5:2 Diet Thread! Perfect number 10!

(1000 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Sun 20-Jan-13 15:24:08

The continuing thread for those of us following either the 5:2 diet or the alternate-day fasting diet. Both are two versions of Intermittent Fasting, which you can read more about here.

The 5:2 diet was featured on Horizon in August 2012, and essentially requires you to fast for 2 non-consecutive days per week. The other 5 days, you can eat what you like. Alternate-day fasting is just how it sounds; you fast every other day. By "fasting", we mean that we keep our calorie consumption very low, around 500 calories on average, on those days.

Michael Mosley has recently unveiled a new website to accompany his new book on the subject. Please go check them out, as he's the whole reason most of us are here!

I know a number of people lurk on this thread, as this is currently quite popular. Please just jump in and post if you're new- we won't bite. Well, maybe on a fast day. wink You'll find a lot of support here.

Here is a list of links to get you started with this way of eating. Please let us know if you find a new article or some other information online:

First things first, here are links to some of our previous threads: most recent one before that another one etc!

Another thread which breadandwine has started is a good resource for some of the links and tips that get lost in these big threads. In addition to sharing links, we try to condense some of our top tips for fasting there. Keep in mind, we all do this differently, so these are just tips, not rules. This might be a good place to catch up with us if you're feeling a bit lost!

frenchfancy has a recipe thread over here, please post any low-calorie recipes there so they don't get lost in these bigger threads!

Here is the link to the BBC article regarding Michael Mosley's findings, which was featured on Horizon.

B&W has found a new link to the aforementioned Horizon programme here. If you're keen to see it, watch it soon, because BBC has been quick to find these copies and shut them down online. We're hoping they'll re-play it again soon. I know these threads are popular, maybe they'll read my request. wink

A blog post here gives some of the scientific explanation for why this way of eating helps you to not only lose weight, but improve your all-around health.

A Telegraph article which comments on the diet and gives a brief overview.

A study discussed here gives commentary specifically addressing the effect of this diet on obese people (both men and women), with regard to both health and weight loss. ("After 8 weeks of treatment, participants had an average 12.5 lbs reduction in body weight and a 4 cm decrease in waist circumference. Total fat mass declined by about 12 lbs while lean body mass remained relatively constant.) it also mentions "Plasma adiponectin, a protein hormone that is elevated in obesity and associated with heart disease, dropped by 30%. As did LDL cholesterol (25%) and triglycerides (32%).")

Important link if you are currently your ideal BMI: this appears to suggest the benefits for women at a lower BMI might not be seeing the same health benefits that are found on men at their ideal BMI.

And for those already fasting, here is a link to 100 snacks under 100 calories. We tend to favour lots of hot drinks during the day (count your milk if you use it!)

Another food link, here is a link to the BBC Good Food site, with a list of low-calorie soups.

We mentioned BMR and TDEE often. Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) quantifies the number of calories you burn in a day. This measure is best estimated by scaling your Basal Metabolic Rate to your level of activity. TDEE is critical in tailoring your nutrition plan to desired fitness goals. Here is a link to a calculator to help you figure out how many calories you should be eating in a day. (This is a new calculator to previous threads, this one seems to give me approximately the same results the last one did, but without the virus warnings on my browser!)

A BIG THANK YOU to all who have been contributing, btw. Most of us are learning this way of eating as we go along. All of the links above have been posted by others in our previous threads, and they've been very helpful. Sorry if I haven't given credit where it's due, but it was just enough of a job getting all the links re-copied and back into one post.

Come join us, and tell us about your experiences with this diet!

frenchfancy Thu 24-Jan-13 08:53:44

It is easy chasingtail decide which 2 days of the week you want to fast. On those days you have 500 cals on the other days you eat normally. You can do what you want with your 500 cals, nothing is forbidden. Most people find 2 small meals the best option, perhaps soup for lunch and a veg stew or chilli for dinner. All drinks, including milk in tea, should be counted in your 500 cals.

Once your body is used to this you can progress onto expanding your non food hours out, but get used to it first. Don't forget there are 9 other threads we have filled if you want more info, and a recipe thread with meals ideas, and a links and tips thread for important things we don't want to lose. All linked in the OP. Good luck

chasingtail Thu 24-Jan-13 09:08:19

Thanks Fancy, certainly appears to be more realistic than some other the other plans out there, and from reading just a few posts, it seems that it works!

In broad terms, does it matter about the time period over which you fast? e.g. a full 24 hours over one day or 12 midday, to 12 midday for instance?

