Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Diet suited my genes, and my jeans

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It's time to update you on my Dukan diet experiment. The diet basically is high protein, vegetables and ultra-low carbohydrates.

The reason I was eager to try the Dukan diet is because, after some research, I realized it was a way of eating that closely resembled what my Ojibwa ancestors would have eaten a few hundred years ago.

Before we adopted processed foods such as chips, fast food, macaroni and cheese and colas, we were pretty healthy people. Surely, my genes would love this diet.

Well, the popular French diet worked for me.

It took about four months of dieting, but I lost about 20 pounds of post-pregnancy weight, and I feel great.

The Dukan diet is something everyone struggling with some extra weight should try. It could even help with some of the health problems aboriginal people deal with at high rates, such as diabetes and heart disease.

I hate to sound like a commercial, but there are no gimmicks to this diet. I did not exercise like a maniac, either.

So, if you've got some weight to lose, I recommend picking up a Dukan diet book and talking to your doctor before starting the plan.

Want a taste of Dukan dieting? Then follow my diet tips and I practically guarantee you will lose weight.

Tip 1) Drink lots of water.

Diet experts say drink six to eight glasses of water a day because drinking water helps you lose weight.

Dr. Pierre Dukan says water keeps your metabolism high, so you break down food and get rid of extra fat. Drink a glass of water before and after a meal and you will have drunk six glasses. If you don't like water, work your way up -- and tea counts as water.

Tip 2) Stay away from all the white stuff.

Cut out white sugar, rice, pasta, potatoes, bread and flour. As a former carb addict, I know it sounds impossible, but it can be done. Some days I think I could kill for a piece of fry bread. But take it one day at a time and the cravings will slowly disappear.

Tip 3) Take a walk.

Walking is the perfect exercise. Daily walks are good exercise for any age, size or ability. Walking is a great stress reliever, and gets your feel-good endorphins going.

Best of all, it's free. You don't need to spend money on memberships, clubs, or fancy equipment. All you need is a pair of shoes.

And whether you live in a city, town, or on the rez, you can walk. Start with 10 minutes and work your way up to 30 minutes a day. Walk with a friend or start a walking group and make it more fun.

Tip 4) Lean protein keeps you full.

The Dukan diet and a traditional aboriginal diet are easy to stay on because, unlike some diets, you never feel hungry. The reason is lean protein.

Most meals I eat now have some kind of lean protein: eggs, fresh or canned fish, tofu, tons of chicken, wild game, and some pork and beef. It may cost a bit more but a little goes a long way. Buy what's on sale and stay away from processed meat.

Tip 5) Cheat once in a while.

This is one case where cheating is good.

It's better to have one chocolate bar than to eat a bunch of diet food that does nothing to stop your craving for a chocolate bar. All or nothing doesn't work when it comes to dieting. That's why so many people quit diets.

Just don't cheat on your diet every day -- only when your willpower is fading.

The Dukan diet is the easiest diet I've ever been on. It teaches that healthy eating in the long run is the key to staying fit.

Colleen Simard is a Winnipeg writer.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 28, 2012 A18

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