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Jennifer D., United States, lost 135 lbs

I am living, breathing proof that the Dukan Diet works! I have transformed into the person I was always meant to be; healthy, happy, and excited to get dressed every morning! My desire to lose weight was greatly influenced by my doctor, but not for the reasons you may think. At 237 lbs., I was diagnosed with a hypothyroid and put on medication. I thought, “I knew it. That’s the reason I’m over weight.” “Thank God they finally believe me that it’s my thyroid.” I was elated, singing Hallelujah’s all the way home.

However, 90 days later, my weight was up to 251 lbs. I couldn’t believe it! The medication, which had been an answer to prayer, had caused me to gain weight. I insisted that my doctor do the thyroid test again. Something was definitely wrong. The medication was obviously not working, or the dosage must be incorrect. To appease me, my doctor ran another test. One week later @ 255 lbs. I went for my follow up, only to discover that my 2ndthyroid tested came back “normal”, which meant the thyroid medication was working, just not the way I had hoped. Completely defeated, I asked my doctor, “What is wrong with me then?” He replied as a matter of fact, “I believe you are just one of those people who can’t lose weight”. I left his office utterly devastated. This can’t be who I am? At that moment, I decided that I was going to prove him wrong.

I immediately went on a “fasting” diet, which worked, short term. However, it wasn’t a sustainable way to live and I slowly but surely gained my weight back, and then some. Next, I tried diet pills. They also worked temporarily, with no long-term results. As a last resort, I went to a seminar for a gastric medical procedure, only to be told that my insurance wouldn’t pay for it and I would need to pay for any procedure myself. Knowing that this could take months or even years, I resolved myself to the fact that maybe I really couldn’t lose weight and would just have to live with it. Then, I cried.

Fast forward 4 months. I decided on a new doctor and went for my annual physical. I was dreading it, and the scale, for good reason. I saw 274 lbs. staring back at me. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t weigh this much when I was pregnant, all three times! Then the words of my previous doctor ran through my mind, “….you are just one of those people who can’t lose weight”, and for the first time, I believed him. Everyday, I woke up dreading my closet. I’d put on anything that fit, because I hated the way I looked and really didn’t care. That’s what I’d tell myself anyway. The truth was I did care. I’d avoid old friends who knew me when I was thinner, as well as opportunities to meet new people, because I had to first lose weight to be acceptable. I missed many important events because I was too embarrassed by my weight. Looking back, I see where my absence hurt my family. It was never intentional though. Remember, my doctor told me I could not lose weight, so was it really my fault?

After missing a very important event in my husband’s life, I guilted myself in to going to a Halloween party with all his friends from the past 30 years. I went as a “cereal killer” because I could wear my “old faithfuls” (oversized black jacket/jeans) and still be “dressed up” as something. I made my way in; managing to smile, and hoped no one would notice I’d gained 45 lbs. The walk from the front of the house to the corner of the patio, where I planted myself for the night, seemed like an eternity. I had to parade by everyone and it was truly mortifying. Unfortunately, my cereal box was not big enough to hide behind.

Anyway, I arrived at my seat and was quite grateful that I could stop sucking in my stomach and hide behind the table. After a few cocktails, I wasn’t feeling as insecure and actually started enjoying myself. Even the next day, I was feeling good about the evening; that was, until I saw the pictures. There I was, larger than life (literally), and I could no longer deny that my weight was out of control. I made a decision that dat that I was not going to live out the rest of my life, hating the way I looked. I didn’t want to arrive at the end of my days and look back, only to regret the time and effort I spent loathing my body. I wanted to stop avoiding cameras like the plague, and have pictures of myself with my husband, children, and grand daughter all over my house. I wanted to be physically present in my life, and theirs.

Here is where my Dukan journey begins. At 282.5 lbs, I picked up an article about the Dukan Diet and brought it to work to read on my break. I had it on my desk for a week, still not having read it, when a friend/colleague of mine asked to read it because she needed to lose 10 pounds. (Really?) Anyway, when I came back on the Monday after the Halloween party, I asked her how it was going with the diet. She said that she had lost her weight and had to move into the next phase sooner than expected, because she was losing too much weight. First, I asked her to repeat that. Then, I asked for the article back.

