The Dukan diet is not a miraculous, snap your fingers and the weight is gone, cure for your weight problems. This is why it is very important to prepare yourself for this (quite long for most of us) journey adequately. Just like you don't go jogging in stilettos, and you don't go camping without carefully packing all that is necessary, the same goes for this diet. Preparation is key to your success and below is a list of some important things to consider and/or do before starting this regime.
It might seem quite an obvious point to start but it does need to be stated. If you want to follow the Dukan diet you do need to start by learning its rules. Just like you wouldn't start playing around in a chemistry lab without some preparation and knowledge, as well as a good manual the same goes for this diet. For it to work it has very strict and specific requirements and if you want to just wing it, don't be surprised if the results are not up to your expectations.
The book isn't expensive, but if for some reason it's still too much or it's not available to you, there are summaries online, like my articles about the diet phases (start with Attack), the official website or other sites with phase descriptions (here, or here). These can be great if you want to start straight away but I can't emphasize enough how important it is to really read the actual book with all the rules explained in great detail.
On to some practical tips. Unless you want to setup yourself to fail you really need to get rid of all the little temptations. If you have some food that's not allowed on the diet - finish it off. It's OK to postpone the start if a few extra days mean you can have a clean beginning. This obviously means you need to use up all the small items and not buy extra stuff to go with them. Otherwise you will always have something that delays your start "just one more day".
Most of us will also have stocked up on some items you can't just finish off in one or two sittings. These are best given away to friends or family, charity or maybe just thrown away. It's not for everyone, but throwing out especially something that never should have been in your freezer anyways can have quite a cathartic feeling. Yes, I'm talking about those sugar, fat and salt laden ready-meals or other trash-food.
Oat bran is a key part of this diet, but for many of us it can be quite a new ingredient. It's not always available in your local store and you might not know where to look for it. That's why it's best to do a bit of research before you actually start the Dukan diet. Some common places to find oat bran:
You might also want to get a pack of wheat bran as it can come in handy.
Oat bran can usually be found next to various forms of oatmeal, oat flakes, etc. This is why it's important to always check the label and make sure you are getting 100% oat bran.
There is a good chance that if you are interested in the Dukan diet you have already looked through some details, and found a few recipe sites (like this one! :) ). It's handy to familiarize yourself with various allowed ingredients so that you know what to look for and what is available in your local stores. That way you will be able to easily pick recipes based on ingredients available to you, rather than having to scour for some specific ingredient only found in specialty stores two towns away...
A lot of recipes on my site, or others created by Europeans call for things like quark. Yoghurts can vary dramatically in there nutritional details from brand to brand. And the list goes on.
Another little tip is to create a small "shopping-list" with all the allowed products written down. Especially in the Attack phase the list will be short, but you won't have to wonder if something was allowed or not, and if you remember it correctly.
Now this advice might seem surprising, but the first few days on the diet are crucial. Most people are not accustomed to low carb eating, and with breads and pastries surrounding us everywhere in one form or another you might be in for a surprise when it comes to finding allowed meals that you haven't cooked yourself.
If you start on Monday, go to work there suddenly are plenty of potential excuses to break the diet. Starting on Saturday or Sunday will give you a lot more time to deal with unexpected cravings and experimenting with what tastes you find most to your liking. It also means that if you do go to work on Monday you can cook lunches ahead (even for a whole week) and take them with you. It also saves you the frustration of spending most of you lunch break starting at the twenty available yoghurts or other dairy products and figuring out which ones are actually allowed, have no added sugar and low fat contents.
These are just a few tips for preparing for the Dukan diet. If you've got your own experiences and advice, share it in the comments below :)
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