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5:2 Diet Thread! 7 is our lucky number...

(992 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Mon 19-Nov-12 12:57:16

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.

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

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.

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 where I would link to the aforementioned Horizon programme, but it appears as if the BBC have finally noticed it on YouTube and have taken it down. If you have another link for this episode, please PM me with it, or post it to the thread and we'll put it up for the next thread.

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 all the links re-copied and back into one post.

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

Breadandwine Sat 24-Nov-12 07:58:19

Just for interest, here's an article in the Irish Independent on the subject:

Nothing in it that's new, but I like her final sentence:

"Right now, the jury's out. But smaller jeans? Who's going to argue with that?"

(Also posted on the Tips and Links thread)

frenchfancy Sat 24-Nov-12 08:11:36

Isn't that the same article that was in the Daily Wail? The one where they share an apple for lunch?

ceebee It definately gets much easier; the first 2 or 3 fasts are the worst, then your body seems to get used to it. One tip, don't save calories for a snack later, that just makes you think about food, use the 100 cals to add veg to your dinner to fill you up.

Breadandwine Sat 24-Nov-12 08:12:40

Just noticed that the Horizon programme I linked to at the top of the thread has been removed. There's now no trace of it on Youtube. sad

Might be elsewhere, I'll keep on looking.

Skinnyeye Sat 24-Nov-12 09:39:59

Morning all and happy weekend grin had my work presentation yesterday and wore my size 12 suit and a lovely shirt I haven't been able to fit into for years. Felt great and got really positive comments. WI 10 stone 4 edging closer to the magic 10 stone mark and hoping to be sub 10 for Christmas. 10 stone was my initial target but I'm now thinking of lowering my target as i am only 5 foot 3 with a smallish frame. 10 stone seemed a million miles away in August and I can't believe how easy it has been to get the weight off this time. Welcome to all the new posters and lurkers and good luck to all the weekend fasters.

themaltesecat Sat 24-Nov-12 10:22:56

New here. Hello!

I have been inspired by your thread to try this 5:2 stuff, as calorie counting doesn't really seem to work for me.

I have a question, though. How do fast days work in with moderate-to-strenuous exercise? Should you run / do strength workouts / whatever only on non-fast days? Or do you do you exercise on an empty stomach in the morning and maybe have a snippet of protein, then hold out for a filling 400-odd calorie dinner that night?

About me: aged 27, use MFP, work out with Jillian most days a week (NMTZ, BFBM, Shred and 6wk6pk), need to get down from 67kg to about 58kg.

FlipFlippingFlippers Sat 24-Nov-12 11:06:16

I woke up this morning not hungry, I was expecting to be starving! I'm liking this so far. My next fast day is going to be Wednesday, is that too much of a gap?

Well done Skinnyeye!

mollysfolly Sat 24-Nov-12 11:08:50

B&W and FF it is the same article as in the Times magazine a few weeks ago.

At today's WI have now lost 12 lbs - not record-breaking but I'm reasonably satisfied. Only 2 more pounds and I'll be sub-9 stone for the first time in a long time and only a few pounds from target. However, I can't say I feel brilliant - I've had bug after bug, including a stomach bug and now a flu-like virus. sad

ManOnBoard Sat 24-Nov-12 11:56:28

maltese There have been various posts where some find that fasting does have a bearing whilst others say not. For me, when I am doing fairly heavy weights and would normally complete 15 reps I tend to only manage 9/10, although this might be partly psychological. The time of day seems to also be relevant so the afternoon of a fast and the following morning, which would tie in with my (lack of) eating patterns. Do as you would normally and let us know how you get on.

The reason I watched the Horizon programme was because I believed it was going to be an expose of the diet industry rip off, and it sort of was. The article I want to read is by someone who has been on Atkins, cabbage soup, egg, WW, SW etc and now 5:2 rather than someone with a bmi of 21 but if these articles spread the word then keep them coming

ceebeegeebies Sat 24-Nov-12 13:18:14

Afternoon smile

Well, I am now on Day 2 and eating normally today grin

In hindsight yesterday wasn't that bad - I did go to bed at 9pm though as I couldn't stand it any longer and I did wake up thinking about food - hopefully this obsession will pass.

But on the plus side, I have realised that I do not need to eat everytime I get a slight hunger pang - my new motto is definitely 'hunger pangs are not to be feared' grin

Looking at my lifestyle/work etc, the best days for me to fast are probably going to be Tuesdays and Thursdays - does it matter if the 2 days are so close together?

frenchfancy Sat 24-Nov-12 13:50:13

No ceebee Tuesday and Thursday will be fine, it is what I tend to do (though I've done Mondays the past couple of weeks). I like having Friday as an eating day, and I find Tuesday a bit of a non day anyway so not eating doesn't bother me (it helps that I do the shop on a Wednesday so by Tuesday there is nothing to eat anyway).

