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The 5:2 Diet Thread number 18! Breaking out the summer wardrobe?

(999 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Mon 22-Apr-13 10:51:27

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. (I highly recommend this for an 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!

frenchfancy Tue 23-Apr-13 06:15:45

Welcome to the fold fluffypillow (great name btw). 2st by December is perfectly doable, I've lost 2st since last September.

Remember what ever you fancy you can have it tomorrow. Hold off eating as long as you can, try not to eat just becuase it is a mealtime.

CorrieDale Tue 23-Apr-13 06:58:18

After a horrible day yesterday, reflected in a failed fast, today WILL be better. So I'm going to skip breakfast in order to get some work done and if that goes well will declare today my new fast day. Onwards and upwards. I mean downwards. wink

ellenbrody Tue 23-Apr-13 07:00:31

fluffypillow skip breakfast as eating flips your hunger switch, I have a smallish meal at lunch (150 cals) and a larger one in the evening. This seems to work for me. Others go all day and just have all their calories in the evening, that seems to work well too.

It gets easier! The first couple of fasts, you will think of food ALL day, but soon you learn to keep busy and it won't enter your mind so much. You will get to a point (you may not believe me) that you won't get hungry on fast days.

Good luck. Keep posting and visiting this board, it's a wonderful motivator.

Southeastdweller Tue 23-Apr-13 07:17:06

Hi fluffy These threads are fab for motivation plus there's the prospect of a hot summer coming up!

I advise eating low carb on fast days and as much protein as you can. You should plan your fasting on days when you know you're going to be busy - I think this is the biggest thing that's helped me.

Good luck and let us know how you both get on later.

popsnsqeeze Tue 23-Apr-13 07:32:57

So how important is it to stick to a low calorie diet on the non fast days? One of the reasons I like this diet is because I don't have to drive myself crazy on non fast days.
For example, If I am fasting on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, will the effect of those fasts be cancelled by eating normally the rest of the week?

greenfig Tue 23-Apr-13 07:55:25

pops in theory you should be able to eat what you want. However if you've been a long term overeater this could be too much for you to regulate yourself so you could track on MFP. I aim for a 3000 cal p/week deficit. ie my TDEE is 1800 so 12600 p/week, approx 9600 allowing for the deficit.
I have 2 days 500 fast days, post fast days aim for 1200 as appetite is lower, fri 1600 so light during the day but relaxed in the eve (& wine!)
I beleive this should allow me 2000 each w/e day with room for lee way.
I have to say that I do not always manage this but it helps me to keep it in mindgrin I think it's nice that this woe means you don't need to be a slave to it, just do the fasts, but I love a list/chart, to keep me focused!
Great news here, finally back to 9.41/2 this am yippee!!! Pre Easter weight back, I'm on fire!!!

postmanpatscat Tue 23-Apr-13 08:04:50

Hooray greenfig !

Welcome to new starters, and yes it really is true that you will stop feeling hungry! There might be the odd gurgle but that's not the same as the 'I have to eat NOW' feeling.

applegate Tue 23-Apr-13 08:23:40

Just a quick question, this wknd we are away and I know I will eat very well(!) I am also out for lunch Thursday which will involve pudding, cake etc so I was wondering with this in mind whether it is reasonable to fast 3 days (mon, Wednesday Friday) this week in anticipation of my overeating and then go back to 5:2 next week? what would you all do?!

akarucker Tue 23-Apr-13 08:30:19

apple if it were me, I'd do the three days fast, and really enjoy myself on your treat days. Either way, don't stress, just enjoy yourself.

Anja1Cam Tue 23-Apr-13 08:34:06

Hello just a quick note to say I'm still here and mostly reading.

Still catching up after Easter when Eggs, cooking for guests and only mini-fasts on fast days took their toll (yes I still have a love-love relationship with food), And of course SNACKING is still my vice blush

Yesterday was a normal fast and I have finally finally resumed my running schedule abandoned last November due to injury and not yet restarted mainly because the weather zapped any small motivation I might have had!

Keep up the good work and hello to all new starters - you can do this!!

One comment for popsnsqeeze regarding your menu: try to cut down the number of times you eat (and take milk out of coffees / hot drinks), you will see that hunger passes quite quickly, and then you can 'spend' your allowance one a small lunch and nice dinner. I started on that and soon found that eating something at lunchtime woke my hunger so now I go with nothing till dinner around 6pm.

