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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!

ManVsFoodRocks Sun 03-Feb-13 20:50:17

Thanks After. Slightly not the answer I was looking for! (I'm joking - I'm keen to do it right, just confuzzled about the maths, and not hungry exactly but mildly peckish).

The problem is that having done some research online other versions of the plan (ie the Eat, Stop, Eat plan) seem to be going (for instance) 8am to 8pm confused

ManVsFoodRocks Sun 03-Feb-13 20:50:42

NOOOOO I obviously mean 8pm to 8pm, sorry! That's not the fast making me idiotic: I've never been able to count!

Laska42 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:06:55

I've just posted my 5:2 modified version of Carrot , cardamom and orange spiced soup on the recipe thread

This recipe was featured in the Guardian yesterday but i've changed it a tad - is very yummy..

507 cals the whole recipe and 127 a portion.

Mandy312 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:41:49

I have failed epically today to fast and yesterday to stay in my TDEE. I am getting married in June and just can't seem to focus at all. I should have kept myself busy today and not given into the temptation of packing away well over 500 cals In 5 mins!! I am your classic bing eater. Anyhow I am going to dust myself off and have another go at fasting tomorrow.
Sorry about the moan. Very disappointed in myself today!

Mandy312 Sun 03-Feb-13 21:44:54

On a more positive note my new fitbit tells me I'm over 10000steps on both days so not a total lard bucket!!!

Breadandwine Sun 03-Feb-13 22:20:51

ManVsFoodRocks There are two schools of thought on this. But both say you should eat only a quarter of cals on any one day.

Dr M has <300 for breakfast, and the same at dinnertime. Then he won't eat again until breakfast the day after.

He obviously reckons that this regime will give him the health advantages we're all looking for.

Several of the experts on the Horizon programme - and the vast majority of posters on here - prefer to have one meal a day. Most eating at night, but some eating their <5/600 calories in the morning.

All of us fasting for approx. 36 hours.


ManVsFoodRocks Sun 03-Feb-13 22:25:11

That's really helpful, thanks! It's a little confusing because the book specifically refers to someone fasting from 2pm to 2pm (I think that was in Mimi Spencer's bit), and there are constant references to 24 hour fasting, whereas, as you say, what Dr M is doing is a 36 hour fast, and in practice that's what most people are doing. . .

Best in my case (being very large) to err on the side of caution, so I'll go with the 36-hour majority view - but I think Dr M and the literature they publish need to clear it up a bit maybe?? Unless it's just me that thinks it's a bit of an inconsistency!!

GiraffesEatPineapples Sun 03-Feb-13 22:44:32

manvsFood it is confusing but generally a 24 hour fast refers to having zero calories for 24 hours. If having a 24 hour fast whilst following 5:2 you would then have your 500 cals over the rest of the day (late afternoon/evening typically) and eat normally upon waking the following day so once again the total fast period would be 36 hours. Some versions of IF involve 24 hours with zero calories then a meal with unlimited calories it is possible this has some health benefits but possibly weightloss is less likely depending on how frequently it is undertaken.

You do not have to wait 24 hours on the 5:2 diet you decide how to split the 500 cals. So if your planned fast is on wednesday you would begin it Tuesday night and end it on thu morning when you break the fast. TIP explains this well on the hints and tips thread.

ManVsFoodRocks Sun 03-Feb-13 22:50:56

Thanks Giraffe smile

I shall say to myself (because I like to get things straight in my head hmm ) "You are eating 500 calories in a 36 hour period." 'Cos if I start thinking 'fast' or '24 hours' or whatnot I will start getting my enormous knickers in a twist.

I realise I sound madly controlling and detailed. It's my inner Sheldon (who incidentally looks like he's a 5.2 devotee!!)

GiraffesEatPineapples Mon 04-Feb-13 00:09:33

grin @ enormous knickers in a twist!

