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5:2 Diet Thread! 12! Cheaper by the dozen!

(1000 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 08-Feb-13 10:09:40

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!

Minimammoth Tue 12-Feb-13 17:15:51

Blindly, I can't keep up with the thread. I haven't decided which and when to fast yet. I am trying to get wheat bloating out of my system first, and eat less. Today I had a small bowl muesli and yoghurt, then small salad for lunch. No snacks. I'm absolutely starving now. Salmon and veg for tea/ dinner/supper whatever you eat at this time. Hoping that bloating will be down by tomorrow.
I remember doing a fluids only fast that was counted from 6pm to 6pm. Which meant you didn't go to bed hungry.

Minimammoth Tue 12-Feb-13 17:16:16

Not blindly..... Blimey

SpiralSkies Tue 12-Feb-13 17:22:36

Lackadaisy 'found an article on the NHS website saying there was no medical evidence of intermittent fasting being good for you?'

Is that the same article that helpfully says that for 500 cals one could eat a slice of pizza and a sausage? Maybe they've updated since they published the web page soon after IF became popular... hmm

swallowedAfly Tue 12-Feb-13 17:35:18


fast day today and i've eaten nothing. had 3 coffees this morning then loads of water at work and have just had a lovely cup of tea upon getting home. i don't feel urgent about food so i'm hoping to put it off till nearly bedtime and then not go too mad. i 'think' i can just do 400 today - will have had about 100cals in skimmed milk in hot drinks and think i could happily manage with just a two egg omelette with a bit of turkey ham and still have a slim a soup in reserve if i feel taste hungry later.

kind of making the most of not being hungry as i'm not sure i'll get a second fast in this week as i'm off work till monday now and find it hard at home.

i haven't felt bad with it today. i had a hungry patch at work between training sessions and just turned the light off in my office and laid on the floor listening to a guided meditation. perfect distraction and settling of my mind and body actually - might have to do it more often on fast days.

hope everyone's days are going well smile

frenchfancy Tue 12-Feb-13 18:04:04

jiddle I don't think you are being thick. To mind mind a 2pm-2pm fast would only work if you didn't eat at all for 24 hours. And in terms of your weight loss I would stick to your TDEE for now and see how it goes. If you are quite light then think of your weight loss in % terms rather than lb terms. So someone who weighs 200lb and loses 1lb/week will have lost 0.5% of body weight, whereas someone who weighs 112lb and loses 1lb will have lost 0.9% of body weight - so a much bigger loss.

swallowedAfly Tue 12-Feb-13 18:05:34

what if i just didn't eat till tomorrow? is it a bad idea? are we meant to have the 500cals for a reason or is it just don't have more than 500?

saying this i'll probably suddenly become ravenous if i decide not to eat at all grin

IndridCold Tue 12-Feb-13 18:10:31

Only on my second week and it's going well. I only need to drop about half a stone and am trying this as much to see if it really will improve my BP and cholesterol levels, which are a bit high.

One thing I have noticed is that the day after a fast day I have quite a strong taste of salt in my mouth. Has anyone else had this? I was wondering if maybe I was getting too dehydrated on fast days, although I drink plenty of fluids.
I would welcome any ideas.

Gherkinsmummy Tue 12-Feb-13 18:12:26

Hello! Can I join you?

I've been doing the paleo diet and IF for a while and lost 2.5 stone of baby weight last year. I'm still overweight but not really looking to lose much more, but would like to find a way to maintain and like the idea of giving the digestion a rest.

To those on here struggling, might be worth combining fasting with lo-carbing for a few weeks. Paleo is much less restrictive than Atkins, about 100g of carbs a day as opposed to Atkins Phase 1 which allows 30g!

Swallowed - yes of course you can do 'proper' fasting. Religious types would say this is not a proper fast smile

Happy pancake day everyone!

Aftereightsarenolongermine Tue 12-Feb-13 18:14:32

Re the NHS article which I read ages ago it was to put it politely load of shite. I've spoken to my docs at St Thomas' & my private consultants who tell me that lots of their patients fast as a way of getting arthritis inflammation down & that these patients have been fasting for years. Make of that what you will. Oh & they have been very supportive of me doing this as has my gynaecologist....

