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5:2 Diet Thread! Number sweet 16!

(1000 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 22-Mar-13 20:05:14

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- 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.

There's a link to the aforementioned Horizon programme here.

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 by Dr Mosley himself, very informative if you're just starting.

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!

NurseEzzzaChapel Tue 09-Apr-13 08:48:56


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 or 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 17 which you can find here.

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

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!


Minimammoth Mon 08-Apr-13 15:11:42

Postmanpat, I am 5ft 4 too, 9.3 sounds like a dream. However it's all relative. Relative to the rolls around my middlegrin

sweetkitty Mon 08-Apr-13 14:10:45

Just marking my place. Just read the study about IF in women of normal BMI which I am.

Ideally I only need to lose 5-6 pounds but these are the hardest to lose apparently.

GreenEggsAndNichts Mon 08-Apr-13 13:22:16

Whew, about as close as we've cut it, I reckon!

New thread here!

This current thread will end in 3 posts, so please carry on posting in the new thread!

See you there thanks

GreenEggsAndNichts Mon 08-Apr-13 13:20:34

lol ta B&W I'm frantically copying and pasting links right now, it'll be up in less than a min!

Breadandwine Mon 08-Apr-13 13:18:38

*OK, guys, this is important -


I'm sure GreenEggs is working on a new thread, but if you could just hang on for a short while, please!

WhitingLikeTheFish Mon 08-Apr-13 13:08:29

Yeah that's what I'm hoping - I'm giving myself the day off worrying about food today. It's cold and I'm hungry. Tomorrow's a new day and I shall be back on the horse so to speak. How long have you been doing the diet? What have you lost so far?

FirstTimeFaster Mon 08-Apr-13 13:05:17

postmanpatscat thats great, thank you! starting to feel a bit hungry now so time to ocuppy myself! thanks again for all the advise, keep it coming smile

postmanpatscat Mon 08-Apr-13 12:59:23

FTF sometimes I really look forward to breakfast after a fast day...then the morning comes and I'm not particularly hungry! Whatever works for you is fine.

postmanpatscat Mon 08-Apr-13 12:58:29

whiting hello and welcome. Try not to lose faith, the weight will go. I bounced up 2lbs after a meal out last Friday, which was demoralising, but it's gone already. Keep fasting, keep eating well and keep exercising and it will go.

FirstTimeFaster Mon 08-Apr-13 12:58:23

very good advice Dotty thank you! thats ounds like something that would be easier to stick to rather than commiting to the 3 fast days and failing completely!

when you have the normal eating day after a fast, is there anything that says you should eat at any specific time or just have breakfast as usual?

WhitingLikeTheFish Mon 08-Apr-13 12:35:24

Ok my 1st post on the site. I finally tracked down the latest thread...I've been wading through hundreds of posts unable to say anything...

Made it!

Hello All

I am doing the 5:2 and have been for a month. Tomorrow will be my 9th Fast day. I jumped on the scales this morning to find that I have put almost half my weight back on. I'd only lost 7lbs and have been stuck at 14st 10 since Fast Day 3. Then today the scales read 15st! Yes I know some of that will be undigested food (yesterday was a roast and treats for my son's birthday) but really I just feel pretty crap about the whole thing! I have been so good tracking my food on MFP. I have stuck to 475 - 500 on Fast days. Every day I'm pretty healthy I walk 3-5 miles with the dog. I play tennis once or twice a week as well. I'm 5'10 tall so need to get a couple of stone off. But this morn I felt really deflated and tucked into a bag of Maltesers and a slice of birthday cake. I'm not usually like that.

Is anyone else feeling the same?

I manage the fast days well, and enjoy the control but I'm not sure I will continue if it all seems like it's for nothing. Help

Dotty342kids Mon 08-Apr-13 12:16:26

FirstTimeFaster that sounds good (your busy day!).
Re. 4:3 / 5:2, I've only ever done 5:2 but last week was obviously Easter (and I LOVE chocolate) and then I was away on hols for a few days so knew I couldn't get any fasts in.
To prepare for this, the week before Easter I planned my 5:2 as normal but had two other days where I thought I "might" do other fasts if I felt like it. So I planned four "fast friendly" evening meals but mentally said to myself "If I need breakfast / lunch I'll have it". Actually I found on those days that I could get through to teatime so I did manage the 4:3 but think if I'd been too dead set on it at the start I might have wobbled!

FirstTimeFaster Mon 08-Apr-13 12:05:53

Blue2 agreed with the work being a distraction theory which is why i try to make all my fasting days on a work day! gonna try and give the 4:3 a go next week i think but for now im happy just breaking in gently with the 5:2! smile

FirstTimeFaster Mon 08-Apr-13 12:03:48

Dotty thank you! Im already 15 hours in and dont feel at all hungry! have lots to do with my 18 month old as well as around the house so can see myself easily lasting until 4/5pm! so fingers crossed!!
breadandwine thaks for the tip about not nibbling, i always find myself taking a chip from my sons plate and thinking oh its only one, and then looking for other little mothfuls! so i will make it my mission to avoid this from now on knowing that the tiniest nibble makes a difference!!

swallowedAfly Mon 08-Apr-13 12:03:11

YY to teaching the 15yo how to cook! you haven't got long left before he's unleashed on the world and if he still thinks women are chefs on call....