500 cals in a 36 hour period - exactly, that's all you need to remember really. I have a habit of making things more confusing than they need to be!

ThinkICan Mon 04-Feb-13 01:07:02

Thanks literarygeek and swallowed. Just wanted to use the break I had taken to jump start my weight loss again and your ideas are going into the 'Try now' category! I always lose weight when I first start anything and then the body wisens up and transforms into a mulesmile

Ezzza Mon 04-Feb-13 01:54:09

Betterlatethan, don’t feel too despondent. When you say you’ve ‘only’ lost 4lbs in 4 weeks, is that total loss once you’ve factored in the regained weight in the last two weeks? If so, that’s still an average loss of a pound a week, that’s a good thing! I know it can be frustrating to lose weight slowly, especially if the weight seems to be falling off other people who are eating the same way as you, but 4lbs down is going in the right direction.

Another thing to bear in mind is that when you start to lose weight both fat and water are lost resulting in a larger initial weight loss, but the body slowly takes back on some of the water, so it may be that the weight gain you’ve experienced in the last couple of weeks is water. You may still have lost fat even if it’s not showing up on the scales. Snowkey posted a great comment about this on thread 9 so I’ve cut and pasted it here for you:

“I have a weight loss pattern that shows no loss for a couple of weeks and then a massive loss. Weight loss is not linear, you don't automatically lose 2lbs a week it's the downward trend you need to look at. I know zero movement in the scales can be demotivating but there are many reasons why you haven't seen a movement and it has nothing to do with you failing to lose on a weight loss plan.
Reasons why the scales may not have moved if you haven't over eaten.

Water retention is a right bugger when it comes to weigh ins, it can be caused by numerous factors:
Exercising muscles that previously were underworked and are now sore - the body send water to them to help them recover.
Excess salt intake will cause you to retain water.
Dehydration can ironically cause you body to retain water.
Totm as has already been said.
The amount of carbs you eat - their energy is stored in the liver in the form of glycogen, the body uses water to aid that storage - quite a bit of water actually - which is lost as your liver energy reserves are used up - usually the reason why people report huge losses in the first couple of weeks of a diet esp a low carb diet.
Have also read that some people have fat cells that when emptied of fat, try to continue to hold their shape by filling with water, it can take a while for them to give up that water too. anywhere up to 6 months they think - sometimes bodies are not very helpful!
The muscle is heavier than fat arguement for stalling is not very likely though, muscle is very hard to gain especially for woma, so unless you have been focusing on muscle gain and lifting heavy weights at an amazing rate, most exercise will not deliver enough of a significant increase in muscle mass to affect the scales.”

Ezzza Mon 04-Feb-13 02:09:31

Remember that on the 5:2 plan the 'fast' days are a modified fast, modified by the fact you're not fasting completely but are allowed to eat 500 calories on your fast day. The meaning of a fast 'day' is a calendar day, not a 24 hour time period, so from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night you only have 500 calories, so once you add in sleep time either side of the fast day effectively you are doing a modified fast for approximately 36 hours, approximate because it really depends on when you last ate the day before your fast day and when you start eating again the day after.

When you read about 16 hour and 24 hour fasts on these threads, these are when people choose to incorporate fasts proper into their fast days. A fast proper is no food at all for 16 or 24 hours, usually (but not always) starting from finishing dinner the day before a fast day until either lunch (so 16 hours) or dinner (so 24 hours) on the fast day. After this 16 or 24 hour period they then eat their 5/600 calories.

It is not compulsory to include a fast proper into your modified fast day, it's an option many choose because some studies suggest health benefits may come from periods of proper fasting (note I say suggested, the studies are not yet conclusive) and/or because they find it easier to cope with a fast day if they postpone eating until later in the day to avoid awakening their hunger.