Newlook Tue 12-Feb-13 18:37:34

Hello - I wonder if anyone could advise on the following please? My TDEE is 2081 which I understand to be what one eats to stay the same weight. Is that correct please?
So...I looked up myfitnesspal app - great for logging cals, so thanks to all who recommended this. When I input weight and what want to lose and how much (went for 2lb) per week (have at least 2 stone to lose) - it gave me a daily allowance of 1200 cos I'm such a podge at the mo... I knew that, after a great fasting day yesterday, I wouldn't want to be that low as would be biting off more than I could chew (so to speak!!). My total cals today so far are 1638 - I might have glass of wine later but that's all. Would I be correct in thinking that my cals today are fine or am I kidding myself? I do appreciate the theory that we can eat anything on non fast days but I want to keep myself in check.
What was REALLY interesting was how much CRAP (excuse me) I ate in snacks - used correctly, the app breaks up how many cals used for bfast, lunch, dinner and snacks - so it was a reality check and I will definitely be more aware from now on.
Tomorrow is 2nd fast day and I am actually looking forward to it.

Thanks to anyone who has got to the end of this and hope you've had a good day thanks, Off to school meeting but will check in later smile

Itsaboatjack Tue 12-Feb-13 18:38:20

swallowedafly I hope you have an office to yourself grin

I don't think there would be anything wrong with not eating till tomorrow. Didn't MM do 4 days on just one cup a soup a day on the programme? I think the 500 cals was chosen as that seems to make this WOE more sustainable.

ever2optimistic Tue 12-Feb-13 18:39:21

Jiddle - to reply: I read Michael Moseley & Mimi Spencer's book & 2pm to 2pm is one way of doing it. Admittedly you don't get the hours fasting while asleep, doing it this way, but I found it easier with just half a day at a time to concentrate on, and haven't gone mad this pm. I don't think I will get anywhere near my TDEE today, and didn't yesterday. It's whatever works for you.

Newlook Tue 12-Feb-13 18:40:36

P.S *gherkins" - great achievement - I hope the fast diet will be what you are looking for - seems a great way of life to me but v new to it myself.

swallowedAfly Tue 12-Feb-13 18:43:59

yes itsaboat - i have my own little coffin office and just had to make sure i couldn't be seen from the window in the door grin

i'll see how i go food wise. thinking probably just a little something to go to bed on so i sleep ok. then again i really do feel fine so might just have more tea and go to bed once i get ds into his.

Dotty342kids Tue 12-Feb-13 18:47:35

newlook no, I did this when I signed up to MFP too, and it's not the right thing to do if you're going to be doing 5:2. (sorry to say!). The good news is that MFP works out what you should do if you're going to calorie restrict every day as your sole weight loss method, so....... if you weren't doing anything else then you'd try to stick to 1200 per day, every day.
On 5:2 you eat your "normal" (eg. non weight losing) TDEE five days per week, and fast, eating no more than 500 cals, on the other two days per week.
The way around this on MFP is to ignore the lower figure of calorie intake, and go with the higher one eg. mine is approx 2100 versus 1450.
Hope that makes sense!

Itsaboatjack Tue 12-Feb-13 18:48:02

Newlook, I have set my daily cals on mfp as my TDEE which is 2180 (I update it regularly as I lose wight). I then log my cals everyday. Over the week (there is a weekly tab at top right hand of home page), I hope to see a deficit of at least 3200 cals, assuming I've stuck to my fast days properly, which I believe is about 1lb a week wight loss.

DoubleMum Tue 12-Feb-13 19:30:59

I've had my dinner now on fast day and am absolutely stuffed! Can't get over the change in my willpower and attitude towards food this week.

Aftereightsarenolongermine Tue 12-Feb-13 19:57:31

newlook 2100x7= 14700, 2100x5=10500,

14700-1000-10500= 3200 deficit

Average calories 1670 a day

If my maths is right...feel free to correct me if not!

BsshBossh Tue 12-Feb-13 20:19:57

Newlook I do exactly as Itsaboatjack - I manually change my MFP calorie goal to my current TDEE and eat as close as possible to it on non-fast days. I generally eat under TDEE during the working week (but not too much under as I like to eat well) but over on weekends. Over the week this usually results in an approx 3500 cal deficit and, so far, I'm losing weight. I never eat back my exercise cals as my TDEE includes moderate exercise.

DoubleMum it's amazing isn't it?

Ezzza thank you so much for your post. I particularly will remember that eating something you want to doesn't necessarily mean it ends up breaking a fast day.

ellenbrody Tue 12-Feb-13 21:11:07

Can I join in? I'm on my 2nd week and have done 3 fasts. I'm not looking to lose weight really but am more interested in the health benefits (although the 3lbs I put on over Xmas could do with shifting!) And trying to learn a normal relationship with food, which ive never had.

