- How much vegetables you can eat?
- The initial weight gain
- The Cruise Phase variants
- Expected weight loss during the Cruise Phase
- Overcome your body’s resistance to weight loss.
The Dukan Diet Cruise Phase is in fact a combination of two sub-phases. One, that in terms of the menu, is almost identical to the Attack Phase and the other that broadens the list of the allowed foods by including the remaining 28 vegetables from the 100 dukan diet safe products list.
The key rule of the Cruise Phase is to follow The Pure Protein (PP) sub-phase and the Protein + Vegetables (PV) sub-phase in turns until you reach your target weight.
There’s not much I can write about the PP sub-phase since it’s basically based on the same rules as the Attack Phase (see links above). Let’s focus on a PV sub-phase then.
Like in the Attack Phase there are more than one variation of the Cruise Phase as well. Which option will you choose depends on certain conditions, including your individual preferences.
How much vegetables you can eat?
Basically there are no restrictions to the amount of vegetables you eat during the second phase of the diet. On the other hand, taking advantage of this rule and going crazy with vegetables is not a good idea either. Despite the careful selection the vegetables on the list, deliberate overeating can spoil your efforts. You should only eat as much as needed to satisfy your hunger. Don’t get me wrong, there are no restrictions to how much food you consume but the more you eat (beyond the level of satiation) the slower the weight loss proceeds.
The initial weight gain
It often happens that when a dieter passes on from the Attack Phase to the PV, the weight loss, once so spectacular, is now progressing at the minimum rate. Some dieters report that they even regained some of the weight they’d just lost. What is happening? Nothing to be worried about.
When you feed yourself with large amounts of protein your body, apart from burning the fat, loses significant amounts of water. Now, when you add variety to your menu and start eating vegetables, your body strives to regain its natural balance (the body tries to counteract the changes you are making; this happens as a part of a broader process called human homeostasis) and, among other things, starts to replenish its water reserves.
Don’t worry. The real weight loss that is caused by the elimination of the body’s excessive adipose tissue is still in effect. The results may not be visible on the scale but there’s no harm being done to the weight loss process.
The moment you return to the PP sub-phase the body will get rid of the water and the scale will show you the progress again.
If you record your weight daily you will notice that you weight loss curve is similar to this:
Why does the weight loss curve look like that? The reason is simple. The PP sub-phase is the beating heart of the weight loss process throughout the entire Phase II. Don’t expect to lose a shocking number of pounds on the PV sub-phase. The latter is more a balance-restoring element rather than a fat burning machine. That said, don’t underestimate the importance of the PV sub-phase. In fact, if not for the PV’s stabilizing effect you could get yourself into some serious trouble by overdoing the PP diet (see more: ketosis and ketoacidosis).
Unless your goal is to lose 2 or 3 lbs, you are very likely to stay in the Cruise Phase for weeks. You need to choose the frequency of switching between the sub-phases. There are a couple of ways in which you can approach the matter.
The Cruise Phase variants
5/5 (5 days on PV, then 5 days on PP)
This is the most common choice. 5/5 means that you eat vegetables with protein for 5 days and then for the next 5 days you switch to a protein-only diet. According to Dukan, this scheme corresponds well with the psyche of an obese person. 5/5 is not the easiest way to go but the results are pretty rewarding – says Dukan in one of his books.
Let me add a few thoughts on the 5/5 scheme. Whereas, 5 day long sub-phase seem pretty optimal from the dieter’s point of view (in terms of not getting bored with it), a small problem arises when it comes to knowing which sub-phase are you in and when does the next sub-phase begin. If that’s your case you may find it convenient to apply a 7/7 system that better reflects the weekly rhythm around which most people’s lives revolve.
An example: if you choose a 5/5 system and start the PV on, let’s say, Monday then the next switch is on Saturday, then on Wednesday, then on Monday on so on… Choosing the 5/5 option forces you to remember what comes when or, at least, monitor the calendar closely. I know of people who always forget that ‘today is the day’. If you have the tendency to forget things, try the 7/7 system.
