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5:2 Diet Thread! Number 8, fast away fast away fast away all!

(1000 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 14-Dec-12 15:51:14

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 You'll find a lot of support here.

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. Here is a link to the programme's page on iPlayer, which features a couple of clips, and might have updates eventually. Let us know if you find another site hosting it.

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. (This is a new calculator to previous threads, this one seems to give me approximately the same results the last one did, but without the virus warnings on my browser!)

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!

Aftereightsaremine Sat 15-Dec-12 11:29:11

Question for those doing 4:3, have woken up again on morning following 3rd fast day of the week feeling very nauseous & with blinding headache. Am fine after other fast days. Does anyone else get this? Making me think it would be better for me to do 5:2 instead but have so much weight to lose that it will take forever.

Aftereightsaremine Sat 15-Dec-12 11:35:16

Just discussed this with dh & he seems to remember my rheumatologist warning me that fasting on a day I take methotrexate (mtx) may cause extreme nausea & headaches. I take MTX over two days at the weekend as it makes me feel so lousy & dh is around to help out if I need it. Clearly I need to rethink the 4:3 & maybe just do 5:2 sad

frenchfancy Sat 15-Dec-12 11:50:45

Aftereight - don't be sad . If you are not feeling good after fasting then the likelihood is that you won't keep it up. It is far better to have a slow but steady loss that carries on and doesn't make you feel bad. And it won't be forever, 1lb a week will add up to over 3 stone in a year. And if the fasting doesn't make you feel poorly then a year is easy.

rachelblythe Sat 15-Dec-12 12:19:46

while no offence was intended, it is those exact type of comments regrading eating disorders why i have recently stopped posting and just decided to read.
I am quite aware that i need to make changes to the frequency of my fasts, which i why i said i would address this after xmas. As its Christmas i will be overindulging on more days than normal, as i expect most people will.
Whilst i have a lower bmi, i am no where near a bmi of being underweight, nor do i look underweight. I look great for my height and build, and now need to look at how i can adjust my woe to maintain this long term. Yes, i have restricted the amount i eat on three days a week like many others on here have, but i have also on four other days a week, eaten what i have wanted, including many celebration meals out, Takeaways and lots of alcohol. i can't see how this could be seen as having an eating disorder. And before anyone references bulimia, i am not doing anything different to everyone on here, I'm just fortunate enough to have reached my goal weight. I don't binge on any day, i eat at regular intervals, regular sized meals, just some meals are more calorific than would ordinarily be allowed on a diet such as SW or WW.
I don't want to sound confrontational, but i do wish people would stop throwing around 'eating disorder' so casually.
i am at target, and i will drop to 5:2 in the new year, but i will continue with this woe, as i hope to be gaining the health benefits suggested on the horizon programme and by some of the results posted by fellow MNs on here, like cyclistist

Aftereightsaremine Sat 15-Dec-12 12:23:56

Thank you ff. I suppose if I'm feeling rough from medication anyway & fasting making it worse on those days it's better to drop a fast day. I will lose the weight eventually. In the grand scheme of things an extra few months is really neither here or there!

rachelblythe Sat 15-Dec-12 12:41:16

frenchfancy that's not meant to read like I'm having a pop at you. I'm just quite sensitive to those two words, as i have been there in the past many years ago. There are sooo many huge differences to this woe, for one I'm in control. I make conscious decisions and hope that at the end of the day i will be a healthier person and avoid some of the terrible diseases that are taking a hold of the western world, particularly as cancer has been rife in my family. I have a little boy and i want to live a long life, to see his future.
I'll drop to 5:2 and see about maybe increasing my calories on fast days to say one meal of 700 calories, rather than 400ish (after milk, etc). See what that does. That's why i love this woe so much, it is flexible. Anyway, hopefully i haven't started a big debate

Twentytwelve Sat 15-Dec-12 13:27:52

I have just heard about this WOE this week and found this board very informative and interesting.

2 years ago I lost 4 stone with WW but I have spent the last 12 months stuggling to keep at my goal hovering up and down with that last stone.

On Monday my weight was at an all time post diet high so decided to do a fast/detox as a last ditch attempt to fit my clothes (all fat clothes thrown away!)for xmas. That is how I came across this board.

Loving what I am reading and think this could really be the thing that gets me back down and maintaining my goal so I really just wanted to say Hi and I am looking forward to getting involved. Oh yes and I am already 6lbs down from my weight on Monday - mostly water I am sure but feeling better already!

Hopengloooooooooooooooria Sat 15-Dec-12 13:37:28

I've now lost 1 stone 10lbs so far doing 5:2 since the middle of September. It's revolutionised the way I eat on non- fast days too

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sat 15-Dec-12 15:25:01

Sorry to everyone who I thought I was suggesting 9stone was too little, I just meant for a tall person like me it's easier to put into perspective with height! I absolutely wasn't suggesting you were aiming to be underweight.

Don't be upset rachel I think the big trouble is a few of us have come up against eating disorder accusations in RL so are sensitive towards how the WOE is perceived. I'm similar to you in that at a BMI of now 20 I'm happy with how my legs, arms and bum look (boobs are another story but that's post breast feeding not dieting) but I still have these goddamn love handles. Power yoga will sort it out if I start going regularly again but then my weight will probably increase due to muscle growth so I'll end up being slimmer on a slightly higher BMI. I could probably get down to a BMI of 19 and still not look skinny because it turns out I'm actually small framed, based on the wrist test (I can well overlap my fingers!)....because I'm 5'9" though I've been lucky that I've been able to get away with being heavier but I feel lethargic, fat and horrid.

