Dukan Diet Explained
The Dukan Diet is a successful weight loss program that breaks the process down into four progressive phases. These phases are known as the Attack Phase, Cruise Phase, Consolidation Phase, and Stabilization Phase. This diet was created by Pierre Dukan, a French dietician, and nutritionist, who uses these phrases to make progressive advancements in weight loss, diet changes, and exercise regimens.
The Dukan Diet is protein based and focuses on consuming only foods that would have been readily available to primitive hunter-gatherers, mainly meats and vegetables. Allowable foods are contained within a list specially created for the Dukan Diet which contains 100 approved foods that can be consumed under the guidelines of the program’s four phases. As you progress through the diet, some other foods are allowed in small amounts.
Phase I – Dukan Diet: Attack Phase
The first of four parts of the Dukan Diet is known as the Attack Phase. It is called this because it gets you started and motivated with a bang. This phase of the plan lasts between 5 to 10 days and you can expect to lose from between 4 to 10 pounds within that time period.
The only foods allowed under the Attack Phase are high-protein and low-fat items such as are found in beef, turkey, fish, chicken, eggs, cottage cheese, seitan, tofu, etc. You are also instructed to eat 1.5 tablespoons of oat bran and get 20 minutes of exercise each day.
Phase II – Dukan Diet: Cruise Phase
Once your weight loss results subside or you hit the 10-day limit of the Attack Phase, you move into Phase II of the Dukan Diet known as the Cruise Phase. During this portion of the program, you set a target weight that you want to reach and you do not stop with the Cruise Phase until you reach your goal. The rule of thumb is that you will lose approximately a pound of weight for every three days of the program.
Eating is more generous under the Cruise Phase. A “pure protein” (PP) day, which is the same diet plan as is consumed under the Attack Phase, is alternated with a “protein + vegetable” (PV) day, which adds portions of vegetables from the approved Dukan Diet food list. There are other variations of the PP and PV diet, but the one day PP followed by one day PV and repeated seems to get the best results.
You should raise your exercise regime to 30 minutes of brisk walking or some other form of exercise.
Phase III – Dukan Diet: Consolidation Phase
When you reach your target weight under the Cruise Phase, you move into the third part of the Dukan Diet plan known as the Consolidation Phase. During the Consolidation Phase, you learn to maintain your target weight while adding some other foods to your diet such as bread, cheese, fruit, etc. You also are allowed to participate in a “celebration meal” once a week to reward your hard work.
Continue with your 30-minute exercise program.
Phase IV – Dukan Diet: Stabilization Phase
The Stabilization Phase is designed to help you maintain your target weight for as long as you want providing you continue to follow the guidelines of the Dukan Diet plan. You are now allowed to eat an unlimited amount of protein and vegetables as well as one daily piece of fruit, a daily portion of cheese, two daily slices of wholegrain bread, two foods containing starch daily, and two weekly celebration meals. The exception is Thursday when you are instructed to only eat pure protein foods (PP).
You are also expected to continue with your daily exercise regime of at least 30 minutes sessions.
As long as you maintain this newly developed diet regime, the Dukan Diet ensures that you will maintain your target weight. If you happen to falter one day occasionally, simply get back on track with the diet the following day.
The Dukan Diet gets results because it breaks weight loss into four effective phases that address important shifts in diet and lifestyle. By addressing each of these diet “phases” separately, those involved in the Dukan Diet gradually grow in the weight loss process, create and strengthen valuable healthy eating and exercise habits, and obtain feasible goals more rapidly.
The Dukan Diet also doesn’t leave you hanging once it’s completed as many other fad diets do. Many diets stop providing further assistance once the program is completed with the result that you regain hard lost pounds. However, the Dukan Diet is designed to keep you lean and healthy the remainder of your life.
In order to establish and build momentum, which is highly important in any weight loss program, the Dukan Diet begins with Phase I: an attack phase that lasts between 5 and 10 days. The amount of time necessary is dependent on each individual’s weight and the progress they make during the initial portion of the Attack Phase.
During Phase I, you are introduced and encouraged to follow a regime of healthy eating habits. Most people who commit to the Dukan Diet experience the greatest weight loss during the Attack Phase. This is because you are ceasing from eating fattening and unhealthy foods and replacing them with healthy foods that promote weight loss.
Beginning the Attack: Tough First Days
As with any diet, the first several days are the most difficult. This is because you are not only changing long-time bad eating habits, but your body is also fighting its addictions to sugars, additives, and other unhealthy items. To see the first phase of the Dukan Diet through to victory, be sure you remain full by eating three good meals and snacking on recommended foods in between.