That was 7 months ago, and I am living, breathing proof that the Dukan Diet works!** I have lost 99 lbs** so far and only 18 more lbs to go to reach my “True weight”***. Only 18 lbs!! I still can’t believe it. With the odds stacked against me, not to mention my age, I have transformed into the person I was always meant to be; healthy, happy, and excited to get dressed every morning! Who would have thought? Certainly not me; yet here I am, a regular person without a personal chef or trainer, who did it. As for my doubting doctor, I’m going to make an appointment with him, even if it costs me a co-pay, just to show him that I can lose weight. I’ll also encourage him to never, ever, ever, tell someone they can’t lose weight, because it’s simply not true. Look at me.

Remember: Do not allow others to derail your success. Well intending people may offer you food that is clearly not on your program, while reiterating the words you may tell yourself at times, “one bite won’t hurt” or you’ve done so well, you deserve it”. What I tell them is “Thank you. You’re right, I do deserve it. I deserve to be happy and staying with my program makes me happy”. What I tell myself is, “If you don’t take that first bite, you won’t have to worry about the next one, and the next one….” Be prepared at all times. I have an insulated bag that I do not leave home without. I pack plenty of food to sustain me all day. I take a variety of foods and water, so I never get overly hungry or have nothing to eat; two things that have always led to my downfall.

And lastly, always give thanks. I have a remarkable husband who has supported me through this entire process, and continues to be my strongest advocate. He has truly been an amazing partner through this journey and I try to thank him everyday for loving me at my worst and at my best. I also want to convey my deep appreciation to Dr. Dukan, for his book. He provided me a compass and map that showed me how to get my life back for good, and I will always be grateful.

My favorite support Dukan food****: Don’t forget the Basic Vinaigrette 1. This is a great addition to any dish, and not just salads and vegetables. I use it to flavor meats, as well as a drizzle over low/nonfat cheese. You’ll never be short on flavor with this condiment and it really satisfies the taste buds! I also enjoy anything grilled and with summer just around the corner, there will be cook outs. One way to prepare is to always bring your own bag of protein, because you never know what your host will sneak into the marinade. Make your own with a drop of olive oil, a little mustard, thyme, and a splash of vinegar. Or, you can always use the Basic Vinaigrette!
My Dukan treat: Be determined, not deprived. I have stopped using the word deprived, and replaced it with determined. Most of the time, this get’s me out of my “pity food party”. However, there are times when I have a hard time leaving the “party”. So, I went on a quest to find a “treat” that fell within the parameters of the Dukan Diet. What I found is I could take sugar free/fat free instant pudding and make it with skim milk. It satisfied my cravings, while keeping with the program. Over time, I became a gourmet pudding master, layering different kinds of puddings for multiple flavor profiles. (My favorite is Chocolate/Banana!) Now, it’s easy to want to eat more than what is reasonable. To ensure that I control my portions, I purchased little containers and limit myself to one serving. It satisfies, while teaching me to maintain my control over food, and not the other way around.
My favorite form of exercise: Just get up and Do It! My favorite form of exercise is walking/jogging, but that wasn’t always the case. One thing I came to realize, while arguing with myself about exercising is, it takes as much energy to talk myself out of walking/exercising, as it does to just get up and do it. So, I get up and go before I lose the argument, and I am always glad I did. Not only do I feel energized, there’s also a sense of pride because I didn’t give in and I haven’t given up.
The nicest compliment I’ve been paid: Never think they don’t notice. The indirect compliments are the best, because they often come from an unexpected source. One of my favorites happened a few months ago. My son was with his dad and we happened to pull in to the local grocery store at the same time. As I was getting out of my car, my son started to walk towards me, his dad right behind. As they approached, his dad asked him “Who is that?!” My son replied, “Dad, that’s mom”, and his jaw dropped. Yeah, it was good.
What keeps me going: Aspire to inspire. When I run into friends or acquaintances that I have not seen in a long time, they ask me what I’m doing to lose weight and automatically share their own personal struggles with weight. Seeing someone they know actually do it, gives them a sense of hope. I also use their hope to fuel my continued success, as I want to ensure that I remain a positive role model for them.
The advice I’d give to other « Dukanians »: Stop wearing jeans that are 3 sizes too big! I’ve said it too, “I will buy a new wardrobe when I lose all my weight”. Good goal, yes; but you don’t have to wait! Instead, go to a consignment store or local thrift shop and buy clothes that fit you NOW! It’s a small investment that comes with a huge mental payoff. Plus, you won’t mind when they get too big. Once they do though, get rid of them. I have given away or burned, every piece of clothing that is too big for me. It’s so liberating and you know there’s no going back now!

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