It's all perspective, and there's not necessarily anything wrong with getting prepared for the gluttony of a festive period, just worth us all remembering that 9stone to one person is 15 to another, is 4 to another and likewise BMI can mean a range of body shapes.

Well done on inch loss btw frenchfancy, wish I'd been measuring rather than weighing myself, far more accurate I think!

OnlyWantsOne Sat 15-Dec-12 15:43:13


Well I was 13.6
I'm now 12.10
My aim at 5 ft 6 is to be 10 stone

I'm going to be doing 4:3 apart from Christmas week which will be 5:2

How much weight is expected to loose doing 4:3?

And what sort of calories should I be consuming on eating days?

mollysfolly Sat 15-Dec-12 16:51:22

rachelblythe I think the point wasn't that you don't look great (I'm sure you do), but that if you've reached your target you shouldn't need to do 4:3 to maintain. Won't you continue to lose weight? Dr (he lost his sainthood when he didn't ask me to contribute to his new book) Michael Mosley went to 6:1 to maintain, so I'm sure you would even on 5:2.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 15-Dec-12 21:13:27

On topic post :
BMI is semi subjective. I will look better once my BMI is at or just below 20 - because my bones are that shape. Others look crap that thin. I have a yoga friend with a BMI of 17 who would look better at 18, but because she is so petite would look lardy at 21.

Frankly it comes down to looking LEAN : ie not fat. Curves in the good places, no wrinkles and bumps in the wrong ones. And lean is what is sexy and healthy.
So lets aim for lean rather than thin :-)

TalkinPeace2 Sat 15-Dec-12 21:15:05

Off topic post:

I got Naturalised as a British Citizen today.

It was amusing that after the registrar went round the room checking pronunciations for all the 'foreigners' she utterly fluffed how to say my name!

But it was impressive to see how much it meant to those present - especially the African man with the machete marks on his skull and the lovely Pakistani family whose sons looked SO utterly proud.

Still not a royalist though, despite the pledge of allegiance :-)

pookey Sat 15-Dec-12 21:56:27

Just did a search and I started this on Tue 18th Sep. I was 12.7 and now I am 11.11. I am 5ft 4. I have been trying to do 4:3 but I am not being ultra careful with calorie counting. I do not excersie but will aim to be next year. Would hope for 10.7 this time next year.

B&W there should be lots of interest in your blog, particularly around gluten free bread I should imagine!

TP2 I looked terrible when I was at the bottom of my healthy bmi weight.

Breadandwine Sat 15-Dec-12 22:33:29

TalkinPeace2 Many congratulations to you! Hope you had a wonderful day winewinewine

Including perhaps, a cream tea in the afternoon followed by a roast dinner this evening??

"Still not a royalist though, despite the pledge of allegiance :-)"

I'll drink a toast with you to that!!

Breadandwine Sat 15-Dec-12 22:36:12

Forgot to say, thanks, pookey!

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Sat 15-Dec-12 23:05:11

Congrats TiP! My Colombian friend naturalised a few years ago and it was really moving.

Actually B&W I also know someone who would be very interested in the gluten free part of your blog...amazing what a difference it's made to him since going GF

ErikNorseman Sun 16-Dec-12 06:51:49

Wow can I just say I love this 'diet'! It's so easy! All the energy and concentration is limited to two days per week - so simple. And yet i have naturally started being more aware on normal days because i dont want to wasre my efforts by overeating. I'm not sure how much I've l

ErikNorseman Sun 16-Dec-12 06:53:25

Lost because the scales were all over the place in the last few weeks but it is between 2 and 4lbs! In just 10 days of doing it! And I feel in control, and also like the coming 2 weeks won't screw up my plans because I'm in control smile this is a revelation.

ErikNorseman Sun 16-Dec-12 06:55:13

Pookey I'm inspired! I started at 12.7 ish and I'm 5,4 too. I'm now 12.4 and aim to get to 10st eventually.

OnlyWantsOne Sun 16-Dec-12 08:12:04

I've just re measured myself since I started to watch my food intake and I've lost 6 1/2 inches in total (two just off my waist) this has made me happy!!

I don quite feel normal being able to eat normally when it's an eating day - I had 1500 calories yesterday is that too much?
home made mince pies are amazing

ErikNorseman Sun 16-Dec-12 09:18:18

1500 cals is fine, def not too much. I don't know your BMR but you want to aim for 3500-7000 calorie deficit over the week (depending on your current weight, 7500 may be far too much) so on a fast day if for eg you create a deficit of 1500, you should spread the remaining deficit over the 5 days. You certainly shouldn't be restricting calories too much on normal eating days as you run the risk of under eating over the weeks.

OnlyWantsOne Sun 16-Dec-12 09:27:25

How do I calculate my bmr?

I'm 12 stone 10 and 5ft 6

ErikNorseman Sun 16-Dec-12 10:46:01

I think there is a calculator at the top here ^
As a general guide, you can take up to 1000 off your BMR up to a minimum of 1100 a day (so if your BMR is 1900 you should only deduct 800)
Also, if you exercise on top of general activity counted in your BMR calculation, you should eat the calories you expend.

As an example, if your BMR is 2000 a day, and you fast 2 days per week, you should aim for 14000-6300 = 7700 cals per week, so 2 days at 500 and 5 days at 1340. That would be the upper end of the weightloss scale however, aiming for 1.5-2 lb loss per week.
If you were happy with 1lb per week you could do 14000-3500=10500, so two days at 500 and 5 days at 1900 (so normal intake)
I'm aiming for the second plan, with a little leeway on fast days (600-700) and a little less consumed on normal days.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 16-Dec-12 12:51:47

MORE medical evidence in our favour .....
about how the feedback loops from the digestive system impact on neurology, health etc etc

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