Advanced search

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!

Fanjounchained Wed 30-Jan-13 01:22:40

Thanks B&W will see how I go tomorrow. I'll keep logging on here as there is so much support around and everyone seems very helpful.

Good night x

Ezzza Wed 30-Jan-13 03:21:03

maniacbug, Chengdu’s a pretty good guess based on the clues in my last post, Chengdu being the capital of Sichuan province which is one of the two Chinese provinces well known for spicy cuisine. But I’m in the other one Hunan province, studying in the capital city, Changsha. They really love their chilli peppers here. I walked past a stall selling New Year decorations a couple of days ago. Among all the more traditional decorated red pieces of paper with the characters for ‘year’ or ‘happiness’ on them or snakes (year of the snake starts 10 Feb) there was something I instantly decided I had to buy. They were selling strings of chilli peppers made out of red satin, complete with Chinese knot at the top of the string and a red tassel at the bottom. Love it!

Sorry BetsyVanBell, I don’t have a blog or diary of my Chinese experience. It would not likely be an interesting read if I did. My ability to write engaging prose seems to escape me completely when attempt writing anything approaching a diary, probably from years of primary school assignments entitled ‘what I did during the holidays’. SNORE! I can make the most exciting event imaginable D.U.L.L. if I have to write it in a journal, sadly. sad

Ezzza Wed 30-Jan-13 03:24:02

maniacbug, I second what others have said about whether to use raw or cooked values when calorie counting ingredients. If you weighed the ingredients when they were raw then use the raw ingredient calorie values. It’s because ingredients get heavier or lighter during the cooking process as the take on or lose water so their calorie value per gram changes but the number of calories in total won’t change.

Alaska77 I know what you mean about there being so many posts you forget who you wanted to respond to! Because of the time difference, I’m asleep when most MNers are posting so I spend the first couple of hours each morning (I’m on holiday at the moment so can afford the time) with cup of tea in hand and computer on lap catching up on the evening’s posts. I’ve even taking to cutting and pasting some of them into Word so I can remember which ones I wanted to reply to. confused

Incadreams Wed 30-Jan-13 05:57:24

So many posts! I'd love to reply to everyone but I just can't remember from all the posts I've read, so rather selfishly I am just going to stick to talking about me! Sorry!
I weighed in on Monday and found I'd put on 2lb last week with all the family meals and rubbish I ate.. :-( However it seems to have refreshed my motivation and I'm doing well this week! Fast days seem to have got a lot easier and I don't need anything until dinner so I can have all my calories then which is nice! One of my main problems with fasting is that I am at home a lot with a 2 year old and so good is readily available and I'm not excessively busy all the time. I've found that if I drink a pint of water every time I feel myself wanting to pick it helps to get rid of the urge!

Cinema tonight to watch les mis on a fast day and I've suggested to the husband that I would appreciate him not stuffing his face with popcorn as I can't have any - we'll see what he does....!

BsshBossh Wed 30-Jan-13 07:39:58

Breadandwine do you drink tea/coffee (black) during the day before you "break your fast" (sorry if you've already mentioned this - such a long series of threads!).

lovehope2013 Wed 30-Jan-13 07:44:02

Hi all, this is my first post on MN... Just started the 4:3 last week and yesterday found out that I have lost 4lbs in a week! shock Haven't managed that since first few weeks of weight watchers, back in 2007! This woe comes very naturally to me, as long as I don't eat anything until dinner on fasting days and drink PLENTY of water. The feast days have been amazing, so liberating to eat anything I fancy, after years of worrying about every thing that went into my mouth.

Today is my first fast day while on my period, hope I don't get too tired, although at least I can go to bed early tonight as no evening commitments.

I am sort of enjoying analysing the waves of hunger on fast days. Drinking a glass of very cold water helps and so does distracting myself with other things and daydreaming about / planning the food I'm going to feast on the next day...

Hope all of you have a great day, whether fasting or feasting or neither!

Snowkey Wed 30-Jan-13 07:51:56

Sorry meant to say, thanks to Green eggs for the new thread.

I have a favour to ask - a friend has been diagnosed with high ldl cholesterol, she's very active, very slim and very, very health conscious, her condition is heriditory. Her Doctor wants to put her on Statins. I have suggested she gets her LDL checked to ensure it is the bad kind of LDL - the stuff that is compact in shape that does all the damage and not the fluffy good LDL. Someone mentioned here that this can be done by checking some level in your triglycerides - can anyone link me to the article they quoted from. She needs to be 100% sure that Statins are the right way to go.

