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5:2 Diet Thread Part Six! Now's the time to de-lurk and chat with us..

(985 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 25-Oct-12 12:49:03

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, 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 we've filled several threads by now. Please share if you find something particularly useful, and we'll add it for the next thread.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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 them all in one post this afternoon. wink

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

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 25-Oct-12 12:56:00

GirlWithTheMouseyHair asked everyone to answer some questions towards the end of the last thread. I don't want that to get lost, and I think there are still people who might want to answer but haven't, so I'll re-start that here. Here are her questions:

a) fasting since
b) how many fasts a week
c) pattern of fasts (set number of days inbetween, how many hours before breaking fast etc)
d) benefits noticed
e) negatives noticed

My own answers:

a) mid-August
b) 3 fasts per week
c) always have one day in-between. Once a week I have two non-fast days in a row. On a fast day, I don't eat until the evening. Often on a non-fast day, I won't eat until lunch.
d) weight loss, lower grocery bills
e) having to plan meals so that leftovers still get eaten. Oh, and planning fruit purchases carefully. Sounds silly, but the first few weeks we had fruit going bad because we weren't eating it in time. (DH has also been following this plan)

loulou969 Thu 25-Oct-12 12:59:13

Thankyou, as ever greeneggs for all your admin marvels.thanks
Feed day today for me but did a 16 hour fast from 7pm last night until 11.30am today. have a tuna sandwich for lunch and chicken dinner after work.Still not weighed yet but still really enjoying and everything is looser so just plodding on. Definately feeling fuller quicker and not snacking hardly at all.
Enjoying my food at weekends without guilt!

Thelittlestranger Thu 25-Oct-12 13:03:50

Always good to start a new thread with a positive post...I had my weigh in today and have lost another 1lb, which puts me at 12lbs loss in 8.5 weeks. Very pleased with that!

My original target was 11,3 by this weekend when I'm a bridesmaid. This was my pre pregnancy weight and I'm only 4lbs from that and have actually enjoyed getting here for a change!

Also now in overweight BMI, rather than obese...although I do struggle with how BMI is calculated, but hey ho.

Thanks for the new thread Greeneggs!

Breadandwine, glad to see your wife is also finding that she's gone off chocolate...pretty lucky considering the stash you've just listed on the other thread!!

Breadandwine Thu 25-Oct-12 13:07:42

Thanks, GreenEggs [thumbs up]

mommybunny Thu 25-Oct-12 13:08:24

Hi all - it's been a while since I've posted and I've tried to keep on track - I've been fasting faithfully but am getting really down. First, the stats:

a) fasting since - mid-September (6 weeks)
b) how many fasts a week - two
c) pattern of fasts (set number of days inbetween, how many hours before breaking fast etc) - Monday and Thursday usually, have recently moved to having a single meal at dinner time, so 20+ hours before breaking fast
d) benefits noticed - none at the moment: I've gained a pound since I last weighed myself 2 weeks ago!
e) negatives noticed - see above; also, someone mentioned more frequent periods, which I've noticed too. I am also bonkers ravenous at lunchtime on the day after a fast.

Now, here's my take on things: I have obviously been eating too much on my non-fast days. I plugged my stats into MFP and had to confront the painful math - I only need about 1580 calories to maintain my current weight (I am in the "normal" BMI range and am only 5'3.5"), so if I am having 2 days a week of 500 calories, that's still only about a 2,160 calorie a week deficit (not even a pound, which is 3,500 calories) assuming I am sticking to 1,580 on my non-fast days. And from my tracking on MFP for just 2 days I know I've been going over 1,580.

I was stubbornly sticking to the Varady conclusions that you can eat whatever you want to include "as much as you want", but then I recalled that her study was on people doing ADF, i.e., at least 3 and sometimes 4 fasts a week. I think that at my size only in those circumstances would I be creating enough of a deficit that I could ignore portion sizes on the days I wasn't fasting.

