Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Dukan Diet: An easy way to shed that travel fat!

One thing that has always hit me hard about travel is the weight gained while enjoying yourself! It doesn't effect everyone, but I know every time I've travelled, local or abroad, my clothes start feeling tighter. It is always exciting to consume food you've never heard of before, drink drinks you've never seen and party like no one who knows you is around! If you are like me, even though you are doing way more physical activity than your normal life, the indulgence catches up to you. It sucks, and for years now I've just put up with it. I grew up being overweight, and only once became fit, but that involved a ridiculous amount of physical exercise, 2+ hours a day, which at the time I had become addicted to.
Since travelling and slowly putting on weight I began to believe that if I want to ditch the gut I'm going to need to adopt that extreme fitness routine again. Deep down I never actually believed changing your diet could make you lose weight, only hard exercise. Until recently...

At the beginning of this house sit I found a book about the "Dukan Diet". I flicked through a few pages and read some really positive things. I really liked what I was reading, but at the same time, it felt like a bit of a sales pitch. While mixing reasons the diet works it was throwing in a lot of feel good, this is the best, blah blah type stuff that I'm sure most diets throw at you to get you excited and give the diet a crack. I've never liked the concept of dieting, but I was getting close to the biggest I'd ever been and knew I had to do something, so decided why not?

The Dukan Diet was created by a French doctor, Dr. Dukan. He came upon his idea after a bit of luck, then researched into it and has come up with a heap of scientific reasons this is the best diet for weight loss ever. In a nutshell, this diet is mostly about water and lean meat, protein. By kicking out 99% of sugar and fat you can't gain fat and as protein burns a lot of energy to process you will lose weight. If all you ate was meat though, you'd be pretty clogged up and lacking vitamins, so the diet has different stages. One thing that rocks about this diet, you can eat as much as you want, provided it is of the right foods, no calorie countiny or portion control! At all levels of the diet you also eat Oatbran every day, good for movements, absorbs bad stuff and I think Dr. Dukan may get commissions for every pack sold from how highly he regards it!

First an attack stage, only pure proteins. In his book it says all sorts of glorious things will occur, your energy levels will rise and you will lose heaps of weight. For me I found the opposite. See I used to eat a lot of fruit, lots of sugar, which I was now missing for a massive energy drop. My entire life I had thought of fruit as healthy and good for you. I knew they had sugar, but it was good sugar right? Well it is good sugar and fruits are full of vitamins and nutrients, but if you want to lose weight, lots of fruit will not help, it will do the opposite infact as you will be storing up a lot of sugar and where's that going to go? I'm no nutritionist or doctor, and only know what I've learnt through experience, but this diet just rewired my very belief on what is a "healthy snack". How many times as a child did you say "I'm hungry?" only to be told to go eat some bread or fruit, possibly the two worst things for someone overweight. I know for sure I was never given a lean steak or some smoked salmon when I was hungry!

Secondly is the cruise phase, this is where you lose most your weight. You basicly alternate between pure protein one day, to protein + vegies the next. Although all vegetables aren't on offer at this point, starches like potato and fat like avocado are not allowed. After a week of protein you'd be surprised at exactly how much you'll enjoy chowing down on a tomato! I stuck at this phase for almost 2 months, losing about a kg a week. I was actually shocked at how easy it was to be disciplined and stay strictly on the diet, and was made easier because Jen has been supportive the whole way. The weight loss motivated me greatly and the food wasn't bad. Most days I ate steak for breakfast, smoked salmon with cottage cheese for lunch and chicken breast/ fish/ steak/ kangaroo for dinner. If it was vegie day the steak would be aided by tomatos and mushrooms, the salmon with capers and non fatty/starchy vegies for dinner.

Third is the consolodation phase, this is where I am at now. This phase is not about losing weight, but by slowly adding the foods you have deprived yourself back into your diet without reclaiming all the lost fat. The most exciting thing about this phase is you can have a beer again! You pretty much treat this phase as a protein+veggie day however you are allowed a couple of slices of wholemeal bread, 40 grams of cheese, and one piece of fruit a day. It also opens you up to eat slightly fattier meats again, (lamb and pork), one starch meal a week and one celebration meal where you can eat anything you miss including chocolate. I had been following the diet very strictly up until this point, where I occasionally exchange the bread for beer. I'm still losing weight on this phase, but much, much slower, about a kilo every third week. This is probably the hardest phase as it is recommended to stick to it for 10 days for every kilo lost. I lost 12 kg, so this phase lasts for 120 days! At the same time after learning so much about the way your body absorbs different foods, it is easier to stick to a high protein diet and I believe this time sets a good guideline for how you should eat in the future. Also once a week, every week during this phase you do a strict protein day, this is just to remind the body of where it wants to be.

The fourth phase goes for the rest of your life. It's pretty much eat whatever you want, have that oatbran every day and once a week have that strict protein day!

If you are ready to shed that travel fat, but not keen to do intense exercise for hours a day, I'd highly recommend giving the Dukan Diet a crack. Even if you're not ready for a diet, try change what you are eating up a little bit. Have smoked salmon for a snack instead of fruit. Eat more lean meat with less veggies and no sugary sauces. It really is amazing how easy you can lose weight by just changing your eating.

Post in the comments below if you've given the Dukan Diet a go, or keen to try it out! There are plenty of forums out there with support if you need to ask anything that you are unsure of and some great recipes and ideas, but the books, "The Dukan Diet" and "The Dukan Diet Recipe Book" written by Dr. Dukan, are a helpful source of information that hold specific details about the different stages of the diet, what to expect, and ideas on what to eat. After all, he did design with the diet, so who better to learn about it than from him.