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5:2 Diet Thread! Going up to 11!

(1000 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 29-Jan-13 13:17:37

The continuing thread for those of us following either the 5:2 diet or the alternate-day fasting diet.

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, or approximately your TDEE (see explanation below). 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 for a woman, 600 for a man, on those days.

You'll find on these threads we use a number of acronyms. If you're new to the threads, or Mumsnet in general, they might not make much sense.

WOE/WOL = Way Of Eating/Way Of Life. We use this term instead of "diet" as many of us see this as something to do in the long term.

MFP = My Fitness Pal, a website many use for keeping track of the number of calories they're eating.

TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure, 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.

ADF = Alternate-day Fasting, as it says on the tin, fasting every other day rather than 5:2.

Michael Mosley has recently unveiled a new website to accompany his new book on the subject. Please go check them out, as he's the whole reason most of us are here!

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!

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. This might be a good place to catch up with us if you're feeling a bit lost!

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.

B&W has found a new link to the aforementioned Horizon programme here. If you're keen to see it, watch it soon, because BBC has been quick to find these copies and shut them down online. We're hoping they'll re-play it again soon. I know these threads are popular, maybe they'll read my request. wink

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%).")

Something to consider 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.

Another food link, here is a link to the BBC Good Food site, with a list of low-calorie soups.

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!

mamarun Sat 02-Feb-13 09:29:00

aftereight thank you for that. Was very timely as despite a great loss after first fasting day I stayed the same after number 2 of the week. Have also been contemplating moving to a 3rd fast day as finding fasts easier. Moving from mon and wed to a mon and thurs has really suited me this week. But I want I to feel easy so may do it slowl by skipping one meal on a non fast day and then building up slowly to a 3rd fasting day. Thx all for keeping me motivated. I don post often but am following the thread.

Off to buy book st 99p.

woahthere Sat 02-Feb-13 10:08:29

Hi there, new to fasting and am intrigued by it. This is what Ive done this first week...

Monday ate what I liked, Tuesday fasted....saved 500 cals for evening meal, Wednesday ate what I liked, Thursday ditto Tuesday, Friday te what I liked. Now its Saturday and dont know what to do. Start weight 14st 3. Weighed on Wednesday AM and was 13st 13, then weighed Friday AM and was up to 14st, then weighed again this morning and down to 13st 9.

Obviously very pleased with the loss so far, should state that over Christmas and January eating was out of control and had put on loads of weight, my normal maintaining weight for some time has been around 13.7 - 13.8st when eating healthily and exercising regularly.

Am very keen for weight loss to continue as I feel that nothing else works, Ive tried it all!

A few questions...

Is it normal for the weight to drop off after an eating day and go on after a fasting day?

Should I continue to eat every other day, or do the eating 5 days...will I lose a good amount eating 5 days and only fasting 2? I run a lot so dont want to run out of energy. Am trying to figure out whether to go and have breakfast or not so any advice would be appreciated!

chasingtail Sat 02-Feb-13 10:13:43

marking place smile

Itsaboatjack Sat 02-Feb-13 10:34:40

Hi woahthere I have been doing 4:3 for a week and a half now, so far 5lbs lost. I wanted to start on 4:3 as I wanted a good kick start, I too put on quite a lot over Christmas. So far I'm finding it fairly easy and have had enough energy for my usual 4 mile runs. Today though I am going running with a friend who is training for the marathon so we are doing 12miles so we'll see how that goes grin

Have breakfast if you want it, or not if you don't. Up to you.

bran Sat 02-Feb-13 11:03:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

woahthere Sat 02-Feb-13 11:04:40

it might seem like a stupid question, but will I lose more weight doing 4:3. Wow 12 miles is far!

