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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!

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 19:49:10

pint of water or mug of black coffee or a raw carrot slowly munched (whole) and wait for it to pass - which it will surprisingly fast as your body clicks onto another source of energy

In the New Scientist article it talks about energy usage
First - the sugars and fats in the bloodstream - they last about 12 hours after food
Second - the easy sugars and fats from the liver - an hour or so
Third - stripping fat out of long term store (ie muffin top)
so in this WOE, every fast day you are telling your body to use, and get in the habit of using, that long term store
which may well be why people are getting size loss quicker than weight loss - because the fat cells are shrinking but not being absorbed just yet.

gregssausageroll Thu 22-Nov-12 19:50:41

Thanks talkin. Good that I take my coffee black. I think I might give this a shot next week. Need to be prepared for my 500 cal evening meal.

AppleOgies Thu 22-Nov-12 20:04:34

Newbie to weight loss. I've had the shock of my life when I randomly decided to weigh myself! I don't feel big, I don't think I even look that big, chubby maybe, but I am HEAVY. I need to lose 2-3 stone. I think 5:2 might suit me as I work part time and could do the dreaded 2 on a work day. Have any of you had success? Do you all exercise as well (because I don't really have time to exercise).

ManOnBoard Thu 22-Nov-12 20:04:56

CBGBs The best thing about this WOE (Way Of Eating) is the simplicity, count all of your calories, including in drinks, on a fast day but do not exceed 500cals and be sensible on other days. Have to agree with TP2 on giving the Diet Coke a swerve and warm lemon barley works for me.

gregs If it really does get to the shaky stage then eat eat something low cal but it will be a shock if you do. The hunger tends to be fleeting and you soon adapt, just go for it and you will be as much of an expert as all of us

Bordercollielover Thu 22-Nov-12 20:22:23

The warm lemon barley sounded so nice that I went to see what we have in the cupboard . Not a lot and the choice seems to be between rather high calorie, presumably the fruit sugars, or low calorie but with aspartame and saccharine which I definitely don't want . Has anyone found a decent fruit squash which is low enough in calories to drink during a fast but doesn't contain aspartame or saccharine please?

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 22-Nov-12 20:22:52

sausage just keep in mind, the first few times you fast might be tough. Just wanted to say, as I know a lot of us are quite positive about our fast days. It hasn't been easy the entire time. smile The first couple will be something like detox and you might be counting the minutes til bedtime. It's worth sticking with it, though, and it gets much easier after the first week.

(Am speaking for myself, as well as many other posters who have said the same over the last few months!)

TalkinPeace2 Thu 22-Nov-12 20:24:28

The fast days are not dreaded. By Sunday evening I am actively looking forward to not eating on Mondays.

Today (not eating) I did a 2k swim, 4 hours of paperwork then drove an hour to a meeting, juggled budgets for 2 hours, drove home, THEN had my omelette. Am currently finishing off the work from my meeting. The brain is VERY alert on non eating days.

And yes, you do have time for exercise. Make time. Its really important to get your cardio system working with you. Go for a walk in your lunch break (especially if you are not eating that day) as a start.

Laska42 Thu 22-Nov-12 20:36:42

Appleogies Welcome have it worked for any of us? YES! and if you look back at the beginning of thread 6 and end of five links above (only a few weeks ago - this discussion moves on pretty quickly!) you'll see that lots of us were answering a little questionnaire about how we did the fasting and what weight loss we were having.. .

but Yes , lots of us have lost quite a bit , (I'm down 18lbs since August and don't exercise that much mainly walking and cycling and certainly not in the gym !!) and there's plenty like me. But there are also a few unlucky people who having followed this WOE faithfully and who wanted to lose weight haven't lost much at all...

