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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!

Hasywell Mon 18-Feb-13 20:49:24

Thank you Whether Girl.

Forgot to say, I also find ending the day with a cup of Camomile and Spearmint tea helps me to sleep.

Aftereightsarenolongermine Mon 18-Feb-13 21:23:58

Well done everyone, it's great when you have a successful fast. Fast day for me & I need to polish my halo.

Have cooked roast chicken roast potatoes veg & baked cakes for dcs & their friends. Have prepared several fruits & nuts for family & friends to indulge in.

Oh & me I wait until 8pm to break my fast! & stayed under 450 calories. If I can do it today then so can all of you.

Off to bed now just in case I cave- the cakes look rather yummy.

Itsaboatjack Mon 18-Feb-13 21:42:38

Well done aftereight, have yourself a gold star.

ilikemysleep Mon 18-Feb-13 22:52:18

Hi everybody
I have just started this WOE and today was my 4th fast. I don't find fasting at 500 cals very hard but haven't lost any weight - well, I had lost a few pounds mid week but it was all back on yesterday when I did weekly weigh in! I think the massive box of chocs that DH bought me for valentines didn't help - I had to get them finished before fasting today, the children did help eat them but probably not as much as I would like to think they did!

My question is - I am fine on fast days except for very occasional dizziness - but even a cup of coffee with a little milk in will sort that out - but I do find I get terribly cold in the evenings and take forever to warm up in bed. Last time, I ended up wrapped round DH to try to get warm - after 23 years together that doesn't happen very often! I tend to get chilly easily anyway but am noticeably colder on fast days. Anyone else have this side effect, and is it of concern?

headintheclouds Mon 18-Feb-13 22:53:18

this is 4 th week for me and fast number 7. So far Ive found it surprisingly easy. Like alot of others I eat at about 7 pm the night before a fast and then I fast for 17/18 hrs,usually having home made low cal soup at 2 pm and then a 350 cal dinner of fish with lots of green veg and vine tomatoes roasted at about 7 pm.
Im trying not to weigh myself until after the 2 nd fast of the week because I dont like seeing the nombers go back up after a feed day !Last week was 1/2 term for us so I changed my fast day out of convenience. I was concerned that if I changed my day from mon/ thurs to Mon/ wed My weight loss might be slower because Id then have 4 'feast'days before Mon IYSWIM. My weight loss has been very slow, week1 2.5 lbs off, week 2 1/2 lb on!! , and week 3 2 lbs off. So in total Ive lost 4 lbs. My waist measurement is unchanged though but Im not fretting because all of this threads experience is positive and Ill hold on to that..Im not a prolific poster but just wanted to share my story so far. Welcome to all new 5:2 ers. I may check back in on Friday morning with a 4 week update.

FlouncingMintyy Mon 18-Feb-13 22:54:50

Gosh, I wouldn't say your weight loss is slow headintheclouds.

I have just done my 45th fast (started 1st Sept) and have lost about 5lb in total.

Choateee Mon 18-Feb-13 22:58:51

Hi ellenbrody, hope your day went well smile

Minimammoth Mon 18-Feb-13 23:10:26

I'm afraid I'm getting cold feet about the fast. I have managed to do a 800 cal intake a couple of times, but can't pluck up courage to do the the proper fast day. Tell me it'll be easy. sad

notapizzaeater Mon 18-Feb-13 23:38:50

I've not found the fasting hard, dread to think of my caffeine intake though ! Lots of black coffee in the morning and then loads of peppermint tea from lunchtime onwards - at least 2 litres of the stuff. Probably why I've not been hungry - too busy peeing blush

I'm freezing cold on a fast day too, and I am never cold ! Am currently laid in bed with electric blanket on trying to warm through to get to sleep.

ErikNorseman Tue 19-Feb-13 06:55:35

Mini if you have done 800 then 500 is no different! You won't know until you try...

swallowedAfly Tue 19-Feb-13 07:01:28

morning all.

well fast day went fine yesterday. i did eat in the evening in the end.

think today i will go through the day without eating and eat tonight but try not to go mad - so not another fast day but giving my body a bit more time to digest and burn iyswim. i could do with losing another couple of lbs this week to get down under the weight that i'm sort of bouncing around - it goes up and down but levels at about 11.8-11.9 over the last week. not complaining as i was 12st when i started less than three weeks ago but feel like there's a little barrier there that i need to get past - don't want to see 11.9 on the scales again.

will see how many steps i usually do today by wearing new pedometer - will just do my usual so i know what i usually do as a baseline.

good luck to those fasting today.

as for feeling cold - i'm a bit of a coldy anyway but yes i do notice it. food is fuel plus it takes a lot of energy to digest so when you're full of food i'm guessing there's a lot of heat being generated. good news is that i remember from diving instructor days that being cold burns calories to keep you warm so try to embrace it - if your body is cold it will have to burn some fuel to warm it up and burnt fuel is good news no?

