Celebrating my Wife’s birthday this past weekend had a lot to do with my decision to end the weight-loss portion of this diet. I had been consciously trying to lose weight for 3 weeks short of one year. During that time I have lost 76 lbs (83lbs at my one-time low).
I originally started this diet with the goal of losing 50lbs, and after easily & quickly achieving that goal, I was not thrilled with the change in my appearance. I guess I thought that 50lbs would make me look skinnier, so I set a second more ambitious goal and continued dieting. My weight seemed to keep falling off until the holiday season approached. As my Christmas-related stress rose, I slowly added more fat and wine into my diet. This proved to be detrimental (if not fatal) to my progress.
Over the past 3 months I have had nominal progress. Even when I exercised religiously and strictly adhered to the eating regime, my weight-loss was minimal. Eventually I began to think that the strict deprivations were not worth the effort. To make things more difficult, my wife had lost 30lbs and ended her diet. I routinely sat at the kitchen table watching my family eat macaroni or pizza and lusted after just one taste.
When my wife decided to go away for her birthday I was easily convinced that it was time to preserve my progress and begin the ‘Consolidation Phase’ of this diet. During this phase you slowly add ‘forbidden’ foods back into your routine. Foods such as fruits, breads, & carbs-in-general can be slowly re-introduced. In addition you are allowed one totally unrestricted ‘Celebration Meal’ per week.
For the past few months my wife has been telling me that the Consolidation Phase is much harder than the weight-loss phases, because limiting your carbs is more of a challenge than eliminating them all together. When you totally eliminate a food, the rules are very clear and strait-forward. However, when you regulate them, there is more of a gray area and your will-power is tested. After this weekend I definitely agree with her.
Against the recommendations of of the Dukan Diet book, I gave myself a celebration weekend. I ate whatever I wanted and missed the most. I had pizza, rice, bagels, home-fries, nachos, beer, and more. Overall I was pretty disappointed, I had a really hard time eating anything new without this overarching feeling of guilt. With each bite I felt naughty (and not in a good way). I also found myself overeating because ‘this was my one opportunity have forbidden foods’. My stomach and digestive tract went berserk, I felt like a bloated gaseous mass. When your diet consist of mostly protein you get a different sensation in your stomach when you are full. With the addition of carbs, that sensation is completely different.
When we arrived home after our excursion I was actually excited to return to my dieting ways. I was more excited to have a grilled chicken salad than I would have ever expected. Overall my weekend of cheating only set me back about 3 lbs, and that weight is slowly melting back into oblivion. The one overarching benefit to the consolidation phase is the ability to eat vegetables everyday. I really appreciate this. I was nervous that changing my habits would be difficult and at the first taste of pizza I would slip into an uncontrollable binge where I would careen back towards obesity. I can honestly say that I have a lot more confidence now.