Two weeks ago I finished a five-day Dukan Diet attack phase, where you eat nothing but low-fat protein, and lost 6.6 pounds. This is Day 1 through 5.
Last week I started on the first five days of Phase 2 of the Dukan diet, also known as the “Cruise phase”. If you are on the Dukan Diet, this is the phase where you will be until you are down to your target weight. It consists of protein-only days alternated with protein+vegetables days as described here. This is Day 6 through 10.
This week I am here to report on my second week in the “Cruise Phase”, aka Phase 2, Days 11 through 17. For me, it has been a pretty amazing week – I have been able to totally resist carbs all week. I lost 5.4 pounds in seven days, for a total of 14.8 pounds lost since I started the Dukan diet. I also learned about a “secret ingredient” that seems to help my body dump water. I have no idea if it works this well for everyone’s body, but there is one sure way for you to find out. Read on…
Day 11 -
- On the scale this morning, I lost 0.4 pounds. My total weight loss after 10 days on the Dukan Diet is 9.4 pounds. My total weight loss after five days on the Cruise phase is 2.8 pounds.
- Today was a protein+vegetables day for me, so I had a big bunch of steamed asparagus with my dinner protein. Otherwise it was all chicken and fish plus oat bran.
Day 12 –
- Wow. For reasons I cannot explain, last night my body dumped a lot of water. Which is a polite way of saying that I woke up in the middle of the night because I really really had to use the restroom. Dumping all that water meant I had lost 1.8 pounds when I got on the scale this morning. For a total of 11.2 pounds lost since I started the diet. It would not surprise me at all, however, if I regained most of that weight tomorrow when my body re-absorbs some of the lost water. What caused it? Was it the asparagus, which is the only new thing I did yesterday (and which also made my urine smell funny)? I don’t know. I ate the same combination of chicken, fish and lunch meat on Day 11 that I ate on Day 10. The only difference was the asparagus.
- Is asparagus some kind of “secret ingredient”? Asparagus is in season right now, so it is really cheap (relatively speaking). I like asparagus, so I eat a lot.
- So today I once again ate nothing but chicken, fish and asparagus.
Day 13 -
- Last night, three hours after going to bed, my body awoke me with another urgent restroom request. Again my body dumped a whole lot of water last night. I have no idea where all of this water is coming from. Yes, I do drink a lot of water during the day, but I stop drinking several hours before bed in order to prevent getting woken up in the middle of the night (I have been doing that for years – it is not new behavior).
- So when I got on the scale this morning, I had lost another 1.8 pounds, for a total of 13 pounds lost since I started the diet.
- There is a small part of my brain that is vaguely worried about this, in a “wow this diet is too good to be true” sense. It really is not physically possible to lose this much fat in this short a time, based on my caloric intake and my body’s caloric burn rate. So this must all be water weight. Which is confirmed by the midnight restroom runs. But where is all this water coming from, and why is it all being released? At the beginning of a diet, water loss is completely natural and completely expected (one reason: by eating less food you eat less salt, and salt causes the body to retain water). But on Day 13 I would have expected all the excess water to be gone, and for my body to be losing weight now purely through burning off fat. I may try to do more research on this today.
- Ignoring that vague worry, losing 13 pounds in 13 days is fantastic. I actually feel lighter, like I am able to jump higher (although that may all be psychological).
- Let me tell you a story about my pants. I have never purchased jeans with more than a 36 inch waist. But different manufacturers have slightly different ways of measuring, so I have one pair of 36-inch waist jeans that is definitely bigger than the others. Let’s refer to these as my “fat jeans”. I absolutely refuse to buy 38-inch jeans. It is my uncrossable line in the sand. So when my fat jeans get tight, I have a real problem, and I have to do something (If you are thin, you are probably thinking this discussion is pathetic, but it is reality for me and I doubt that I am alone). Around New Year’s day of 2010, my fat jeans were very tight. To make a long story short, it has been several years since I fit into 34-inch jeans. But that is going to be a definite possibility soon. All my 36-inch jeans are now loose.
- What do you suppose I am going to eat today? Yes – Exactly the same thing I ate yesterday and the day before. Why fight success? So today I am eating chicken, fish, lunch meat and steamed asparagus (and of course oat bran).
Day 14 -
- This morning on the scale I lost 0.4 pounds. So over the last couple of days I lost 4 pounds and I gained back none of the water I lost. Amazing.
- Breakfast was fish.
- I had lunch today with a friend. We went to Moe’s, which is a taco/burrito place and definitely not low carb. So I ordered a burrito called a Joey and asked the nice man behind the counter to skip the tortilla, beans and rice. I asked him to put the burrito’s chicken in a bowl, and then asked that the lettuce, salsa, tomatoes and onions be added as toppings. It was a decent-sized bowl of food when he got done, and it tasted good.