Shewhojuggles Mon 08-Apr-13 11:57:17

Breadandwine I hadn't thought of it like that but yes one little snack inevitably leads to another. I'm up to 14 hrs, just a cup of tea so far. I started last week but haven't been weighed yet. I'm scared in case I haven't lost any and that will kill my motivation for this fast!

Blue2 I'm with you on the school holiday effect. Watching my Dd scoff crumpets earlier was tough! At work I am distracted so don't think about it as much. I think I would rather have most of my 500 cals for my main meal later rather than eat now. Well done on the dance class!

blue2 Mon 08-Apr-13 11:45:00

Hi Everyone

Just checking in with you all. I have to admit that I rarely glance at these pages until I'm on a fast day (today), then I lap up several days of posts!

I'm on week 4 of this woe, and loving it, but hating the 'school holiday effect' when food seems to be the main focus of every day (esp with a 15 yr old DS who needs to eat hourly - I'm sooo going to teach him how to cook!)

I lost 5.5 lbs over the first 3 weeks, went skiing for a week and didn't weigh myself on my return. I just fasted twice the week after I came back, and found myself where I left off weight wise.

This week, I hope to drop some more. Just done a dance class and feel euphoric!

Breadandwine Mon 08-Apr-13 11:34:10

FTF and other newcomers (welcome to the thread, guys) - there's no such thing as a silly question! We were all beginners once, right? And these threads are here to answer any question anyone may have. We all want to get it right, right? smile

To anyone fasting today - don't forget that any nibble will flick the 'hunger switch' and you'll more than likely want another nibble. It won't assuage your hunger, rather it will stimulate it. Keep a kitchen timer handy and set it for another 15-20 minutes, see if you still need something. Chances are you won't. Dotty's half-hour tip is a good one.

All the best to everyone - I'm currently 16 hours into a 48 hour fast, ATM, and all I've had is water and a cup of coffee. I'm one of the lucky ones in that I've never felt hungry on my fasts - certainly up to 24 hours. smile

Dotty342kids Mon 08-Apr-13 11:33:33

FirstTimeFaster, yes that's right. 16hrs from last time of feeding "counts" as a fast, though the nearer you can get to the Holy Grail of 24hrs, the better grin
To start with I had to eat something at 2pm, then 3pm but now I almost always get to 6-7pm before eating which is usually 22-24hrs from last food. Amazing how you do get used to it!

FirstTimeFaster Mon 08-Apr-13 11:18:58

thanks for all your tips guys!! really appreciated!
so basically, where the '16 hour rule' is concerned, try to last through for atleast 16 hours since the last meal, into a fasting day before having any food?? I ate at 9pm last night, not good but was starving so if I can last until atleast 1oclock, which is definitely acheivable, then thats the required 16 hours? Sorry for all the questions smile x
sorry to be a pain, just want to understand it fully!!

swallowedAfly Mon 08-Apr-13 11:10:45

and yay on only 1lb gained! i'm loving the signs that this wol can lead to greater weight stability

swallowedAfly Mon 08-Apr-13 11:10:20

thanks. dotty i am mostly legs and they never tend to get particularly fat. so all the fat has come off of my short middle which makes the most difference to clothes sizes i think. would like to see some go off of my upper arms soon and i would love for my boobs to shrink a bit! i can change sizes on the bottom pretty easily - my top half is the issue due to breasts - narrow back but wide in the front.

aroomofherown Mon 08-Apr-13 11:10:05

FTF I'd say keep busy and just don't think about food, eat nutritious food (on your feed days and for your 500 cals), and get a good night's sleep the night before (maybe a little late for that advice though). Good luck! My first fast day was a nightmare because I wasn't organised, was hungover and had McD's the night before (oh the shame).

And yes drink loads of water.

Dotty342kids Mon 08-Apr-13 11:05:16

swallowedafly that is BRILLIANT! Well done - ooh I'm so pleased for you. Can't believe the size clothes you're in though - I'm now comfortable in a 14 but nowhere near a 12 yet. Must be the extra three inches height advantage that you've got over me! Well done anyway.
Fasting for me today, thank goodness.
firstTimeFaster, have a bottle of water with you at all times and drink it frequently. Every time you have hunger pangs tell yourself you can just go another half hour. And then another, and another. If you can get to 16hrs from your dinner last night then you've acheived what Dr M says is a good, health benefiting fast. Any longer than that is obviously great too but on your first day, getting to 16hrs is an acheivement!
Use your 500cals wisely - salmon / chicken / lots of veggies gives you the most food for your calories. Carbohydrates will provide very short satisfaction! Good luck and enjoy it.

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