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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!

TheCyclistist Tue 20-Nov-12 15:10:00

80/50 shock

Yep Raynauds is a possibility, I do have problems with my hands in the cold, meaning they bloody hurt.

The numbness and pins in needles in the feet though is new and my hands seem to be worse now than before. I have never been a fan of 'low caaaaarb' diets, low GI yes but low carb has always seemed to make no sense and been based on dodgy pseudo science. However my protien intake on fast days can't be much higher than 30-40 grams something that can't be good after cyclyng 30 miles up and down hills. I'll have a look at the New Scientist and check out the low protien article. Cheers

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 15:10:47

Here's a silly thing to try - take a rucksack, and your bathroom scales into the kitchen. Now load 30lb of food tins into the rucksack, and pick it up. grin
Now think how much better your heart and lungs will function without having to carry that much excess around every day. wink
The risk to your cardio system of your excess weight is far far greater than a potential risk due to losing the weight by gradual fasting.

welcome and Go For It

ThinkICan Tue 20-Nov-12 15:26:19

Thank you so much TalkinPeace1. We try so hard to make things work and worry about rats and random studies! I'm going for broke and will harness your support to keep going - and that of Laska and GreenEggs and Cyclistist and all the others who are so positive. It means so much.

ThinkICan Tue 20-Nov-12 15:27:24

Oops, that should have been TalkinPeace2. Is there a TIP1 on this thread?

TalkinPeace2 Tue 20-Nov-12 15:32:25

I call myself TalkinPeace or TiP - its the name I use all over the web. But Mumsnet had a glitch and mangled the account so I put the 2 on the end !

Poppy1234 Tue 20-Nov-12 16:12:46

Day 2 of fasting and it really is much easier than anticipated. I've made a beef and vegetable casserole for dinner from the bbcgoodfood website, my calculations on myfitnesspal meant were about 100 calories higher than what was calculated by bbcgoodfood so I'm relieved I double checked. I am just loving myfitnesspal, who would have known my generous sprinkling of garam masala had a whopping 54 calories.

I've also made a vat of spicy tomato and lentil soup as I work Wednesday and Thursdays and I don't think I could manage without lunch in the office when everyone tucks in to lunch. I have rather madly decided to do 3 fast days in a row, I feel as if I'm in the zone and would rather get the days over and done with. I'm looking forward to comparing how I feel with 2 meals as compared to just 1.

Greeneggs my TDEE is low as I am short and really only have half a stone to lose. One question, if the fast calories limit is set at 500 based on a quarter of 2000, if you have a lower TDEE should the fast day allowance be lower? Really hoping the answer is no.

frenchfancy Tue 20-Nov-12 16:20:00

poppy however much garam masala did you put in? I have it at 12 cals per teaspoon.

3 fast days in a row is hard core! I can now manage 24 hours of complete fast, with a 500 cal meal at the end, but I couldn't do 3 days following.

It has been generally agreed here that whilst in principle a fast day is 25% of TDEE, in practice everyone sticking to 500 calories keeps the diet simple, which is one of its strengths.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 20-Nov-12 18:04:37

poppy as FF says, I'd just stick to 500. It's the number quoted in the studies I've read, and they made no specifications about size of the participants. Just that women had 500 and men had 600, and overall they lost x number of pounds, etc.

Laska42 Tue 20-Nov-12 19:11:17

Enforced fast today again after Sunday/ Monday so I'm heading for 'hardcore'.. but don't feel great about it .. .. I seem to have picked up a tummy upset and have been feeling really grim today , (though I have eaten some small things but its not getting any better so its mint tea and early night for me I think ) .. But since the only thing I ate yesterday was my turkey chilli , I think it must have been that..

I confess though I reckon its all my own fault .. I've been a bit daft (prepare to be shocked), but I made it last Wednesday ,and although it had been in the bottom of the fridge since then , really cool and smelled /looked fine.. I think it probably wasn't. I'm usually so careful about kitchen hygiene too.. The trouble I'd I made my 'usual amount (that is pre diet amount I suppose) .. and I'm just not eating so much any more chucked the last of it away this morning, but hated doing it.. (and I have a freezer too.. What a silly twit I am) .

Look Cyclistist , you cant have Reynauds also! Get your birth certificate out ...there's something strange going on .. I want answers.grin.. I have to say though that although I like to get out on my bike sometimes.. it is sometimes not everyday ...impressed with your cycling habits

RE: fluctuating weight . .. last Friday i was 10st 3 having been around 10.4 for a while .. This morning, after a pretty healthy eating weekend , a 24hr total fast , 500cals then another16 hrs fast and a stomach upset I was 10.6 .. ... so No point worrying about it too much ..... it will go up and down during the week as said , but of course it s frustrating if you have an 'up' on WI day ..