Snowkey Wed 30-Jan-13 07:58:48

Found this from Marks daily apple

Do statins control small dense LDL? Fasting sure does

cardiffmummy Wed 30-Jan-13 08:00:19

Normal day again here. Did well with my calorie counting yesterday - probably didn't eat enough really, as just wasn't hungry in the evening (had a very late lunch) and was very tired. So only had 1400 (TDEE 2300!!). But didn't seem any point in eating just for the sake of it - I'm sure it will just even out over the week. Couldn't resist weighing myself this morning and seem to have lost the 2lbs I had gained (and a bit more...) so hoping it stays off!! Hope you all have a good day whether fasting or not smile.

kiwigirl42 Wed 30-Jan-13 08:03:07

tracedw I'm menopausal (drug induced) and losing weight at a steady couple of pounds a week on this way of eating. I thought it may have not worked as well but seems to be doing ok.
I do really enjoy breakfast on eating day though recently. Wake up empty!

Itsaboatjack Wed 30-Jan-13 08:13:36

Just weighed in after my first week of doing ADF, I've lost 4lbs!! And in between fast days I've had things like fish and chips, 3 course meal out, apple pie and custard, and rather too much wine one one evening. I think I like this WOL. I'll probably stay the same next week now but I'm very happy with that start.

Bordercollielover Wed 30-Jan-13 08:21:33

I am now quite defeated by the number of posts ! Great that it is all taking off so well but now too many posts for me to wade through. Sorry if this has already been answered but a newcomer asked a few days ago about cramps. If you look back to threads 1,2 and 3 I think you will find quite a lot of discussion about this. Magnesium can help and you can get a spray from a HF shop.
I have since learned that putting Epsom Salts in the bath or into a foot bath can help because the magnesium can be absorbed through the skin. Very good for joint pains and cramps.
I now have a question: does anyone know if there are other important minerals which can also be absorbed in this way? I really like the idea of soaking my feet in a mineral bath!

Fanjounchained Wed 30-Jan-13 08:44:25

Morning all,

Got up this morning and went "robot fashion" to the cupboard to make myself porridge and toast - then realised I'm supposed to be fasting !! Oooops...

Hot water and lemon polished off...

Have a good day everyone.

bubbles1231 Wed 30-Jan-13 08:48:26

Have totally fallen off the waggon! Sick children last week and brewing a virus myself meant a 2lb gain. Sigh Starting again today after thoroughly enjoying my chippie last night. total wt loss so far 5lb

Aftereightsarenolongermine Wed 30-Jan-13 09:01:35

Morning all, back at home & recovering well. No fasting this week but just checking in to say hello to all new people & well done for starting this fantastic WOE, it really is brilliant & gives you back control over any bad eating habits.

Also hello to everyone else & big thanks to greeneggs for new thread.

vix0306 Wed 30-Jan-13 09:35:44

Hi there

I'm just about managing to keep to the 500 cals on my fast days although it is hard as I have been a long term binge/compulsive eater. It is strange though for the first time t=inmy life to start to be able to distinguish feel proper hunger rather than just emotional hunger. I do have to be careful though not to get addicted to this hunger feeling as could a be a slippery slope back to binge/starve cycle. On my non-fast days it would be easy to slip into binge eating as I am very hungry and thinking about food (I know some lucky people on here don't get that feeling!). This question has been asked before I'm sure but how many calories are most people roughly eating on non-fast days. Do you stick to your tdee and is it by eating regularly- breakfast, lunch and dinner. It must be important to eat enough on these days so the hunger doesn't accumulate and I end up bingeing if you see what I mean?! would appreciate some advice!

vix0306 Wed 30-Jan-13 09:37:44

meant to say in my last message- distinguish between physical and emotional hunger!

catsrus Wed 30-Jan-13 09:52:28

Hi Vix - I slipped into constant grazing once I started to eat yesterday (working from home so had a low cal home made proper soup for early lunch rather than a packet of Miso at my desk in the office). None of it very unhealthy - just too much and too often. It wasn't a fast day but I ate way more than my TDEE. For me the hunger doesn't accumulate at all, almost the opposite, if I don't eat I'm not as hungry as if I do eat. For that reason I'm moving towards a pattern of not eating until later in the day even on non-fast days, but only calorie restricting on 2 days a week. Those 2 days are not consecutive 'cos then I do feel like I'm on a diet smile

I know other people find it important to have the three meals on non fast days and that's what works for them. I would say be gentle with yourself, listen to your body, experiment a bit with your eating patterns and find what works for you. The idea is to lose the weight we need to lose and then find a healthy way to keep our weight stable. As we've all put on weight over the years we clearly haven't been paying much attention to what our body needs and how it works.

Ironically I am now finding I'm moving towards a WOE which my (very slim) sister has always had blush

TalkinPeace2 Wed 30-Jan-13 10:26:48

Blech. Coughing so much over the last few days so now have an upset stomach. No gym. Instead am in bed with the sun on my legs, cats either side of me, writing up reports that I've been putting off.
On the other hand I'm not hungry!