swallowedAfly Tue 19-Feb-13 07:03:27

will explain that reference in case anyone is interested - water conducts heat away from the body 20xfaster than air so you get cold diving. the metabolism has to work 4xfaster to keep warm when diving which can explain why people were ravenous and why for those of us who worked diving we had to really make sure we ate or veered towards the skinny side.

so being cold makes your body work harder to keep you warm. i even read somewhere once that cold showers kick your metabolism into picking up the pace but i'm not going those extremes! grin

Aftereightsarenolongermine Tue 19-Feb-13 07:48:32

swallowed I'm also a bouncer. For several weeks I was between 11.6 & 11.11. Now I'm between 11.2 & 11.6. This has been my pattern since Christmas I just carry on with 5:2 until I get to the next bounce bit if that makes sense!

NurseEzzzaChapel Tue 19-Feb-13 09:06:48

Thanks BetsyVanBell, my fast day today is going so much better today. I’m only just getting hungry now and as I’m writing this it’s 5pm and the only calories I’ve consumed all day are those in the splash of milk I had in one cup of tea this morning. On all of my fast days last week I was climbing the walls by noon and trying to decide if I could afford to eat a small snack and still have the main meal I’d planned for the evening. I think the big difference is that today I’m letting my mind wander onto all the yummy fresh cooked authentic Chinese food options I have to choose from for lunch tomorrow. The promise of tomorrow is definitely a huge motivator for me.

Welcome to newcomers! HappilyChatterly, I think 5:2 is a great option, especially for someone like you who knows it’s going to take more than a couple of months to get where you want to be. I love the fact that because nothing is banned I’m not desperate to lose my weight as soon as possible and stop depriving myself, because I don’t feel deprived! Wishing you well and I hope to read about your experiences on here! smile

Welcome back GreenEggs! grin

ThinkICan that’s a great spin on a plateau! I’m a bit new to this whole plateauing business, because in the past hitting one has signalled the end of my weight loss attempt and I’ve just gone back to my old ways and put the weight back on again, albeit gradually. I’m really enjoying being able to keep up with this WOE without much hardship even when the number on the scales isn’t going down (scheduled weigh day today and as expected, no downward movement on the scales)… and quite right, even though I’ve been eating nort but junk on non-fast days and I suspect TOTM is approaching there has been no upward movement on the scales either! grin It seems my system when losing weight is like me on a shopping trip: gotta keep stopping to have a rest!

silverbeetle grin I was just thinking today (sat on the floor outside a locked building on campus in the freezing cold to use its really slow Wi-Fi to refresh the 5:2 thread because the internet in my building is still off) that I seem to have replaced snacking throughout the day with a lower calorie habit: Mumsnet!

swallowedAfly, I did a 36 hour water fast once. That was back in October-ish just as an experiment to see if I could do it. Nothing bad happened. I couldn’t do it on a regular basis because it’s a psychological barrier too far for me, but I don’t see why you shouldn’t do it now and then if you feel up for it. Did you do that in the end yesterday?

Ilikemysleep, many of us on here feel a bit colder on fasting days. I have found it helps if before I go to bed I put a hot water bottle on my feet all evening while watching tele. I just keep topping the bottle up with more hot all evening. It seems to warm the rest of me up too. Then when I go to bed I have toasty feet, which is always helpful as I can’t get off to sleep until my feet warm up.

Minimammoth, if 800 kcal is what you can manage on a fast day then do that for now. Reduce calories on fast days to the 500 when you feel up to it. BreadandWine heard about intermittent fasting before the Horizon program came out and as there wasn’t much info out there on how much to eat on a fast day he didn’t go down to the 600 kcals on fast days to start with but (if I’m remembering it right) halved his calorie intake on fast days. Keep popping into this thread, as I’m sure it’s helpful for motivation, and do what you can. When you decide to have a go at lowering your calorie intake on fast days, do it gradually. I couldn’t bear the idea of not having breakfast lunch and dinner when I started in September. I only managed to cut out breakfast on fast days in January, which I did by pushing breakfast later and later each fast day until it merged with lunch. I’m now working on eliminating lunch the same way and am nearly there. So maybe you could gradually find ways to shave a few kcals off each fast day until you’re there.

Sorry, mammoth post. As I mentioned, internet is still out in my building so I’m getting the pages up and taking them back to my room to read in the warm and writing replies in a word doc to cut and paste into a post the next time I venture into the cold. grin

NurseEzzzaChapel Tue 19-Feb-13 09:09:00

swallowedAfly, crossposted

silverbeetle Tue 19-Feb-13 09:09:06

Morning all.
One week in and 3 fasts done and I've lost 2.2lbs - quite happy with that as I've only got about another 10-12lbs to lose. smile

Strangely I actually weighed less (0.2lb) after an eating day, in between fast 2 and 3, so have put on 0.2lb after fast 3! I'm trying to weigh myself everyday to see if my body follows a pattern, too early yet to say what it is.