But I cant stop this WOE now.. I've ebayed virtually all my size 12s and 14s grin

Poppy1234 Tue 20-Nov-12 19:14:42

Thank you so much for the reassurance, was having visions of having got the wrong end of the stick and merrily eating too much. It's much appreciated, must sit down and do some reading so I can stop with the inane questions.

French Fancy I used 4tsps in a pot of soup so the calories are probably similar based on your calculations I just never really associated herbs and spices with having any calories for reasons that are beyond me.

frootshoots Tue 20-Nov-12 19:44:56

Right, I'm in! Previously lost just under 7st on weight watchers, been at my goal weight of 10st since June 2011...but now I'm more like 10.7st on a good day! Want to get back to my goal before Christmas so I can indulge and not stumble into the next stone bracket!

So say I wanted to do 5:2... Starting tomorrow... And the last time I ate today was at 5pm not including the pack of mini Oreos half an hour ago, is that me fasting until the same time tomorrow? When I will then eat 500kcals max?

And what about on fasting days, is it really eat what you want or are we best still sticking to a low amount of calories? I usually lose weight eating 1200kcal per day, so would it be okay for me to eat that amount on non fasting days?

Thanks for any help!

rachelblythe Tue 20-Nov-12 20:07:19

Frootshoots - the fasting period is actually around 36hours. You have you last meal say tonight at 5pm then over tomorrow you can consume your 500cals, trying if you can to leave a minimum of 16 hours from your last meal today until you eat tomorrow. Over the course of tomorrow, spend your calories as you wish, but most try for 1big meal as lunch or preferably dinner, but you could have.2 meals, whatever your preference is to get you through the day. Then start eating normally again tomorrow. I would eat more than 1200 on your normal days, otherwise to me you're on a constant diet. Did you check out the TDEE calculator in the opening thread? That's a good indication of what you should be aiming for on a normal day. For me its between 1400-1800. sometimes more on a weekend. Best of luck

TheCyclistist Tue 20-Nov-12 20:21:39

Evening Laska, yeah we certainly seem to be made of the same stuff grin . Although you seem to be made of sterner stuff when it comes to the fasting and I have a Y chromasome of course wink

dontcallmehon Tue 20-Nov-12 22:37:08

Can I just say that although this WOE is not recommended for former eating disorder sufferers, I have not once had the urge to binge or purge whilst following it. It has completely removed my bulimic tendencies and I suffered on and off, to varying degrees, for ten years. My appetite is normal now and my eating not related to my emotions.

squoosh Wed 21-Nov-12 00:03:18

This is my second week of 4:3. All fine aside from my less than fragrant breath. I presume this is the ketones at work? I like to do a full 24hr fast and save my calories tilll the evening so it means lots of water and some sugar free gum to try and aleviate the breath situation.

JH1967 Wed 21-Nov-12 07:13:31

Hi just found this thread and found info helpful. I did my first fast day yesterday did have headache at end of day, I guess not enough water.
Am following 5:2 fasting Tues and Thurs this week did not feel hungry yesterday until evening but kept myself busy and managed to get through, i ate 1 sl toast, cupasoup, satsuma, salmon fillet and broccoli. Was hungry this morning but had breakfast Wheetabix x 2 and ok now.
Will see how weight loss goes, not sure if 4:3 would be better!

Bordercollielover Wed 21-Nov-12 07:25:08

I am thinking that we might need to be careful about how some opinions are presented. Some of us have been on here since August and we all know that we are just a collection of, mainly, non medical and non scientific people who watched a programme and are trying out what seems to be a really good WOL. Although there isn't any definitive scientific knowledge any where else either I worry that a complete newcomer should be making their own considered opinions about issues such as osteoporosis and effects on heart function. Of course we need to be sharing ideas and offering support and advice but where potentially serious medical issues are concerned I think we just need to be wary of misrepresenting our ideas as fact.
No intention to upset anyone, just a thought about how we word things for the benefit of those who are new to the thread.

jo1958 Wed 21-Nov-12 07:51:09

Hello, I've decided to delurk. I've been doing this since September and reading these threads all along. I'm one of the older, peri menopausal bunch and I've been stuck now for a month. I'm just, having lost about 8 lbs, in a normal BMI but want to lose another half stone to be comfortable.

To be honest, I do little exercise, although I'm reasonably active at work, and I eat too many calories on non fast days so I know exactly why I'm stuck!!

I got so excited about being able to bake , guilt free, after decades of Weightwatchers, gaining and losing the same stone and a half, that I've cooked, and eaten, too much cake. And biscuits. And trying to bake then eating bread ..

I'm, finally, trying to pay more attention to my down days nutrition and doing 3:4 this week instead of 5:2 .

