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5:2 Diet Thread: Part Three. Come join us!

(987 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 07-Sep-12 15:51:33

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 recently, 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.

Here is a list of the links we've gathered so far about this diet. I hope I haven't left many out, but it was a 40 page thread! This is a good start for anyone, though:

First things first, here is a link to our previous thread, which we've outgrown. Lots of good support and ideas still to be found there.

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

Here is a link to the first part of the aforementioned Horizon, subsequent parts of that episode are linked on that page.

There is a Wiki article here which explains intermittent fasting and gives a short summary of some studies which have been done on it.

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. smile

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

I will start a different thread just for recipe links, though, as there seems to be some demand for that.

A BIG THANK YOU to all who have been contributing, btw. Most of us are new to this diet. All of the links above have been posted by others in our previous thread, 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 them all in one post this afternoon. wink

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

TalkinPeace2 Fri 07-Sep-12 17:34:20

low protein and low carb at the end of the day - leaves only wine
Herrena you have made my day !

Herrena Fri 07-Sep-12 17:42:39


Nenufar Fri 07-Sep-12 17:51:02

I have been doing ADF for 3 weeks now. I have lost half a stone and, like others have found that I don't really feel that hungry on my feed days. I always seem to feel great the morning after a fast day.

The only thing I am finding hard is exercising. I do a lot of running but just don't feel like I have enough energy to run in the evening of a fast day, so I am just going for a walk instead. Running is no problem on feed days.

I don't have a lot of weight to lose. I weigh 10 stone and would like to get down to 9 ideally. I used to weigh 13 stone and lost 3 stone through weightwatchers originally but was getting really depressed as a result of constantly feeling hungry. Compared to WW, this diet is a breeze and fits in really well with family life. I even managed to do it last week when my in-laws were visiting and they didn't even seem to notice!

Rosylarose Fri 07-Sep-12 17:58:15

Herrena - I think it might have been me you'd spotted as raising this question. Thanks for the response. If I understand it, the IGF1 connection is therefore to do with general health benefits and not with weightloss specifically. Useful to have the clarification. And also sounds like confirmation that the weightloss aspect of this diet results from calorie restriction and not from any hormonal benefit. Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful responses to my last post. No question that I'm in this for the weight loss - obesity is by far the biggest health risk I'm facing. But I have revisited the guidance I've had on my base calorie level and I think I might have been overcautious with it. It's more like 1900 than 1600 calories. So I'm going to up my eating days allowance to 1500 calories, keep the exercise at the same level and experiment with having two days between fast days. That's after I get back from my week's holiday! Good luck to all, whatever your motivations. 

Mintyy Fri 07-Sep-12 18:08:29

Would you consider not counting your calories at all on non fasting days rosy? Just keeping an eye on portion size and snacking?

WalkingOnLego Fri 07-Sep-12 18:18:39

Can I join you all on your shiny new thread? smile

I am planning to do ADF and this is my first fast day: I decided to have breakfast and lunch today as I had quite a lot of work to get through and figured I can just take to my bed if it gets too much in the evening. Must admit I am struggling a bit and keep fantasizing about fresh bread and a tasty chunk of cheese! I have sought you all out in an effort to stay strong until the morning. But please tell me it gets a bit easier when you get on a roll? Btw I am primarily doing this for weight loss at the moment and hope I can stick to it.

Rosylarose Fri 07-Sep-12 18:20:45

I get your point Mintyy, but the thing is, the fact that I'm 5 stone overweight is a good indication that I'm not good at moderating what I eat without a mechanism to keep me on the straight and narrow, even though I know what's healthy and what isn't. it's not for everyone, I'm sure, but for me, counting calories and keeping an honest food diary focuses me and is a tried and tested recipe for success. Albeit temporary success so far. With so much to lose I feel a much more disciplined and structured approach is called for than might be the case for someone who only has to do a bit of tweaking on otherwise healthy eating habits to lose a small amount of weight. smile

GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 07-Sep-12 18:24:27

Walking we've all had different responses to fasting, but for me, it did get easier after the first few fast days. I do recall clearly being desperate by the end of my first fast day and having a very small piece of the focaccia I'd baked the day before as I just really needed something with bread to chew and swallow.