Also some people are not doing ti for weight loss but for the other hoped-for benefits so we are all different . So I'd advise that you just 'jump in and see' if it works for you.

have a look at the hint s and tips thread (link above) where lots of your questions will probably be answered if you've not already .. and come join us.. Theres always lots of chat here as well. smile

gregssausageroll Thu 22-Nov-12 20:53:07

Thanks ladies. I have a stash of weight watchers tomato soup at work which is 73 calories a can if I get desperate I can always have one of those.

babbas Thu 22-Nov-12 21:12:47

Hi everyone. Can I ask if exercise is making a difference to any of you? I've not been able to exercise everyday like I used for the last few weeks and am finally seeing small losses. When I exercise my
Losses stall. I intend to up the exercise again soon as I feel better and am wondering if I'll go back to losing nothing. I know there are a few exercisers on this thread.

AppleOgies Thu 22-Nov-12 21:17:34

Thank you... I'm in.
I work mon, tue and thur, so I can 'fast' on tue and thur. I weigh 12 stone 8lb (gulp, don't even want to write that down) and I'm 5'3" I want to be 10 stone. I was 10 stone when I met DH 17 years ago (and pre DS).
I really can't imagine I can find time to exercise except maybe early Saturday morning hhmmmm... I'm going to have to think about exercise a bit more. My main thing at the moment is to eat less. I eat too much, I eat even when I'm not hungry, I snack. sad

How often should I weigh myself, I don't want to get despondent if I don't lose weight do I'm thinking once a fortnight.

Right, off to read the rest of this thread.

tostaky Thu 22-Nov-12 22:12:32

Hi there!
I'd like to join this thread... I am a bit overweight after baby 3 and I did watch the horizon programme this summer and was very impressed with the health benefits. Also I am very much all or nothing so I think that WOE will do nicely!
I will do my first fast day tomorrow.
Then is it better to fast on two consecutive days or two non consecutive days?
What is easier?

Skinnyeye Thu 22-Nov-12 22:49:22

Apple I hardly exercised at all before this WOE as i didn't have time insert excuse here however i now have so much more energy and want to keep active so I exercise virtually every day. I walk half an hour each way on the way to the station everyday, play badminton at least once a week and cycle at weekendsand roller skate on a Sunday. I'm also doing a lot more housework!!

Tostaky I find non consecutive days to be better (must confess though that i have only tried consecutive fasting once) however some of us do consecutive days. The only way to find out is to try it and see what works for you. I started 5:2 Monday and Thursday but have recently switched to 4:3 Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. The beauty of this WOE is it's flexibility. Good luck and let us know how your first fast goes.

literarygeek Thu 22-Nov-12 22:56:55

BCL no squashes here, but can I just re-recommend Pukka teas. They are truly scrumptious, so much better than most herbal teas I have come across.

And no, they do not pay me. Unfortunately.

AppleOgies Thu 22-Nov-12 23:14:50

Rollerskate you say.... I do have my old rollerblades in the the cupboard under the stairs <wonders if I can still do it after all these years>. Ooohh would it be weird seeing a 35 year old rollerblading to the train station? Probably!

Aftereightsaremine Fri 23-Nov-12 06:03:26

Just wondering what everyone thinks about milk in tea? Yesterday went out for large lunch & wasn't hungry at dinner, so didnt have any- this is a big change for me I would before this WOE have scoffed a huge dinner also just in case I felt rough following day. The only thing I wanted we're two cups of tea one at 4.30 & the other at 10pm. So if I don't eat until lunchtime today would my fat stores be used or not. I know that if it was herbal tea it would be ok but wonder if 40ml of milk have messed fasting mode. Interested to see what people think.

Oh blimey that all sounds so rambly hope someone makes sense of it!

Aftereightsaremine Fri 23-Nov-12 06:29:31

Does this make it easier to understand my rambly post?

For a 24hour full fast to use my plentiful fat stores would I go from yesterday lunch to either lunch today or 10pm today?

frenchfancy Fri 23-Nov-12 06:29:45

Aftereight I personally think not. I am assuming yesterday was an eating day, but if you didn't eat after lunch and aren't eating until lunch today then I would count 24 hours. Obviously this would be different if you had a lot of drinks but I don't think 40 ml of milk counts as breaking a fast. Others with no doubt disagree.

