I started the Dukan diet three days ago. For the unititiated, the Dukan diet is a no carb, pure protein plan that, gasp, KATE MIDDLETON, used to get all sinewy for the wedding. Clearly she didn't fancy following the Princess Di-fingers-down-the-throat-diet. And, you know, good on her. Didn't she look thin? And hungry.
I've just returned from two weeks in Tuscany where, naturally, I gave in to daily gelato and a few plates of pasta. While lying by the pool mainlining lard I read Dr Pierre Dukan's diet book on my fancy Kindle.
It's extremely verbose and uses an awful lot of words to bang on about how the diet is EASY and you ALWAYS FEEL FULL.
It's not easy. And most of the time you don't want to eat because you feel sick.
That's because for the first 2-10 days you eat only protein. So, no sugar, no carbs, no fruit, no veg, no fatty meat, very little dairy, no booze. What the feck can you eat? Eggs. And egg whites. Fish, lean beef, chicken, turkey, non-fat yoghurt and skimmed milk. And that's pretty much it.
Oh, and for an added little treat - and also presumably so one's system doesn't completely seize up in despair - you get to chow down on a tablespoon and a half of oat bran (NOT WHEAT BRAN) every day. Dr Dukan suggests making this into a galette comprising of non-fat yoghurt, egg whites, artificial sweetener and OAT BRAN NOT WHEAT BRAN. He's very insistent on that.
So, after 10 days you then get to add in vegetables every other day. Not fruit. Not carbs. Veg.
And then you do that for ages until you get to your target weight.
After that, you move into the next phase which has to last for five days per pound lost and (I think - I'm not sure cos I didn't get that far in the book, I was so carried away with envisaging myself all skinny and preferably six inches taller) you get to add in a bit of bread every now and again. It might actually be just once a week.
After THAT, if you're still alive and haven't stabbed yourself in despair, you get to eat 'normally' but low carb provided you have a protein only day once a week. For some reason he's designated Thursday the ideal day to have a miseryfest.
So, what attracted me to this hellish nightmare?
The promise of not having to give up coffee, being actively encouraged to drink diet coke till it comes out of my (probably phosporic acid burned) ears, losing up to half a stone in five days and being encouraged to EAT AS MUCH AS I WANT from a list of foods. Having lost two stone over the last nine months on weight watchers in an agonisingly slow manner, this sounded perfect.
Sadly, pure protein is horrible. Never has fillet steak looked so nauseating. Never has a boiled egg repelled me so much as after the first day.
For on the first day, I started enthusiastically. Scrambled egg for breakfast. Lovely. Non-fat yoghurt for a mid morning snack. Mackerel (just mackerel) for lunch. The gallette for tea (the galette by the way is a thing of pure horror. A pancake made of yoghurt. I mean what the fuck?) and smoked salmon for supper. Yum, yum, yum. Vomit.
Still, the newness of it was exciting. One of the weirdest parts of it is it makes a day last, like, a really long time. I'm pretty sure days are at least three times as long as the days when I was hoovering up foccacia every five minutes.
I was nauseated, I had a headache, I really really wanted an apple... but I went to sleep instead. Because I was knackered. Like properly, pathetically knackered.
Mid way through Day 2 and the headache is worse. So I get online. And there I discover a veritable underworld of forumites discussing what is apparently known as 'Dukan flu'. THAT wasn't in the fecking book I can tell you. Dukan flu is what happens when you cut out sugar and carbs after eating them every day for your whole life. There's posts comparing the withdrawal to that of coming off smack.
I'm not sure smack addicts would agree with that one but you get the idea.
Day 2 passes in a whirl of egg whites and chicken.
Day 3 and I get on the scales only to find that I've apparently lost nothing. Nada. Fuck all. Then the cramps start and I'm, ahem, indelicately indisposed for much of the day. I get back on the scales. Now I've lost five pounds. Should call it the dysentry diet.
Taken out for dinner with my boyfriend I'm faced with the menu of the finest Italian Leamington Spa has to offer. I choose ribs (shouldn't have pork but I cannot CANNOT eat another piece of beef) and grilled chicken. I cheat and have some green beans in lemon juice. They taste better than chocolate. That can't be right?
After watching the rest of the table consume prosecco, Borollo, limoncello and Disarano I stick to diet coke and water. And then have to go home because the thought of trying to drag my weary carcass out on the tiles is too much.
If I don't lose shedloads of weight by Monday (Day Five) I will personally hunt down Dr Pierre Dukan and forcefeed the bastard bread till he pukes...