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5:2 Diet Thread! 14 threads in a stone?

(976 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 28-Feb-13 10:18:18

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!

If you've been at this a while and are moving on to maintaining your goal weight, there is a thread here to discuss that.

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.

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!

Dotty342kids Thu 28-Feb-13 13:22:53

scrazy it really varies I'm afraid. Some have lost 10-11lbs in four weeks, others have lost more like 4lbs! I guess it really depends on your starting weight and what your eating habits were like beforehand. For those who are much further away from their ideal weight or who were dramatically over their recommended calorie intake then the loss is probably quite quick to start with. Those who don't have so much to lose or who aren't changing their habits so dramatically probably see a more gradual loss.
Good luck!

systemsaddict Thu 28-Feb-13 13:24:13

OK I am convinced, having seen the speed these threads have built up on MN I will try it.

My history: was always overweight until I discovered carb-controlled eating aged 27. Then had 7 years of being really well, and in control of my weight, until I had children - since when, I've had another 7 years of not being able to stick to carb-controlled plan any more, principally because life just gets in the way, it gets too hard to prepare low-carb food in advance, and I also ended up having to prepare different food for kids which wasn't workable. So I have been getting bigger and bigger, with occasional bursts of shrinking when I got back on top of my eating again for short periods. My energy levels are pretty rubbish, too.

I work full-time in a sedentary job and I can see I could work this into my weekdays - if I do the 500 cal days, say, Tuesday (when I work late and kids eat separately anyway) and Friday, it is actually less work for me rather than more. So. First trial fast day tomorrow ....

dines Thu 28-Feb-13 13:30:25

Hello all none fast day today.. I hate peppermint tea for drinks in the morning then had 2 cups of coffee nearer to the afternoon had my lunch at 12..onion baguette filled with a little cheese with streaky bacon crisps and a chocolate orange cookie and goin to have spag bowl for dinner wen I get home from work.. fasting again on Monday and weighing..hope I've lost.

greenfig Thu 28-Feb-13 13:30:42

Good luck systems My reasons for starting are similar to yours. Lo carbing was difficult to fit into family life & budget. It worked really well for me losing weight but I was finding I needed to continue just to maintain. Also after recently watching the programme I was concerned that my diet was too high protein & the affects of that. It helps me to have an idea of what I'm going to eat the next day so that I don't get easily distracted!!

artemis17 Thu 28-Feb-13 13:33:03

Talkinpeace thanks for the info flowers My DS is 16 so "likely to humor not listen" lol and eats really well all the time but wont eat breakfast, i guess ive never set that example at dont eat it myself which is great with for 5-2 smile. Its just hard to go against the grain of all the advice that "breakfast is essential start to the day".

Dotty342kids Thu 28-Feb-13 13:43:56

Welcome to the madness systems! Sounds like you've seen how this could work for you and got a plan in place so hopefully it'll work out well! Remember, tomorrow, to keep lots of liquids to hand and work out in advance what you'll eat and when. For me, I can keep going till 2-3.00 but then I just have to eat something - usally a hard boiled egg or a banana, then my tea of around 400 cals.

notapizzaeater Thu 28-Feb-13 13:46:54

Fasting again today ! Went out last night and "tea" was pie and peas so I had a huge bowl of mushy peas ! Feeling the effects today though grin need to pop out soon and shop including sme more peppermint tea, seem to be getting though boxes of the tuff.

Tea tonight will be hard, making chicken curry, am going to gt a can of sup for me I think - though I am saving all my 500 calories for tea so a true 22 hr fast !

Put some jeans on today and def felt looseron the legs grin

PassTheSherry Thu 28-Feb-13 14:15:16

Omg trust me - missed the boat on the previous thread and posted when everyone had already moved here. off to cut and paste

pinklady1107 Thu 28-Feb-13 14:16:49

Just bookmarking.

Half way through first day and although I have a major headache feel ok. Am drinking plenty which helps.


PassTheSherry Thu 28-Feb-13 14:18:30

Try again!

Hi everyone! Gosh this thread moves fast - I posted a little 'hello' less than a week ago and meant to say thanks for the welcome, been busy a couple of days and now I've lost track from when I last posted as it's moved on so much! Anyway - thank you for the welcome, and the helpful posts for newcomers.

