Tips and links for those practicing Intermittent Fasting (IF). 5:2 or Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)(273 Posts)
This is where those posters who have been IFing for a while can pass on any tips they may have on how to get the best out of this new WOE (way of eating).
It's also where you should post any new links on the subject that you come across - and would just get buried in a very long thread.
I just wanted to get this thread underway, so that GreenEggs can link to it in the new 5:2 thread (the 5th in just 2 months!) that's she is currently planning.
and on fast days think of things that are bulky and slow to eat but low calorie : like veggie stews
then you do not feel like you have lost out
PLAN your menu
Do read the stuff and links on the main 5:2 thread .. and watch the Michael Mosley Horizon programme if you've not seen it .. its still on YouTube.. Get onto something like myfitnesspal to count calories .. and Jump In!!
Stick to 500 cals 2 days a week (or 3 days ,or every other day whatever you are doing .. 5:2 or 4:3 seems about the most popular here ) in one or two meals ..with plenty of non or very low cal liquids (diet drinks are not really the best idea because they can make you hungry amongst other things ) liquids like water or green tea or recommended, coffee is fine (I couldn't do without it!) but do count milk calories if you have it.
Try to have a period of 16 hours when you don't eat at all but do have liquids - l (for optimum cell repair) - most of us do most of this at night!
And on non-fast days eat somewhere around your normal calorie needs (check this out for your weight activity level on the BMR link above ) .Eat what you want but don't go mad ..you are aiming for an overall calorie deficit not making up for your fast days .
Good luck , we are a friendly group and I can honestly say that this WOE (way of eating) has been great for me doesn't feel like a diet at all..
Keep in mind the first few fast days can be quite tough, so try to stick through them before you decided if this is the way of eating for you. I recall barely making it through the first one, but now I find fast days very easy.
I personally find it a lot easier to skip breakfast and lunch on fast days, and have most of my calories for dinner. This means I can have a fairly sensible meal and don't go to bed wanting to gnaw off an arm.
Hot drinks during the day are a good way to keep busy if you're feeling the need to snack or just have "something". Keep track of your milk consumption, though.
Cuppa soups are also good.
Come join us in the other thread if you're interested in chatting about this!
Agree with Greeneggs about skipping breakfast.
My biggest tip to to avoid what I call white carbs (bread, pasta, potatoes, rice) on fast days, they seem to make me hungrier.
And that is coming from a carb freak whos entire menu, 3 meals a day, is normally based around white carbs.
Here are some tips Ive extracted from the first thread from 8th to 20th August. For brevity Ive left out the posters - but this info can be found on the thread. I have edited some of them for accuracy - but if Ive got anything wrong, Im very happy to be corrected.
Some suggested foods are:
1 Beetroot salad with peeled apple. The peel of the apple has all the nutrients. To avoid the waste stew the rest of the apple and give to children/babies as weaning food or have it on your non fast day
2. Plain omelette
3. Sticks of carrot
4. Wafer thin salmon and rocket salad with beetroot
5. Tinned mackerel in tomato sauce with rice and green beans/veg
Remember it is not about eating nothing. You are aiming to eat no more than 500 calories on the fast days. Keeping busy really helps as well. If you are getting the rumbles put the kettle on and have hot water. I found that I didn't need tea/coffee and my body had become accustomed to hot/warm water.
On Twitter, [Dr] Mosley said that he has had to cut back to 6:1 now, as he was losing too much weight! He has 2 meals a day on his fast days, so it must still work fine.
So I had miso soup (17 calories, folks)
If any of you are interested in some of the rubbish we have been told in the last 30 tears wrt [sic?] calories, weigh control etc then I really recommend Dr John Briffas book "Escape the diet trap". It is sobering (and angering) reading.
I think part of what this 5:2 plan (and others) is getting at is we need to learn it's OK to feel hungry and in fact is an essential part of being slim. I speak as a lifelong overeater - the FULL feeling is so normal to me and I had some weird fear about feeling hungry. Well guess what - it's not the end of the world. I live in a city with stores everywhere - I can have food at any moment I want, so hunger isn't a sign I'm about to perish or get weak. The last couple of months I've been learning to embrace feeling hungry and being comfortable with that - it's a sign from my body to eat again soon (and hopefully that it is burning fat now), not a sign to be feared.
Whoever said this upthread is a genius - it will be my mantra from now on. It IS ok to feel hungry. Immediate death from starvation will not occur.
