So… I guess your reflection shows a few more ‘curves’ in places you would rather not see them. And either some big event is coming up quickly or you’re thinking about swimsuit season arriving soon! Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be looking at this article for a fast weight loss diet, would you!? Well, we’ve been looking at the Dukan Diet– and this may an answer for you.
It starts with a 5-day ‘phase’ for a quick weight loss of 7-10 lbs. right away. In the next phase you can continue losing weight at about 2 lbs. a week until you reach your weight goal.
The third phase will be an important one since you probably want to consolidate the gains (er- losses!) you have achieved in previous weeks.
And the fourth phase is for maintenance – stabilizing your body in its new – more glamorous – shape!
Created in the year 2000 by French doctor and nutritionist Pierre Dukan, the Dukan diet starts as a short protein diet regimen with oat bran and plenty of water added – plus a 20 minute walk every day.
Unlimited non-starchy vegetables are added right away. Then fruit, bread, and cheese in very moderate amounts are included. Finally a few starchy foods and a ‘celebration’ meal of anything you want become OK again.
Even when you’ve settled into your new weight, however, one day a week is reserved for a basic protein, oat bran, and water diet. And daily oat bran and walking remain part of your life here, too.
What’s Good About It
Like any really effective weight management program, the Dukan diet helps people develop a healthier eating pattern. So, keeping in mind that ‘one size fits all’ is no more true of diets than it is of clothing, let’s look at what makes it work so well for many people.
- The first – Attack – phase may be very restrictive, but it only lasts for 5 days. Most people are willing to put up with restrictions for short periods of time – especially if they can see some quick results. Of course, many diet plans take advantage of that psychology!
- The second – Cruise – phase gets you into the practice of following the rules. By alternating days of only meat with days you can eat a lot of different vegetables, it lets you have variety and be creative throughout your weight loss period.
- The third – Consolidation – phase goes on for a long time (5 days for each pound you’ve lost). In this phase you get to include a lot more variety of foods in your menu. The length of time you stay on it is probably one of the most useful parts of the program. Since our bodies tend to resist maintaining a lower weight, paying close attention to keeping it off – and acting immediately to do that – is a very valuable thing.
- The fourth – Stabilization – phase lets you eat anything you want to. Sounds great! By now you should enjoy with healthy, nutritious meals. But there is an interesting provision here: once a week you must have a day of only protein, water, and oat bran. I think that is a good thing about the program, too. It is too easy to let weeks go by and pounds slip back on without a regular reminder of what you want to do!
- It’s easy to do this your own way. Just choose from the list of recommended foods for your shopping and meal planning. There are no required packaged foods or standardized diet meal plans.
- The Dukan diet does not include meetings you have to attend – and that is a plus for me! However, support is a must when you are making changes like this. If your family or friends are with you on this, that’s great. If you need or want some personal coaching and weight loss tips, you can purchase it on their website and make convenient, reasonable monthly payments.
- The Dukan diet program will help you choose a realistic, sustainable weight loss goal. It will probably be higher than what you might expect. I think this takes off a lot of the pressure we often put on ourselves to reach a so-called ‘ideal’ weight from a standardized chart – and it’s a goal you may modify for yourself, of course.
What’s Not So Good About It
People stay on diets if it is not too difficult or too boring, if they feel OK, and if they get results. Again keeping in mind the ‘one size [doesn’t] fit all’ caveat, let’s look at which of these might be a challenge with the Dukan diet program.
- There are a lot of only protein days. If you don’t use meats or use few varieties of meats, this could be pretty boring.
- The Dukan diet offers recipe suggestions but doesn’t provide pre-planned menus. If you aren’t used to planning and preparing your own meals, this can be pretty difficult.
- It flies in the face of current standard nutritional guidelines. Nutritionists warn this diet is too high in protein and too low in fats and carbohydrates. Their concerns are that:
- Low fat intake can also make it hard for the body to absorb both phytonutrients and fat-soluble vitamins.
- Protein-dense diets make your liver and kidneys work hard to handle protein metabolic byproducts. And people on high-protein diets often report gastrointestinal disturbances, headache, low blood pressure, and bad breath.
Is the Dukan diet for you?
Since your reflection doesn’t match your picture of what should be, you need a diet plan that works for you. You know that the standard hype, “If it worked for me, it can work for you!” isn’t necessarily true.
If the What’s not so good about it points worry you, I would suggest that you look elsewhere for something you can stick to and enjoy while you are doing it.
If the What’s good about it points resonate with you, go ahead and give the Dukan Diet a chance to help you get the beautiful look you want!