7/7 (a week on PV, then a week on PP)
Using the 7/7 system makes it easier to remember the day of the switch. 7/7 means that you follow the PV sub-phase for a week and then PP for the next week and so on. It’s easy to remember and, in means of weight loss, it should bring about the same (if not better) results as the 5/5 system. Of course, if for some reason you can’t use the 7/7 system (for example you suspect the intervals may be too long for you), just follow some other option.
1/1 (1 day on PV, then 1 day on PP)
This option serves the best if you plan on losing less than 22 lbs (< 10 kg). It is not as efficient as 5/5 or 7/7 plans but it is much easier to follow and adds variety to the diet. Choose it to catch your breath if you lose your motivation or when you get tired of the 5/5 or 7/7 schemes.
5/2 (5 days on PV, then 2 days on PP)
In one of his books Dukan writes about a 2/7 scheme and describes it as “2 days on PP followed by 5 days on PV”. While I do not argue with the idea, I think Dukan has showed some inconsistency in terms of naming the scheme. The proper “code” for this option should be 5/2, which means you are 5 days on PV and then 2 days on PP. Nevertheless, I recommend this system to the dieters who expect only a slight weight loss.
Custom PV/PP plan
Try your own options and find the one that suits you the best. You can experiment with PP and PV sub-phases if you wish. You can try 4/3 or even 2/5 systems when you hit a plateau. Remember though, don’t overtax your body with the PP. This can result in some severe consequences including ketoacidosis. So, a good rule of thumb is to choose wisely keeping in mind that a slow but steady progress is always better than any immediate results.
Expected weight loss during the Cruise Phase
How much and how fast will you lose weight during Phase II depends on several factors:
You basal and target weight.
It’s hard to estimate your weight loss rate when you need to drop more then 44 lbs (20 kg) but in most cases people drop about 2 lbs (1 kg) per week. Practice also shows that during the first few weeks the weight loss rate is higher and can amount to 3 – 4 lbs (1.5 kg) per week.
The sub-phase scenario you choose.
Selecting the optimal PP/PV interval, which corresponds best with your individual preference and your body’s actual condition, can increase the weight loss rate. But it’s not always about maximizing the duration of the PP sub-phase. More importantly, you should choose a plan that suits you best in terms of your general physical and mental state, your lifestyle, taste and such. It is crucial that you feel good and maintain a good health while you’re on a diet.
Overcome your body’s resistance to weight loss.
After about two months since the beginning of the diet your body will, most probably, start to resist the treatment and you may notice a sudden drop in your weight loss rate. This process is considered natural. Until then (i.e. within the first 8 weeks or so) you should be able to lose 22 lbs / 10 kg).
During your entire dieting period you might experience several stagnation episodes, commonly referred to as plateaus. Normally, you body will not resist much to losing the first few stones. However, after the initial considerable weight drop, it will start to defy being ‘robbed’ of its reserves. In theory, one might consider an intensification of the efforts as a remedy to prevent the occurrence of the plateau. Indeed, this is a reasonable approach but practice shows that many people tend to lose their dedication to dieting when they hit a plateau.
Losing one’s first 22 lbs (10 kg) or so contributes substantially to an improvement in general health, physical condition, agility etc. Moreover, you start getting compliments, you fit into your old clothes you start to feel great. But the dieting process hasn’t been completed yet. This is the moment you should double your efforts to stick to the diet. It’s easy to dispense yourself from the diet rules when everything goes well.
Many people have a tendency to lose their self-control after the initial successes. Deviating from the diet at this point often results in feeling guilty. In consequence, you get back to the diet, but then you lose some weight again and stop dieting again and again. This is nothing good since such chaotic behavior can lead to a severe deregulation of the metabolic processes and will only deepen your compulsive eating habits.
If you find yourself in such a tight corner, there are three things you can do:
Give up and return to your compulsive overeating and muse over your failure. This will inevitably lead to a spectacular yo-yo effect. I strongly advise against this option.
Pull yourself together and start anew keeping in mind that the diet isn’t over until you reach the Phase IV.
Maintain a status quo. If find yourself somewhat satisfied with what you’ve achieved so far but, in the same time, tired of following the Phase II rules, you can immediately pass to Phase III. Then, after certain time passes (4.5 days for every pound or 10 days for every 1 kg lost), proceed to the Final Stabilization Phase.