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The 5:2 thread number 35 - A new year’s resolution you’ll want to keep? Try 5:2 - it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle. Whether you want to shift fat, get healthy or discover some missing self control -

(1000 Posts)
BetsyBell Wed 08-Jan-14 17:11:23

The continuing thread for those of us following the 5:2 fast or other forms of fasting such as 4:3, ADF, or daily 16:8.

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 normally - or approximately your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE - see explanation below). 4:3 is the same except you fast on 3 days in the week. Alternate-day fasting (ADF) is just how it sounds; you fast every other day. 16:8 is another form where you stick to only eating in an 8 hour window each day, therefore fasting for 16 hours each 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 or app 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 TDEE calculator to help you figure out how many calories you should be eating in a day.

NFD = Non fast day

NSV/LSV = Non scale victory/Lifestyle (change) victory

Michael Mosley has a website to accompany his book on the subject. Please go check it out, as he's the whole reason most of us are here!

Lurkers and new starters: please just jump in and post - you'll find a lot of support here and we’re a friendly bunch.

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:

Other Threads
All our previous threads can be found by browsing through the fasting section of the site.

Tips and Links : Another thread which breadandwine has started is a good resource for some of the tips and links 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!

Inspirational: eatriskier’s thread has some lovely inspiring stories which are worth checking out if you want some motivation to get started or keep going through a plateau. Please add your own too.

Recipes: frenchfancy has a recipe thread over here, please post any low-calorie recipes there so they don't get lost in these bigger threads!

Exercise: bigchocfrenzy has an incredibly informative and helpful exercise and fitness thread for discussion and advice on combining 5:2 with an exercise regime.

Maintaining: 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.

Other links
This is a BBC article regarding Michael Mosley's findings, which was featured on Horizon - link to that programme here.

This Telegraph article comments on the diet and gives a brief overview by Dr Mosley himself, very informative if you're just starting.

This blog post 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.

This link nicely demonstrates that there are many body ‘right’ body shapes and types, because what we are actually aiming for is low body fat for fitness and health.

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 article 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. (Though anecdotal evidence from these long-running threads may suggest otherwise…)

A BIG THANK YOU to all who have been contributing. 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.

A HUGE THANK YOU to Greeneggsandnicht for putting together all this info and resources into one concise OP text, much appreciated by so many 5:2ers!

Come join us, and tell us about your experiences with this way of life!

Eatriskier Thu 09-Jan-14 07:10:29

shirty I know what you mean re low fat subs. Though some I really enjoy. Shredded butternut squash makes an excellent pasta substitute. I've taken to doing myself some batch cooking and using some prepacked noodle soups for fast days. My current batched selection is peri peri chicken (to go with a small portion of rice), Irish stew and squash and lentil soup. Though I'm almost out so will need to refill up the weekend.

BigChocFrenzy Thu 09-Jan-14 08:31:32

Well done Elenor, Somewhere

Shirty Ready meals are definitely not cheating. Many of us do this on FDs; it saves so much faffing around and you know the exact calories.

Some folk enjoy special diet substitutes like those zero-cal noodles others think that those are revolting, slimy, stink of old fish and even the dog refuses them

frenchfancy Thu 09-Jan-14 08:40:34

Thanks again Betsy for the new thread. Good to see the support continuing.

DottiestDoris Thu 09-Jan-14 08:46:36

Morning all! Marking my place

ErrolTheDragon Thu 09-Jan-14 08:54:37

The other good thing about ready meals is that if you're not spending so long in the kitchen there's less temptation to absentmindedly eat something! A ready meal with a pile of extra low-carb veg suits me well.

Eggs are pretty similar - nicely packaged, don't need to weigh, quick to cook.

>Shredded butternut squash makes an excellent pasta substitute
I've never seen one in the UK but if you can find them, spaghetti squash is great! (And roast the seeds to eat on non-fd days).

RavenousRunner Thu 09-Jan-14 09:19:32

Whoever said keep busy - you are so right! Was miserable this morning, once I left the house felt fine. Meeting all morning with nothing available but hot drinks feels like a blessing now.

Really need to sleep later on FDs though, getting up at 5 means I have far too long to think about the butter I'll be having on my two pieces of toast tomorrow...

CuckooAtchooUhOh Thu 09-Jan-14 09:21:56

Mornin Losers!

Fd check in.

Eat - you bringeth me first gifteth of the year! Spaghetti squash, I like the sound of that!

Thanks for that link too Errol - but does it really keep for 6 mths???! Wow! Not that it would ever make it that far, just surprised.
Can't get my head around how it will feel, look and taste in this form yet as I've prob only ever roasted them. But excited to try any new food idea - esp if it's of the healthy but tasty and satisfying variety!

DinoSnores Thu 09-Jan-14 09:27:17

I've been doing this WOL for 3.5 weeks now while breastfeeding my 10mo. I've not noticed any change in hunger with DD, although she eats well so only has milk 3-4 times a day. I've kept my FDs to 500 kcal but don't worry too much if I go a bit over. Since I started I've lost 3.5kg so it all seems to be going in the right direction!

Love the shredded butternut squash idea! I got one in the veg box this week and usually just roast it in wedges but will have to try that.

BetsyBell Thu 09-Jan-14 09:27:50

Right Thursday Fasters - LET'S DO THIS!

