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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!

NurseEzzzaChapel Thu 07-Mar-13 12:14:03


Mumsnet threads have a maximum number of posts which is 1000. As this discussion is so popular it has continued over many new threads.

If you would like to continue reading the discussion, here is a link to thread 13.

If you’d like to read the discussion from the beginning here’s a link to thread number 1.

If you would like to jump in and join the conversation we'd love to hear from you. Please join us on the latest thread to post your comments. As I'm posting this, the latest thread is number 14 which you can find here.

We soon outgrow the threads, but there's always a link to the next thread near the end of the previous one so come and join us!


NurseEzzzaChapel Thu 07-Mar-13 12:13:45


Annika11 Tue 05-Mar-13 16:05:18

I share your pain, no joy for me either...have you had any pearls of wisdom from anyone?

Annika11 Tue 05-Mar-13 16:04:02

Hmmm, I'm now on my third week. I don't gorge on the 5 days, just sensible eating.

I've not lost so much as a pound!!!! What's going on? It's becoming really upsetting.

Anyone else experienced this....any pearls of wisdom??

Thanks ladies.

Outnoobered Mon 04-Mar-13 15:58:25

Hi everyone, first post!

Male, 46. Been doing mostly 5:2 (occasionally 4:3) since the beginning of September and I've lost around 2 stone in that 6 months. BMI is now around 23.

Anyway, I have a question I never thought I'd need to ask: when do I stop trying to lose weight? what is the ideal BMI? Obviously the advice is 18.5 to 25 but within that range, is it best to be at the mid point or the lower end? I did read some stuff that said around 19.5 is ideal but other stuff said over 22.5 was better = confused!

I'm thinking of the best weight for health and I'm aware of the shortcomings of the BMI scale.

Apologies if this has been asked before and thanks in advance,

jimbob79 Sat 02-Mar-13 21:49:20

Hi All...i'm a dad not a mum....Ok for me to join you???
i've been on 5:2 for last 3 weeks ago am already feeling benefits! weigh in today was 10lb lighter then 3weeks ago! feeling great (greater clarity of ming and more get up and go!) and looking forward to fast days....great WOL

Anniejannie Wed 27-Feb-13 14:33:37

Hi everyone! Am on my third week of 5:2 and have lost 5 lbs. hoping that posting on here will give me motivation to stick with it, tho am finding it not too bad compared to other diets.
Does anyone know if it's ok to do this woe while trying to conceive? Am 5 ft 10 and 15 st 5 so really need to lose weight (3 stone gained since having daughter 3 years ago) but really want another baby! Know it can take a while to fall pregnant so don't want to hold off too long but don't want to be several stone heavier and have to start dieting all over again!

squeezelt Mon 25-Feb-13 10:57:25

Hi - I am new to this message board and looking for some advice/encouragement.
I have been on 5:2 fasting for a week and a half (3 fasts so far). In addition I took up running three weeks ago and am now running (not very far but its better than nothing!) 3 times a week.
I was devastated to find that on weighing myself this morning I have not lost 1 lb!! Very demoralising. I have been eating freely on no fast days - do I need to reign in the clarie consumption on these days too do you think (I tend to eat rather unhealthily as have a v sweet tooth)?
I'm going to continue as hope there will be a cumulative effect but was hoping for some quicker results - anyone else had the same experience? Any advice much appreciated

Sutinder Fri 22-Feb-13 15:59:05

Hi everyone...I really want to start this way of eating. I just cannot lose weight. Your stories are very inspiring...lots of help needed please

Breadandwine Fri 22-Feb-13 01:15:11

Hi dines and welcome. Get yourself over to thread nr 13 - link above! smile

dines Thu 21-Feb-13 23:15:27

Hello I'm new to this site.I am going to start the 5:2 diet on Monday I weigh about 10 stone and I am 5'4, losing half a stone is my aim for now. How did everyone get on with this diet ? And Will I lose weight slower because I Havnt got much to lose?

