As many of you know, I started on the Dukan diet about 150 days ago. Today I got on the scale and I weighed 177.6 pounds. Since I weighted 227.6 on the day that I started this diet, it means I reached the "50.0 pounds lost" milestone today.
This is a "big deal" personally, for three reasons:
- I have been trying to lose weight for years, and this is the first time a diet has worked.
- I have learned so much from this experience that I should now have a mindset and a changed set of eating habits that should allow me to keep the weight off.
- I feel soooo much better physically having lost this weight. I should have done this years ago. My joints feel better. It is much easier to exercise, and much more enjoyable. It is easier to get in and out of things like cars and kayaks. Heck - it's much easier to put on my socks in the morning.
Losing 50 pounds has made a huge difference in my life. But in addition, losing the first 10 pounds made a big difference in my life, and that only took a couple of weeks.
So what is the secret here? Why did this diet work? Based on my experience, there are 6 things that have allowed me to lose 50 pounds in 150 days - and you could do exactly the same thing:
- Get started. Just make the decision that you are tired of being overweight and get started losing the weight. "Beginning is half done" as a friend of mine used to say. The Dukan diet is a low-carb, high protein diet, as described here. But in order for it to have any effect, you have to get started. Go out and buy yourself a good supply of protein (chicken, fish, beef, tofu, cottage cheese... whatever you like) and some oat bran and do a 5 day Attack Phase as described here. If it doesn't work the first day you try it, pause for a day or two and try it again. Attack Phase is hard because you are breaking a carb addiction. This article demonstrates that: a) I failed on my first attempt at attack phase, but that b) after a two day pause I got it together and made it through, losing 6.6 pounds in 5 days. ANYONE should be able to stop eating carbs for 5 days. It's only 5 days.
- Put a big mental fence around carbohydrates. Do not eat carbs. Do not eat carbs. Do not eat carbs. Every time you want to eat carbs, eat some type of protein instead. For me, my "emergency protein" has been lunch meat. You are allowed to eat as much protein as you want on the Dukan diet, so take advantage of this. By doing that you can NEVER claim to be hungry on this diet. Every time you get hungry, eat protein.
- No matter how hard I tried, I would have occasional transgressions, sometimes small and sometimes huge. On Day 131, for example, I ate 5,000 calories in one day and hundreds of grams of carbs. It was a total breakdown. On vacation I ate too much and broke my no-carb pledge several times. There was the Cici's Pizza incident. And so on. If you look through my daily diary over the last 150 days, you can see a hundred transgressions big and small. You know what? It's OK! Don't give up. When you have a bad day, note the problem, understand that you will gain 3 or 4 pounds overnight (mostly water), and then get back on the Dukan diet the next day. It will take several days (sometimes a full week) to burn that transgression off, but it will burn off and you will be back on track again. I still lost 50 pounds, even with all my mistakes, weaknesses and transgressions. It really is OK to mess up - just get back on track the next day and it will be fine if you stick with the program.
- When you "get stuck" at a certain weight, simply be patient. Eat right each day. Avoid transgressions. At least for me, every time I have "gotten stuck", the problem resolved itself several days later.
- Understand that water retention can cause your weight to fluctuate upwards for a day or three even when it should be going down. Again, be patient. Your body will dump the water eventually.
- Finally, stick with it. Because you can eat as much protein as you want, you are never hungry. And each day you are losing weight, feeling better and better physically and mentally. Just stick with it until you reach your goal.
One other thing. As soon as you start this diet, and especially after weight loss becomes noticeable and your friends start asking you about it, a hundred people will come out of the woodwork to tell you that you are about to die. You will hear things about kidney failure, heart attacks, brain malfunctions, coma, etc. As best I can tell, these are all urban legends, as discussed here and here. You should talk to your doctor before starting any diet, obviously. But as best I can tell, in my personal experience, I have seen no deleterious effects from reducing carbs to less than 50 total grams per day (a typical American eats 300+ grams a day). No, I do not feel tired all the time. No, this diet has had no effect on my ability to exercise. Over Labor Day weekend I rode my bicycle 100 miles in a single day, and I did that without Power Bars, glucose packs, sports drinks or any carb-heavy snacks. I ate cashews, tuna and lunch meat along the way, and drank 2 gallons of water.
Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese according to the BMI scale. If you are in this group, you probably are not happy about it and would like to change things. You can do this. If you don't like the Dukan diet, go to Everydiet.org and pick a different diet. If that one doesn't work, try another one. Find something that works for you. You will feel soooo much better once you lose the weight, both mentally and physically. You will definitely be glad you did.
If you would like to follow Brainstuff on Twitter or Facebook, here are the links: