SBD journey. Next time you run into him on the forums, be sure and let him know how much he’s appreciated.