Well normal day. I just had a handful of blueberries, a chopped plum, some strawberries and 3 teaspoons of strawberry yoghurt. It came to 127cals. Definately will bear that in mind for a fast day lunch!
In fact, this whole notion of 'you must eat breakfast' is a killer for me. If I don't eat breakfast, I don't get hungry, if I do eat breakfast, I'm ravenous all day long!
Dinner was prawns, broccoli and pak choi stir fry - found a lovely low cal soy, chilli and coriander dressing in M&S today which worked great with this and I expect to use quite a lot on my fast days!
Can I just add that whether you're going ADD or 5:2, it will really be counter productive to lower your calorific intake on the up days. The whole point of this diet is to get start the gene SIRT1 into working properly, if you don't eat a sufficient calorie load on your updays then this won't happen, your body will go into starvation mode and fight to keep every last ounce of fat that you have by lowering, rather than increasing( which is what we are aiming for) your metabolic rate. Please read: The Alternate Day Diet by James B Johnson for a more complete explanation.
Oh, and waitrose Love Life hot chocolate is only 38 calories per mug (4-6 tsp) and their chunky minestrone soup is 140 for a whole tin.
Just had an M&S Fuller Longer Asian style king prawn and rice salad (255 calories)- yummy! Noticed that Pret are doing some nice stuff too - Crayfish and avocado salad for just over 200 calories. Well that's Wednesday sorted!
I can definitely recommend the Waitrose Love Life chunky minestrone soup. Huge bowlful for 140 cals, really yummy and didn't feel the need for any bread either as it had pasta shells in.
Asparagus is weirdly filling and grated (or whizzed to chips in a processor) courgette blasted for 30 secs in microwave is a great rice substitute
The people on Mosley's documentary were strongly against too much protein which is counter to most low carb diets. I think the argument was something to do with proteins creating hormonal issues in the body affecting the health effects but not really sure... Mosley recommends 60g per day max on his Twitter discussions.
I'm thinking it might be an idea to put aside some milk in a jug so I know how much I am using in coffee or tea.
I have a pot of jelly (hartleys) that is less than 10cals a pot. Hate to think what's in it, but if it helps me get through a fast day, then I don't really care
Another tip: Corsadyll(sp?) Mouthwash leaves such a strong taste in the mouth, the only thing you can put in your mouth without it tasting foul is water.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I'm awfully sorry about these multiple posts!
First of all I posted the full message - but the site hung up on me for ages - so I posted it again - same result, the URL line just hung there forever.
So, I thought, Mumsnet doesn't like long posts, I'll split it in two. Unbeknownst to me, however, the messages had got through, so I was duplicating like mad!
I would be grateful if some kind moderator would sort this out for me! and
Breadandwine you can report your posts and they'll delete the excess ones.
My top tips for easy eating on a fast day:
vegetables are your best friends
small quantities of legumes
lean protein eg seafood
adding spices makes it more interesting and filling
starchy white carbs
Here's more info on IGF-1 and protein restriction generally on The Fast Doctor site:
Sorry, forgot to say thanks to Sputnik! [thumbs up]
really tasty spicy soups or meal soups are great and filling if you pefer to buy ready made food, if I'm fasting on a home day I tend to cook from scratch, but at work ot when i don't have much time it's much easier to bring something in, Covent Garden soups/New York Big Soups/Glorious! soups?sainsburys meal soups - the chicken arrabiatta is lovely.
I agree also that home made curries and stews with plenty of veg and tinned tomatoes and mushrooms (really low calorie) work really well. I definitely like to feel full and therefore not deprived on this WOE.
I have a panini press that I use like a george forman and it's great for quickly cooking chicken/mushrooms/courgettes/peppers aubergines without any oil to add to some salad greens.
and if I'm opening the fridge door in boredom in the evening I either take myself off for a bath and a pedicure or go to bed early with a book, both things that feel like a treat!
Hi really useful thread, thanks.
Been ADF now for around 8 weeks, things I've found that get me through:
No breakfast start eating as late as possible
Hot tea instead of breakfast
Sugar free gum
Choosing the best days to Fast according to your schedule
Reminding myself I can eat everything I want tomorrow
On feed days making sure I get enough of the nutrients (loads) my body might crave the following day when fasting (note nutrients - not necessarily calories)
Knowing the calorific values of stuff (loads of free websites out there that'll tell you how many calories in 100g of green beans etc
Cuppa soup, thick, salty and filling - there are some decent ones out there as low as 60 calories (Ainslee Harriet Szechun Chicken being one)
Having most of my calories in my main meal and keeping that till as late as poss.