Yesterday was chicken stirfry with lots of Veg, no noodles of course, and a yoghurt. I felt full afterwards and still had calories to spare for a cappuccino (no sugar)

Also popsnsqeeze you saw a 1 kilo loss in 2 weeks, so the trend is down, which is a good sign, so it's working. Weigh yourself only once a week for starters so you don't see the 'bounces' which are perfectly normal. Even for those doing 4:3 compared to 5:2 some research study has show that in general losses average 1lb per week (sorry I don't have the reference)

BetsyVanBell Tue 23-Apr-13 08:38:51

applegate sounds reasonable and exactly what I did when I knew I had an indulgent non-fasting week coming up. smile

I'm still ill but my appetite returned yesterday and now I feel all stodgy digestive-wise, lots of white rice has made me feel a bit yuk. So I will attempt a fast today, which for me usually means lots of salad and veg & a bit of protein over 2 meals. When I'm not feeling right I'm more inclined to fill up on starchy filling food so not exactly optimum nutrition!

pops you should eat normally but 'normal' eating should be whatever your TDEE is. Don't under eat every day, lots of people's experiences on here seem to indicate there needs to be a proper contrast between your fast day and normal day intake. Exercise on a fast day is an excellent fat burner. Jillian Michael's shred makes for an excellent short sharp shock of a calorie burner! Exercise in the morning staves off hunger for hours as well.

popsnsqeeze Tue 23-Apr-13 08:48:44

Thanks for the advice.

Today is a fast day, so I'll have a coffee soon, and then I'll have a sweet potato for lunch. I've exercised today, walked about a mile and a half I think (not in the uk - it's midmorning here already!)
I also want to start running, I'm planning to do a mile a day on the treadmill. I began yesterday so I'll so that again in a couple of hours. DH did the dukan diet last year and he also works out a lot so I'm feeling inspired by him!

I was looking through old photo albums over the weekend and there are all these (prekids!) photos of me in a bikini and I want that body back!!

Itsaboatjack Tue 23-Apr-13 09:40:22

Morning all.

Well had a mini fast yesterday until about 4pm, it was then broken with birthday cake. Then 3 course dinner out with wine. Was very yummy, and good to catch up with friends I don't see very often.

Back to fasting today. So being inspired by a couple of you I am going for a total liquid only fast.

Will be fine during the day as I am busy up until about 8pm but I will have to come up with one good distraction techniques for those last couple of hours.

peplum41 Tue 23-Apr-13 10:20:15

hello smile
just cruising through a morning mini fast, like to book end my monday fast with a mini fast to get me some of those health benefits. Oh, and for calorie damage control! usually feel pretty hungry til I have a black coffee and a read of the threads , then Im ok. Off to a friends tonight for what ever tasty banquet she provides(shes irish and likes to cook as though shes feeding the 5000), plus wine and a good old chinwag. What other diet lets you do that??

Yay greenfig, its like easter never happened, except it did and you enjoyed it. Hurrah for 5;2

southeastdweller where I live there are may pie shops, but the Greggs always has a queue out the door of the most unhealthy looking specimens; squeezed into tracksuits too small for them, greasy hair scraped back, sour expressions on face. Thats enough to put me off Greggs. Theres another local pie shop the other end of town that does a gorgeous mushy pea pie,and the grease on the paper bag makes a great fire lighter for the woodburner.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 23-Apr-13 10:36:28

Not a fast day here, going to be a regular eating day, though I haven't eaten yet. I have a pork shoulder in the slow cooker to make pulled pork BBQ rolls in the evening. It smells lovely. smile

Tomorrow I'm going to do a half-fast, so I won't eat until dinnertime.

Love your summary of Greggs, pep. I don't mind a splurge on fat/calories if it tastes good, but the very few times I've tried their goods I've been less than impressed. I've not had their pies (am picky!) but the pizza things have almost no flavour at all. They're doing well for themselves, though, so they must have a market out there!

akarucker Tue 23-Apr-13 11:30:26

Ok, a better day today. Drinking lots and have a good filling soup for later. Should be able to do the fast today without incident!

tomorrowweeat Tue 23-Apr-13 11:38:48

Well done Aka smile

I had an easy fast yesterday and feel great today. Love that next day post fast feeling. But don't know what to eat today. This is the bit I find so hard Don't want to spoil my fast by gobbling something naughty but nice but feel deprived if I go for the healthy choice! I am finding discovering what "normal" eating is doesn't come easily to me.

Now on my second week of 2 days fasting. I've been doing this for 4 weeks now, first 2 weeks was one day fast per week to see if I really could manage it.
And I can!

