And today I am reporting on my seventeenth week (days 116 through 123) on the Dukan diet. It has been great week for exercise – I rode something like 100 miles this week on exercise and real bicycles, including a 61 mile ride on Sunday. But I only lost 0.8 pounds this week, which surprises me a little. Here is how the week unfolded:
Day 116 -
Overnight I lost a lot of water, and this morning I weigh 185.4. I lost 1.6 pounds. So all the exercise on Sunday (the 50 mile bike ride) did pay off – it just took an extra day to see it.
- Today was a good day on the food front. I ate a pound and a half of chicken, a pound of Tilapia, 2 cups of cottage cheese and a handful of peanuts because the kids left a package of peanuts on the counter. The miracle here was that I ate only one handful.
The twins and I walked about 2 miles tonight.
Day 117 -
This morning on the scale I lost 0.6 pounds and now weigh 184.8. 175, here I come. 9.8 pounds to go.
On the food front, today was almost an exact replica of Day 115. For breakfast I had half a pound of sauteed chicken and a cup of cottage cheese. Then 3 eggs mixed with oat bran. Then I repeated breakfast and had half a pound of sauteed chicken and a cup of cottage cheese for lunch. For dinner I had half a pound of Salmon and another package of Green Giant Antioxidant Blend vegetables. This also served as an experiment to see if there was a big weight drop following the vegetables.
Tonight it was raining heavily, so I rode for an hour on the exercise bike while watching Dances with Wolves. 400 calories burned.
When I got off the exercise bike I was not wearing my shirt anymore and I was soaked with sweat. I walked through the bedroom on my way to the bathroom, and Leigh was reading in bed. She looked up and spontaneously said, “Wow – you’re looking great!” This was the first real spousal comment on my weight loss, and that felt good.
Day 118 -
On the scale this morning I lost 0.4 pounds. I now weigh 184.4. So, I did not see a big weight drop last night after eating the vegetables.
Today was a bad day. The kids had a friend over for a sleep over last night, and if you’ve been following my progress you know the pattern: 1) they wake up and ask for pancakes, 2) I make them pancakes, 3) I eat some of the pancakes. I make really good pancakes, so I end up eating about 500 calories worth. Sheesh. But then even worse, I got into some nuts in the afternoon and probably had about 600 calories worth. Yuck.
So what I ate today for breakfast was half a pound of chicken and a cup of cottage cheese. Plus 500 calories of pancakes. For lunch I had half a pound of salmon and a cup of cottage cheese. Then late in the afternoon I got into the nuts and had 600 calories of nuts. The only good news today is the fact that I did not eat any dinner. The nuts were my dinner.
Why did I get into the nuts? Because the kids left them sitting on the counter. I thought “one handful won’t hurt” and ended up eventually having 6 handfuls, for reasons I do not completely understand.
In the evening we went for a family walk and covered about 3 miles. I knew that would not nearly cover my transgressions today, and anyway I needed to ride the exercise bike tonight for a reason I will explain in a moment. So I got on the bike and I rode for an hour, burning 400 calories (according to the bike’s calorie counter). I still felt good, and I still had an hour to go in the movie, so I took a 10 minute break to drink some water and then got back on the bike for another hour and burned another 400 calories.
Is the bike’s calorie counter accurate? In last week’s post I made this comment: “I would love to know how many calories I am really burning in an hour when I ride a normally-hilly course at 12.5 MPH. The estimates I get are all over the map. This page, entitled “The most accurate calories burned calculator” is saying 732 calories per hour, which is total BS. This page says 725. This page says 671. This page says 472. My exercise bike, on hilly setting, level 6 (whatever that means) says 400 calories per hour. Which is it?” So is the exercise bike accurate when it says 400 calories in an hour? Given the amount of work I do, and the way it “feels” to the muscles, and the amount of breathing I am doing while riding the exercise bike, and my heart rate (the bike has a heart rate monitor), and the amount of sweat generated, I tend to believe its estimate of calories is not inflated – I am definitely burning more calories than I do when walking for an hour, and I think an hour of walking burns about 200 calories.
- So let’s say the family walk plus 2 hours on the bike burned 1,000 real calories. That just about covers all of my transgressions today.
Let me make a comment on the exercise bike. We’ve owned this exercise bike for about 15 years. Leigh and I bought it right after we got married. I have used it in an undisciplined way in my prior life, but have never really enjoyed it. However, about 6 months ago a friend told me to try watching movies while riding it, and that has really changed my perspective on using this bike. I simply prop a laptop up on the handlebars. The movie can really take your mind off the riding, so the time goes by a lot faster. Plus I use the following technique. Two nights ago I started watching “Dances with Wolves”. After riding for an hour, I waited for a scene where I really wanted to see what would happen next. At that point I stopped the movie. Now, in order to see what happens, I have to get back on the bike. So it provides this incentive to ride. Dances with Wolves happens to be a 3 hour movie, so last night that was one of the things that prompted me to ride for 2 hours instead of 1. I wanted to finish the movie!
Day 119 -
On the scale this morning I gained 0.2 pounds. I now weigh 184.6. That is much better than gaining 2.0 pounds because of all of yesterday’s transgressions, so the exercise seems to have worked.
Let’s see if today can’t be a more disciplined day on the food front!