Laska42 Tue 19-Feb-13 18:03:28


Laska42 Tue 19-Feb-13 18:01:13


orangeandlemons Tue 19-Feb-13 17:36:58

Spirited, this is me. I have stuck so closely to it, but lost nothing. I have been careful on feed days, but don't count calories as I hate calorie counting and thought this was the whole point of it. I have today had a day of 1000 calories to try and lose some, so don't know what is going to happen. But like you, am very very disappointed, I can do this, but cannot do calorie counting, and I find the new ww proplus points unmanageable.

I also found I never lost weight when I went to Slimming World, so I don't know what's going on. I will have done a month on Friday, and apart from 1 1/2 pounds in the first week when I practically ate nothing all week, I haven't lost anything, not even an oz.

There seems to a few people like us, perhaps we need to start out own thread

LaurieFairyCake Tue 19-Feb-13 15:04:54

Spirited - 4 options to think about.

1. Are you eating too little? Tell us your calories on eating days
2. Are you eating too much?
3. Are you already the correct weight for your height/have a normal bmi?
4. Switching after a weight loss from another diet may mean that it's not the other diet (it could have been water) but that now you're keeping off real weight. Whichever way you look at it 5lb loss in 5 weeks is GOOD! Consider it a pound a week loss, not 5 pound in the first 2 and none therafter. So focus on a longer term and see where you are in a month.


SpiritedLondon Tue 19-Feb-13 14:49:06

Not losing weight. Help!

This is my first time posting but I really need some inspiration to carry on with my 5:2. Initially I started a WW diet in the middle of Jan and quickly lost 5llbs or so in the first 2 weeks. I then switched to 5:2 ( v bored of counting points) and have completed 3 weeks. Yesterday was my 7th fast day. Over that time I have not lost any weight...I promise you not a pound. I started at 13stone 10 pounds four ounces and I have remained that throughout ( even down to the ounces) Today I weight 13stone 9 lbs but I know that in the morning it will be back up. I believe I'm following all the appropriate advice and am not going over my calories ( I log them all online). I've been reading through the thread trying to find some suggestions and have become so tearful at reading all the weightloss that everyone else seems to be enjoying over the same period of time. Any ideas anyone? I have not been particularly careful on my "feast" days and have enjoyed a moderate amount of treats chocolate, cake and takeaways etc but I have by no means gone mad and gorged. I guess I could cut down my calories on those days but then that seems to be just "dieting" which is what I was trying to avoid.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Tue 19-Feb-13 12:47:44

Thanks silver. I have lost 11kg since June last year so I'm pretty proud of myself. grin

silverbeetle Tue 19-Feb-13 11:25:28

CountryHouse I started on the 17 Day diet about a month ago and whilst it wasn't so prescriptive as the diet you describe, cycle 1 did restrict certain food groups. Yes, it worked as it gave me the kick start I needed and I lost 10lbs in 17 days but the choice was so limited I began to dread preparing and eating the food as it neared the end of the cycle. Quite clearly for me this diet was too restrictive and not something I could live with long term, even when moving on to the next cycles which did introduce small amounts of carbs.
I stumbled across the Fast Diet book whilst wandering around Tesco a few weeks ago, where it was on offer (may still be at £2.95), read and thought that although it had many parallels to the previous diet this was a much more sustainable, flexible and any enjoyable way of eating.

I agree with the other posters, I stick to 500 cals on a fast day and then eat whatever I like on feed days, as long as I stay within my TDEE. One tip I picked up here was to initially track my cals on feed days using MFP (MyFitnessPlanner), just so that I could get a grip on portion size versus cals

Give it a go and see how you feel.

Panpiper 4kgs is really good, well done smile

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Tue 19-Feb-13 11:06:12

PS If 8lb in 3 months doesn't sound like much, bear in mind a) Christmas was in the way, and b) I am getting close to my goal weight so weight loss does slow down.

It was actually 4kg so more like 9lb

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Tue 19-Feb-13 11:01:08

CountryHouse - I've been doing the 5:2 for 3 months and have lost 8lb. I'm having my own problems with it but I can tell you this much: I bought no books, I eat normally on the non-fast days, and it works.

I followed no advice other than the basic tenet of stick to 500 cals on the fast days. This means I eat pretty much exclusively prawns, spices and veggies and a tiny amount of noodles in a mirin/chicken stock soup. And an egg here and there. You don't really need a book tbh. I don't stuff myself on non-fast days as your tummy shrinks a bit and you don't feel the need.