I think last week I ate waaay too much on my eating days as I was panicking about the 2 fast days (home made millionaire's shortbread anyone? smile )
This week has been easier. I find it hard about 5pm when the kids have their tea and I have a cup of tea. I also find I lack energy and patience around their bedtime....or is that just normal grin?

I am finding that come about 9pm I stop feeling so hungry and by this morning, I wasn't hungry at all. I did eat breakfast as I don't want the DC to see me not eating regularly.
What I haven't managed yet is to go 16 hrs without food. In the morning, I just can't stomach tea or coffee without milk, so have a cup of tea about 8am. The i try to eat nothing until about 2pm (had a pot of cottage cheese yesterday - 225 calories), then a plum and one tomato and a carrot/coriander soup at 5.30 (170 calories).

I'd like to eat nothing until about 2pm though - maybe a goal.

Is it easy to do exercise with an empty tummy (and thus low blood sugars?)

monster54 Tue 23-Apr-13 12:07:21


I suffer this same dilemma. I really struggle in finding that happy medium. But I just try my best to plan the days meals. That way I include something nice that I might have wanted on the fast day. But I control the calories on other meals to make sure its balanced but not deprived.

popsnsqeeze Tue 23-Apr-13 12:29:49

How important is it really to drink loads of water? I just can't seem to manage drinking loads!

TeeBee Tue 23-Apr-13 12:43:03

Hi ladies, mind if I sidle in the back door and join you? Decided to give the 5:2 a go last night so today is my first fast day. So far doing very well.

Managed to make a huge bolognese without tasting it! All got boxed up and straight into the freezer. I thought this WOE would suit me because as soon as I start thinking of what I can and can't eat I end up thinking of food all day. This morning, I've made myself a large concoction of tinned tomatoes, kidney beans and a few mushrooms with spices in it. I reckon the whole lot amounts to just over 300 calories. I've left it in a pot on the cooker so I'm planning just to have a little each time I get hungry later this afternoon. No real hunger pangs yet and I ate last night about 8pm, so reckon I've done the 16 hour stint already. I'm just drinking lemon green tea with sweetener to keep the wolves at bay (can't possibly have tea without sugar yet).

However, two/three times per week I do martail arts training for 1.5 hours so I'm a bit worried about running out of fighting power on those nights. How has everyone else faired with vigorous exercise on a fasting day? Or should the exercise be done only on non-fast days? Hey, if I develop a bad mood through hunger, might up my fighting though grin

akarucker Tue 23-Apr-13 12:44:00

pop on fast days, it's very important, as you're missing out on a lot of water that would normally come from your food. Try experimenting with different types of teas, or infuse your water with some lemon. Try hot water, herbal or fruit teas. Liquid will also help to curb any hunger, and give you energy, and help your metabolism.

MissRee Tue 23-Apr-13 13:06:48

Another newbie popping in to say hi!

Did my first fast last Thursday and it went well - no breakfast, little ham with lots of salad for lunch and then chicken stir fry for dinner. My biggest struggle is boring afternoons sat at my desk.

Today is fast day and so far I've had a Hartleys 10 cal jelly (breakfast), a pret Hoi Sin Duck salad (144 cals) and tonight we're having salad with some stir fried turkey breast steak (284 cals). Finding it much harder today though!

akarucker Tue 23-Apr-13 13:13:36

missree through trial and error, a lot of people have found that the first bite of food tends to trigger the hunger monster in us! Perhaps try leaving it a little later in the day before eating anything. I only manage until about 3 or 4pm, but I started at 9am! Others manage later. Do it gradually and it will be a little easier. Good luck.

BsshBossh Tue 23-Apr-13 13:27:15

greenfig hurrah!

Itsaboatjack can you exercise in the evening to distract you? A walk whilst the family eats? Remember to continue drinking loads in the evening as you will be taking in no water via food. So hydrate yourself so that body doesn't hold onto water.

TeeBee I exercise intensively on both fast and non-fast days. On fast days I actually exercise in a completely fasted state and exercise better because, I think, a) I don't feel heavy and b) my body is burning fat for fuel not glycogen

It's a fast day for me today. I was struggling a bit earlier but came on Mumsnet, read this thread and some of the 5:2 Fast Diet forum too and now am absolutely fine smile I won't be eating until 9pm tonight (if all things go well) so not a 24 hour fast for me but at least it's 23 hours. My zero calorie 36 hour fast will be Thursday (again, if all things go okay).

My maintenance strategy is 6:1 but that that 1 fast day being a 36 hour one so I want to get a few practice runs in now.

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