Quick update - had first ever fast day last Saturday and it went OK - the fasting was hard, but doable - however, I had the worst night's sleep in quite a long time that night, couldn't drop off until well after 4am, and tired all next day. Second day of fasting went a lot better, as I deliberately chose a busy day, with lots to do to keep my mind off food. I also bought in two ready meals and saved myself the hassle of cooking and totting up calories of every ingredient etc. Lots of water and vegetable bouillon. The total calories came to more than 500 - but as I was out and about, on my feet for a lot - and walking around I took that into account. MyFitnessPal app is my new best friend.

Heh talking of which - today is a non-fast day, and I went for a full english breakfast, coffee - used the app to see how much of my daily calories I've eaten, and to my horror it's already up to 1800!!! I had no idea it would be that much.

So, now I'm thinking - shall I just count today as a blip and eat more sensibly for the rest of the day, and spend tomorrow on 430-500cals fasting - or shall I start fasting now, stick to <500 cals between now and tomorrow, and eat normally again from tomorrow lunchtime??

I'm a little unclear about the 24hr 'fasting periods' - is it 24hrs between meals? Because that is a lot easier than a day of fasting with a night's sleep on either end iyswim.

Anja1Cam Thu 28-Feb-13 14:20:52

TIP I hear you! I needed you yesterday evening though, to stop me reaching for the biscuit tin (after an otherwise healthy normal day!)

Fast day today, apart from herbal teas and my morning black coffee I've had one Miso Soup. If I can do this on a Fast Day why not on a Feast Day?!?

I find eating as little as possible during the day is okay, and allows me a 'proper' dinner. Tonight it's Meatballs in tomato sauce, with extra courgettes or cauliflower rice instead of the spaghetti everyone else is having! Plus yoghurt with stewed Rhubarb. I'm really trying to disguise from my kids that I'm eating a bit differently to them and it's working so far. On Tuesday we 'had run out of noodles' so I was having nothing with our veg-heavy stir fry wink... And I can actually accept a biscuit or bake a cake and enjoy it at the weekend now.

On another note, I can already see results grin in my trouser fit, waist and legs.

Fillybuster Thu 28-Feb-13 14:22:12

thanks, I can't believe we're onto another thread. I joined at #8 and still feel like a total newbie grin

Another fast day here, as well. Sticking with my normal 'no cals at all until 24 hours' approach but much much harder today as I'm working from home...and utterly freezing!

It won't be a 'real' fast as I'm going out to a veggie restaurant tonight to celebrate some girlfriends birthdays, and will not be holding back, but hopefully a 24 hour fast in advance will help balance whatever I eat this evening (which won't be huge - the restaurant is lovely, but smart with v small portions!). Second fast of the week, and I'm holding steady at 9st 9lbs, so more of a maintenance one anyway...

snoworneahva Thu 28-Feb-13 14:44:32

My dcs have always enjoyed a big breakfast - no processed cereal though or fruit juice - if they want fruit they have to eat it rather than drink it. They usually have porridge, eggs or a home made full fat greek yoghurt and fruit smoothie - sometimes a double cream and frozen fruit ice cream. They are allowed one can of Good Earth cola a week but can have a Coke when we eat out. They get one packet of sweets a week, often they don't finish them....they tend to want to eat homemade cakes rather than make requests for sweets - which are admittedly high in sugar but at least they contain some nutrients, and no crap additives.
We rarely eat crisps, I hate processed junk food. They can eat what they like at friends houses and on holidays.

They can have snacks after school, I don't have a problem with that, they are hungry - we don't eat till 7 or 8.00pm, so they would need something to keep the hunger pangs at bay!

countryhousehotel Thu 28-Feb-13 14:55:04

Wow these threads move fast! Glad I sparked an egg and asparagus run this morning!

Well, day 4 for me (2nd fast day) and already its gone tits up. Went to a friend for (very late) morning playdate, which ended up being at midday as she was running late. Turned up to find she had got lunch ready before we arrived. Hadn't prewarned her about fasting (don't know her that well).

So upshot is I ate a huge bowl of very delicious salad with goats cheese, giant couscous, sprouted chickpeas, lovely dressing. And a piece of baguette. Couldn't be rude though. And I have probably gone over 500 cals, so do I jack in the fast and minimise the damage by just having a light supper tonight (the red lentil, roasted red pepper, carrot soup) OR do I fast until late tomorrow morning from now to get an extended fast period under my belt.