I think the 5:2 book is as much about living longer than weight loss, as that is what MM was researching - the weight loss was a side benefit for him, though obviously most of us see it as the main benefit! That would explain no salty foods and little red meat as these are shown to have long-term accumulative negative effects on health.

What you are describing is unneccessarily restrictive to start with, to my mind. Why don't you just try fasting 2 days and being mindful of how much you eat on other days, and leave the book for the moment?

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Feb-13 10:58:43

Just to repeat for everything, this thread is closing soon as we're within 20 posts of our 1000 post limit.

The *new thread is here*: HERE

So please go bookmark that one as this one soon won't be accepting new posts.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 19-Feb-13 10:57:15

oh wow, countryhouse. um. I haven't read that book. I would say the majority of us posting in these threads have been following a more KISS approach (an acronym from my business school days, Keep It Simple, Stupid grin, a good approach for design planning. But, I digress...)

There are many books out there now, and perhaps someone else here has read the particular book you are referring to. But I'll outline briefly what many of us who have been following Michael Mosley's advice have been doing:

Eat 500 calories on fast days, 600 if you're male. These calories can come from any number of sources, however MM suggests making the majority of them come from veg, alongside a bit of protein if wanted. This is easily done with a hearty veg soup, veg curry, or a salad.

Carbs.. well, we aren't told to avoid carbs, however most of us quickly found that eating bread on a fast day, especially early on, would only make our appetite increase and that's the last thing we want on a fast day.

My mind is still boggling at the rules and regulations you've mentioned. shock Are these newer books trying to make this very difficult? It really should be quite simple. That's the appeal!

BTW if you'd like to re-post your question in our new thread, I'll re-post my answer there. You might get more responses. I'd be interested in reading responses from others!

countryhousehotel Tue 19-Feb-13 10:44:41

Hello, been lurking on this thread this week as DH and I seriously thinking of giving IF a go (5:2 to start with, maybe upping to 4:3). I have ordered the book, but just waiting for it to arrive. In the meantime I have some questions, I someone can help!

We were initially intrigued by the 2 Day Diet that just came out, and having pre-ordered the book on Amazon we received it this week. I have to say we were both quite disappointed with the diet. It's pretty restrictive all week, in that you are given min and max levels for serving sizes every day of the week not just on Fast days.

For example, at my age, height and weight I am allowed maximum 9 servings of Carbs on a non-restricted day (ie on 5 days a week). One serving is a tablespoon of porrige or muesli. So, if I want muesli for breakfast and have a decent (but not overboard) sized serving, I am probably going to use up most of my Carb servings for the day!!

There are also hundreds of rules and regs around not eating too much salty meat or fish (eg don't have smoked salmon more than once a week, don't eat red meat more than one day a week etc). Now I understand the health reasons behind this but I don't want to follow a plan that puts those sorts of restrictions on what we eat every day of the week.

That's certainly not what we envisaged, although we do realise that what you eat on the 5 days is important and you can't binge on junk and processed rubbish and expect to be healthy and lose weight.

My question for you 5:2 experts is, to what extent does the 5:2 book give you restrictions for your 5 days? Are you given serving size guidelines as prescriptive as I've described above? Or is it more about retaining control over portions, and focusing on healthier meals but without going further in to it? There are menu and recipe ideas for the unrestricted days in the 2 Day Diet, none of which particularly appealed to DH as they are quite "diet" like. So I am hoping we will find that the 5:2 allows for a bit more freedom on the non fasting days than the 2 Day Diet seems to allow for!

Sorry this is long, we are both very motivated to go for it but just disappointed that the one we went for hasn't met our expectations!

We are planning on starting next week (the DCs and I on half term this week - too difficult to start anything with all the socialising and day trips we have planned).

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Tue 19-Feb-13 10:32:16

greeneggs that's interesting, didn't realise it was 1/4 of daily amount (doh). My TDEE is 2100 so not that much more than average.

I'll post this on the new thread as well.

PanpiperAtTheGatesOfYawn Tue 19-Feb-13 10:29:41

8lb in 3 months not 2

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