Thank you for the thread , it's even brilliantly helpful so far

jo1958 Wed 21-Nov-12 07:52:33

Been brilliantly helpful, not 'even' !

frenchfancy Wed 21-Nov-12 08:12:04

Bordercollielover I think you are absolutely right. We are all making this up as we go along. Even Dr M doesn't really have all the answers.

TellMeLater Wed 21-Nov-12 08:26:45

Yes bordercollie doesn't do too well to suggest that any of us are experts - fasting may well produce many health benefits but the true costs may not be apparent especially for woman.
We are all may be experimenting here but I think there will be a certain amount of bias on these threads towards the positive and successes - i think people who fail are less likely to post and not forgetting how evangelical people can become about their diet, there is a tendency to dismiss the downsides where they exist and focus on the positives, doubt can not be allowed to creep in.

standsonshiftingsands Wed 21-Nov-12 08:31:18


I'm going to give this a go, starting with a fast today, so will fast Weds and and possibly Saturday this week.

What would you usually eat on a fast day - I have some fruit for lunch and a low fat yoghurt?

I'll read through the thread when I have more time (at work!) but I presume you shouldn't go completely mad on your non-fast days too?

With thanks - great thread.

dandycandyjellybean Wed 21-Nov-12 08:50:35

Man this thread moves fast!!!! well done all, yet more fab success stories, and really positive posts.

Without going back to read the last of the prev thread, I can't remember names, but a big thanks to all those who thought of me on Saturday having to have my 19 yr old puss put to sleep. It was not at all how I had niavely imagined, a gentle drift into unconsciousness; more a horrible struggle against having her fur cut, and a needle in her forearm where there was no flesh, then sudden shocking death = really, really horrible, but sadly the only option sad.

Needless to say I was in no state Sunday for a 500 day; I have no problem with the fasting, have managed 20/22 hours several times over the last couple of weeks with no difficulties, it is more how things have been of late I have been a little too reliant on a fortifying drink of an evening [embarrassed confession emoticon].

However, YAY, did my first 500 day yesterday for about a fortnight, after fearing that I had lost the plot and wouldn't ever manage it again! Must admit it was hard, I was a total mare all day, no more of a growly bear! Although hormones have a fair part in that. I managed it though, don't think I even had my full 500 and feel so much better today, I love that postfast feeling.

Onwards and upwards! I feel that things are definitely on the up; have managed to arrange for mum and dad to be in Lanzarote the same time as us, I'm sure 2 weeks in the sun will really set him up. Also, someone very kindly gave me some money on the understanding that I spent it on something nice and not bills. So I'm taking some of it on holiday so that we can eat out a couple of times, and I'm buying a Blackberry playbook with the rest -oh, and some new slippers!!!!

Have a good one everybody, keep up the good work.

TheCyclistist Wed 21-Nov-12 09:03:10

Hi standingonshiftingsands good luck with this WOL. For me Veg rather than fruit on fasting days, the advantage with veg being the lower sugar content therefor you get to eat more for your calories. But I eat plenty of fruit on Non-fast days.

On fast days I generally drink various teas till around 2 or 3 in the afternoon then have a cuppasoup. For dinner at around 8.00 I'll have a soup then plenty of veg, mainly Cabbage, green beans, broccoli, carrots with some kind of protein (tuna or white fish or lean beef or a WW mince beef hotpot).

... on Non-fast days I eat a hell of a lot but include in that a lot of wholemeal toast, branflakes, oatmeal, fruit and veg. My calorie intake on Nonfast days is upwards of 3200 at the moment but I am pretty active on the bike and tbh since going to 5:2 my weightloss has slowed dramatically. Whilst doing 4:3 from August to late October I lost 30lbs, have lost a pound or so since.

The important thing with this WOL (imho) is to do what suits you and not beat yourself up if things don't work out at any stage. As Piebaldrider and others say, if it ain't working try mixing things up and doing things differently for a while.

I agree with Bordercollielover regarding the caution. People like me who have had a lot of success with ADF, 4:3 etc can get carried away and 'evangelical' , but we are not experts and the body reacts in hugely complex way to it's environment and what we do to it. What might be good for weightloss may be bad for something else and what may be good for one type of cancer may increase your chances of another etc etc. So I always try to keep my feet on the ground (although I don't always succeed hmm ) and stay 'fairly objective' which is why I'm always trawling the web for info on this and why I find this thread so useful.

Hi to all the newcommers out there and de-lurkers - welcome smile

Happy fasting/feeding all

Bordercollielover Wed 21-Nov-12 09:08:51

The biggest hug for you, sexbomb, you did the hardest thing and took responsibility for your dear friend's end.
Have a fab holiday.

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