My Dukan Diet Experience (I lost 52 pounds on this diet)

by Marshall Brain

I started with the Dukan diet innocently enough. I had read about the diet and wrote an article about it on my blog:

It sounded really interesting, and after a week I decided to try it out. I had “nothing to lose”, as they say, but I really did need to lose some weight – I have been trying to lose weight for years. So I started with the the Dukan diet’s “attack phase”. The first day I tried it, I completely failed by noon. So I waited two days and tried again. It went much better the second time, as described here:

That worked incredibly well – much better than I ever would have suspected – so it was completely natural to stick with the program and enter Phase 2, the Cruise Phase (see How the Dukan Diet works – The French diet that is supposed to end the obesity epidemic for details on the phases of the Dukan diet). Here is a week-by-week diary of my experiences on Cruise phase:

  • Week 1 – I have finished the first five days of the “Cruise Phase” on the Dukan Diet (I lost 2.8 pounds)
  • Week 2 – I finished my second week on the Dukan Diet “Cruise Phase” and lost 5.4 pounds during the past seven days (first encounter with asparagus)
  • Week 3 – A report on week 3 of the Dukan Diet Cruise Phase. The whole thing has become a straightforward habit, and the weight loss seems very consistent (I lost 2.6 pounds)
  • Week 4 – I finished my fourth week in the Dukan Diet Cruise Phase and lost another 2.4 pounds – plus I saw an amazingly good blood pressure reading and survived a pot luck dinner
  • Week 5 – I have finished my fifth week in the Dukan diet cruise phase and lost another 3.0 pounds – and now I know the secret to avoiding calories in an Italian restaurant
  • Week 6 – In my sixth week on the Dukan Diet Cruise phase I lost 1.8 pounds, and I am now halfway to my 50 pound goal
  • Week 7 – Today I finished my seventh week on the Dukan Diet cruise phase and lost 2.6 pounds – I have almost broken through the 200 pound barrier
  • Week 8 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase Week 8 – wherein I learn the perils of parties (I lost 2.2 pounds)
  • Week 9 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 9 – I’ve lost 32.0 pounds with no “plateaus” (I lost 2.6 pounds)
  • Week 10 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 10 – Lesson: Don’t eat smoked turkey legs! (I lost 1.6 pounds)
  • Week 11 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 11 – Are my kidneys failing? Is my cholesterol exploding? Plus vacation (I lost 1.2 pounds)
  • Week 12 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 12 – Vacation transgressions take their toll and I gain weight for first time (I gained 1.0 pounds on vacation)
  • Week 13 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 13 – I get back on track and lose 3.2 pounds in a week
  • Week 14 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 14 – I lost 0.4 pounds this week
  • Week 15 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 15 – I lost 2.8 pounds this week, 40.2 pounds since starting diet (I lost 2.8 pounds)
  • Week 16 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 16 – I lost 2.0 pounds, have reached my Dukan target weight
  • Week 17 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 17 – I lost 0.8 pounds, learned to stay out of Cici’s Pizza
  • Week 18 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 18 – I lost 3.4 pounds, now in striking range of the 170s
  • Week 19 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 19 – One really good day and one really bad day (I gained 0.8 pounds)
  • Week 20 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 20 – I tasted the 170s for one day and it felt great (I lost 2.0 pounds)
  • Week 21 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 21 – I hit the 50.0 milestone and reaffirmed the power of asparagus (I lost 2.0 pounds)
  • Week 22 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 22 – Yikes! I gained 2.0 pounds rather than losing weight
  • Week 23– Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 23 – I lost 3.6 pounds and fit comfortably into 32-inch pants
  • Week 24 – Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 24 – I am a little bit stuck this week (I gained 0.8 pounds)
  • Week 25 – Success! I lost 1.8 pounds and reached my goal of 175 pounds. Includes before and after pictures!

These articles can also be very helpful:

I also made this video on the Dukan diet and obesity, which you may find helpful (and which also shows a “before” picture):

My Dukan Diet articles have been read by millions. It really was a great experience. I was interviewed by ABC twice, I appeared on the Dr. Oz show, etc. But then let me tell you what happened next…

Phase 3

This all sounds great. You can see that Phase 1 and Phase 2 went well for me. I did reach my target weight of 175 pounds after I started at 227.6 pounds, so I lost 52 pounds. You can see before and after photos here. I am now in the consolidation phase (phase 3) of the Dukan diet.

So what happened in Phase 3? I would say that I am still learning to master Phase 3. Here are some thoughts.

I can tell you that, for me personally, the reintroduction of carbs in Phase 3 has not been something I manage very well. I am not unique in this – I have several friends who experienced the same thing.

What my friends and I find is this: when carbs are reintroduced, they seem to be accompanied by overeating. Then overeating escalates. Weight comes back on very quickly. Then the only choice is to go back to Phase 2 for weeks and weeks to take the weight back off. I have done this a couple of times, going back to Phase 2, losing weight, trying once again to enter Phase 3 and re-introduce carbs… and then things spiral out of control.

I had dinner with a friend this week. He has just come off of Phase 2, having gone back down to his target weight yet again. He said, “You know, last night I ate an ice cream cone, and I said I would eat just that one, but before I knew it I had eaten three. And then an hour later I was asking myself, ‘what am I doing?!?!'” Whenever I reintroduce carbs, that is what seems to happen to me too. I cannot explain it. He cannot explain it. But it is a consistent thing in both of our lives.

Each time I reintroduce carbs I think, “OK, this time I will be able to control it!” Each time I fail. I fully realize that it is my brain and my mouth – I should be able to use my brain to keep things out of my mouth. When I am in Phase 2, trying to abstain from carbs totally, I am not perfect but I am OK. I will have bad days (or even very bad days), but then I can get back on the wagon. But if I am allowing carbs in on a regular basis, it is a problem.

If you have read this far, you might have the following thought: “Wow, your behavior around carbs sounds a lot like an addiction. You are able to abstain, but then when you re-introduce them, you lose control. Former alcoholics often experience the same kind of cycle with alcohol.” These two articles help illuminate why that may be:

As best I can tell, if I want to not-be-fat, my only option going forward is to either be in Phase 2 (i.e. no carbs) or to be on full-time conscious calorie restriction (with carbs). And the problem with carbs is that it is soooo easy to slip up. I really have had no luck with “conscious calorie restriction” if I am eating carbs. It really has been difficult to manage. Conscious calorie restriction does not work for me when I am eating carbs.

I really am starting to believe that the right path for me is to be in Phase 2 (nothing but protein and vegetables) for the rest of my life… But that is so painful to think about – to never again be able to eat pizza, or ice cream, or chocolate cake, or Oreos, or whatever, is painful to think about…. but then if the alternative is a lifetime of obesity, it is a sacrifice that must be made… but why is this so hard???? And so on. This is the dilemma. Nonetheless, I really am starting to believe that the right path for me is to be in Phase 2 (nothing but protein and vegetables) for the rest of my life…

Dukan Table of Contents