JENNI MURRAY'S DUKAN DIET: Calorie counting isn't for me - I'd kid myself a ... - Daily Mail

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By Jenni Murray

Last updated at 10:21 PM on 11th September 2011

Last September, Jenni Murray weighed 19st, but since starting the high-protein, low-carb Dukan diet she has lost 5st. In this fortnightly column, the broadcaster charts her dieting ups and downs...

All you can eat: Tucking into Twix could be all a calorie count dieter eats in a day (posed by model)

All you can eat: Tucking into a Twix could be all a calorie count dieter eats in a day (posed by model)

There I was, planning to get stuck into a tough version of my diet while my family were all safely ensconced in New Zealand with their England supporters' shirts, scarves and beanie hats.

I would be free of the duty to prepare anyone a decent meal and all temptation to stray — 'Oh, go on, Mum, one treacle sponge won't do any harm!' would go unheard from half a world away.

But I'd quite forgotten that it's when I feel most lonely and fed up that I long to turn to the comfort of something sweet and stodgy.

My fantasies about being free for a few weeks of the hurly-burly of family life and revelling in the splendid isolation are proving just that — fantasies. The truth is that I miss them something awful.

The self-control required to avoid phoning a friend and suggesting popping out for a bite is overwhelming.

But, so far, I'm doing pretty well. I'm keeping the organic egg and fat-free dairy industries in business, and have hidden what's left of the red wine and alcoholic ginger beer (a favourite of Him Indoors) in the cellar.

No one is more conscious than me of what a slog this weight-loss game can be. I know I'd be a whole lot thinner if I'd made a better fist of fighting the good fight and hadn't so frequently fallen behind the front line.

There's been a lot in the news recently about the 'battle with obesity' and I can't deny that it's a serious health problem that needs some form of  radical action.

I'm not convinced a tax on junk food — one of the suggestions — would have any positive outcome. 

Every budget sees massive rises in the price of fags and booze, but it's rare to pass a pub or club, often in the least well-heeled parts of the country, where there isn't a substantial gaggle of drinkers and smokers hanging around outside, indulging their habits, regardless of inclement weather and wallet-emptying cost.

Breast cancer researchers in Manchester have come up with a different solution. Keen to get down the weight of their patients, as being overweight is known to be a factor in recurrence of the disease (it's one of the reasons I was so desperate to reduce my weight), they have found that a diet of 650 calories a day for two days of the week and then eating normally, but wisely, for the rest of the week has been successful.

Diet success: Jenni has found the Dukan methods work

Diet success: Jenni has found the Dukan methods work

Patients, on average, have dropped a stone over several months. But how tempting would it be to eat just one plate of fish and chips — 680 calories — or, as one friend said, two Twix bars on the low-calorie day? Nothing at all healthy about that.

It's one of the reasons why Dukan makes more sense than most diets.

There's no measuring of portions, unlike the 'Five Hand regime' Posh Spice is said to be following — five portions of protein no bigger than your hand per day. How could anyone not be famished?

With Dukan you can eat as much as you please of what, after the first tough week of nothing but protein, seems like a pretty healthy choice — good-quality meat or fish, milk  and yogurt that has no fat  and carb-free veg such as spinach or broccoli.

Nor do you have to endure the constant vigilance required in calorie counting and the difficulty of working out — on the basis of what goes out must be replaced — how much you need to put in.

David Walliams, who's swimming the Thames for charity, will be burning 4,400 calories a day. That's nearly twice the recommended amount for the averagely active male (for a woman, it's 1,940).


Only 24 per cent of women and 37 per cent of men exercise enough, say government figures

Anyone who spends much of her time sitting on a sofa or at a computer would find one burger in a bun at 490 calories would probably be more than adequate, but you'd need a degree of talent in the mathematical department (which I don't have) to work out the right balance for you.

It's surprising that the health police haven't thought to promote the value of woman's best friend — the dog. They certainly facilitate the exercise requirement of the diet. Since Him Indoors departed last week, they've helped me drop 3lb with our twice-daily walks.

I shall continue with the T'ai Chi, despite his absence and the consequent loss of his constant encouragement to practise the moves in addition to the classes.

I'm hovering around the 14st mark and should, at this rate, make it to my 13st target before my trip to New Zealand.

But will I then resist the beer and burgers as I join the games and keep off the 6st I hope to have lost? Who knows? One can only try.

12 Sep, 2011

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