FastingFoodie Sat 02-Feb-13 11:13:31

Hi All
Just an update on our experience so far: DH and I both lost 4lbs in the first week, which even tho we know it's mainly water was a mental boost none the less! Then we came to one of the reasons we're doing this in the 1st place - a 10 day food festival in a local restaurant! Kept up the fasting on the days we could, and I drove (DH had the wine packages wine) but we've eaten out 7 times in this last fortnight shock! I put on 1lb in the first week which was a positive triumph as far as I was concerned! DH put his 4lbs back on but for the food we've eaten and the wine he's drunk that is frankly miraculous. We weigh in to see the damage we've done in the 2nd foodie week on Monday but we're both quite calm about the whole thing - maybe because we have a definitely different attitude to this WoE, less weekly obsessing over the scales and more "we're in this for the long haul so a bad week every so often isn't a tragedy" if that makes any sense? It's quite liberating after being a person in panic mode once a week before SW or WW meetings for the last couple of decades! Having talked to a lot of chefs and foodies over the past fortnight I've been astounded how many have taken up the 5:2 WoE - it's the perfect foodie solution where we can have our gourmet feasts and keep our weight and health under control grin.
Sorry for the long post, must keep the waffle down, just so happy and excited I get carried away!

Itsaboatjack Sat 02-Feb-13 11:23:59

It's not far, it's really far!! I am starting to worry a bit now, just realising how long it's been since I've ran further than 10k - about 10 months!! I may have o walk a lot.

Doing 4:3 will give you a bigger calorie deficit, assuming you don't over do on feed days, so I would expect to lose a bit quicker.

Itsaboatjack Sat 02-Feb-13 11:25:48

Loving the sound of the food festival grin

Ghanagal1717 Sat 02-Feb-13 11:34:16

Hi all....well i unfortunately abandoned my 3rd attempt at a fast day last night. Don't know what came over me....I think i reverted to old habit/headspace of needing to feed my "emotional" stomach rather than my actual stomach (which had just had a lovely bowl of veggies and was quite full!!). My monday fast had gone well, my wednesday was not too good (went over by a couple of hundred cals) and I had decided to make up for it by doing a third...and then as reported, abandoned that too. I'm really wondering what's happening to my motivation, possibly that I havent lost any weight yet in 4/5 weeks of this woe (and I seriously put every morsel i eat into MFP). Is it possible that I am a person that is resistant due to trying too many diets in the past? any advice gratefully received.

FastingFoodie Sat 02-Feb-13 11:37:47

Thanks Itsaboatjack it's one of the highlights of the year for us - ten top chefs (including 1 & 2 starred Michelin chefs) coming to our corner of Lancashire - bliss! grin

BetsyVanBell Sat 02-Feb-13 13:41:11

Woahthere it will no doubt be quicker but would you be able to sustain it? The great thing about 5:2 is it fits into your life easily and doesn't feel much of a hardship. If it feels too restrictive there's a likelihood you might not want to carry it on (like most of us find with other diets)! Obviously if you have a will of iron you should go for it but the health benefits and a more gradual weight loss will happen on a 5:2 as well. It's probably best to look at a weekly or longer pattern than daily scales reading (I have to remind myself of this too!!!). Congrats on the weightloss so far smile

BetsyVanBell Sat 02-Feb-13 13:47:20

fastingfoodie Sounds amazing! It is a foodie's solution isn't it? I love cooking creatively and this is so liberating - planning to make a game pie tomorrow and will be baking a cakey-pudding tonight, all guilt-free as Monday is fast day again grin

BetsyVanBell Sat 02-Feb-13 13:54:22

ghanagal are you exercising? I've found I don't lose weight on 5:2 unless I'm burning calories too - a 30 minute cycle or 15 minute run goes a long way on fast days - and staves off the hunger for longer too. I do then tend to eat more on fast days than I might otherwise do but it seems to work out ok!

ErikNorseman Sat 02-Feb-13 13:55:52

Ghanagal that is very strange. How many cals do you eat on normal days? Do you eat your TDEE? Are you sure you weigh every single thing and log it?

