Dukan diet Cruise Phase (Phase 2) week 19 – One really good day and one really bad day

by Marshall Brain

Here is my journey so far with the Dukan Diet:

And today I am reporting on my nineteenth week (days 130 through 137) on the Dukan diet. I had an exceptionally good day this week – I was able to ride my bike 100 miles in a single shot on Sunday – a beautiful Fall day. It feels amazing to be able to do that, and it is a testimony to how much better off I am having lost all this weight. It has made a huge difference in how I feel and how much I enjoy exercise. But I also had a bad day this week – a day of deep transgression for which I am still paying the price. Even a hundred mile bike ride has not erased it. Here is how the week unfolded:

Day 130 –

  • This morning I lost 1.2 pounds and weighed in at 181.2.
  • Today I ate a pound of chicken (450 calories), 2 salmon burgers (260 calories), 3 eggs (250 calories), 3 cups of cottage cheese (600 calories), a cup of plain yogurt (200 calories), and 2 ounces of mozzarella cheese (200 calories). Roughly 2,000 calories for the day.
  • I got no exercise to speak of today.

Day 131 –

  • This morning I gained 0.4 pounds and now weigh 181.6. I am going to guess that it is the (relatively) high caloric intake yesterday plus the complete lack of exercise.
  • So… starting today we will get to perform an interesting, unfortunate, unexpected experiment. I had a “dietary breakdown” today. It started with a small transgression in the morning, was then augmented by two restaurant meals (both social situations) and then finally ended with a “oh what the hell, why don’t I just eat whatever I want today and get it out of my system” mentality. So I did that. I don’t particularly want to catalog everything I ate today (it’s embarrassing), and cataloging is made more difficult by the restaurant meals. But if I had to guess, being honest, I would say that I consumed 5,000-ish calories, 450 grams of carbs and 6,000 mg sodium.
  • So… I would expect to gain weight on the scale tomorrow morning.
  • In an attempt to counteract some of the bad effects, I did ride on the exercise bike for 2 hours tonight. The bike’s computer thinks I burned 900 calories and rode 40 miles. While riding I finished watching Crocodile Dundee II and watched most of Beyond Gravity.
  • So… I ate 5,000 calories today. What does that really mean in terms of weight gain? It’s not quite as bad as it sounds because my body did burn 2,400 calories for the day just like it normally does on a day-to-day basis. And I burned off 900 calories on the bike. Meaning that I brought in 5,000 – 3,300 = 1,700 more calories than needed for the day. In reality, this means that I gained half a pound in real fat today from those 1,700 extra calories (there are 3,500 calories needed to add a pound of fat to the human body). Anything I gain beyond that is water weight.

Day 132 –

  • Today on the scale I gained 4.0 pounds. Today I weigh 185.6. No surprise there. Based on yesterday’s calculations, 3.5 pounds of that is water and 0.5 pounds of it is fat. This week we will find out how long it takes to eliminate that weight spike.
  • Even with all the junk and sodium I ate yesterday, BP is 124/84 this morning.
  • Today I ate a pound and a half of salmon, 3 eggs and 2 cups of cottage cheese. Nothing else. That’s about 1,400 calories.
  • I walked for 30 minutes with the twins.
  • Here is something I notice. One of the things I ate yesterday was big chocolate chip cookies. You know, the kind of cookies you would see sitting out at a catered party or conference, with the big chunky chocolate chips. I haven’t had food like that in months. Having had some yesterday, I find myself craving more today. It is a little like the very first days of being on the Dukan diet. Even worse, there is a ziplock bag full of those cookies in the freezer (Leigh has been keeping them out there to protect me since the diet started). So today I simply told the chocolate-chip-loving part of the my brain to shut up all day.
  • Today I should have burned off about 1,000 of the 1,700 extra calories that I consumed on day 131.