So, heavy sigh, I'm going to have to start tracking, at least for a couple of weeks, so I can recalibrate what "normal" and "not greedy" looks like. I had hoped against hope I wouldn't have to do that but I don't see any other way. Some people have mentioned that their bodies had been doing this re-calibration automatically - maybe if you have more to lose this is the case? I don't know, but I'd be curious to find out from those who have found that natural re-calibration.


welshmill Thu 25-Oct-12 13:12:48

Thank you, for maintaining these threads greeneggs they're certainly a major motivation for me given that I work from home and all the gastronomic temptations that entails! blush

phlebas Thu 25-Oct-12 13:14:25

Been a while since I posted - I had a couple of weeks off with holidays etc but am back to fasting now. On Monday I was 86kg (starting weight was 101kg), I'm doing 2 or 3 fasts a week, not restricting at all on non fast days & losing 1 kg a week consistently. Not at all interesting - I don't worry about what I'm eating or at what time of day etc just less than 500 calories & the rest of the time not thinking about it.

phlebas Thu 25-Oct-12 13:15:47

Of I started at the end of July so I've done 4 months approximately

TalkinPeace2 Thu 25-Oct-12 13:25:05

You'll get there. But yes, you'll have to reteach your system what proper portions are. but it WILL be worth it.

DontGoThereDaisy Thu 25-Oct-12 13:31:54


I’ve been doing 5:2 for 10 weeks now – and reading this board for almost as long – since it was on the first page and a few times its kept me going!

I’ve finally decided to join in as I’ve got a couple of questions (though I’m not a Mum I hope it’s OK).

I fast Tuesdays & Thursdays (and have skipped one fast in 10 weeks), I’ve gone from a BMI of 14.4 to 13.6 stone (I’m 6 foot 2, 41 and a man – so I was top end OK before on the BMI scale), but would like to lose a little more as most of my weight sits on my belly (still) – long skinny legs – before going to 6:1 ‘forever’.

Anyway on fast days I’ve been having veg cup-a-soup (<100 calories) and sliced roast beef (100 cals); then for ‘tea’ corn-on-the-cob and bacon or fish and rice – its worked great except I now have hit a plateau for the past 3 weeks (this is not a concern) but I went online rechecking my calories and have found a corn cob at anything from 50-150 calories – I know calories can be inexact given the size difference a corn cob could be but I’d been counting 2 cobs as 150 but find it could actually be 300, so how sure is everyone else that they are staying within the 500/600 calories limit if the data they are using can be so far out?

Secondly my only struggle has been replacing coffee with milk & 2-3 sugar with water (which I hate doing in the morning) or black coffee (yuk); how does anyone think – going forwards diet pepsi with almost no calories fits into this WOE? I’ve always avoided it before as the false sugar seems likely as bad as the real stuff but I could get my caffeine / liquid fix quite easily this way.

hoops997 Thu 25-Oct-12 13:38:53

Marking place thanks to green eggs, for keeping this fab support thread going smile

Breadandwine Thu 25-Oct-12 13:39:49

"Breadandwine, glad to see your wife is also finding that she's gone off chocolate...pretty lucky considering the stash you've just listed on the other thread!!"

Hi stranger (or should that be 'Howdy'? wink)

It is remarkable that we've had a box of Thornton's milk chocolates opened for over 36 hours - and there's still only two of them gone! shock


buttonspoon Thu 25-Oct-12 13:39:59

Hi all

I'm un-lurking and saying hello! I have been following this thread with interest and have decided to give it a go. I need to lose a stone to put me back to my pre-pregnancy weight (DD will be 2 soon so it's been a while....). I work full time and get very little quality sleep (DD terrible sleeper) so turned to comfort eating and drinking a glass of wine most nights a week to get through it so the weight has stuck. Also have an under active thyroid which doesn't help things, but this has been stable for a year or so now so I can't blame this any more!

On my second fast day today (first was on Monday). Just having some miso soup for lunch and then will most of my 500 calories for dinner tonight. Finding today easier than Monday where I probably went over the 500 calories. It's a revelation that I don't actually need all the snacks and extra things I've been having. Feel quite 'clean' and not craving anything for a change. Obviously early days for me for me so can't comment on weight loss etc.

fingers crossed for good results!

Laska42 Thu 25-Oct-12 14:02:19

OOh a shiny new thread..thanks again greeneggs just popping in lunchtime at work so will make myplace later on . Fasting today .....

Have tried new strategy to try and get about 22hrs in today .. had eaten about 400 cals by 11am and will have a veg and miso soup (with lots of loveley Franks of course ) later if needed ..

Sometimes i find the third fast quite hard but I make myself do it on Thursdays deliberately as I 'officially WI' on a Friday!! and I am very vain and want to have the scales show me as thin as possible .
Then ill be free to pig out and booze have normal eating days at weekends smile wine

In the meantime more greenbrew

Breadandwine i know what you mean.. I bought a really expensive Berghaus waterproof jacket and fleece in the sale at the end of last winter season in size 14 . Its enormous on me now.. but im going to wear it anyway .. im pretty sure even if I ebayed it I wouldnt get anything like I paid for it and its virtually unworn....

