All the below-mentioned elements of the Dukan’s method fit together into a harmonious whole. You can’t expect long-lasting results when you treat the plan selectively. Get through all four stages or don’t start the diet at all. If you decide on going the whole way you will be able to benefit from the unique qualities of the dukan’s method:
- A simple set o rules that are clear enough to make you feel confident about how to follow them.
- A low-frustration weight loss plan. No restrictions to the quantity of food you consume.
- A natural diet. All the products you eat are completely natural, relatively cheap and easily available. There are no pills, powders or any commercially-prepared or highly refined products.
According to dr Dukan, these are the 4 key elements that make up the Dukan Diet:
1. A list of 100 diet-safe foods
72 of them are protein rich products of animal origin and the other 28 are vegetables. The entire menu of the first two phases of the diet consists of those foods.
It is worth mentioning that the original list had been designed for French (and then European) readers and was changed a bit over time to better correspond the needs of the non-European.
Sidenote: Soon you will be able to read more on the changes in safe food list here. Also, as soon as I finish my new post, check out my own extended list and tips on how to choose products that even though not listed in the original manifest, do comply with the diet’s guidelines. Meanwhile, you can download the original list here: The Original 100 Diet Safe Food List (8355 downloads)
What makes dukan’s method unique is the fact that, as long as you compose your meals of the products that figure on the list, there are no restrictions to the amount of food you consume or the frequency of eating.
Dukan’s plan is a blessing to all the gourmets and people who simply love eating. Needless to say, it’s those individuals that often suffer from overweight and obesity.
A non-restrictive approach to eating is a novelty that, when it comes to the percentage of people who have successfully completed the diet, makes the difference between the Dukan Diet and the whole bunch of other weight loss methods.
2. A phasic construction of the diet
The Dukan Diet consists of 4 subsequent stages, called phases. In terms of the rules a dieter abides by at each step, the first three phases are pretty clear and straightforward.
On the other hand, the last phase is more like a collection of 3 easy-to-follow guidelines that, if aboded by, are to keep your lost weight off for the rest of your life.
The phases are not just about alternating the menu. They have been thoughtfully designed to:
- strengthen your motivation,
- minimize the monotony of the meals and
- counteract the most common lapses from the straight and narrow
3. Consolidation and stabilization strategy
Surprisingly, the last two phases of the Dukan Diet are of the most importance. It’s not about just losing weight (which is pretty easy) but it’s about preventing the destructive yo-yo effect. Carrying them out properly is of utmost priority. Neglecting to do so will probably demolish your plans for a perfect body.
In his books, dukan cautions against giving in to temptation in face of the spectacular weight loss that dieters commonly experience at the very beginning of the diet. He often reminds his readers that the real deal is to go through all of the diet’s Phases.
To my knowledge, Phase II is a time when you may experience a so called plateau. I remember hitting the plateau several times during my whole dieting period. Here’s a graph that illustrates how my weight fluctuated in Phase II. As you can see there I experienced at least two stagnation periods that lasted for 2 or 3 weeks.
4. A minimum exercising regime
We don’t talk about full time training here. According to Dukan, it’s enough to march for 30 minutes a day to provide an essential portion of exercise human body needs to function properly
The official recommendation as to how much to exercise in each phase (note that what I call exercise here is nothing else than just walking, climbing up the stairs or marching; nothing fancy):
- 20 minutes a day in the Attack Phase
- 30 minutes a day in the Cruise Phase (when you can experience the plateau it’s important to increase your exercising efforts to prevent the downsides of the weight loss stagnation)
- 30 minutes a day in the Consolidation Phase
- 20 minutes a day in the Stabilization Phase
About walking / marching
Dukan endorses walking as he believes that:
- it’s the most natural, most efficient and the cheapest way of exercising
- it’s very safe and universal
- you can walk anywhere, anytime and regardless of your current mood
- even in extremely obese people it is very unlikely that walking will cause any injuries
You don’t need to organize your walking sessions in any special manner. Just walk as you do keeping in mind that not taking an escalator or lift will bonus in additional activity points. The same goes to:
- shopping on foot
- dish-washing by hand
- walking your dog (this will please the dog as well)
- making up your own bed on a daily routine
- tiding up your place, vacuum cleaning the room
- doing stuff in your garden etc.
All of the above is the physical activity your body needs.
I took the liberty to discuss at length some aspects of this recommendation and came up with several ideas on how to take a lot of exercise without changing your daily routine.