Monday, 26 August 2013

Dukan or Dukan't

I am not really a fan of diets. I believe in just eating well and exercising regularly. Unfortunately life gets in the way and sometimes the regular exercise falls away leading to a couple of extra kilos that requires a bit more effort. This time last year I went on a calorie control diet to lose a few kilos gained after injuring my back. It worked and I lost 3-4 kilos but had to stop because I always become obsessed with the numbers. I had quite severe anorexia as a teenager. I started on calorie control and eventually cut down to about 500 calories per day. I can recognise those tendencies coming back when I am watching numbers too much.

The Bookworm has been threatening to do the keto diet for a while. He wants to lose a couple of kilos and get match fit for a course he is doing in a few months time. He likes the idea of high protein for muscle growth and I think has mental images of eating plates piled high with cheese and bacon keto-style. I have my concerns about the long-term effect of these high fat diets so I haven't been too encouraging.

I read a column recently about the Dukan Diet. It seems to allow extreme weight loss (not that we need that) but the things I like about it are:
1. High protein
2. Low fat
3. Only a short period at the beginning with any significant vegetable restrictions and then some flexibility after that
4. No counting calories
5. Has a plan for long term achievable results.

So we tried it. On Monday we started a 5-day protein only Attack Phase, I later revised it down to 3 days after entering my data on this is how it went:

Day 1: Weight loss is going to be easy, I just can't be bothered eating. When it is a mealtime, I think about my food options and decide not to bother. The day started out OK- an omelette, which stuck to the pan due to lack of oil. It was tolerable. Lunch was too depressing to think about until 3pm when Bookworm rolled up some cottage cheese in slices of turkey and spread mustard on top. I chased this with my daily allowance of oat bran in yoghurt. The texture resembled wet sand. Bookworm rescued the day with a dinner of salmon and basa with shallot, lemon and soy sauce. Fish with a side of fish mmmmm

I also discovered that diet jelly tastes better than it used to. I think I last tried it in the 90s. I just want an orange, that's all I ask. And porridge.

Day 2: I have such a bad headache and I think I have a temperature. This could be side effects of dukan or it could be because I have a cold at the same time. I really really am not enjoying the food. I normally love eggs but boiled eggs with lean ham and cottage cheese for breakfast was a struggle when all I really wanted was some muesli. I discovered oat bran is much more palatable if you mix it with the yoghurt and let it absorb moisture for a few hours (actually quite pleasant) and sugar-free jelly makes an interesting substitute for strawberries though I'm going with the strawberries being the healthier alternative. I am worried about my carbon footprint- I have eaten more meat in the last 2 days than I would normally do in a week.

Day 3: I would have liked to go to the gym but I feel too tired. I didn't sleep well at all last night due to my headache and am having trouble achieving much today. I did however buy some vegetables (hooray). I cannot wait for breakfast tomorrow. I'm going to eat so much choy sum! You know that feeling when you have had gastroenteritis and you are starting to feel better but can still only eat really basic food- dry biscuits and rice- that is how I feel except I can only eat ham. Ergh

If you are a visual person, this is what the Attack Phase of the Dukan Diet looks like compared to a regular day

Regular day

Dukan- Attack Phase
On the 4th day, the first day of the Cruise Phase I decided I was dying and ate some porridge. It tasted so freaking good. I even had it plain without any honey. It turns out I wasn't dying, I just needed to feed my body. The headache hung about for another 2 days. I now have astounding respect for people who are able to stick to this diet. It is miserable. I lost 1 kg in 3 days but I think that was mostly fluid. I kept thinking, if I die now, if I get hit by a car I will have not enjoyed the last few days of my life. Yes, I am melodramatic.

So the results of the diet experiment: Dukan't

For information on the Dukan Diet, ideally read the book

Or, if like me, you can't get a copy anywhere because it was recently featured in The Age and other national publications, then there is a very good website/blog: My Dukan Diet


  1. I am hopeless at diets, I rarely last a day and similar to you just try and exercise and eat healthy! I am sorry to hear about your food struggles - I'm glad you can recognise the warning signs now.
    I am such a carbs girl, so wouldn't be able to handle this at all.
    Also wanted to say thanks for your last comment on my blog, probably the nicest comment I have ever had!

  2. I truly believe that Weight Watchers have the best diet because you can eat pretty much what you want. I know I am not a good ambassador for them but that is my choice. I just adore booze and chocolate.


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