Exercise usually suppresses my hunger and kills time.
And if things get really tough....reading all the inspirational stuff on here from others following this WOE.
Good luck to all
I can't add anything to this - even the sugarfree jelly! For years when dieting I have divided a Hartleys jelly into 6 babyfood pots, around 6 cals each, and they just finish off a meal nicely.
In the 8 weeks I've been doing 5:2 my fast days have settled down into:
breakfast - nothing
Lunch - soup
Dinner - prawn salad or eggs
Drinks - Diet fizzy drinks (don't shoot me TalkinPeace it works for me), black coffee, teas and lots of water.
They are easy now, especially when I do them on working days.
The whole point of this WOE is that you stop snacking and leave decent gaps between the times that you put calories into your system - at least one 16 hour gap per fast.
Are you snacking?
Why are you snacking ? What prompts you to start picking in the evening?
Why is that food in the house in the first place .....
Take a step back and get the 16 hour gap easy to do.
Then add in an extra bit to do the 500 in 24 hours.
If you are hungry in the evening, avoid eating all day and then have a really filling supper (I just had a HUGE bowl of soup and had to loosen my belt - all 420 calories thereof!)
Others have very accurately said that there is a real mindset to eating too much, and only once you have recognised it can you turn it round and get the eating the right amount mindset.
Hang on in there.
And take little steps at first
one key coping strategy: keep yourself busy on fast days.
For me one of the strengths of this WOE is it is a longterm lifestyle choice (I sound like a bl**dy hippy) and not a short term diet. So if you don't lose weight for a month or you feast when you planned to fast or you hit 2 calories over your target one day none of this matters as we all have (hopefully) many years of this in front of us. Even losing on average only 1/2 a pound every week over 13 weeks you'd be half a stone lighter, by the summer a stone lighter...it will come and the health benefits, if the studies can be believed are there all the time.
I think my main take on this thing so far has been - do what works for you! The thing is, there hasn't been enough research on this yet to know exactly what is best (400, 500 or 600 cals? alternate days or 5:2? How to eat on eating days?), and also, everyone is different so what works best for one person may not be the best thing for someone else.
So the way I see it is, do whatever works for you to make it sustainable and to get some benefits - we don't know exactly how to get MAX benefits so that's not a good target to aim for! But if you can do a good approximation of what's being suggested (approx. 500 cals, 2 or 3 days a week, ideally with a long-ish fast period incorporated at some point) then you are likely to see benefits.
I second everyone who says don't worry about occasional weight blips. I've been doing this for 9 weeks now and have had some big loss weeks and some no loss weeks, and I've been rigorous about the fasting and exercising. No idea why it's so uneven, but it's all downwards over time and I can definitely see myself doing this forever if needs be.
:-) I thought that did not look like your typing style breadandwine !!!!
mollysfolly The diet fizzy drinks are working for you, but in the long term they are NOT a substitute for healthy food and drink. They were only invented comparatively recently, health risks associated with them are starting to appear and they are completely avoidable.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Ouch TalkinPeace!! I realise the diet drinks are 'completely avoidable' but thought this thread was tips to help people cope with the 5:2 diet. There is nothing forbidden according to the Horizon documentary.
As I've been drinking them for over 35 years and I enjoy excellent health I'll have to risk the 'long-term effects'
:-) Mollys - sugar free drinks were originally done with Saccharin, now its mostly aspartame. But my problem with them is that they are designed to trick your system - they meet the craving for sweetness without actually giving the bloodstream its sugar rush - which is why they are implicated in Insulin problems. Also the acid in the carbonated water is really bad for your teeth.
Since I read up on the issues with fizzy drinks I now treat them in the same way I do alcohol - a treat for weekends and with meals, no more. DH and I now hardly have fizzy, and the kids are down to the three meals a week when DH and I have booze ... and when we are out or on holiday....
If your metabolism copes fine with them, cool. Many people do not.
Tips from me, I've lost 3 stone so far (quarter of my body weight)
-all kinds of tea, unlimited
-either small breakfast or lunch, never both in same day
-2 nights per week, no dinner (breakfast and lunch both allowed on those days)
-2 x exercise per week
-no white carbs allowed at dinner ever (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes)
That's about it in a nutshell :-)
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