On the Dukan Diet

Pictured here is a griddled beef patty on top of a green salad from Bill's Burger—no dressing

Last year, I decided to try the Dukan Diet, otherwise known as "The Kate Middleton Diet." It's a four-phase protein-centric/low-carb diet that has garnered a reputation as France's long-time secret to staying slim. There are two steps for losing the weight and two steps for keeping it off forever. I had heard about it from my friend Ashley.

"It's so amazing, Jess," said Ashley, as she divulged the details over one of our #singlegirldinners, "I've lost five pounds so far. For breakfast, I'll have a Greek yogurt and boiled egg. At lunch, I'll have a steak, and, for dinner, grilled fish with a green salad."

Well, that sounded reasonable enough, so I bought the book and went to DukanDiet.com to figure out my customized plan. It generated a chart that outlined a 42-day plan to get to my true weight. For me, it was a matter of losing four pounds. For others, their customized plan may take hundreds of days and even years in order to achieve their true weight, as this diet was originally designed for the obese. 

My meals looked something like:

Breakfast

Fage Total 2% with strawberry

1 boiled egg

2 slices of bresaola

2 slices of lean ham

Lunch

Sliced steak with charred scallions

6 sticks of surimi 

Beef jerky

Dinner

Shrimp cocktail

Tofu shiratake noodles with bolognese sauce

or

Grilled salmon with a micro-greens salad

I lasted all of 21 days. (I believe it was a corn dog at Nathan's Famous in Coney Island that pushed me over the edge.) The hardest part for me was giving up on pasta–I would dream of oodles and oodles of noodles. To this day, I'm shocked that I made it that far without succumbing to the spaghetti carbonara at Otto. Shocked, I tell you.

But it did work. I was able to maintain my new weight of being three pounds lighter while I was doing it. (I know three pounds sounds measly, but it makes such a difference on my frame.) This was, of course, in conjunction with regular exercise and other stipulations in the diet, such as eating oat bran daily. I was on a mission. My body looked leaner, tighter, and toner. I even saw it in my face.

While I didn't complete the 42-day plan, my big takeaway from the experience was that the secret of maintaining weight loss lies in:

1. Making lean protein and non-starchy vegetables the basis of a regular diet

2. Incorporating regular exercise

3. And, this can't be underestimated, you have to really want it

Simple as that. Just something for me to think about as I enter 2013. After all, New Year's Day and diets go hand-in-hand.