Sunday, June 20, 2010

Something's Lost In Translation

Day Four

Then: 15 Stone 5 pounds (215 lbs)
Now: 15 Stone 3 pounds (213 lbs)

Oh no, disaster. Exactly the same as yesterday. I’m getting in a panic about the constipation now. Not the slightest stirring, and I’m sure I’m doing something wrong. I consult the book again. “The body has little resistance to the loss of the first few pounds”, it says. Well mine does. It’s resisting by refusing to let me shit. “It’s a low-frustration diet”, it trumpets. Well I’m bloody frustrated right now. And hungry.

Dr Dukan’s book must have lost a lot in translation. It’s written in a clunky disorganized way, returning again and again to hyperbole about how wonderful the diet is, how transforming, how easy it is to do, and so on. But its main points are scattered through the pages – you have to search for information.

Take exercise, for example. There’s a chart on page 13 called “The Dukan Diet summarized”. It talks about the four stages: Attack, Cruise, Consolidation and Stabilization, but the only mention of exercise is “No more lifts and escalators”. Fine for me – there aren’t any in our office building. I had to wait till page 55 for the next mention:

Recently I have realized that losing weight without taking exercise…runs the risk of undermining this undertaking. In a world where being sedentary is an integral part of our societies’ economic model and where it is not only accepted but encouraged, simple common-sense advice is not enough. I have therefore decided to include exercise and in particular walking as a full driving force in my programme. I now no longer just recommend it but I PRESCRIBE it as I would medication. It will be described to you in great detail in a later chapter.

But no mention of what sort of exercise, and how much, until page 81 when it tells you to avoid, during this part of the diet, "hard physical exercise, competitive sports and, in particular, skiing at high altitude.” Phew, better cancel that skiing trip, then. It then slips in the information that you really need: walk for 20 minutes a day. Which I do with the dogs round our fields every morning. So I’m alright there.

But still something's not right. For Dukan writes:

By the third day, your tiredness will disappear, and is usually replaced by a sense of euphoria and dynamic energy further reinforced by the encouraging messages on your scales.

Note the word “usually”. Not “always”. And certainly not me. It's Day Four and I couldn't feel less euphoric. Or more tired. Maybe it's the lack of encouraging messages on my scales.

Today Jo and I barbecue steak and fresh tuna for lunch. With a lemony minty fat-free-yoghurty sauce and fresh garden salad. Yes, salad.

I finally released myself from the Attack phase not because I thought I had achieved anything (in weight loss terms, anyway), but because Dukan himself told me to do so. This morning, while writing my customary weekly Blog From The North, I went onto his website where it told me precisely how much I should weigh – 12st 13lbs – that’s 181 pounds, or 32 pounds less than I am now. It then prescribes how much attack, cruise, consolidation and stabilization I should be doing, and, amazingly, it tells me I should have only been attacking for 2 days, not 5.

Hurrah. I can have salad. Radishes have never tasted so good.

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