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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!

literarygeek Tue 20-Nov-12 08:27:36

Hi all
Got sent a Groupon for those zero calorie noodles/pasta and intriguingly, rice...

It's here if anyone is interested.

The brand is called Eat Water.I've not tried it or similar but I know some of you had reasonable experiences with the shiritaki ones. I think these ones are not fishy from what I can tell.

I'm not tempted, myself.

catsrus Tue 20-Nov-12 09:01:59

Thanks for that link geek - tbh I haven't found the original, asian, ones 'fishy' at all - just very tasteless until added to something else. I have found them useful for adding bulk to veggie dishes though - so they are working for me - particularly on days when I want to really make sure I stay below 500!.

On that note, and related to the daily weighing discussion, yesterday I was 10.4 ish and today I'm slap bang on 10 st again (after a fast day) so the weekend didn't do too much damage <phew>. My scales are mechanical rather than digital and my eyesight is not all it was but it looks like I'm still on a very slow downward trajectory.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 20-Nov-12 09:57:39

Daily weigh-ins obviously work for MOB and they probably work for others, as well. However, I would really caution people who are considering this to realise that they will see big fluctuations in their weight from day to day, especially with this way of eating. We have some days with virtually no food in our systems, and other days when we're full. And that is not even taking into consideration that many of us have TOTM water-retention to deal with.

So, if you acknowledge these things, and chart your progress as MOB has mentioned he did, you should be fine with that system. I recommend weekly weigh-ins because so often, people weighing themselves more frequently post a bit of flailing because they've managed to "gain" 3 lbs over the course of a day, or whatever.

(and if you're wondering- you don't gain 3 lbs of fat in a day!)

For what it's worth, I weigh myself first thing in the morning, after a fast day. I realise this isn't my "real" weight as it doesn't include water and food in my system etc, but I've found that for me it's the best way to chart progress.

Liberty132 Tue 20-Nov-12 10:41:16

I have set up a graph on my laptop to complete daily - here goes!!!!

Fab41 Tue 20-Nov-12 11:39:16

Feeling much more focused on food after first fast day. I am currently 11st 7, would like to be closer to 10 stone, but I have always been hopeless at dieting as I am at home all day.
Last night I had a very small portion of butter bean chorizo stew, served on a side plate, so I didn't feel too hard done by. Will do my next fast on Thursday.

stclemens Tue 20-Nov-12 11:48:20

i've started this, third week now. Am struggling to think when to fit in my second fast day this week as have social engagements Wed/Thurs/Friday and Saturday is hard (no work to distract me).

also had question - is it better to keep calories relatively low on non-fast days (was tracking calories on non-fast days and amazed at how many in my Twix bar habit) or do you risk triggering starvation reflex There seem to be two schools of thought, feast or not feasting. I am not super overweight, just pudgy and conscious that my weight has gone from 7 stone in my twenties to 8 stone now in my mid-forties (possibly due to that Twix habit!).

ManOnBoard Tue 20-Nov-12 12:47:51

Daily weighing worked for me but with a BMI of 33.1 I had a lot to lose and there was an immediate benefit from this WOE, losing 9lbs in the first three weeks. This is the first time I had ever been on a "diet" so it just seemed logical to record how I was responding as well as markng all of my fast days and the over indulgent days too. When I record I note the weight in lbs, kilos and stones so every 5 kilos, 10 lbs or half a stone becomes my next target which works for me as it is a maximum of 7lbs away. My weight is always taken first thing in the morning and as I usally fast on Monday and Wednesday I do notice my weight changes ie last Monday I was 93.0kg, Thursday 90.7kg but this Monday 92.1kg.

A couple of weekends ago I did have a 3 day binge and, not unexpectedly, put on 3lbs but as many on here seem to agree I could not wait to get back on the wagon, did a 4:3 and by the following Monday had lost the 3lbs and 2 more besides.

Daily weighing may not be for everyone but were I to feel like I had strived for a month only for a set of scales to tell me differently can only be disheartening especially as it disregards thimgs like TOTM (cold shiver runs down my spine GE&N) and the extra water one might be holding. The scales are only a tool to monitor your weight and as someone else has already said you will hopefully see a downward trend by measuring daily rather than a single point that could distort your progress

ManOnBoard Tue 20-Nov-12 12:50:28

STARVATION MODE IS A MYTH Sorry for shouting

smellylittleorange Tue 20-Nov-12 13:23:42

Hi all - did my first fast last Thurs and amd now on my second - nearly all my cals are gone for today but I am finding this an excellent exercise in mindful eating and using will power - which I lack.

I am currently 14st 4 think I may weigh every two weeks Height is 5ft 7 incase anyone interested dinner tonight is Pak Choi and Veg stir fry !

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 13:30:31

And to reiterate that starvation mode is a myth
New Scientist has cottoned on ....
The edition that is in the shops at the moment, or if you have an online sub - LOTS of links to current research
makes the point that starvation mode only kicks in after four full days with no food at all ....

most interesting observation in the article was that the researchers all practice what they research, saving their big meals for sociable weekend.

