NOW THAT’S FUNNY
If you want to lose a few pounds for summer and you’re interested in trying a new diet that the French swear by, your timing is excellent. The Dukan Diet, insanely popular in France, is coming to the United States.
Formulated by Dr. Pierre Dukan, the diet closely resembles the Atkins Diet, which should surely be familiar to any dieter in the U.S. The Atkins diet relies heavily on protein and fat consumption, with the exclusion of carbohydrates. It’s been around for a long time.
My mother went on Atkins when I was a teenager and promptly lost 10 pounds. I remember watching her scarf down shrimp salad with plenty of mayonnaise and thinking “This is a diet?” But it works. Until you go off it.
I have tried many diets in my time, and Atkins was one of them. It’s a great feeling to eat 40 bacon slices for breakfast and pork rinds for a snack and then a steak with butter for dinner, all while losing weight. But four days into it I would have given away all my furniture just to have a glass of orange juice. I’m not one for these diets that cut out entire food groups.
Dr. Dukan’s diet is different from Atkins, because it doesn’t allow you to eat a lot of fat. It has four phases: attack, cruise, consolidation, and stabilization. Sounds like our policy in Iraq.
Attack lets you eat as much as you want of non-fatty protein foods (mmm, more plain, sliced turkey anyone?). Cruise adds in some vegetables, consolidation brings a fruit per day, a serving of cheese, two servings of carbohydrates, and the occasional glass of wine or dessert. The final stage, stabilization, has three easy, but non-negotiable measures. They are non-negotiable, meaning you must stick to them, because 95% of people who lose weight on a diet gain it back.
Maybe this is his secret. Perhaps one of his non-negotiable rules is “stop stuffing your face.”
Actually, Dr. Dukan swears that you can eat what you want as long as you also follow his three rules: one day a week, you eat just lean protein like the attack phase, eat 3 tablespoons of oat bran a day, and walk 20 minutes a day, which includes never taking escalators or elevators again. Sorry, employees of the GM building.
I read a few blogs about people on this diet, and here’s a little secret I unearthed. The phases last a long time. Cruise continues until you reach your goal weight. You could be in cruise for months. I could never do it. And as far as consolidation goes: you lost me at “occasional glass of wine”.
Dr. Dukan’s books are a giant hit in France. He sold 3.5 million copies of his first book, and three Dukan books were among the top five bestsellers in France last year. His books are set to appear in America next month.
I traveled to France a few times in the 1990s, and I saw almost no overweight people. Perhaps since I was there the citizens have put on some flab, and that’s why they’re embracing this diet wholeheartedly. All I can say is: Frenchies, forget this diet. Just go back to what you were eating in 1993. You looked great.
Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column. Sign up for her mailing list at www.pamlobley.com.