I given up all booze on Wednesday though, I find 2 days close together easy as long as alcohol isn't involved.

themaltesecat Sat 24-Nov-12 19:05:06

Thank you, ManonBoard!

Interesting that it affects your strength routine, as I guess is pretty obvious. I usually take one rest day a week, so will make that a fast day, and try and just do a morning run on the other (and maybe some yoga).

Anyone else do these fasts and is semi-serious about exercise?

I saw the documentary and thought it was going to be crap- silly old sod talking about staying young, and lots of shots up his nostrils and filler shots of fronts of hospitals and traffic and whatnot. Won over by the bloke's conviction and these threads, though.

Will keep up my exercise this week and fast on Monday and Thursday xand bore you with my experiences. smile

ceebeegeebies Sat 24-Nov-12 19:09:36

Themaltesecat I am on day 2 of this WOE so have only had 1 fasting day so far. I go to the gym about 4 times a week (generally either spinning, combat or bodypump). Not sure about what to do about fasting/exercise as the days that will be best for fasting for me will be days that I also go to the gym.

I think I might have 2 weetabix as part of my 500 cals just before I go in an evening and then not eat again when I get back. I probably am not going to do it on a bodypump day though as I am not sure I could safely lift my usual weights on no food grin

TalkinPeace2 Sat 24-Nov-12 19:32:09

5:2 gym bunny here.
Mile swim every morning - including fast days
Yoga always on one fast day as well and either BodyBalance or Yoga and BodyPump on my other fast day.
I never eat till lunchtime anyway so doing 3 hours of exercise on an empty stomach has been my routine for years.
The only thing that has changed is that two days I do not have lunch.

Skinnyeye Sat 24-Nov-12 21:09:35

How do you manage to fit it all in Talkin? Work, family, exercise, 5:2 research and MN? Are your days longer than mine? confused

themaltesecat Sat 24-Nov-12 21:22:23

ceebeegeebies and TalkinPeace2, thank you!

Drawing on what you say, I will try and do intense stuff on fast days in the mornings only, and maybe some yoga at night.

literarygeek Sat 24-Nov-12 22:30:44

themaltesecat: I normally find the fast days fine to exercise as I do it generally in the morning, so on an empty stomach anyway. It's actually the day after the fast that I find it a bit more challenging.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 24-Nov-12 22:49:50

My kids are teenagers to take a lot less time. I vanish for periods of time - when working on site. When working at home I tend to have a browser open in the background. I work in the evening - always have, so the mornings at the gym are thinking time....

the MAIN thing is to play it by ear. The wonderful thing about this approach is that it is flexible and adaptable.

Breadandwine Sun 25-Nov-12 01:06:13

There's fantastic mine of information on this site - research on all aspects (it seems to me) of IF, stretching back to 2006:

Aboutlastnight Sun 25-Nov-12 01:37:32

Weigh in this morning - have lost a stone since I started this in August. Yippee!

Aftereightsaremine Sun 25-Nov-12 07:04:18

Im interested in what talking says about bodies absorbing fat cells, is this actually possible? When I started this WOE I weighed 14& half stone so definitely in the obese category (I'm 5ft 3"). I understand that I can deflate all those extra fat cells my body has made but as I understood it they will not disappear & that it is far easier for me to get fatter than some skinny person who doesn't have all those extra fat cells.

Have I got this right or am I completely way off the mark?

Also as I understand it I will have to be careful not to put weight on once I reach my target say by fasting at least once a week (though I will probably continue because I want those health benefits).

I think this is quite interesting scientifically & will probably apply to lots of us on this WOE. Hope I'm not being too presumptuous here.

MummysHappyPills Sun 25-Nov-12 08:11:36

After8 you are right about fat cells. Once you have them, they never go away, although you can shrink them down. Liposuction is the only way to get rid of them! grin

FlipFlippingFlippers Sun 25-Nov-12 08:17:36

Morning everyone.

I've decided to try ADF as I thought going from Friday to Wednesday would be too much of a gap. Got a long day with my kids and then the night shift to handle so who knows if I'll manage it!

Wish me luck.

Aftereightsaremine Sun 25-Nov-12 08:30:21

Thought so mhp shame it would be great if we could get rid of fat cells for good - don't plan on having liposuction!

Good luck fff it does get easier, I promise.

MummysHappyPills Sun 25-Nov-12 08:43:50

I was also told that we lay down the bulk of our fat cells by the time we are 16 (though we can make new ones after this if we become very overweight), which is why you are at a much higher risk of adult obesity if you were overweight as a child/teenager...

MummysHappyPills Sun 25-Nov-12 08:49:03

Oh and boo, it appears that fat cell numbers can increase during pregnancy too. sad

this link is good.

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