ThinkICan Tue 20-Nov-12 13:44:45

Thanks for the link TalkinPeace. But for those who don't want to sign in, etc, here is the complete article:

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 13:51:13

I wonder whether New Scientist know he's broken their copyright.
Ah well.
At least the links are there.

stclemens Tue 20-Nov-12 13:55:47

thanks! So should I feast or not feast? Is it is just the act of not eating or actual calorie restriction (average calorie intake per week) that gives the health benefits?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 13:57:19

Not feast - unless you are already very lean

The health benefit of fasting comes from taking a break from eating - aiming for 24 hours looks like the goal - while eating sensibly the rest of the time.

MoJoRegained Tue 20-Nov-12 13:57:25

Thanks for that TP2 - I usually buy New Scientist to read when travelling - I'll look out for this one.

On a fast day today, and making a big pot of vegetable broth. I find it's a great standby for miserable weather days like today.

Weighed myself this morning and was down another 1lb, making 16 in all. grin I tend to weigh myself around once a week, but not always. And even then sometimes the weight bounces up a bit, but I've learned not to worry about that.

A slow downward trend over many weeks is what I'm looking for. I don't want to lose weight too fast as I find post-menopausal skin takes time to adjust to covering a smaller amount of fat!

Saving money on food is all very well, but I'm spending more on body lotion. smile

stclemens Tue 20-Nov-12 13:58:59

thanks-am finding myfitnesspal strangely addictive but also scary.

ThinkICan Tue 20-Nov-12 14:00:05

And here's the study which is mentioned in the article saying that ADF over six months leads to reduced ability of the heart to pump blood. That's scary isn't it?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 14:06:31

That study would worry me a lot more if it had not missed out the biggest variable in human followers of ADF - the ability to do more cardiovascular exercise due to the weight loss resulting in a much healthier system.

I can swim a mile (1604 metres) in 38 minutes. How many seriously overweight people can? But once those people have lost the weight through ADF or 5:2, chances are any and all of them could.

Also a six month study in male rats is not the best study basis for middle aged women.

I'll await better research.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 20-Nov-12 14:21:52

As for people who lurk and sometimes post that they'd like to do this WOE but don't want to set bad examples for their children: My 3yo DS has just demanded salad. grin

(yes he had a normal lunch but he saw me eating salad again and was keen)

Non-fast day here, btw. I think it will be spag bol tonight. I'll be out in the late evening so I'd like something quick which will use some of the mince Ocado had on offer. smile

ThinkICan Tue 20-Nov-12 14:39:24

That's reassuring to hear TalkinPeace. Hope you or others on this WOL turn up something else on this topic during their research. I will look out too for any updates and keep you posted.

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 14:43:42

I am a New Scientist subscriber - if its covered I'll find it :-)
Or in the Economist - who will cover such things because of the impact on the costs of health care
Or in Private Eye - because of quack medical columns
or just because I'm rather a news / data hound grin

my kids won't eat "salad" but they will eat "crudites" tee hee

TheCyclistist Tue 20-Nov-12 14:48:01

Yeah TIC / TIP2 read that study a while back and it concerned me too. I cycle between 25-40 miles now most weekdays whether fasting or not. On the bike can't say I find any kind of a problem, in fact if I cycle after 3 days of normal eating I usualy feel less good than the day after a fast, but I have been noticing some issues around circulation in my feet and hands afterwards on occasions. Not scientific at all and might be related to other things. My blood pressure is markedly lower as well, sometimes as low as 110/60 and for someone who hit around 165/80 a year or two back that's some change.

The study on rats was indeed concerning/interesting but it has to be taken into consideration that 6 months in rats corresponds to nearly a decade in humans - I hope anyway.

So it does concern me, that and my low protien intake considering the physical activity I do. The problem with being involved with something like this at such an early stage is that there's still so much we need to know and the studies have not been done in sufficient number to give clear answers.

All I know is that I feel A LOT healthier, leaner, lighter and energetic now than I have done for many decades - But I also realise that there is a lot more research that needs to be done before we know the full impact on human male and female health

Happy fasting/feeding all smile

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 14:54:52

In the side article in New Scientist they mentioned the benefits of not too much protein ....

and low blood pressure - my record, after running up three flights of stairs with a toddler on my hip and hugely pregnant was 80/50 grin the nurses were shock - it has now stabilised at around 100/60
and my Raynauds is unaffected by what I eat and drink ...

ThinkICan Tue 20-Nov-12 15:02:06

Thanks TIP2 and Cyclistist for keeping an eye out on all this. My ECG taken at my check up 3 weeks back did have 'diastolic dysfunction' mentioned. This was done 6 weeks after I started on ADF. The doctor said the dysfunction was nothing to worry about. I did tell my doctor about my fasting, but he had not heard of this and merely told me not to go in for any fads like the Atkins diet. That's why I'm slightly worried and will be thankful for any updates you come up with. My BMI has come down to 28.3 from 31.5, but some 30 lb to lose to get within a normal range, which is at least another 5 months and several stall/plateaus to contend with. Sigh...

standsonshiftingsands Tue 20-Nov-12 15:03:34

I think I may give this a go - sounds do-able and I am failing fast at attending Slimming World and all the rest.

I have just eaten the best part of half a packet of choccie digestives.


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