Sorry to ask questions that the book clearly answers!

phlebas Thu 24-Jan-13 09:23:00

I think in terms of losing weight it's the actual calorie restriction than matters but for the additional benefits the longer the period where you don't have any calories the better.

I fasted yesterday - had eggs & veggies at 5:30 - am feeling fine so am going to fast again today. I've done a few back to back fasts & they've been okay. Had a coffee though (+ 70 calories of milk). I bought the book for my kindle yesterday - it's good to be motivated again. I'd love to have had some bloods done before hand to see what changes there are have been. So far (since last summer) I've lost 21kg, gone from a size 24 to 16 (just!) & more than 4 inches from my waist (my neck is much smaller too).

G'morning encyclogirl. Welcome to the thread, in answer to your 'low-carbing' question. It just depends what you want to get from this. If you want to treat it as a diet rather than a WOL then it will as with all low-carb diets, be very effective over the short term . However if you want to find a WOL that is sustainable in the long term, lead to a long term healthy weight and huge health benefits then low-carbing is unfortunately not the way to go if the science this programme is based on is correct.

As most past or present low-carbers are aware, high protein diets do lead to short term weightloss, unfortunately as the huge proportion that have tried these diets know, in the long term they tend to lead to weight gain as for most people they seem to be unsustainable in the modern world we live in.

If you watch the Horizon programme (there is a link in the OP) or read the book which this diet is based on'The Fast Diet' by Dr Michael Mosely, most of the science behind the health benefits (decreased risk of type 2 diabetees, cancer, heart disease and alzheimers) is based on lowering the levels of IGF-1 in the blood. This unfortunately can not be achieved if you are on a high protein diet.

In fact high protein diets have been linked with increased risks for all the above diseases sad

However, when you're on a Fasting day then a much higher proportion of your 500 or 600 calories will come from Protein. Protein is quite filling and adds to satiety, more importantly the body is unable to store protein well and due to the very restricted diet that day and the fact that you may not have had high amounts of protein on 'normal' days then keeping your proportion of protein low on that day is not a good idea.

So, yes you will lose weight quickly if you use this as a low-carb/fasting diet but it may well be short term (last a few years at most) however if you accept the science that the 5:2 WOE is based on then you will miss out on the health benefits because of your failiure to keep IGF-1 levels low. I hope this helps smile.

phlebas Thu 24-Jan-13 09:37:43

in the book he suggests 0.8g of protein per kg per day or a recommendation of less that 50g/day (which is what I do).

ladymuckbeth Thu 24-Jan-13 09:45:29

Hello everyone - just saying hello after having started this WOE on Monday (two fast days so far) and having read as much as is possible to get me started!

Loving the science behind this - am a long-term (lapsed) low-carber but have spent the last few months in utter despair: after the birth of my twins (now aged 3) I found myself a good 4 stone overweight and started on Dukan. The weight FELL off, it was remarkable - but somehow it never felt right or sustainable, and in the process I went totally off cooking and lost all enjoyment for food having previously been a gluttonous foodie which was gutting to me. Anyway - a few months later, I was 4 stone down, but went on holiday for a couple of weeks and the upward slide started. Here I am a year later, at least two stone heavier than I was and finding myself at a loss once again. I know I can lose the weight, but it's no good for me to go on a restrictive "this isn't normality" diet because I know I can get there, but I definitely can't/don't maintain for very long.

I'd come across the notion of IF before, having dabbled in the paleo WOE, and always thought it sounded eminently sensible. So far my two fast days have been a bit haphazard but I probably kept to around 600cals; will aim for 500 next week. Downloaded MM's book last night and am feeling pretty motivated. Am aiming for 5:2 but wondering if I might need to go a bit more hardcore than that.

One thing I noticed was that on Tuesday (feed day after first fast day) my appetite was phenomenal. I definitely ate a lot more than I normally would have done in a day. Hoping that doesn't continue otherwise I'm not sure there'll be much in the way of weight loss!

Also wondering - is the evidence that the weight loss is linear according to overall (say, weekly) calorie totals? ie. if you overeat on your feed days, does it 'cancel out' the effect of the fast in a predictable/linear fashion? Have read part of the Tips thread and think I'll try to log foods into MFP for a while in case that helps.

Looking forward to getting to know you all better - love the passion in this thread!! smile

phlebas Thu 24-Jan-13 09:55:23

ladymuckbeth I think as you do it longer you won't eat more than usual on feast days - your appetite just reduces. I never want breakfast now & often don't feel hungry until mid afternoon after a fast day - it is still the case that the more often I eat the hungrier I am which is why I try & stick on one meal on fast days - I know that lots of people are successful with two meals though smile

Ezzza Thu 24-Jan-13 10:02:12

phlebas, 21kg! Wow! Well done!

