Over the past 8+ months I have lost over 75lbs on the Dukan Diet. Along with my success, I have had some setbacks. I decided to put together this top 10 list to help anyone who may be struggling with their diet or starting their diet. If I had an eleventh tip it would be to read the book, because there is a lot of background knowledge and usable advise in there.
10) Commit – Nothing can sabotage your diet quicker than attempting a very restrictive diet half-heartedly. Without commitment you are likely to cheat at your first real temptation. Will-power is like a mental muscle, and success will get easier each time you exercise it.
9) Set small achievable goals – Setting a goal like ‘losing 50lbs’ or ‘looking good naked’ can be an aggressive, daunting goal. The further away you feel from your goal, the more discouraged you can get. Instead, try breaking your larger goal into smaller pieces, like ‘lose 5lbs in 3 weeks’ or ‘exercise 3 times a week for 3 weeks.’ Success breeds motivation, and when you achieve your small goals don’t forget to…
8) Reward yourself – I don’t mean reward yourself with cheating on your diet! Do something small to reward yourself that you’ll appreciate, like buy that new pair of running shoes you’ve had your eye on; or read that neglected book for a whole afternoon.
7) Avoid ‘dangerous’ situations – Peer pressure is a killer and many people have ‘diet shame.’ There may be some events that are too tempting, after all we all have our breaking points. Assess the situation and if it will be too hard to say no, then just don’t go. I have turned down many epic nights at the bar because I knew it would probably be too hard to be good and say no.
6) Experiment – Eat a diverse diet & rotate your workouts. It’s easy to fall into a routine while dieting, and after a while you’ll get sick of everything in your routine. This can also be a dangerous situation. Experiment with your cooking, try new things like… recipes from my blog (sorry for the shameless plug). In all seriousness, get creative early, once you overdo a meal it may be weeks before you want to eat it again, and once you start limiting your food selection you can create a snowball-effect. If you jog the same route or workout on the same gym equipment everything can become stale. Freshen things up and try new things, after all, you are in the process of creating a new, better you!
5) Track your progress & Learn your body – Early on in my diet I was losing weight everyday and it was easy to stay motivated. Lately I have felt my weight-loss has stagnated, but when I looked back at my recorded weights I could see slow progress. Another thing I have learned is, there is not always an immediate ’cause and effect’ to weight-loss. Sometimes you need to look at the big picture. There are many times when I have eaten a strict diet and exercised and became frustrated when I stepped on the scale and didn’t see an immediate effect. After a few days you’ll see that progress.
Don’t forget to pay attention to your poop. When you starve your body of energy, it’ll extract as much as possible out of the food you do eat. What you may find, is that you can go for 3-4 days without a ‘movement.’ When you do finally have that movement… viola… progress that will immediately be reflected on your scale.
4) Exercise – Nothing will give your weight-loss a ‘shot in the arm’ as much as exercise will. I know this may sound contradictory to some of my previous posts but now I see the big picture. Lack of exercise while dieting can cause your metabolism to slow and inevitably your progress will slow. When you exercise and get your heart rate up you’ll see that difference on the scale in 3-4 days. One solid workout can be enough to bolster your metabolism for 3-4 days and speed up your progress. It can even be enough to negate that glass of beer or wine, but I still must advise you…
3) Don’t Cheat – Cheating on your diet is the single most dangerous thing you can do. While success breeds motivation, cheating is dancing with the devil. Once you have tasted the forbidden fruit, it can become all that you think about. Everything becomes so much harder. It is possible to return to the proper program, I have done it a few times. The best advise I can give is to consider yourself starting over. I would start a shortened ‘attack phase’ of 4-5 days. This will help you renew your motivation and make you lust after the vegetables instead of carbs. Its almost like replacement therapy.
To avoid cheating altogether I highly recommend always having diet friendly snacks available. I usually keep pickles in the fridge and low-carb turkey jerky in the cabinet (or desk drawer). This is so when that sudden hunger pang strikes I can quickly curb it without lusting after potato chips. Oat Bran can also be a good friend, snacking on oat bran will help curb carb cravings.
If you are weak and you need to cheat, cheat with fat and not carbohydrates. Have a fatty burger or bacon. It won’t set you back weeks, like carbs will. The worst thing you can do is have fatty carb-laden food.
2) Minimize your alcohol consumption – I know this may sound redundant to ‘don’t cheat’ but I think that it warrants it own topic. The Dukan Diet expressly advises against any alcohol consumption. Most people who are accustomed to a lifestyle that regularly includes alcohol will outright ignore this advise. I want you to know that alcohol is definitely bad for your diet. Many drinks contain tons of sugar, drinking these will knock you off course. Drinking leads to getting drunk, or tipsy, and when you are in this compromised state, you are more like to fan the flames of the fire and eat junk food.
Through self experimentation I have found that there are a few drinks that don’t obliterate your progress. These are:
- Low-carb light beer
- Dry wine
- Diet soda and clear spirits (vodka or rum)
Anything else is very detrimental to your progress. I would like to reiterate that drinking any alcohol will perturb your progress, but if you do drink, drink in moderation and with minimal frequency.
1) Seek a Support System – This is the best advise I can give. There are many types of support systems: spouses, friends, colleagues, and online communities. As the matter of fact, I had all of these as my support system. There were many times that I wanted to give up. Somehow, feeling as if others were invested in my success gave me more strength and motivation. I felt that if I was doing this for me it would be easy to give up, but I did not want to disappoint others. It may be twisted logic, but it worked.
It was reassuring to hear the compliments that my friends and family gave me, but it wasn’t until I started writing this blog that I really felt invested. Seeing that people were reading this ultimately gave me the strength to make it this far. Thank you for helping me.