And today I am reporting on my eighteenth week (days 123 through 130) on the Dukan diet. I was very pleased to see a weight drop of 3.4 pounds this week, putting me at 181.2 and now within striking range of the 170s. I also rode my bike 71 miles on Sunday, which felt great. Here is how the week unfolded:
Day 123 -
Today I gained 0.4 pounds. On the scale this morning I weigh 184.6.
I did a good job with food today. I ate 2 pounds of chicken, 3 cups of cottage cheese, 1 cup of plain yogurt and a package of antioxidant vegetables. That’s it. No transgressions, no nuts.
I walked about 2 miles today.
Day 124 -
On the scale this morning I lost 1.0 pounds. I now weigh 183.6.
Today I ate a pound of chicken, half a pound of salmon, 3 eggs and 3 cups of cottage cheese. No transgressions, no nuts. A perfect Dukan day.
But I did think about eating nuts today. So I asked myself, “Self, why do you want to eat nuts?” One reason: There is a strong desire to eat something different, and nuts are different. Another reason: They are crunchy, and they taste good, but they have no carbs. So this makes me wonder if I can find something to eat that is crunchy, with no carbs, and preferably no calories. Maybe it could take the place of nuts. Any ideas?
I rode for an hour on the exercise bike, which thinks I burned 400 calories. While riding I watched the first episode of Lost, because many people have suggested I watch it. At least in episode 1, I found myself having trouble with the willing suspension of disbelief.
Day 125 -
This morning I lost 0.4 pounds. I now weigh 183.2.
Today I ate half a pound of salmon, a pound of chicken, 3 eggs and 3 cups of cottage cheese. Three days in a row of no transgressions and no nuts.
I rode the exercise bike and burned 400 calories. I watched the second episode of Lost and started Crocodile Dundee II (long story about why I am watching that…).
Day 126 -
This morning I again lost 0.4 pounds. I weigh 182.8.
This week is starting to sound a little monotonous food-wise, I realize, so today I tried a new food. They sell frozen salmon burgers at BJ’s, but I had never seen them before because they are in the frozen burger section. They cost $4.80 per pound, a box contains 10 burger patties (2.5 pounds), and they have 130 calories each (50 calories from fat and zero carbs). I ate two of these salmon burger patties for lunch today with a cup of cottage cheese. The burgers are pretty good. The rest of the day I ate a pound of chicken, two more cups of cottage cheese and three eggs. I had one very minor transgression. For dinner I cooked orange chicken for the kids, which is chicken breast battered and fried with an orange-flavored glaze. I ate two pieces when we sat down for dinner together. Hardly worth mentioning. At most it was 100 calories, probably less. No nuts.
I walked 2 miles today and rode for an hour on the exercise bike, burning 400 calories. We also took the kids miniature golfing tonight if that counts for anything.
Day 127 -
On the scale this morning I lost a pound, which was very nice to see. I now weigh 181.8. Cool!
Lesson: If you cut out the nuts and transgressions, walk a straight and narrow line with food (all foods are Dukan friendly and eaten in moderation), and exercise a lot, you lose weight. Who would have thunk it?! But it is also important to note that last week was a little weird. For example, I did not overeat on the day we went to Cici’s (Day 119). Total calories for the day were around 1,700, which is excellent for me. Yet I gained 1.0 pounds the next day. So clearly there was some water retention going on last week, and apparently I have been shedding that water this week.
The benefit is that it is psychologically inspiring. Now that I am in the 181s, I am in striking range of the 170s for the first time since college, really. It will be an exciting day when I see 179.8 on the scale. I am also going to try to increase my distance on the bicycle again tomorrow morning, and weighing 4 pounds less that I did last week will only make it easier.
Leigh and I did some walking today, but it was pretty casual. No other exercise to speak of.
Day 128 -
Today on the scale I gained 0.2 pounds. I weigh 182.0.
I rode my bike 71 miles today. I rode 12 miles to Leigh’s parents’ house, then John and I rode 21 miles, then we rode another 21 miles, Then I rode 12 miles home, and then rode a 5 mile loop to hit 71. At the 63 mile point I was coming up a hill and I was amazed at how good I felt at that point in the ride. I could have easily gone another 10, maybe even another 20 miles today but I simply ran out of time.