Since then, I've almost exclusively stuck to veg and coffee on my fast days, and my main meal is in the evening. You'll figure out what works for you, though.

Nice to have you here! Good luck!

MamaGeekChic Fri 07-Sep-12 18:26:00

Marking my place on the new thread

GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 07-Sep-12 18:27:43

Rosy would you consider raising your calories eaten on an eating day, to maybe 1800 or so? Just wondering if that would help you. My eating days leave me satisfied, and I rather welcome the fast day. If you're left hungry on a day you're meant to be eating, you can't possibly be lasting through a fast day very well. sad

WalkingOnLego Fri 07-Sep-12 18:34:06

Thanks for the welcome greeneggs and the information. I agree that psychologically it is probably just to hold out to lunchtime for the 16 hours rather than see the whole afternoon and evening stretching ahead when you've had your second meal at lunchtime. Think I might try this on Sunday. I also need to look over your previous threads properly so that I can plan good calorie restricted meals for fast days

TellMeLater Fri 07-Sep-12 18:45:16

Thank you for the new thread greeneggs I'm going to try climbing back on the wagon on Monday, now the dcs are back at school, my mood has improved enormously. wink

I'm training for a running event ATM and my fitness guy is concerned about the lack of fuel to power my runs but I've had my fastest times yet on the days following fast days, so it's all a little confusing. Might try one fast day a week, given I don't lose any weight with 2 days anyway.

Lagartijadoesthecrazyshake Fri 07-Sep-12 18:45:47

marking my place.

ChazsGoldAttitude Fri 07-Sep-12 18:48:14

It may be that you will need to play around with the numbers until you find what works for you. If you aren't losing weight as expected it may be that the calorie restriction on the feed days is a bit low and your metabolism is slowing too much. Perhaps look at net calories so eating a bit more if you have exercised.

For me, this has to be something I own rather than a rigid set of rules because I know I have such a long haul just to get down to a healthy weight and need to be able to maintain that weightloss long term.

We are all finding our feet here and I am sure you will find the way that works best for you.

tumbletumble Fri 07-Sep-12 18:49:02

Marking my place on the new thread - thanks Greeneggs

BIWI Fri 07-Sep-12 19:02:46

Those of you who are eating what you want on a feed day - do you moderate this in any way, or do you just eat what you want? This is what scares me. I'm worried I'll just fall into a plate of pasta and a vat of wine, with a side order of chocolate biscuits along the way confused

3duracellbunnies Fri 07-Sep-12 19:05:59

Thanks Greeneggs. Did my first fast day yesterday and it went fine, and not too hungry today, infact I snacked less so I don't have so much to lose. Will have to look into the hormone aspect in more detail as long term I am interested in the health benefits as I don't have too much to loose, but don't want to risk it going back on, and so far this diet isn't too bad. I reckon it will be a term time only diet though.

GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 07-Sep-12 19:15:41

Eat what I want. It'll sound crazy, but after the first couple of days (so, a full week- the fast days were a struggle and the eating days were wonky. Wouldn't say I ate a LOT on eating days but I was eating more than now) I stopped being as hungry as I was previously.

Pasta is my nemesis and I just usually avoid it as a general rule. Today (an eating day) I had some leftover fusilli from my son's lunch. Literally would have been a handful- it was a bit over half of one of those IKEA plastic bowls children usually have. I grated some Parmesan on it and ate it. It was lovely, and I didn't think "oh wow what else can I eat now?!" smile

I had two chocolate biscuits. Again, it was just nice to have actual chocolate and not feel guilty over it. I didn't eat any more of them.