Day 133 –

  • On the scale this morning I weigh 138.8. I lost 1.8 of the 4.0 pounds gained yesterday.
  • Today I ate a pound of chicken, a pound of Tilapia, 3 eggs, 2 cups of cottage cheese and a box of antioxidant vegetables. About 1,700 calories.
  • Today the craving for big chocolate chip cookies has faded. So that craving for them lasted about a day after consuming them. Good to know the effects don’t last that long.
  • I rode for two hours on the exercise bike again, burning 900 calories according to the bike. I watched the movie Easy Rider while riding, because it always appears on lists of “the greatest movies” like this one, and I had never seen it before.
  • I burn about 2,400 calories a day normally, so 900 + 2,400 = 3,300 calories burned for the day. I ate 1,700 calories, so 3,300 – 1,700 = 1,600 calories burned for the day. Therefore, I finished burning off the remainder of the 1,700 extra calories that I consumed on day 131, and then some. Plus I still have a lot of water weight I am carrying from Day 131. I should lose a lot of weight tomorrow….

Day 134 –

  • …But on the scale this morning I once again weigh 183.8. I lost 0.0 pounds between yesterday and today. This is now the third time where a lot of exercise one day did not yield any weight loss the next day.
  • Today I ate half a pound of Tilapia, a pound of chicken, 3 eggs, 2 cups of cottage cheese and a big, juicy T-bone steak. The steak is kind of a Labor Day tradition for Leigh and I. The tradition also includes the fact that she can’t eat a whole steak like that, so I consume her leftovers, so I probably ate a pound and a half of steak. And it was a perfect steak too. Incredibly good. We didn’t have anything with it. Normally we would have baked potatoes and bread and stuff. We skipped all that and just had the steaks, which somehow made them even better. The only problem with a steak like that is that it contains a fair amount of fat. The pound and a half of steak I ate might have contained 1,300 calories (if I had eaten a pound and a half of chicken breast instead, it would have contained half that many calories). That would mean that it was a day of no transgressions, but also a total calorie intake of 2,700 calories.
  • Did I mention that the steaks were perfect? Wow, were they good…
  • No exercise to speak of today. Just a bunch of running around and yard work.

Day 135 –

  • I was a little surprised to find that today on the scale I was at the same weight again – 183.8. I lost 0.0 pounds. I did eat too much steak yesterday – I admit that. But I am still carrying a lot of water from Day 131, and the 900 calories of exercise I did on Day 133 never had any effect on my weight. Why did that happen? I have no idea.
  • Since it’s the Labor day weekend (which means I will have a day to recover), and since Leigh’s father is out of town, I decided that today would be the day that I would try to ride 100 miles. I did 70 miles last week and felt pretty good, and I got in two good 2-hour training sessions this week in an attempt to erase my deep transgression from day 131. With winter on its way, the days getting shorter, etc., I decided that today was my best shot at a 100-miles-in-a-day ride (also know as a Century ride). So I went to Google and plotted the following course for my trip: 
  • View Map
  • Google estimates this at 99.3 miles, which is pretty close. And I modified it a bit as I was riding: A) I didn’t actually ride into Fuquay-Varina – I took Cass Holt Rd instead, which turned out to be more scenic, but also turned out to be a gravel road for several miles, B) There was a bridge out on 42, forcing a work-around, C) instead of actually going into Goldston, I turned right onto Goldston-Pittsboro road off of 421. These changes meant that by the time I got home I was at 95 miles. So I added a 6-mile loop for a grand total of 101.4 miles when it was all said and done. When I arrived home I was amazed to find that I still had “gas in the tank”. My legs felt really good – no cramps, no joint problems. I could have gone another 10 or 20 miles. But wow was my butt ready to stop at that point.
  • It was a stunning, beautiful Fall day for a ride. It was 57 degrees F when I left at 6:45AM, and the day reached a high of about 85 degrees with moderate humidity. There was a point at mile 73 where I was crossing Lake Jordon. The sky was a crystal blue (scrubbed clean by Hurricane Earl apparently) with high wispy cirrus clouds and a slight headwind breeze. I was going about 15.5 miles per hour and I was thinking, “I should have lost this weight YEARS ago!” It is soooo much easier to ride when you weigh 45 pounds less. It really is amazing. I got home around 4PM. Average speed was 12.6 MPH while moving, and I made a normal number of stops for lunch, snacks, water, etc.
  • So what did I eat today? I ate a fair amount, because my big goal for the day was to finish the ride without “hitting a wall” and getting leg cramps. I turned to cashews to fuel the ride. I had 3 eggs (300 calories) and a cup of cottage cheese (200 calories) for breakfast. At mile 25 I ate a package of cashews (330 calories). At mile 45 I had lunch (11 ounces of canned tuna (320 calories) and a package of cashews (240 calories)). At mile 60 I had a package of cashews (330 calories). At mile 70 I had a 99 cent package of lunch meat (160 calories) purchased at a convenience store. At mile 80 I had a package of peanuts (200 calories). I drank 2 gallons of water on the ride, making sure I drank something at every 10 mile interval. When I got home I ate half a pound of Tilapia (220 calories) and a cup of cottage cheese (200 calories), then one chicken wing (50 calories) at a party, and then around 8PM I ate a pound of sauteed chicken (450 calories). So I consumed a total of 3,000 calories for the day. I am going to guess that the ride used 3,000 calories, and I burned my normal 2,400 calories. I therefore ran a 2,400 calorie deficit for the day.
  • Not long after getting home from the ride we went to a big neighborhood Labor Day cookout/party, and before we left our house I said to Leigh, “Do NOT let me eat anything at this party.” And that’s what I did. No nuts. No hot dogs. No chips. No cake and ice cream. I drank water at the party. As I walked out the door I grabbed one spicy chicken wing drumette.

