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Secrets of successful Dukan Dieters: You really can lose weight without hunger

These tips can help you successfully navigate the Dukan Diet.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2014

The Dukan Diet may not have wide popularity among diet experts and may look daunting due to its numerous restrictions, but if you're looking for a way to lose weight quickly and without feeling hungry or deprived, this diet deserves a close look. Here are some tips for maximizing your weight loss, will power and ability to stay on the diet long enough to lose the amount of weight you need to lose.

  • After the Attack Phase, you can stray in some ways. Dr. Dukan may disagree, but you can still lose weight if you eat low-fat cheese (such as Velveeta Shreds), light cheese sticks and fat free half and half on a regular basis. You can even chow down on some full-fat bacon or breakfast sausage on occasion, as long as you don't indulge every day.
  • Oat bran matters. Don't try to skimp on the oat bran, but don't eat more than the prescribed amount per day. If you make a recipe that contains more than your daily allotment of oat bran, don't eat it the following day. You shouldn't have to choke down the oat bran, though. Some brands taste better than others; Quaker and Trader Joe's brands taste good added to fat-free yogurt.
  • Never allow yourself to get too hungry. Keep supplies of light cheese sticks, such as Weight Watchers brand, and fat-free yogurt at your home and workplace so that you always have something to munch on. If you never get too hungry, you'll feel less tempted by the donuts or cake someone leaves in the office kitchen.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth. Have appropriate sweet treats such as low-carb cheesecake in the fridge, and keep a supply of sugar free chocolate syrup for making chocolate skim milk. Have some sugar free ice cream available for desperate times. Keep in mind, though, that after the first couple of weeks of carb detox, you won't have much trouble passing up birthday cake, cookies and other goodies.
  • Know when to just say no. Once you get through the first couple of weeks on the Dukan Diet, you probably won't crave sweets and starchy foods anymore. However, if you indulge in a piece of pie or cake "just this once," you're in for about 24 hours of miserable sweets cravings afterward. It's not worth it. Just say no. Also avoid nuts, beans, and corn, and, of course, stay away from bread, pasta and rice.
  • Weigh yourself twice a week, first thing in the morning. This can vary by personal preference, but your weight can fluctuate widely on this or any diet plan - or no diet plan. Weighing yourself every day may make you feel like you're making no progress when you're actually doing well. This can strain your motivation to stay on course.
  • Invest in a good bathroom scale. You can pick up a highly rated, digital bathroom scale on Amazon.com for around $20 or $30 and trash that old clunker that lets you change your weight by leaning forward or waiting 5 minutes and re-weighing yourself.
  • Buy clothes that fit. Comments from friends and coworkers on how great you look helps keep your motivation high, and these kudos won't start flowing until you ditch the baggy clothes. Once you've lost a clothing size, consider visiting thrift shops if you can't afford a new wardrobe from malls or department stores. You may be surprised at how many of your best-dressed acquaintances regularly shop at second hand stores.
  • Plan your meals around sales and coupons. The Dukan Diet can prove extremely expensive if you're used to a carb heavy diet that's low on meats. If you have to struggle each day to come up with something to eat for lunch and dinner, you're more likely to grab something that derails your diet, especially if you've already exhausted your weekly grocery budget.
  • Don't fret if you have to make another meal for the rest of the family. At the very least, on your all protein days, you'll probably want to make veggie and possibly starchy side dishes for the children and non-dieting folks in the family.
  • Stock up on eggs and plan to eat them for breakfast most mornings. You can add variety to your eggs by mixing in a packet of salmon and some ricotta cheese, some cubed ham and Velveeta Shreds or some cooked vegetables. Count on having some variety of eggs in the morning unless you really like yogurt and can eat enough of it to hold you until lunchtime.
  • Pinterest is your friend. The Dukan Diet isn't some obscure, fly-by-night diet plan. It has thousands of loyal followers, both in the U.S. and overseas, many of whom generously contribute their recipes online. Pinterest provides a particularly rich trove of Dukan-friendly recipes.
  • Set a realistic weight loss goal. Visit DukanDiet.com for a free quiz that'll help you decide a realistic target that isn't based on physician weight charts. Setting an appropriate goal weight can reduce frustration, make it easier to stay on the diet and, more importantly, make it more likely that you'll maintain your weight loss.
  • Don't forget stages 3 and 4. You're not done after the Cruise Stage of the Dukan Diet. If you want to maintain your weight loss, you'll be on some stage of the Dukan Diet forever, and that's not a bad thing. You may find that you feel better if you don't ever go back to eating "normally" again.