<drinks black coffee>

ImABadGirl Thu 09-Jan-14 09:28:42

SV for me today I've lost 7lb since starting on the 30th Dec, I know it's mostly water but hey my work skirt is fitting better smile

FD for me yesterday and I wasn't hungry until 4pm then had porridge 160 calories, got home and still wasn't hungry, anyway got to 9pm and went to bed!

so I went 21 and a half hours on only 160 cals and I still feel fine and still not hungry, this has got to be good smile

ImABadGirl Thu 09-Jan-14 09:31:05

Sorry I'm currently on 37 hours on 160 calories, my maths is not my strongest point grin

BetsyBell Thu 09-Jan-14 09:32:17

I usually have a butternut squash either sitting on the counter or roasted chunks in the fridge. Today I have neither shock

Must go shopping!

I don't think butternut would shred very well, they don't have that stringy texture. A coquina or pumpkin probably would.

I love butternut best of all though - those roasted chunks are a wonderful addition to any salad, pasta dish, soup, or just straight from the fridge.

BetsyBell Thu 09-Jan-14 09:34:11

Imabadgirl I reckon some of that 7lb is cold hard fat! Well done smile

TheLeastAccomplishedBennetGirl Thu 09-Jan-14 09:38:51


my engagement ring is now too big and annoys me when i run

<adds to ever-growing shopping list> grin

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Thu 09-Jan-14 09:44:55

As usual, slow to the party hmm.

DD is ill. Plan a quiet day with her.

I am about to make soup and bread.

I posted this on the old thread but was hoping for advice and encouragement but if you want to say stop moaning I will take that too grin -

Morning all. It is blowing a gale here today. Quick post as I need to make 2 packed lunches and get chicken casserole in the slow cooker.

Weigh the same again, 11 stone 6lbs. So frustrating. It did get me thinking though and I recall now that this always happens when I try and lose weight. I lose about a stone then nothing. It happened when I did the diet chef plan, it happened when I did Pig to Twig and now again. Today I intend to have three meals if I can and then see what happens next week. I just know my weight will creep up again so I have to be careful. I remember also when I was doing DC I got stuck so I took a week off and just ate what I wanted. I lost weight.

Hope everyone has a good day.

EATmum Thu 09-Jan-14 09:48:14

Hello everyone. Been a while since I've been on the 5:2 threads, , can I rejoin? After a binge over Christmas I'm back on 5:2 (I had gone to 6:1 as I was at my target weight). I'm after some inspiration - we almost always have chilli/garlic prawns with lots of salad on fasting days - delicious (and only about 200 cals), but I want some inspirations for variety. Anyone want to recommend their favourite FD recipe for me? We tend not to eat in the day so save all the cals for the evening (other than black coffee of course, wouldn't survive without that!)

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Thu 09-Jan-14 09:51:56

Sympathies TheLeastAccomplishedBennettGirl - my rings are too small and to add insult to injury I only had them resized about 3 months ago as I was damaged. They made it too small so it had to go back. Chances are the too small would fit now hmm.

BetsyBell Thu 09-Jan-14 09:53:34

Toffee Plateaus happen when you lose a big chunk of weight (which you have). Your body needs to recalibrate itself to your new weight (I read some science about this at some point but have forgotten it now!). It might take a couple of weeks, it might take a couple of months. Don't get disheartened, keep going as you are and it will start shifting again at some point.

Some things you can try

Changing fast days
Upping exercise
Eating more 1 day a week (feasting!)

This happens to everyone (except the weirdo eatriskier wink ) so you're in good company.

I'm finding it hard to get below my record low from August - I got back there just before Christmas - but then it was Christmas so I'm back up a few pounds again! But I'm just keeping going, getting back into exercise and see what happens. (I'm by no means underweight either - BMI is 23).

Focus on the health benefits not the flab. Oh and measuring's good - 5:2er's waistlines often reduce when the scales don't.

Keep the faith Toffee!

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Thu 09-Jan-14 09:53:43

Welcome back EATmum I remember you smile.

I haven't got a favourite FD recipe yet but one I do like is the cauliflower cheese with anchovies that a 5:2 recommended about 3 threads ago.

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Thu 09-Jan-14 09:59:13

Thank you very much BetsyBell. Does the fact it has happened with all previous attempts mean that it isn't something I am doing wrong as so much as my body doing what it wants?

I am making soup but will definitely be having it with some lovely cheese and bread today. I will have a feast day with lovely food and tomorrow if DD is back at school I will have an hours walk. Lovely.

Thanks again flowers.

youaremychocolatecake Thu 09-Jan-14 10:03:00

Thank you big choc. He is 10 weeks so will leave it a couple of weeks them to be safe. smile

Darnley Thu 09-Jan-14 10:04:18

Marking place on second fd.

So far so good

fuckwittery Thu 09-Jan-14 10:05:32

Hi can I join? I've got a 3month old baby and 2 stone to lose. Today is my first non fast day, havent eaten anything yet but feel I will need to do so before nursery pick up at 12 in case I keel over on the walk. Am using MFP to track calories
Plan today is
Coffee (20)
Poached egg and 2 oatcakes (169)
Soup (115)
Cous cous veg and smoked salmon (235)

Thats about 550 but I am breastfeeding (only 1 or 2 feeds a day though
Does that sound ok experienced 5:2 ers?

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Thu 09-Jan-14 10:07:29

I measured recently so I will do that again in the morning.

BetsyBell Thu 09-Jan-14 10:15:50

Good news Fuckwittery, if you are exclusively breastfeeding you are advised to have 1000 calories on a fast day so you can double up those portions.

I guess if you're not ebf then you could drop down to 750.

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