The rest of my fast yesterday continued on the same easy vein. I struggled to finish my 300 cal dinner, I watched masterchef without so much as a tummy rumble and went to bed not hungry. Not once during the day did I think great I can eat (and drink wine ) tomorrow. This is a turning point for me in terms of this being a long term WOE.

Bordercollielover Fri 23-Nov-12 06:31:19

After8s, I don't think we know the answer to this unless I have missed something. If you belong to the counting calories only camp then the teas are only "worth" the number of calories in 40mls of milk.
However, milk is a stimulant to the insulin/ cortisol etc cycle so if you want to avoid setting that off with its cascade of consequences then presumably you would need to avoid all milk during the fasting period ( ie until you intend to eat your 400-500 calories, until someone works out whether there is an amount of milk that can be drunk without effect beyond the calories.
Like all else on here its try it and see really .

Aftereightsaremine Fri 23-Nov-12 06:37:28

Thank you french. I'm going to eat lunch whatever today as I now count my Fridays as an intermediate day with my proper fast days Monday & Wednesday but I thought it would be interesting to see what others think about nothing to eat from one lunch to the next. (Am sure this is what my mega skinny friends do).

I have to agree with you about the turning point on this WOE the amount of times I have eaten something just in case I didn't get hungry. Now I look forward to fasting days.

Aftereightsaremine Fri 23-Nov-12 06:42:00

Thanks border it's more of a wondering question really & yes we don't know the answer but its interesting question!

TellMeLater Fri 23-Nov-12 06:44:34

Whether you burn body fat or not will depend on your energy stores gained from eating carbs, in your liver and your muscles - until these are used up the body will not go anywhere near your body fat stores.

Milky tea is pretty low in carbs, I'm assuming you only have about 30mls or less of milk - which is only 1-2g carbs so insulin levels will not spike for long. You cannot burn body fat while your insulin levels are elevated - the insulin prevents fat cells releasing energy.

So from an insulin/fat burning perspective the tea won't have a huge effect but I have no idea what effect it has on the non weight loss health benefits we are all trying to obtain from fasting.

Bordercollielover Fri 23-Nov-12 07:21:07

Hi TellMeLater it sounds as though you have considered the whole carb/ glucose thing. I am not diabetic but have definitely developed a problem in this area over the last 15 or 20 years. I suspect that had I not discovered this WOL in time, I would have looked back in another few years and said that I had been "pre diabetic" at this point. I am hoping that when the visceral fat finally shifts my insulin etc will behave more normally.
So, would you mind sharing what you typically eat on both fasting and non fasting days as my weight loss has stopped and I guess I need to revisit the carb content of my diet. Before this WOL I was taking most carbs from vegetables but in the thrill of finding 4:3 have become rather slaphappy about the content of what I eat!!

Madhouse2012 Fri 23-Nov-12 08:26:53

I don't go mad on exercise, I'll be honest I don't like it! but I do swim twice a week and have been since August, I'm no swimmer but have managed to get up to 40/50 lengths twice a week. I feel much better for it as its a low impact all over exercise and I feel like I've done something good! My fasting days have been easy so far but have spread the 500cals over the day, but plan next week to avoid them until dinner time to get the best results from the fast rather than the weight loss.

Bordercollielover Fri 23-Nov-12 09:47:41

I have just re read Jenny Ruhl's "Blood Sugar 101" which I found very informative and often return to.
I think it may have helpful information in it for those posters who are disappointed by lack of weightloss AND for whom the following apply:

Straightforward adjustment of calories in vs calories out does not produce expected result
History of weight gain and inability to stick to previous calorie restricting diets
Feelings of shakiness, faintness etc within a few hours of eating certain foods coupled with an overwhelming desire for more of the same (ie compulsive snacking).
Dramatic loss of waist measurement following any sort of severe carb restriction including via fasting.
If you are one of these the book deserves reading although not relevant if calorie limitation / increased exercise works for and you can stick to it.

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