Today I ate half a pound of chicken and a cup of cottage cheese for breakfast. At the 33 mile point I ate 3 eggs. At the 44 mile point I ate 300 calories of cashews I had brought with me. At the 54 mile point we stopped at John’s house a second time and Leigh’s mom says, “look, I bought you a present” and it was a huge BJ’s-size container of Planters Premium Mixed Nuts. It’s like 5 pounds of nuts, and not these pieces and crumbs stuff – whole nuts. They were beautiful. She did this as an act of kindness – having been on vacation with us several weeks ago and seeing me inhale nuts. She does not realize I have a nut problem. So I ate 300 calories of mixed nuts lest I offend my host (perhaps this was the cause of the surge of energy at 63 miles?). I also ate a quarter pound of sliced turkey lunch meat. When I got home I ate half a pound of chicken and a cup of cottage cheese. For dinner I ate a pound of Tilapia and a package of the antioxidant vegetables. Total calories for the day = about 2,100. Total calories burned on the ride were probably 2,000 to 3,000 (average speed 12.1 MPH today)? Something like that. So… I ate what I would normally eat in a day plus 600 calories of nuts to fuel a 71-mile bike ride. There should be a pretty good calorie deficit today. Although there was also a lot of salt today in the nuts (possibly offset by all the sweat).
Day 129 -
On the scale this morning I gained 0.4 pounds. I weigh 182.4. This same thing happened 2 weeks ago on the day after I rode 50 miles – despite all the exercise, I gained weight. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.
Today I ate a pound of chicken, a pound of tilapia, 3 eggs, a cup of plain yogurt and 3 cups of cottage cheese. No transgressions, no nuts.
I walked about 3 miles today.
Day 130 -
This morning I lost 1.2 pounds and weighed in at 181.2. I lost 3.4 pounds for the week and 46.4 pounds since starting the Dukan diet.
So, did I really “lose” 3.4 pounds this week? It’s more likely that I retained a bunch of water after eating at Cici’s pizza on Day 119 last week (or something similar), and that water did not get released until this week. I lost only 0.8 pounds last week despite a good bit of exercise and fairly good calorie control. So if we take last week and this week, add them together and take the average, I lost 2.1 pounds each week. That would be a completely normal rate of weight loss for me on a per-week basis. Since it takes 3,500 calories burned to lose a pound, it means I am burning about 1,000 calories per day on average. I have been doing that for over 4 months.
Running a 1,000 calorie per day deficit might sound like a lot. If you had told me 6 months ago I would be able to do that, I would have probably told you that you are crazy. Having tried diets before, eating 1,000 calories less than I burned would have normally meant that I would be “starving to death” all the time. And keep in mind that prior to starting this diet I was eating more calories than I burned – I was gaining weight.
What makes the difference on the Dukan diet (and other low-carb approaches) is that by cutting out carbs, you cut out the hunger pangs, the binge eating and the feeling of “starvation”. You can eat as much protein as you like, so you never are hungry. But your body no longer wants to eat nearly as much as it did when it was consuming carbs.
The other thing that has helped me is what I call the “helium balloon effect”. Losing just 15 pounds (and I lost that in about 3 weeks) made such a big difference in my enjoyment of exercise. It felt like I had helium balloons attached to me lifting me up a little bit as I went walking or bike riding. And now, having lost 46 pounds, the helium balloon effect is huge. Go to a grocery store, pick up the biggest bag of dog food you can find (it will weigh about 45 pounds) and carry it around on your back for a bit. Then put it down. It will make a HUGE difference to you. That’s how I feel every day. Walking feels so much better – It is easier, and my joints are under much less strain, and I feel great going up hills. When exercise is enjoyable, I exercise more. Last night I was at a park with the kids and I found that I was spontaneously running. That never happened 46 pounds ago.
Anyway, I now have 6.2 pounds left to go before reaching my target weight on 175. Onward!