Breadandwine Wed 30-Jan-13 10:44:48

Breadandwine do you drink tea/coffee (black) during the day before you "break your fast"

Hi Bssh When I first started 24 hour fasting I thought I needed a treat during the day so I made up a flask of filter coffee in the morning. Now I generally make up a flask of hot water - and have that with the occasional glass of cold water.
So not only do I feel I'm being healthy by fasting, I get a virtuous, 'saving money - and the planet' feeling! grin

And don't forget the washing up you don't have to do - and the time saved - by not eating breakfast and lunch!

And I have an extra 15 minutes in bed when I'm working, by missing breakfast!

This WOL never stops giving! grin

Great link, Snowkey! As long as you don't take any notice of the anti-vegan comments further down! Grr! angry Talk about misinformed.

Apparently Oprah and her team went vegan for 7 days in 2011 - who knew?

Breadandwine Wed 30-Jan-13 11:02:51

Hi skippy and BCL

It seems like a long time ago, but it's really only 7days (I went back to thread 9 looking to find the relevant posts, but they were actually in the last thread! confused) since we had the conversation about the need to restrict calories after a 24 hour fast - if you are already at your goal weight you want to be.

BCL said:
B and W. I might be wrong but my interpretation of all this would be: to get health benefits , fast for 24 hours.
If, in addition, you want to lose weight then you need to create a calorie deficit as well, so you would then eat only 600 calories after the 24 hours has elapsed.
However, since you are reaching a point where you want the health benefits but have no more weight to lose then I would think that you could fast for 24 hours and then eat normally as you no longer want a calorie deficit.

That makes perfect sense to me, and that's what I'm now doing - or, I'm about to do. I'm on my second 24 hour fast today, but, unlike Monday where I kept to <600 cals, I shall eat normally after the 24 hours.

I anticipate that, as time goes on, more and more of the posters on here will be adopting this regime! smile

One thing I haven't got right yet (hope people don't mind me harping on about this) is the timing. Because I'm teaching until 6 on a Tuesday (and on Weds), I don't finish my evening meal until way after 7, which means I don't start my 24 hours until then. So it's a late dinner for me tonight! sad

TiP get well soon! It sounds like at least you're feeling no pain! smile

gonepearshaped Wed 30-Jan-13 11:12:17

Hi VIx I'm with you on the binge/starve cycle its something I've really struggled with. In my first week on this WOE I did go overboard on the day after fasting, but that urge has gone now, as people here told me it would.

I have to be mindful about food (I think anyone whose eating has gone seriously out of kilter does) but I think this approach can actually be a way out of the all or nothing, binge/starve thing.

As you have several days each week NOT dieting - just eating your TDEE - and you can eat cake or whatever else you fancy without 'blowing' anything, that can get you to a more balanced, less emotion driven attitude to food.

Also, on fast-days you get used to being a bit hungry and not eating even if it is a dodgy day and the rest of the week you really appreciate the food that you do have. Hope that make sense smile

TalkinPeace2 Wed 30-Jan-13 11:39:56

Way back on an early thread, somebody posted that they used to have a serious cupcake habit - over 12 a day I seem to remember - that they always hid from their food diaries because they were banned.
Once they started 5:2, cupcakes were no longer banned.
So they lost their appeal.
So they went stale and were not replaced.

That is the beautiful thing of this approach (unlike say Dukan) - you can eat what ever you like ... cheese fondue followed by chocolate gateau ... because two days a week you are reminding your tummy not to get used to it.

plecofjustice Wed 30-Jan-13 11:42:04

Can I just ask, what does everyone do on their "normal" days?

I've been doing 5:2 since September (with a 2 week break for Xmas) I've lost a stone, interestingly the most unhealthy (apple) fat went first, and I'm finding it suprisingly enjoyable.

My current routine is
Monday - fast (500 cal)
Tuesday - Eat to around MPF recommended intake for weightloss (including eating any MFP exercise "earned calories" (1590 cals + around 200 earned)
Wednesday - fast (500 cal)
Thursday - Eat to around MPF recommended intake for weightloss (including eating any MFP exercise "earned calories" (1590 cals + around 200 earned)
Friday - Attempt to eat to around MPF recommended intake for weightloss though usually go to 2000-2500 cals
Sat and Sun - don't monitor using MFP, eat and drink as desired

My TDEE is around 2230

Just wondering how this compares with everyone else's plan, and to get any feedback on what I'm doing.



plecofjustice Wed 30-Jan-13 11:43:25

Should have said, I'm doing a bedtime to breakfast fast, so fasting from after dinner Sunday and Tuesday to breakfast Tuesday and Thursday..... smile

This thread is not accepting new messages.