I have an inner Sheldon too ManVsFoodRocks, so what I tell him is it’s 500 kcal per calendar day (this is how I plan to shut him up when I fly home on a fast day at the end of this month as plan to eat the meal on the flight, but as the flight takes off at 11.55pm I technically won’t be eating until the next calendar day, even though it won’t have been 36 hours and I won’t have been to sleep yet. Flying economy overnight is hard enough without doing it on an empty tummy! Yeah… my inner Sheldon’s mother didn’t have him tested as a child so I can’t be quite so certain he’s not crazy confused)

ThinkICan Mon 04-Feb-13 02:33:32

Managed to catch up at last! Thanks breadandwine for the fast diet forum and TiP2 links. Wildwater - congrats on your weight loss. Got your test results back yet? How's your cholesterol and sugar levels? Nearer 60 myself with BP and cholesterol issues, so am eager to get more info on these as well! Good luck all you losers smile

AmericasTorturedBrow Mon 04-Feb-13 03:51:09

Ugh, back again! Finally back home in LA, going to buy some scales tomorrow and start ADF from tomorrow until my birthday on 12th May (big horrid 30) and get my bloody arse in gear. Started 4:3 in September and within 6weeks had got to nearly my perfect weight and then went all out the window.

I have this 545miles/6 days charity bike ride on 2nd June and am bricking it so this is as much about getting up fitness as it is weight loss. And to be honest to be in good lifetime habits by my 30th.

So, here we go, lots of new ideas for food needed....ok back to read the thread (again!) and take my head out of the sand

MrsJolene Mon 04-Feb-13 05:04:02

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fionafi53 Mon 04-Feb-13 08:00:44

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MrsHelsBels74 Mon 04-Feb-13 08:02:32

Has anyone got any ideas for a fast day meal using up leftover roast chicken?

fionafi53 Mon 04-Feb-13 08:04:55

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Snowkey Mon 04-Feb-13 08:37:23

FionaFi are you promoting the No nonsense fast book - it's just that you mention it every time you post and your the person who has reviewed it too.

ManVsFoodRocks Mon 04-Feb-13 08:50:08

Thanks once again folks - and thanks for getting the Sheldon ref., Ezzza!

I did find yesterday's fast day slightly tough, but by no means impossible - interestingly, it was only when I thought I was 'entitled' to eat something for supper that I started to feel twitchy and hungry. Just goes to show appetite is as much mental as physical!

'Feast' day today but oddly woke up not particularly hungry and with no inclination to overeat. DH wanted to cook a fry-up, which he is more than welcome to do, but I'll be having a modest plate of pasta (not for breakfast I hasten to add).

Dotty342kids Mon 04-Feb-13 08:50:20

Right, it's Day 1 of this woe today! Yikes.
Me and Dh fasting together but so far all I can think about is food and feeling hungry. Help! Is this normal?
Am planning a banana for late morning / lunchtime snack and then a 400cal dinner of Moroccan fish tonight.
Is it normal to feel ravenous and how do you cope???

Aftereightsarenolongermine Mon 04-Feb-13 08:58:41

dotty perfectly normal to feel hungry but the pangs come in waves. I would actually have a boiled egg rather than a banana as I find eggs suppress my hunger more. When you get the waves of hunger drink a glass of water or black coffee/herbal tea & the pangs soon pass.

Good luck!

ManVsFoodRocks Mon 04-Feb-13 08:58:54

It's quite a feat to be 'ravenously hungry' before 9am Dotty grin

I've only done 2 fast days so far and am (as you can see from previous posts!) still getting to grips with it, but I can say that honestly it's not THAT bad. Hunger comes and goes, it doesn't just gather pace like a juggernaut and flatten you by 3pm. And often what feels like hunger is thirst - loads of tea, coffee, and the odd cup of Marigold stock helps loads. And remembering you're only every a day away from pizza/peanut butter/apple crumble/spag bol/whatevs.

Aftereightsarenolongermine Mon 04-Feb-13 09:00:06

Should have added I've been doing this since August & I look forward to fast days as a way of resetting my hunger switch if I've indulged too much.

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