From the book
The Dukan DietThirty-five years have passed since my life-changing encounter with the obese gentleman. Since then, I have devoted my work to helping thousands of men and women lose pounds and stabilize their weight.
Like all my French medical colleagues, I was trained that calories counted and low-calorie diets were the way to lose weight. Every type of food was allowed in moderate quantities. Nowadays, what I know and practice I have learned through direct daily contact with flesh-and- blood human beings who have constant cravings to eat.
I very quickly realized that it was not by accident that an individual was overweight. Their appetite and their apparent lack of restraint were a camouflage concealing a need to find comfort in food. This need is all the more overwhelming as it is connected to our survival mechanisms, which are as archaic as they are instinctive. It soon became obvious to me that I could not make an overweight person lose weight and stay slim simply by giving sound advice, even if that advice was based on common sense and scientific research.
Support is what overweight people determined to lose weight really want and is what they need from a counselor or a method-support so that they are not left alone to face the ordeal of dieting, which deliberately goes against their own instinct for survival.
What overweight individuals are looking for is an outside will, a decision maker who walks ahead of them offering guidance and specific instructions, because what overweight people most hate and simply cannot do is decide for themselves when and how they are going to deprive themselves of food.
As for managing their weight, overweight individuals will admit without shame-and why should there be any-that they are powerless when it comes to controlling what they eat. People from every social and economic background have all sat in front of me and described themselves as being astonishingly weak when it comes to food.
Obviously, most of them have found in food an easy "escape valve" through which they can release excess tension, stress, and life's all too frequent disappointments. Any logical, reasonable, and rational instructions just cannot stand up to those pressures-at least not for long.
During my years of practice, I have seen many diets come and go. From analyzing these diets and the reasons behind their various successes, as well as the efforts of my own patients, I am convinced of the following: Overweight people who want to lose weight need a fast- acting diet that brings immediate results, fast enough to strengthen and maintain their motivation. They also need precise goals, set by an outside instructor, with a series of levels to aim for so that they can see their efforts and compare them with the results expected. However, I have also observed the strength of my patients' resolve at certain times in their lives and then seen how easily they lose heart when the results do not match their efforts.
Most of the spectacular diets that rocketed to success in recent years did in fact have that fast-off-the-mark effect and delivered the promised results. Unfortunately, their instructions and guidance faded away once the book was closed, leaving the overweight individual once again all alone on the slippery slope of temptations, and the cycle would start all over again. Once the goal was reached, all these diets, even the most original and inventive, abandoned their followers with the same old commonsense advice about moderation and balance that a formerly overweight person will never manage to...