Day 136 –

  • And today on the scale I lost… practically nothing. I weigh 138.6. I lost 0.2 pounds overnight. How is it possible to ride a bike 100 miles and not lose weight? I have no idea.
  • Today I was pretty good. For breakfast I had half a pound of chicken and a cup of cottage cheese. For lunch I had 3 eggs. For dinner we went to another Labor Day cookout/party (both of these parties were awesome, by the way), and I ate 3 hamburger patties, (say 3/4 pounds of hamburger, grilled), two slices of Colby cheese, some bell peppers, several slices of watermelon and about half a cup of blueberries.
  • If I don’t lose weight tomorrow I will be very surprised. I am STILL waiting to lose the water weight I gained on Day 131. But who knows?

Day 137 –

  • Today on the scale I did lose weight. I lost 1.6 pounds. I now weigh 182.0. But I actually gained weight this week – 0.8 pounds. Six days later I have been unable to completely erase the effects of Day 131.

Here’s the funniest thing that happened this week. I am at a Labor Day party. I have just finished riding my bike a hundred miles. I am talking to a woman who I haven’t spoken to for 6 months, who has noticed how much weight I have lost, and she is asking me how I was able to do it. I tell her I have been doing one of the low-carb diets. She says, “Oh dear, don’t you feel weak all the time?” At least in my personal experience, that “feeling weak” thing appears to be pure urban legend. I have not felt this good, and this strong/healthy, for years. I just rode 100 miles!

So to summarize, Sunday’s 100 mile ride made for a great day, and shows how good things can get after losing a bunch of weight. But I also have really been surprised this week. Yes, I had one bad day (Day 131). But it would appear that no amount of exercise could counteract that transgression, even though the rest of the week I did a fairly good job with food. And I made it through Labor Day weekend and two neighborhood parties without going overboard.

I will admit that this makes me a bit skeptical about Phase 3 and Phase 4. For example, in Phase 3 a Dukan diet follower is supposed to be able to have one, and then two, “celebration meals” per week where “anything goes”. But if I do that (it is a fact that “anything” for me could mean a restaurant meal containing 4,000 or 5,000 calories), I will eat a “celebration meal”, and it will take days of pure protein to eliminate the effects of the meal (in this case it’s been 6 days of pure protein, and 12 hours of bike riding thrown in for good measure, and I still gained weight). If I were to eat 2 celebration meals in a week, and repeat that for multiple weeks, it would appear that I would be back on track to gaining weight no matter what I might do to counteract the effects.

So does this mean that, in order to maintain a healthy weight for the rest of my life, I am on the Dukan diet eating pure protein and avoiding restaurants until the day I die? Why have the effects of one bad day lingered for so long this week? It will be interesting to see what happens next week. Do the effects keep lingering, or do I lose more than a normal amount of weight next week? We will see.

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