Aboutlastnight Thu 25-Oct-12 14:08:26

Fast day - the first time I have skipped brekkie and you are right folks, it is easier.

Have had a few crisp breads and a slice of ham. Am looking forward to a stir fry this evening.

Am now 9st 12 down from 10 st 9 when all this started...end of Aug?

Am cutting back on alcohol at weekends and am imposing a strict no crisps rule at work ( except nightshift because at 4am I am weak grin)

I want to be 9 stone 7 by Christmas but we shall see...

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Thu 25-Oct-12 14:09:03

Marking place - thanks GreenEggs

Might do my first WI for about a month today. If I make it through the day. DD's sleep just gets worse and worse sad

AGeeksWife Thu 25-Oct-12 14:33:00

Another place marker!

I'm away on holiday next week and I'm confusing myself by not wanting to fast for social/fun reasons (and practicality with the kids not questioning) but equally I'm not sure i can face the thought of eating every day. Which in turn is worrying me as I've had such issues with food previously and had been quite happy on this and now I'm feeling a bit obsessive again.

It's going round and round and there are such equal reasons for and against I am in circles.

I'm sure most people will just say go with the flow and see how I feel but it's difficult mentally to have a change if you know what I mean.

ThatBintAgain Thu 25-Oct-12 15:07:30


Oh god, I've had a week off (it was my birthday!) I need to get back on it now. I don't dare go near the scales.

catsrus Thu 25-Oct-12 15:36:54

I've had a week of lots of work events that involved food - god it's not even Christmas! So haven't fasted since last Friday!

Three days of hotel and conference food was not much fun -and after rather a lot of wine I ate the little packet of biscuits in the room blush. I did choose the healthy options food wise - but wasn't that brilliant on portion size. I had a substantial breakfast before leaving today, but no lunch so might just have some superglue noodles with miso soup when i get home and make today an intermittent day and fast tomorrow. Good to feel that I can have a week like this though and not start thinking I've 'ruined the diet' - just that i need to resume my new 'normal' WOE grin

ToffeeChops Thu 25-Oct-12 16:46:41

Hello everyone, new girl on the thread.

I've been lurking for 4 - 5 weeks having started 5:2 about 9 weeks ago. I've lost about 11 lbs and for the first time in years got on the scales last week and weighed 10 something instead of 11 or 12 something - I can't quite believe it!

I've probably eaten more chocolate, pizza, chips and 'naughty' food in the last 2 months than in the last 2 years, but have still lost weight And despite that very unhealthy list, I am actually making sensible food choices most of the time, have more or less stopped snacking and feel a level of control and peace of mind about eating that is - for me - very rare. Three cheers for Michael Moseley and IF! (I would have added a big grin there but I don't know how to do it......blush)

TalkinPeace2 Thu 25-Oct-12 16:56:00

I am very anti zero calorie carbonated drinks - as the sweeteners trick your system into expecting sugar which is not good for it.

I've learned to cope with black coffee, other options are chinese teas which are drunk without milk, hot water with lemon juice, miso soup, or just glasses of water for those two days a week (think of the wine on the other days!)

My husband is the same height as you and his starting point was around 15 stone. He's into black coffee too.

frenchfancy Thu 25-Oct-12 16:56:08

Marking place.

Fast day and WI. No weight loss since last week which is slightly disappointing but I have reached my "normal" weight - ie the weight I have been for a long time and always come back to after a diet (the weight I have just lost was put on due to a broken arm resulting in less excercise and more sitting on the sofa eating).

The challenge now is to get past my "normal" weight and back down to something within my normal BMI (I'm about 26.5 at the moment).

Aftereightsaremine Thu 25-Oct-12 17:01:02

Thanks greeneggs, always good to have a new thread. I too am wondering about 'normal weight' french as I've not been under 11 stone in about 5 years, still as I weigh 13 stone I don't need to worry yet.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Thu 25-Oct-12 17:01:13

AGeeksWife (snap btw) I'm not sure what to suggest - maybe being very strict about which days you fast, are your children in school so you could do it on a school day? Maybe also start only doing 6:1 so it doesn't feel like a big chunk of the week.

Set yourself that you'll do the fast every Monday, plan exactly what you'll eat then do your best not to think about it again til the following Monday.

I definitely found myself obsessing a little in the first few weeks but have calmed down now and finding it plain sailing

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