It sounded interesting, and I need to lose weight, so I tried it. Yesterday was my fifth day on the Dukan diet. I made it through a complete five-day “Attack Phase” and thought I would share my experiences with you.
The false start-
I didn’t really think it through, but I had written the article and thought I should give it a try. I had about a pound of chicken available in the refrigerator and thought, “I will eat chicken today – how hard can it be?” The answer – way hard.
What I learned: you need more variety than that, and you need a lot of protein. A pound of chicken breast only contains about 450 calories. By noon I was CRAVING carbs. And I had run out of chicken. I couldn’t hold it together and gave up.
OK, that didn’t work, but it was a good learning experience. I knew that if I really wanted to do this, I needed a lot of protein and a lot of variety. I also needed to actually buy the oat bran, which I had omitted. So I went to the store. I bought a package of chicken breasts, two pounds of tilapia and a pound of steak that was on sale, plus a box of oat bran. I pre-cooked all the tilapia the night before. Time to try again.
Day 1 -
- With that variety of protein and enough on hand, I held it together for the whole day. I ate nothing but protein and a little oat bran.
- But WOW do I want bread. And chocolate. And potato chips. And cookies. And ice cream. And cereal. Please, breakfast cereal! It would be best to eliminate all this stuff from the house, but recall that we have 4 kids. If you are single it might be easier. Every time I see the kids eating something I want to lunge at it.
- Protein variety really helps if all you can eat is protein.
- What follows is indelicate, so if you don’t want indelicate, skip this paragraph. In the Dukan Diet article, I mentioned the possibility of constipation. I had absolutely no problems of that nature throughout this experiment. I guess the oat bran really works. But I did notice two big, unexpected beneficial side effects. First, The amount of fecal material that your body produces if you eat nothing but protein is greatly diminished. It’s a huge time saver. Second, the volume of gas emitting from the nether regions (i.e. farting) drops to nearly zero as well, which is great.
Day 2 -
- On the scale this morning I was 2 pounds lighter. This is certainly almost pure water weight, but it was a nice surprise.
- I bought more steak (round steak, on sale, $3.50 a pound, 2 pounds), more chicken (frozen chicken breasts), more fish and a big package of low-fat lunch meat.
- I am still craving the carbs, but I held it together a second day.
Day 3 -
- On the scale this morning I was down another 2 pounds. So 4 pounds total in 2 days. Again, probably purely water, but still encouraging. (Why do I suspect water weight is being lost? Because urine flow approached Nile River proportions during day 1 and 2. Do NOT plan to start this diet if you know you will need to sit through a 3-hour presentation or take a trans-continental flight or something like that during day 1 and day 2.)
- Observation: One reason this diet works is because there’s just only so much protein you can eat before you get sick of it. Even with the variety. [I have a funny feeling that a banana diet might work for the same reason. If all you can eat is bananas, eventually you would get sick of them and eat less.] You can never complain about being hungry, because you can always eat more protein.
- I will say that cravings for carbs have diminished, but are still there. When I see a loaf of bread, I want some. When I see a candy bar, I want to eat it. But I am able to stick with nothing-but-protein and fend off the cravings.
- It gets this bad: I am eating oat bran straight out of the box with a spoon, and I consider it to be a “treat”. It actually tastes good.
- The amount of advertising around (mostly fattening) food is shocking. No wonder America is obese. You don’t notice it so much when you are able to eat what you see in the ads. When you can’t, it becomes oppressive. Everywhere you look you see ads for food, ads for restaurants, actual restaurants, convenience stores, grocery stores, more ads, etc. Even Home Depot is selling food in the checkout lines. Absolutely everywhere you look you are reminded to eat. It’s nuts. They should ban food advertising like they banned cigarette ads. I am convinced that would make a big impact on obesity in America after this 5-day run.
Day 4 -
- On the scale this morning I weighted 0.2 pounds more than yesterday. Boo.
- I had an interesting conversation with my hygienist at the dentist this morning. She asked me to stay on the diet for several months and see if it has any effect on my teeth. If you take in no carbs, does the amount of tartar go down? That’s her question.
- I held it together for another day. Every time I see a cookie my body wants to leap for it. I can’t even go into a convenience store or grocery store. But if I do not actually see these things in an ad or in reality, I do not really crave them anymore. So that part of the Dukan diet really does seem to work. It took several days, but cravings are certainly diminished.
Day 5 –
- I lost another 1.2 pounds when I weighed myself this morning (5.0 pounds total).
- I ate nothing but protein for my fifth day.
- I had lunch with a friend. I didn’t order anything and we ate at a table outside.
Day 6 -
- On the scale this morning I lost 1.6 pounds. So five days of nothing-but-protein (and oat bran) yielded a five day total of 6.6 lost pounds for me. Which is great. I am really surprised it worked so well.
Now what? With cravings for carbs under control, and with five days of success on the board, I can see no good reason to stop. So today I will continue with nothing-but-protein.
Here is my summary at this point. The Attack Phase of the Dukan Diet worked for me. I lost a noticeable, encouraging amount of weight. Yes, a good part of it was probably water, and next week probably will not yield the same results, but so what? I would say that, if you are willing to commit to it and not stray away from protein, it would probably work in a similar way for others.
The one thing about this diet that definitely does work is that the “nothing-but-protein” mantra forces a huge number of fattening foods out of your life, and that is a good thing. I did lose weight. Having total control over carbohydrate intake is a relief.
(After finishing the “Attack Phase”, I went on to try the first five days on the “Cruise Phase” to see what would happen. Click here if you want to see how it went.)