BetsyVanBell Sat 02-Feb-13 13:57:54

ghanagal That was meant to say "...I do then tend to eat more on feed days...", oops!

mumrunner Sat 02-Feb-13 14:10:00

Woahthere I've been doing this since September and at the same time started training for 10k and it does not affect my running at all. I'm now training for the marathon and can run 8 miles when fasting and I don't fast on my long runs which is usually Sundays. So far total weight loss of 24lbs.

VenusRising Sat 02-Feb-13 14:15:43

Hi everyone, I've just started this 5:2 fast, and have two fasts under my belt, so to speak. They weren't too bad. Drank black tea and coffee, and water. Tried not to think about food.

I've found that no brekkie is best for me and just having a lunch and dinner is fine.... But, I was starving on the second day fast and snuck a bag of lentil curls with hot chilli sauce on them - 90 cals.

Anyone else just going for sweet things on the non fast days? I find myself very attracted to croissants and biscuits! Tell me that calms down!

Does anyone fast for two days consecutively? This might be better for me, then I'd get it out of the way in my head for the week.

newbiefrugalgal Sat 02-Feb-13 14:37:07

Ghanagal1717 I would not lose heart. Maybe doing three fast days is putting pressure on you and makes it easier to quit! Just like weightloss diets of the past.
Why don't you stick to two fast days and if you don't quite make it don't beat yourself up about it but don't quit, I think you'll regret that more!

BlackMaryJanes Sat 02-Feb-13 14:51:38

Hi everyone.

I've now been doing 5:2 for a week. I'm doing my third fast day today. Here's my thoughts so far:

It's going well. By 'well' I mean, I'm sticking to it. But I'm still sceptical. Whilst I wouldn't say that I 'binge' on feed days, I certainly don't eat 'good' foods. I eat pizzas, burgers, chocolates blush This is because I've deprived myself of these foods for years, so these are the foods I'm craving. The 5:2 diet is supposed to permit you to 'eat what you like' on feed days, but what if all I crave is bad foods? Is the 5:2 diet soley about creating a calorie deficit, or is there more to it?

I'm not going to weigh myself for 6 weeks, to give this WOE a chance.

BetsyVanBell Sat 02-Feb-13 15:07:40

Blackmaryjane I reckon you'll soon find that now they're allowed you'll stop craving them! In the meantime take heart in Dr Krista Varady's research (in Mosley & Spencer's book) - 2 groups of obese American's were being monitored on an alternate day fast schedule and with one group on a low-fat non-fast day diet, the other on an anything-you want diet. The one's that opted for pizza, lasagne, burgers etc lost more weight (and reduced cholesterol etc) than the other group! Varady says this was probably because the 2nd group were able to stick to the plan in a way the dieting group couldn't.

BlackMaryJanes Sat 02-Feb-13 15:11:27

Wow BetsyVanBell!! I'm liking that research! But how would that work in terms of overall calorie deficit?

Itsaboatjack Sat 02-Feb-13 15:17:34

Just did 12 mile run and felt fine, plenty of energy (fast day yesterday) and actually easier than expected.

mumrunner, good luck with the marathon, are you doing it for a charity or did you get a ballot place.

BlackMaryJanes I too have been a bit like that with 'junk' food, I've had fish and chips two weeks running but I think that'll pass soon enough, hopefully.

kiwigirl42 Sat 02-Feb-13 15:21:43

thats great news about the kindle book being 99p - as someone said upstream, be rude not to buy it at that price!

I've just had a huge chunk of chocolate guiness cake for brunch. Yum. And I'm going to have a beef pasty for tea later. Not thinking about fasting or feeding at all today. Just chilling with ragdoll cat on my lap!

GreenEggsAndNichts Sat 02-Feb-13 15:33:04

Betsy I think, especially if you're doing ADF, that's true. It's why I always suggest that people just concentrate on getting the fast days down first. And definitely don't try to 'low cal' on the non-fast days, or you'll just lose all hope within weeks. Unless you're in it to crash diet in the first place.

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