Also encouraged a friend to give 5:2 a go she needs to lose weight for her wedding in May and has tried every diet under the sun. She has about 3-4 stone to lose, texted me last night after one week in and she's lost 5lbs and really feels she can stick with this WOE - feel like a proud parent grin

Good luck to the fasters today - tip from me, wear plenty of layers, I find I have trouble keeping warm on fast days.

Em2905 Tue 19-Feb-13 09:26:22

Morning all,
Fast day today, like I'm going to split my calories in half as I'm at work. Eggs for brunch and Cod, spinach and tomato tonight.

I had a horrible dream last night, I had the terrible saggy skin. I had lost all of my 6 stone but was so miserable.
Wake this morning, looked at some pictures on the Internet and have scared myself. What if I end up as nothing but saggy skin? confused

Breadandwine Tue 19-Feb-13 09:41:41

Couple here testing their IGF-1 at regular intervals. Interesting and positive results:

I've stuck it on the T&L thread! smile

MyGlassIsJustHalfWet Tue 19-Feb-13 09:45:43

Morning, can I join you please?
Got 30lb to lose by end of may so 2lb a week.
Sick of fad diets and need something sustainable.
Signed up to mfp.
Just a quick question- had a look at tdee calculator and it says there's 3500 cals in a lb so to lose 2lb a week I need to reduce cals by 7000 a week. That leaves me with 770 cals a day to eat?! Is that right- please say no!!
Anyway, here's to stopping the bingeing cycle and getting back in my Pre upduffed clothes.

JK66 Tue 19-Feb-13 09:46:48

Thanks, silverbeetle I have the lightbox, which is all low calories. It gives you a leaflet with the exact calories in each thing, and it averages between 350 and 500 for the box.

My original post was deleted as a few people complained it was advertising, not sure it was but apologies to anyone who was offended, I thought I was being helpful and I know a few people have tried these boxes. Ho hum.

JK66 Tue 19-Feb-13 09:55:42

MyGlassIsJustHalfWet I don't think it quite works like that, so definitely no! Eating 3500 less calories doesn't lose the equivalent in weight. Don't forget your body still needs to burn calories to exist.

Obviously if you eat too many calories you will put weight on, but one cake doesn't put one cakes worth of calories of weight on you.

For me, it is eat a bit less, move a bit more and repeat, and the 2 fast days are part of the eating less. I have found (I've been doing it since August) that although the phrase "eat what you like on the non-fast days" is a nice one, you're not meant to make up for what you didn't eat on the other two days, just that you don't worry about counting calories which for me is dull. Instead, I've noticed over time that the amount I eat on my non-fast days has reduced - portion sizes are smaller (less mounds of scrummy mash) as you get full sooner.

Now I'm thinking about mash, on a fast day...

MyGlassIsJustHalfWet Tue 19-Feb-13 10:01:06

Thank you! Glad to hear that as was starting to panic! Will definately have to cut down cals on non fast days though as I'm just eating a disgusting amount. Hopefully this will be a healthier way to get back on track.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Tue 19-Feb-13 10:09:50

Hello ladies - can I ask some advice?

I've been doing 5:2 for 2 months now and it's been highly successful in some ways - I've lost 8lb to add to the 16lb I lost last year by eating carefully. However... by the end of the day I'm very irritable and shaky, and as I have a 10 month old and 3 year old that doesn't really work. I'm bored rigid of the fast days. Just like I was bored rigid of eating carefully! grin

1) Do you think as I'm nearly 6ft tall it might be worth me trying the men's amount, ie 600 cals, to see if it makes me less miserable?
2) What happens if you stop for a couple of weeks? I'm kind of terrified of putting the weight back on, it's such BLOODY hard work getting it off.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Feb-13 10:14:31

We're close to the end of our thread here

I've made a new thread here.

This current thread will close once it hits 1000 posts, hence my having made the new thread already so that we have all the links there ready to go.

So, go bookmark that one, and keep in mind that this thread is very close to being full so discussion will be moving to the new thread shortly.


GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Feb-13 10:18:35

panpiper Personally, if you're thinking eating the 600 calories on fast days would help you to keep going with this WOE, I'd go ahead and do that. I sometimes approach 600 calories. I'm also quite tall, and have a higher than average TDEE, so I think that it doesn't matter much over the long term (fast day calories are higher for men because 1/4 of their daily allowance is 600). I think what we eat on our non-fast days has more impact on weight loss (but that's my personal findings; results may vary! grin)

I still aim for 500, though.

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