- What we had for dinner tonight was stir-fried vegetables with chicken mixed with a sweet/sesame/peanut oil kind of sauce. I skipped the rice. This sweet sauce is the the first non-veggie and non-oat-bran carb I have eaten since this diet started. My thinking was that this was a thin sauce – how many actual calories can it contain?
- So today’s menu was extremely different from the previous three days. And I ate no asparagus. I think I am pretty close to the guidelines for a Dukan protein+veggies day, but it still was different. Do I end up gaining weight when I get on the scale tomorrow? We will see.
Day 15 -
- I lost 0.2 pounds when I got on the scale this morning. Which is nothing like the dramatic weight loss seen over the past few days, but still on the downward trend line. And those veggies last night were excellent with the sauce. I might do more of that.
- We went for a hike today on a hilly trail (the kind with steps carved into the trail in places and switchbacks.) Today was the first day where I really felt the effect of losing more than 10 pounds – I actually felt lighter climbing the hills. If you have ever been backpacking, and if you aren’t in good shape, you know a backpack really slows you down. You feel the weight when climbing. Today was the opposite experience – it was like removing a backpack I have been wearing for several years – the feeling of lightness is soooo nice.
- Today I ate exactly the same thing I ate yesterday – fish, chicken, lunch meat, and the leftover stir fry veggies and chicken from yesterday.
- It is hot today, and I am spending a lot of time outside and therefore sweating. I am drinking a lot of water, but seeing very little of it coming back out relative to past days. So either I am sweating out a large amount of liquid, or my body is storing water, or both.
Day 16 -
- This morning on the scale I gained 0.8 pounds. Horrors. Apparently I was storing water yesterday. Or maybe the sugar in the stir fry sauce had some effect on the fat-burning power of pure protein. Or maybe it was the lack of asparagus, or something else. In any case, I will go buy more asparagus and try to get back on the protein+asparagus diet today. For the record, I did not eat any more food yesterday than normal for the past couple of weeks, so I do not believe it was food/calories causing the weight gain.
- Today is a good example of eating in an unexpected place. Leigh wanted to go on a family bike ride for Mother’s Day. So we packed up our bikes and drove over to her parents’ house. The six of us plus her father rode 13 miles. When we got back, we were all hungry, but Leigh’s parents are not exactly set up for the Dukan diet. In fact, what they had on hand was two dozen Krispy Kreme donuts with which to celebrate Irena’s birthday. I would normally be a big fan of KK donuts, happy to eat two or three at a time, but not now. Leigh’s parents did have eggs, so I cooked two eggs. And they had leftover “drunken chicken” in a doggie bag from a German restaurant they went to last night, so I ate some of that. I have no idea what is in “drunken chicken”, but it tasted good.
- For breakfast I had chicken and for dinner I had fish. I had asparagus with dinner.
Day 17 -
- On the scale this morning I had lost 0.8 pounds. So that erased the 0.8 pounds gained yesterday. I have lost 13.6 pounds since I started the diet.
- Today I looked up asparagus to see if it is some kind of diuretic that causes people to lose water. When I typed Is Asparagus Diuretic into Google, I was surprised to see more than a million results, most claiming that it is. There are lots of pages talking about a diuretic effect, for example this one which says, “Asparagus has been used from early times as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties.” But this page says, “Roots, seeds, and extracts [of asparagus] have been used as a treatment for various illnesses and as a diuretic, despite the lack of clinical evidence.” Asparagus seems to be acting like a diuretic in my body. Your mileage may vary.
- Today I ate fish, chicken, lunch meat and a big helping of asparagus.
Day 18 -
- Today on the scale I lost 1.2 pounds. I have lost 14.8 pounds total since I started the diet and 5.4 pounds during the past seven days of Cruise Phase.
As far as I am concerned, this diet has been an unmitigated success. I am going to stick with it. The most amazing part was walking into a house yesterday that was full of Krispy Kreme donuts, ice cream, Doritos, etc. and being absolutely able to resist every temptation. That would have been very unlikely several weeks ago. But the “nothing but protein” rule is incredibly easy for my brain to follow. It is so simple.
I’m not sure what to do about asparagus now. I stumbled onto its diuretic effect completely by accident. I would say this – if I needed to lose a few pounds in a day or two, you should try asparagus as a “secret ingredient” and see if it has the same effect on your body that it seems to have on mine. But what do I do now? It seems like, if I stop eating asparagus now, I will reabsorb water and gain a couple of pounds. Which is fine, since it really is just water. But if I am honest, it seems like the asparagus skewed my results for this week. I would expect next week to not be nearly so dramatic in terms of weight loss. Conceivably I could have a net gain next week if I stop eating asparagus.
Even so, this was a fun week. As I mentioned above, it is very nice to feel noticeably lighter. Imagine a backpack holding a full gallon of milk (8.6 pounds) and a 5 pound bag of sugar plus 1.2 pounds of the backpack itself. I have been wearing that backpack for years, and now it has disappeared in 17 days. It makes a big difference.