Snowkey Thu 24-Jan-13 10:02:45

thecyclist most low carbers don't actually do high protein, they swap the carbs for fat. I agree with you that a very high protein diet isn't healthy. For me anyway it's high fat, low carb as opposed to high protein, low carb and I find it very sustainable, I'm not wholly rigid on it but my diet is still lower carb and higher in fat than the general population, my protein intake is about average.

Looking back at the first thread in the 5:2 diet I see very few people continued through to thread 10, does that mean 5:2 is unsustainable? - for some I would think so but what matters is what the individual can do not what the majority can do.

frenchfancy Thu 24-Jan-13 10:40:57

Snowkey, if people no longer post on here it may be because fasting has become so normal to them they don't feel the need to talk about it. An after all many of the conversations have been had before.

chasingtail in terms of weight loss the important thing is to have 2 days (not 24 hour periods but days as in Monday, Tuesday) where you only have 500 cals. So if you fast lunchtime Monday to lunchtime tuesday you still only have 500 cals for the rest of the day, you can't just eat normally.

encyclogirl Thu 24-Jan-13 10:42:55

Hi Cyclistist I'm definitely in this for the long term health benefits. . I have maybe 7-10 lbs max to lose now. I'm at 9' 7" and am 5'2".

Low carbing helped me drop nearly 2 stone, but as a long term WOE it feels counter productive to good health. I need fruit again also, I just miss it so much now!

I didn't want any breakfast this morning though, which was odd for me. I ended up having a banana. I felt like I'd broken every rule in the Atkins book eating it. It seems to have filled me up for the morning....

Will enjoy my lunch though.

phlebas Thu 24-Jan-13 10:48:06

(I didn't post for ages - but I'm stuck at home with four ill kids & have some time to burn!)

BetsyVanBell Thu 24-Jan-13 11:01:53

Anyone know how long it takes before mental acuity starts to improves? I'm on my 4th fast (5:2), cycled to the supermarket and was half way round before I'd realised I'd left my bag (with purse in) clipped the child seat on my bike. Luckily it was still there when I ran out to get it... Brain could definitely use some improvement wink

I expect going the shop while fasting wasn't an ideal thing to do either - I managed not to buy all the cakes though!

Incadreams Thu 24-Jan-13 11:12:32

I find shopping when fasting really hard too! But then again when I shop when I'm not fasting a buy lots of bad stuff and eat it straight away just because I can! Need more control!!

As for the brain improvement.... I certainly haven't seen any, I'm as dippy as ever!!

TalkinPeace2 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:14:43

The "clarity" kicks in after about 18 hours. DH and I are fasting today so exercised this morning and are living on tea for the day. The alert phase kicks in around 2pm. We'll have 500 calories of soup at 6pm.

chasingtail Thu 24-Jan-13 11:25:19

LadyMuck, same here for Dukan - stuck to it rigidly for about 3 months and lost loads of weight. However, was demon witch to live with as felt constantly deprived and having to ensure there was enough of the 'right' food in the house. As for no alcohol, don't get me started!

Although I don't appear to have put loads of weight back, I'm certanly back to square one. Really hoping that the 5:2 is a sustainable plan that actually works!

BetsyVanBell Thu 24-Jan-13 11:29:49

TiP 18 hours? Damn, I just caved and had some dried mango 16 hours in! Maybe next time...

Inca In a way it's easier if you know you can't eat any of it! Almost couldn't buy any of it - was very lucky not to have had my bag nicked, that would not have improved this fast day wink

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 24-Jan-13 11:30:53

ladymuckbeth Since you asked, I'll just give my personal experience. The first week that I did this WOE (I started in August, doing 4:3) I was overeating on my non-fast days. Not like, going out for full meals at every meal or anything (my problem is eating the wrong things, not eating to excess as such) but definitely indulging in the things I dreamt about on fast days. It didn't matter- I still lost weight. I eventually stopped on my own, as I think my brain finally let go of that "oh I can eat donuts today" mentality. Because the reality is, I could eat donuts any non-fast day, and once that sunk in, I wasn't as bothered about having donuts. If that makes sense? (Donuts are just my example!)

Some people don't count calories on non-fast days, and they are still having success with this WOE. I don't count mine anymore, but that's because I can keep myself honest now. I know if I'm eating more calories than I ought to be.