Imagine my surprise when I asked Leigh this afternoon the innocent question, “What are we doing for dinner tonight?” Her answer: “Well, the kids got free coupons for Cici’s pizza, so we are going there for dinner.” Me: “No, we are not.” Her: “Yes, we are. The kids won these coupons at the library and they have their hearts set on it. They really want to go.” As you may recall, I recently wrote a bit about Cici’s pizza, the gist being that places like Cici’s are one cause of the obesity epidemic. I guess it was karma that I would end up going there soon after. So we went, and we had a nice time. What Cici’s is is an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. They might have 10 different pizzas on the buffet at any given moment. Plus dessert pizzas and Cinnamon rolls. Plus pasta and sauce. Plus a soup or two. Plus a “salad bar”, although an extremely limited one. I can see why the kids love it – this is kid pizza heaven, because you truly can eat as much pizza as you want and they have some really interesting flavors (e.g. macaroni and cheese pizza). Plus, they will make any pizza you request and put it on the buffet.
I noted that nearly every adult in the place was obese, and many of the kids too. So what is a person-who-is-on-a-diet supposed to do in a place-designed-to-make-people-fat? I thought this would be a good test. As the kids picked out their selections of pizza, I aimed for the salad bar and made a big salad. We get back to the table, and here is an interesting, unexpected thing that happened. All the kids have different flavors of pizza, and they start sharing with each other – Irena says, “Johnny, you’ll love this one – it is BBQ chicken flavor.” “Try this – it tastes like salad dressing.” Everyone is excited about the mac-n-cheese pizza. And they want me to try. So I have a bite of maybe 8 different pizza flavors over the course of the meal, plus a second big salad. And I have one bite of a Cinnamon roll. At the max, I have eaten the equivalent of 2 slices of pizza. Let’s call it 600 total calories of pizza plus 80 grams of carbs. Plus 2 big salads (light on the dressing, and no bacon bits either).
The rest of the day I ate 3 eggs, half a pound of chicken and 2 cups of cottage cheese – a very good day otherwise.
I consider myself very lucky to have “survived” Cici’s without overindulging. It was a good test, seeing as how I will soon need to be eating more normally once I reach 175. Yes, I ate pizza, but possibly for the first time in my life I ate pizza in moderation after taking the first bite.
I also walked for 30 minutes today.
My expectation is that I will not gain any weight tomorrow, because I only took in maybe 1,600 or 1,700 calories for the day…
Day 120 -
…But I would be incorrect. On the scale this morning I gained a pound. I now weigh 185.6. Yuck. Leigh reports that she gained 4.0 pounds overnight after our visit to Cici’s, so I guess I should consider myself lucky.
So why did this happen? Why did I gain weight even though I ate moderately yesterday? Either the pizza was extremely salty, or there are calories in the air at Cici’s and you take them in simply by breathing, or this is once again a physiological reaction against carbs. I have wondered before if a “Dukan body” over-reacts to carb-heavy foods when they come in. This would seem to be another indication that it might. The good news is that if I get get back on track, I feel like I can reverse this because it is mostly water.
Today I ate a pound of chicken, a pound of tilapia, 3 eggs, 2 cups of cottage cheese, half a cup of plain yogurt and 300 calories of peanuts. That’s about 2,000 calories for the day because of the peanuts, which is “OK” (in the sense that it is less than what I burned) but not great.
No significant exercise today.
Day 121 -
My weight is unchanged today. I weigh 185.6.
Today was a good day for a bike ride with Leigh’s father, and I rode a total of 61 miles. The day started pretty much like last Sunday – I ate breakfast (half a pound of sauteed chicken and a cup of cottage cheese), rode 12 miles to his house and then we rode 20 miles together. Back at his house I ate 3 eggs mixed with 2 tbsp of oat bran. Then I rode from his house to the east side of Raleigh, and back to my house on the west side through downtown. This map shows the east to west traverse:
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Google Maps wants you to take the Beltline. I rode more of a winding path right through the center of downtown. Which meant a lot of stop signs and traffic lights. My average speed for the whole 61 mile ride was 12.2 MPH. By the time I was finished (about 5 hours) I felt better than I did after last week’s 50 mile ride. That might have to do with the time I put in on the exercise bike this week, or the eggs I ate mid-way, plus I also paid more attention to water on this trip – I drank a lot more water while riding today than I did last week.
When I got home I ate a pound of salmon, a cup of cottage cheese and a cup of plain yogurt. For a snack I had 200 calories of peanuts. For dinner I had half a pound of Tilapia, a cup of cottage cheese and about a quarter pound of mozzarella cheese. In other words, I ate about 2,200 calories today, and presumably burned somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 calories on the ride.
Day 122 -
This morning on the scale I lost 1.4 pounds. I now weigh 184.2.
Today I ate a pound and a half of chicken, 3 eggs and 3 cups of cottage cheese – a perfect Dukan diet day.
I walked for 30 minutes.
Day 123 -
Today I gained 0.4 pounds. On the scale this morning I weight 184.6. Given that I was good in terms of food intake yesterday, that’s a little surprising, but perhaps it is salt. A pound of the chicken I ate yesterday was simmered in salty Indian spices. Anyway, this means that I only lost a total of 0.8 pounds this week. I have lost 43 pounds since starting the Dukan diet. I have 9.6 pounds to go to get to 175.0.
So what did I learn this week? I’d say that overweight Americans, and anyone trying to lose weight, need to stay out of places like Cici’s. The fact that Leigh gained 4 pounds in a single day, and I gained a pound even though I ate in strict moderation, shows the problem. I’m also surprised that exercise didn’t have a bigger effect on weight loss. The week started out strong and I lost a pound in two days. I rode (on exercise and real bicycles) about 100 miles this week and (except for Cici’s and a bad day with pancakes) did a pretty good job on food consumption. But the week’s total was only 0.8 pounds. Perhaps it is water, and next week will go better.