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Ax the Dukan Diet and Start the “You Can” Diet: 5 Tried, True, and Tested Tips to Losing Weight

April 28, 2011

In my last post I discussed the Dukan Diet and why it seems to be an unsustainable diet that may offer short-term results but likely won’t lead to lasting weight loss. Instead of a restricting diet like Dukan, opt for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean protein and dairy. I like to call it the “You Can” Diet.

This diet should sound pretty familiar. And that’s because it is. While I’d like to think I created a revolutionary new way to eat the message of eating a balanced diet is anything but (I’ll only take credit for the catchy new name). Couple a balanced diet with 30-60 minutes of daily exercise and you’ve got yourself a good ole’ formula for lasting weight loss. I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again but there’s a reason why health and nutrition experts relay this message so frequently: because it works.

So forget about what you have to restrict and what you CAN’T eat and instead focus on what you CAN do to help yourself live and healthier and happier life with the foods you love. Will you see quick and dramatic weight loss with this method? Probably not. But you won’t get nasty side effects (headache, bad breath, constipation, and fatigue among others) and the rebound weight that commonly comes with a restrictive diet like Dukan, either. Plus, you’ll be able to sustain a healthier relationship with your foods that can lead to steady weight loss.

TAKING THE FIRST STEP

Most health experts would agree that trying to change your diet overnight isn’t the best way to go. This can often times be overwhelming and leave someone attempting the feat discouraged and ultimately, unable to change at all. What you should do is focus on one or two areas to improve. Trying to incorporate more fruits into your daily meals by adding some berries to your breakfast cereal each morning or trying to exercise more by taking the stairs instead of the elevator would be good examples.

GET REAL

The goal is to be realistic, even within the changes you are trying to make. For instance, if you decide to take the stairs instead of the elevator and you work on the 40th floor, don’t walk 40 flights of stairs. Be realistic with your aim to increase your exercise and take the elevator to the 30th or 35th floor then walk to your office on the 40th.

This way, you’ll feel like you accomplished something when you walk those extra 5-10 flights of stairs instead of feeling like a failure when you realize you need to take the elevator the rest of the way after climbing from the ground floor to the 10th floor. In each scenario you did the same amount of exercise but by being realistic instead of trying to over-do it you’re left feeling victorious rather than defeated.

WHAT NOW?

Not sure where to take your first step? Here are a 5 proven effective changes that can help you on your way to your weight loss goals. Remember, try to focus on 1-2 changes for several weeks to develop a habit before moving to another goal.

1.   You Can: Eat Breakfast

Study after study has shown that eating breakfast each morning can help boost your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the rest of the day. So if you don’t typically eat breakfast, start to. EVERY DAY.

Tip: Some good choices for breakfast include whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and fruit, Greek yogurt with orange juice, or whole-wheat toast with peanut butter.

2.   You Can: Exercise…DAILY!

This one’s seems like a no-brainer if you’re looking to drop the lbs but many don’t get nearly enough daily physical activity. Often, dieters focus solely on food and nix the exercise but that spells trouble and will make weight loss even harder. As the legendary fitness expert Jack LaLanne use to say, “Exercise is king and diet is queen; put them together and you’ve got an empire.” And he’s right. So make sure you have a balanced plan for weight loss that includes both diet AND exercise.

Tip: Be sure to mix up your exercise regimen for maximum results. Vary from brisk walks or jogging one day to resistance training (ie. weight lifting) the next to help burn fat and build muscle.

3.   You Can: Be Aware of What You Eat AND Drink

Often times when individuals begin to make diet changes in order to lose weight and live healthier they tend to focus solely on what they eat and not what they drink. Don’t make this mistake. Think “liquid calories” each time you pour a glass of soda or fruit juice.

While the beverages you drink are often an afterthought this can actually be one of the easiest ways to cut out unneeded calories. Try to limit higher calorie drinks like soda and fruit juice to only one meal each day and for in-between meals stick to zero calorie water for hydration.

Tip: If you prefer some taste to your water try adding some lemon, lime, or a tablespoon of fruit juice per 6 ounces for a splash of flavor.

4.   You Can: Get More Sleep

Many of us are sleep-deprived. Between our hectic work schedules, meetings, and late night television shows who has time to sleep 8 hours each night? If this includes you, make time. A lack of Z’s can really put a damper on your metabolism and mess with hormone levels like ghrelin and leptin in your body. Ghrelin is the hormone that helps initiate hunger and when your sleepy you have more of it. Leptin helps tell you when to stop eating and you often have less when you’re tired. The combination of these is often a formula for weight gain.

Tip: If you’re already getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night you are at a good range. If not, make a commitment to increase your amount and aim for 8 hours of solid sleep. Don’t sabotage your sleep by consuming caffeine or other stimulants right before bed.

5.   You Can: Take Accountability and Work Hard

Ultimately, it is up to you as to whether or not you are happy with your weight, body, and life. Once you take accountability for all your actions, whether it’s turning down that late night bowl of ice cream or the second helping at dinner, and realize your choices all make an impact, you can begin to make real change.

The sooner you do this you’ll come to grips in realizing you also have the power to make other choices, better choices, that will help you on the bumpy road that is weight loss. If that means working hard to keep the weight off, keeping a daily food and exercise journal, discussing your progress or lack thereof with a friend or loved one, or joining a support group to keep you accountable, by all means do it.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2011 12:06 AM

    This post hit the nail on the head. I posted it on Twitter and Facebook as a must read. Thanks for putting it all together so nicely!

    • April 29, 2011 12:57 PM

      Thanks so much for your comment Alysa. Glad you liked the post! Too often we see people turn to quick fixes and fad diets only to be disappointed with the results in the end. Who wants to be so restrictive with their diets? With a little hard work and perseverance you don’t have to.

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