The first was much better than i imagined, but the 2nd was HARD.
I only had h/m veg soup, which although initially filling, didn't last long. Yesterday I managed much better with a lunch of 2 ryvitas, mini Philly and lots of cucumber, some milky teas (measured milk) and then a mushroom omlette with almost a whole bag of rocket.

I read these threads every day and find them inspirational.

charliegreentea Tue 12-Feb-13 21:28:28

Hi everyone,

I'm on my third fast day and finding the fast days ok so far. I've decided to do 4:3, fasting Mon, Wed and Fri. On my fast days I'm having a blueberry smoothie with ice, trim milk and a scoop of protein powder late morning and an evening meal of a boiled egg, a small tin of tuna and coleslaw. Before bed I'm having dessert (!) - frozen blueberries with natural yoghurt. This is very delicious, satisfies my sweet tooth and is only around the 120 cal mark.

I'm in the Southern Hemisphere and think this WOE is so easy in summer with all the lovely fruit and salad ingredients available (something for everyone in the Northern Hemisphere to look forward to!). I think I will find it a bit trickier in winter when I tend to crave stodgy, comfort food. Hopefully by then I'll be a new me and accustomed to this WOL.

I'm also having 250g of leeks (for their magical properties of being nutritional, low calorie, and mildly diuretic) simmered for 20 mins in 500ml water, as prescribed in the wonderful book French Women Don't Get Fat. I'm re-reading this book and finding it very inspiring as it advocates an approach in which you "throw away all the radical diet books, think about what you eat and why, and then enjoy eating the right things (and some wrong ones) intelligently, in smaller portions". I did read it years ago and concluded at the time that it wasn't for me, but now it makes perfect sense smile

My non-fasting days have been all over the place and are featuring too much junk and alcohol. I need to cut back on wine so that I don't wake up on fast days feeling peckish. I'm really hoping this WOE will sort out my love/hate relationship with food and get me on track to healthier eating and long term weight loss. I have quite a bit of weight to lose....

Love this thread and reading all your interesting and inspirational updates smile

Mishello77 Tue 12-Feb-13 21:35:18

Hi Franny a few things come to my attention when I read this and I hope I can offer some advice.
Firstly when you were on your course you said you skipped breakfast, you must never ever skip breakfast. Breakfast kick starts your metabolism and breaks the fast after your sleep. Breakfast is definitely the most important meal of the dAy.
Also you say 700-1200 calories a day? That probably is not enough you probably need to aim for 1500. If you don't get enough calories your body goes into starvation mode and then stores fat to keep it going.
Also do you drink enough water? 3 litres a day? Do you eat enough lean protein? It seems to me you have tried all these diets but no one has supported you enough and given you guidance. Do you exercise?
It's about re educating people about healthy eating. If you need more support I will happily give you my routine! Don't let it get you down, you can do it xx

catsrus Tue 12-Feb-13 21:52:46

mishello I'm afraid what you are saying does not have much basis in the new scientific knowledge which underpins this way of eating. have you actually seen the Horizon Documentary or read the research on which it's based?

This is a very different approach to the on national diet wisdom. It is not only ok to skip breakfast it can be beneficial. Starvation mode is a myth - unless you really are starving. This thread is a support thread for people following a version of intermittent fasting - which does involve very low cal eating on one or more days a week.

Newlook Tue 12-Feb-13 21:56:13

Thank you very much Dotty Itsaboat Bssh Boshh and After 8 hope I didn't miss anyone out- am back from school meeting, sitter gone, kids in bed and it's sooo helpful to read your comments - I LOVE this thread! I will amend as needed on the MFP and watch the revised numbers during the week. I know I'm only 2 days in (2nd fast day tomorrow) but so far I am finding this rather exciting - I wish I'd known about Mumsnet and these forums a long time ago. Better late than never!
I am enjoying a glass of wine in anticipation of bouillon and cups of coffee day at a time everyone, we can do it grin

frenchfancy Tue 12-Feb-13 21:57:05

You got there before me Catsrus

Mishello If you start saying thing like "you must never ever skip breakfast" you are not going to last long on the fasting thread. We are fasting. Therefore holding off on breaking the fast as long as possible is a GOOD thing. There is so much evidence out there now that people who skip breakfast DO NOT eat more or put on more weight than those that eat it.

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