This is about what my eating days are like. I don't usually go into detail as I know at any given moment, about half the thread is trying to have a fast day. grin I'm not usually the queen of self control or anything, but I think the fast days have helped me reduce my appetite a bit. And I know I "could" eat anything I want the next day, which is a nice feeling. Most of the time, I don't, but the idea that I could is very nice. I believe that bit is mentioned in some of the studies.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 07-Sep-12 19:16:22

I'm currently having a margarita with home grown lime (YUM)
BUT my tolerance has gone down and my stomach must have shrunk because I'm peckish but not ravenous (light but normal spag bol supper last night, milk for breakfast, 2 eggs on toast lunch, gallons of tea in last 24 hours)
I could never quit carbs because I adore fresh bread and pasta
BUT I suspect what will happen is that the calorie restriction will reset your insulin levels so that the 'too much' switch kicks in sooner.
I do not have a sweet tooth but my children do - I can see the different settings of the switch in action.
My weakeness is (always was, always will be) cheese.
And booze!
But again the insulin / sugar / IGF1 switch is the key : finding a level for that is the Holy Grail of weight and health management

BIWI Fri 07-Sep-12 19:16:43

... which is the bit I'm having trouble having faith in grin

Aboutlastnight Fri 07-Sep-12 19:23:25

I have been doing 5:2 for a month now and have lost 9 pounds. Was about 10st 9 lbs am now 10st. Weight seems to have gone primarily from my middle. Am finding I have less if an appetite in general although I don't count calories on non fast days.

Fasting def gets easier as you discover what works for you: for me it's porridge in the morning and omelette with lots of veg or lentil dhal withloadsa veg in the evenings. I get hungry at 4pm but just take lots of herbal tea and/ or miso.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 07-Sep-12 19:26:44

Tee hee.
Thing is we were evolved to get most of our calories from carbs
Hunter Gatherers
the men came home with a meat fest once a week
but the women dug up roots and picked fruit and seeds and soft stems day in day out
so our bodies evolved to lay down stores from ANYTHING over base load
Then came modern agriculture.
Without fat our brains do not properly develop and look after themselves leading to congenital and mental health problems
Without protein we keel over PDQ due to muscle wasting
Without sugars we are OK but miserable
Without other carbs we are skinny so fit with current fashion but are actually knackering up long term blood chemistry.
We are also evolved to NOT have self control when a feast comes our way.

I see so many ladies at my gym who low carb and are stick thin but because they do not eat with their kids, the kids are little lard buckets. NOT a good idea IMHO.
This system (I'll not call it a diet) allows us to sit down together of an evening and on fast days DH and I have our main course without sauce or chips but otherwise we are all eating the same.

Staying thin with food prices so low is HARD.

2012fan Fri 07-Sep-12 19:27:18

GreenEggs Thanks for the new thread for the 5:2 (not low carb or low cal) diet which I've been following for 3 weeks having lost 5lbs so far. Also thanks for the links smile

Aboutlastnight Fri 07-Sep-12 19:28:19

As for the feed days - you find your apostate regulates itself. You crave less. You eat less.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 07-Sep-12 19:29:23

Can I join please? Just come to the end of breastfeeding my (intended) final DC, will be 30 next May so giving myself til then overhaul my lifestyle and get into good habits for health/fitness. Signed up to do a 545mile charity bike ride in June (though finding fitting in training a bit tough at the moment)...have probably 1/2 - 1 stone of post baby weight to lose still but mainly want to set up good habits for the rest of my life.

This sounds like a good way to go because I can't give up wine!! And DH works late 2-3 nights a week so much easier to fast if I'm not sitting down to a big dinner with him late at night.

So, planning on starting on Monday. Question though, is it better to not exercise on fast days? Assume you have less energy but best days to fast AND exercise are when DC1 is at pre-school as I try to eat with him when he's at home. Although I suppose I can still eat, just only a little.

Will keep lurking til I join properly on Monday - and will look up some good dieas for food on fast days, brilliant links greeneggs

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