You will also, very likely, experience fatigue during the first days of your Dukan Diet. This is due to the body’s withdrawals from stimulants such as sugar. However, most people on the Dukan Diet find that their tiredness subsides after about three days when they notice a boost in their energy levels. Due to this initial experience of exhaustion, it is recommended to not exercise extensively, but to keep exercise to a short, brisk walk or other less strenuous activity that won’t compound the problem.
Requirements of the Dukan Diet Attack Phase
Here are the requirements of the Attack Phase. You will find that this phase of the Dukan Diet is not that harsh or strenuous. It was designed this way so that you can build a good diet foundation, meet goals more easily, and successfully continue with the remainder of the program.
- Eat as much as you want as long as the foods come from the allowable sources on the provided Dukan Diet food list. You will mainly eat a lot of protein foods and select vegetables while avoiding high calorie and carb foods. All fruits should be avoided since most are high in sugars. Do NOT eat foods that are not listed.
- Do NOT skip meals. Many dieters are tempted to skip meals thinking they will lose weight faster. However, skipping meals actually harms the dieting process and stresses the body making it more difficult to continue.
- Drink plenty of water. It is recommended to consume at least 1.5 liters of water each day.
- Eat oat bran daily – 1-1.5 tablespoons in a single serving. Note: Eating 1 tablespoon of wheat bran daily will help you avoid constipation from eating the oat bran.
- Exercise daily by walking briskly or doing some other form of exercise for at least 20 minutes. Remember, you can reduce this amount the first three days of the Attack Phase if you feel fatigued from your diet change.
- Avoid a high intake of sodium to reduce water retention, do not eat additional starches or sugars, and take multi-vitamins daily.
- Weigh yourself daily, preferably as soon as you wake up, but after you use the bathroom.
- Continue with the Dukan Diet Attack Phase as long as you are getting results, but do NOT go beyond the 10 days recommended period. When you feel you are not getting further results, or you reach the 10-day limit, switch to Phase II – Cruise Phase – of the Dukan Diet.
If you have faithfully followed the regime of the Dukan Diet Attack Phase, you have probably initially dropped a good amount of weight. Whether you reached the 10 limits of Phase I or found that your weight loss taper off beforehand, it is now time to move onto Phase II of the Dukan Diet known as the Cruise Phase.
In this phase of the Dukan Diet, you are seeking to reach your target weight after getting a nice head start from the Attack Phase. Unlike the Attack Phase, this level of the Dukan Diet does not have a set time limit. You simply work the program during the Cruise Phase until you reach your specified weight goal.
Focus on an Eating and Exercising Rhythm
The Cruise Phase allows you to add and increase the amounts and kinds of vegetables you could eat during the Attack Phase while continuing a high protein intake. The proper proportions are achieved by alternating Pure Protein (PP) days and Protein and Vegetable (PV) days. This one PP day followed by one PV day and then continuously repeated seems to get the best and fastest weight loss results.
Meals under the Cruise Phase can now include a large variety of various vegetables that were not allowed during Phase I. However, you still are not allowed to eat a high carb or sugar foods such as potatoes, beans, avocadoes, sweet corn, lentils, peas, or any fruit. You can eat as many vegetables from the allowed Dukan Diet list as you want, raw or cooked, and in as big of portions as you want, but don’t neglect your daily intake of protein.
How to Determine the Approximate Time until the Next Phase
As mentioned at the beginning, there is no set time limit for this phase of the Dukan Diet plan. However, you want to be able to gauge your goals so you can roughly estimate your phase transition time.
The basic rule of thumb is that it will take approximately three days of faithfully implementing the Cruise Phase to lose one pound. Therefore, if your target weight loss is 20 pounds then you will need to follow this portion of the plan for approximately 60 days.
Keep in mind that stumbles occur when dieting. Should you have a bad day and break your diet, there is no need to start over completely. Simply pick up again where you were at the next day in Phase II and continue.
Requirements of the Dukan Diet Cruise Phase
Besides following the above guidelines, you should also observe the following requirements of Phase II of the Dukan Diet.
- Increase bran intake to 2 tablespoons daily.
- Increase briskly walking or some other form of exercise to 30-minute sessions.
- Your weight will fluctuate somewhat during the Cruise Phase so it is not recommended to weigh yourself on a daily basis as you did in the Attack Phase. Therefore, weigh yourself once a week and after a PP (pure protein) day.
- Continue the Cruise Phase for as long as it takes to reach your target weight goal by following the approximate 3-day rule.