Talkinpeace wwyd?

ubik Thu 28-Feb-13 14:59:51

mine do get snacks after school but it tends to be some cheese/baguette or fruit - on athletics/gym/swimming days they get biscuits and we do have 'Sweetie Friday' which is hotly anticipated by all three as they get to choose a sweetie although I refused to buy the brain licker
I don't buy fizzy drinks or juice though - just plain water or milk in our house and usually it's fruit for pudding.

Fasting today and writing an essay - have already had a two egg omelette with ham and spinach and will have baked cod with mustard sauce and yet more spinach for dinner. Suspect I will be more like 700 cals today but am bloody freezing and have an essay to write so bugger it.

Talkinpeace Thu 28-Feb-13 15:03:21

I'd have eaten that too for a start - fast or no fast - sounds yummy! And baguette is an utter weakness of mine.
TBH have the soup tonight, put it down as a half fast and be busy to burn some of it off.

I'm with you on "stuff that, its cold" and have been relaxing a tad on the actual number of calories (thought not the hours) on these nasy raw cold days.

snoworneahva Thu 28-Feb-13 15:04:55

I blame dh for the bleeding coke obsession, he introduced it!!

ExitPursuedByABear Thu 28-Feb-13 15:55:06

Second fast day today and I am struggling a bit.

I am using MFP and I know I am not eating all my allowance on my non fast days. Food is a bit like alcohol with me, once I have one I want more.

Will have to revisit my meals.

GreenEggsAndNichts Thu 28-Feb-13 16:10:41

Thanks everyone thanks Can see it was a good call to start the new thread!

Today is a fast day, which is good because I've been incredibly busy and unable to give much thought to food. Not a clue what's for dinner but I suspect it'll be one of the trusty Covent Garden veg soups I have in the fridge.

Filly see, you just get stuck in posting and before you know it you're an old hand. grin

BetsyVanBell Thu 28-Feb-13 16:11:08

Marking place.

swallowedAfly Thu 28-Feb-13 16:36:25

hi. was going to fast today but have decided to do tomorrow instead. a) i have period pains and feel a bit off (hoping that will come overnight) and b) i really fancied a glass of wine just now and decided that i would have it and just fast tomorrow.

i didn't have anything until just now so still got a good 20hr fast in for the health purposes.

no desire to go mad tonight with calories but am really enjoying a glass of white wine. will fast tomorrow when i'm at work and naturally do a lot more exercise.

Bramblesinafield Thu 28-Feb-13 17:19:37


My usual fast day today, but assessing, so couldn't incAe my stomach rumbled!

Can't tomorrow as sons birthday and away on a course with colleague unch sat. So, will skip one. However, am not as hungry as I used to be since before fasting, so am sure that it will balance out somewhere!

ELR Thu 28-Feb-13 17:19:51

Hi everyone, fast day today my fourth so far and I am finding it a little tougher than the others.
Went straight from the school run to blue water for a day of shopping with a friend which was fine as it was her first fast today. We went to Pret for lunch so had a soup only 213calories and then a cuppa but was a veg soup not my usual porridge so didnt have the totally full feeling.
The difficult bit started when we got home after school pick up, I had turned the heating off this morning due to being out all day so am freezing!! I've had veg bouillon and thank god DH is home a little earlier tonight so dinner should be at about 6 I can't wait!! But I'm holding up, just emptied kids lunch boxes and both had left a bit of wholemeal roll with roast chicken I could have easily eaten them but I quickly poured water over them to stop myself!

Right off to prepare dinner and think I will have a cup of tea to keep me going and warm me up...

ELR Thu 28-Feb-13 17:22:25

P.S. just I case you are wondering we are having mustardy celeriac mash, wilted spinach and green beans and sea bass fillets

Wishihadabs Thu 28-Feb-13 18:01:52

2nd fast day, much easier than 1st. Chose to have my calories hot at lunchtime-makes a massive difference. I know lots of you have v. Long fasts then a more normal dinner, but I seem to need my calories earlier in the day.I still have 200 to spend but wouldn't be bothered not eating again now.

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