I have finished the first five days of the “Cruise Phase” on the Dukan Diet

by Marshall Brain

Here is my history so far on the Dukan diet:

Here is my report on how the first five days of the “cruise phase” has gone. At the bottom I have included a menu showing exactly what I ate on day 10 (a pure-protein day) so you can see what a Dukan Diet menu looks like for me.

Day 6 –
– As mentioned last week – On the scale this morning I lost 1.6 pounds. So five days of nothing-but-protein (and oat bran plus lots of water) yielded a five day total of 6.6 lost pounds for me. Which is great. I am really surprised it worked so well.
– I went to a fancy banquet tonight. What they served was a four-course meal that started with Lobster bisque, then a salad with greens, mozzarella cheese and tomatoes plus a vinaigrette dressing. On the entree plate were green beans, red potatoes, a filet mignon steak wrapped in bacon and a breaded chicken breast. Dessert was cheese cake with fruit. And there was a big bread basket on the table with all sorts of rolls, bread sticks, etc. I ignored the bisque and dessert, obviously. I ate the salad. I ate the beans, steak (minus the bacon) and the chicken (minus the breading), ignoring the potatoes. Obviously ignored the bread basket. And it was a satisfying meal that stuck, pretty much, to a prescribed Dukan protein+vegetable day. The interesting thing: A week ago I would have eaten everything served plus several helpings of bread with butter, and it would have been a big calorie meal. That, in a nutshell, is a good example of the discipline possible if you stick to this diet.
– Everything else during the day was pure protein (chicken and fish).

Day 7 –
– I lost 0.4 pounds when I got on the scale this morning.
– The day was pretty uneventful. For one meal, I ate at a restaurant and had a salad with grilled chicken, dressing on the side. So, since I ate vegetables yesterday and today, I guess I am officially in protein+veggies territory.
– Pure protein the rest of the day.

Day 8 –
– I was down another pound this morning, so the total is now 8.0 pounds.
– I ate nothing but protein and oat bran and water today. My protein sources right now are chicken and fish, plus low-fat lunch meat when I need a snack. But Leigh cooked pizza for the kids for dinner. Wow, would I like to eat pizza. It was a major struggle to resist pizza’s tractor beam.
– I notice that a pair of pants I put on today, which would have been tight two weeks ago, now really needs a belt to feel comfortable.

Day 9 –
– Lost 0.6 pounds on the scale this morning.
– I walk into the kitchen first thing to eat breakfast, and when I open the refrigerator there is a big plate of leftover pizza. The tractor beam of pizza continues, and continues to be resisted.
– Today we had a tri-generational bike ride with Leigh’s father (age 77, in great shape because he is retired and can ride every day), David (age 12, in good shape because he is 12, plus he is training up toward a 50 mile ride), and me. The question several people have asked is, “doesn’t this pure protein diet sap all your strength? Don’t you feel weak all the time?” The answer to that would be no. We rode 22 miles today, certainly not at a Lance Armstrong pace, but at a good pace (the ride took about 2 hours), and there seemed to be no ill effects from having eaten nothing but protein for the last 8 days.
– When I got home, Leigh had made the kids a pumpkin cake (a family favorite). Another tractor beam beckons, and is successfully resisted. So the obvious question: why is it easier now to resist these things? First, most of the cravings have been killed at this point – it is much easier to ignore the tractor beam. Second, after more than a week of success, there really is a strong incentive to stay on course. Why would I want to blow it at this point?
– At one point Leigh looked at me today and spontaneously said, “OK, now I can see a difference.”

Day 10 –
– Lost 0.4 pounds when I was on the scale this morning, for a total of 9.0 pounds in nine days. The exercise I did yesterday (the bike ride along with a walk with the kids and general yard work) does not appear to have had any special effect on my weight.

Typical menu for a protein-only day –
A friend of mine called this weekend and asked me what I eat on a typical day, so today I tracked it and here is a complete accounting of absolutely everything I ate today:

  1. Breakfast – 6 ounces (170 grams) of Tilapia fillets (this is the weight after cooking). I can buy frozen Tilapia fillets at BJ’s for $3.85 a pound.
  2. Snack – 3.2 ounces (90 grams) of low-fat lunch meat
  3. Lunch – 8 ounce (227 grams) grilled chicken breast.
  4. Lunch – 3.4 ounces (96 grams) Tilapia fillet
  5. Snack – 3 ounces (85 grams) of low-fat lunch meat
  6. Snack – 3 ounces (85 grams) of low-fat lunch meat
  7. Dinner – 12 ounces chicken breast cooked in an Indian curry sauce
  8. Oat bran – The prescribed amount from the Dukan Diet article.

So how many calories is that? Tilapia has 36 calories per ounce, so that’s 338 calories. The lunch meat package says that 54 grams contains 60 calories, for a total of 317 calories. Chicken breast has 46 calories per ounce, for a total of 920 calories. So the grand total is 1,575 calories of nothing but protein (plus oat bran and water) for the day. But I never felt hungry during the day, never had any crushing hunger pangs, and if I did I could eat more protein. There is definitely something about nothing-but-protein that cuts food cravings significantly, at least for me.

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.

During the last week I met a man who lost 50 pounds on the South Beach diet. I met another man who lost 25 pounds by working out in a home gym (weights, exercise bike, ab machine, treadmill) for three hours every night while watching DVD movies. I met another who cut out alcohol, started going to the gym with a trainer to push him, and restricted his calorie intake significantly. He lost a lot of weight at age 60 and looks great. The point is that there are MANY different ways to lose weight. Each person who wants to lose weight has to find something out of that sea of possibilities that works.

The Dukan Diet seems to work for me because, for whatever reason, my brain is able to respect and follow the protein-only rule, and because I am never hungry. I can eat all the protein I want. But the protein-only approach, for me, seems to have cut cravings and hunger pangs significantly, so I am able to eat a lot less than I would have eaten prior to starting the Dukan Diet. I don’t know if it works that way for everyone, but that is how it has worked for me.

According to The Dukan Diet Calculator, I need to stay in the Cruise phase until September 1, 2010, alternating nothing-but-protein days with nothing-but-protein-and-vegetables days. That’s about 120 days in Cruise phase. I will report in with periodic updates, or feel free to ask questions in the comments if you have them.

[[Here is what happened next…]]

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