In the first few weeks, I'd honestly just suggest getting on with the fast days, and worry about the other days as they come. Getting the hang of fasting can be tough for some of us. I think I wanted to eat my arm by the end of my first one. But once you've got them down, then you can turn your eye to what you're eating on the other days, and whether or not you really want to be eating those things. Because of course, you can eat those things, and that's what makes this sustainable. But it's all about balance, and if you want to have a blowout roast dinner with pudding, you probably don't need a huge lunch. For example.

ooh I waffled on there. Just give it a go and see what works for you. smile

encyclogirl Thu 24-Jan-13 11:44:58

Snowkey, can I ask you a question about your feast days? I was on a high fat low carb plan. It really did work because I'm now down 2 stone.

BUT, I did no exercise at all during the year, and I used to run. I just couldn't do it. I feel like I need some kind of carbiness to get me back into running.

Have you experienced this? I wonder is it all in my head, but I simply couldn't run on a low carb plan.

cardiffmummy Thu 24-Jan-13 12:16:52

Feed day today and will be going out for a fab meal with DH tonight. Normally I'd go and feel guilty about what I was eating but this time I know I can relax and enjoy it fully, knowing I don't have to worry!!

I'm feeling really positive about this diet but a friend who is superfit and slim has tried to talk me out of doing it. She thinks its not good to have no food for periods because my metabolism will slow. Have tried to explain that there's no evidence for this but she can't be persuaded!! I'm happy with the evidence and will be continuing but it does make you have some doubts when someone whose opinion you value questions it confused.

Chestnutx3 Thu 24-Jan-13 12:25:08

I did it for the second time for two weeks. I have failed this week - snow/kids at home/DH away all week - I felt like I was getting nothing done on the fast days. Only lost a couple of pounds but thats not abnormal for me to vary down to this weight.

I find it hard at home, with kids to feed to fast. I'm trying to show my DD a healthy way of eating, I know she is probably at a high probability of having an eating disorder (I was anorexic, she is a highly strung perfectionist even at the age of 7) I really don't want to hide my eating away from her. How can I fast in the holidays when the DC are with me all day? She asked on my fast days why I wasn't having breakfast, why I wasn't having potatoes with my dinner.

I'm also I think against the gluttony that in a way 5:2 encourages.

I'm still thinking about it. I need more evidence that its not just that weight loss that leads to improvements in the health/blood indicators.

rosieposey Thu 24-Jan-13 12:28:28

Hello smile I'm seriously considering joining you all as I have an epic amount of weight to lose ( 16.4 this morning ) I had dc five 8 weeks ago and didn't put on more than a couple of stone - I'm now one stone heavier than when I got pg and before I got pg was planning to lose 5 stone.

I'm also a type 2 diabetic so the health benefits of this really appeal to me. I'm going to spend the next few days reading all of your threads but I was hoping to start today ( ive had nothing to eat yet).

I know you recommend having two small meals a day bit I was hoping to just have my 500 at dinner time and drink oxo and sparkling water during the day? What time do you usually eat if you are only eating once? Can you have a ready meal such as m and s count on us and a low cal dessert or does it have to be something specific for your 500 cals? If I am dieting I need to have as little to do with food prep on that day as poss - my eldest dd has promised to cook for the family on fasting days.

Sorry I will read back On the threads i promise but to start today I could do with some advice, also is there a book I can buy? I've got an astronomical amount of weight to lose - 6 stone sadbut I'm 41 next week and two of my dc's are very young (4 and 8 weeks) so they deserve to have a mummy to be around a long time smile thanks in advance ladies.

Ezzza Thu 24-Jan-13 12:28:50

I do love how this WOE takes the guilty feeling away from eating food. A good step toward a healthy relationship with food.

cardiffmummy, your friend might come around once she sees the success you are having with this WOE and that your metabolism has not in fact slowed down. But that's going to take time.

phlebas Thu 24-Jan-13 12:29:03

I think that people might not be aware of how much your calorie requirements reduce as you lose weight - at my absolute highest weight I could lose weight eating 700 more calories that I required to maintain at my lowest weight. If you don't reduce the amount you eat (or increase exercise) then you will plateau & then stop losing - perhaps this is what people mean when they talk about 'slowing metabolism'.

rosieposey Thu 24-Jan-13 12:53:01

Also can I just double check that on non fast days that you are meant to eat your Tdee or is it your bmr? My Tdee is 2195 blush which seems a little erm... Generous?

This thread is not accepting new messages.