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The 5:2 Thread number 43: Had too much Easter chocolate? Is the sugar monster chasing you? Come and join us in kicking the carb-cravings and getting back to healthy eating habits with intermittent fas

(1000 Posts)
BetsyBell Thu 24-Apr-14 11:15:08

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 : breadandwine’s 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 ‘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 12.5lbs reduction in body weight and a 4cm 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%).")

If you’ve been researching IF you may have come across this article which is highly negative about women with BMI in the normal range. Here’s our response to that:

- With a healthy BMI, those who want to be leaner will usually find weight and waist loss to be much slower than for overweight folk, since, less fat and inches are available to lose.

- The women with healthy BMIs already had healthier blood sugar than the men in the study. Hence nothing really needed improving.

- Women who have had health problems on IF were NOT doing 5:2, but the
much tougher ADF or 16:8, ^combined with heavy lifting (often multiples of body weight) AND
were often starting from already ultra-low BF 12-16% range.^

-Many were already missing periods or had EDs before IF, due to the low BF %, over-training and over-stressing.

5:2 is a gentler form of IF than ADF or Leangains and there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence from longterm 5:2ers, now with healthy BMI, who are continuing to have very positive results and experiences on this WOE.

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!

And lastly, a few FAQs/Healthy tips :

- WATER: Start each day with a pint of water; and drink plenty during the day.
- Hot drinks: No limits on tea or coffee any day, just note any milk / sugar calories on FDs.
- FDs: Concentrate on protein & veg; avoid / reduce starchy carbs & sugar, including juice. Soups & stews are good; ready meals are fine. Old hands skip breakfast & save most cals for supper.
- NFDs: No rules, but to improve health, try to cut down on added sugar, artificial sweeteners, fizzy drinks, junk food. A few treats per week are good though! Aim to average TDEE over NFDs each week, but you may under-eat by say 20% on 3 NFDs to save calories for weekend.
- CLENCH for health: Men & women should exercise pelvic floor daily.
- BREASTFEEDERS: Start with 1000-cal FDs; optionally, reduce to 700 cals gradually. You can return to 1000 if growth spurts or sleep-deprivation require more fuel.
- SLEEP: Everybody needs enough sleep, or it may slow weight loss.
- EXERCISE: Is healthy & can help weight loss if you you do NOT eat back exercise calories. Fasted training can burn more fat. HIIT works well with 5:2/IF.

- Do NOT fast : If pregnant, under 21, have EDs, any illness, even a bad cold. When ill, your body usually needs more nutrients and less stress. So eat to TDEE & cut out junk, added sugar, fizzy drinks.
- Check with your Doctor: If you have diabetes, any other endocrine condition, or if taking ANY prescribed medication (fasting may affect absorption rate).

BetsyBell Thu 24-Apr-14 11:17:50

Oops - reached the title limit clearly! I don't know what intermittent fas is... blush <didn't realise there was a limit>

There's still some space on Thread 42 so it would be nice if that could be filled up first.

Eatriskier Thu 24-Apr-14 11:56:25

flowers betsy

shameless place marking

TheOrchardKeeper Thu 24-Apr-14 12:06:43

first timer jumping in


Overtiredbackagain Thu 24-Apr-14 12:32:32

I am Overtiredmum - returning after a small break and then not being able to log back in to my old profile, so I have a new name!

How is everyone doing?


AngieM2 Thu 24-Apr-14 13:16:17

I'm in. Going to follow this religiously and bin another 5lb! (Before the end of May). I've said it now.

Helliecopter Thu 24-Apr-14 14:46:26

Also marking place! Cheers Betsy smile

BigChocFrenzy Thu 24-Apr-14 15:00:47

Jumps in with Big Chocolatey feet
Thanks for the new thread, Betsy

veryseriousgirl Thu 24-Apr-14 15:17:01

New to the group, new to fasting, but feel like I need to get my "groove" back after 2 DCs and massive weight gain (mostly down to eating too much cake...) DS is now 2, and I want to be a healthy, active mum to him and to DD, 4.
Also concerned about Type II diabetes which runs in my family - and worried about turning into DM, who is diabetic, sedentary, and always a bit ill!
Fasting today and doing well, but my danger time is just after kids' bedtime (7pm), when, even on good days, I want to eat all the things. Anyone have any tips for making in through the tricky moment and not wasting a day's worth of good work? I also tried fasting on Tuesday, but ended up getting stuck into the boursin after kids in bed...

BetsyBell Thu 24-Apr-14 20:32:15

Veryseriousgirl Welcome. You are where I was a couple of years ago. Especially with the worries about hereditary type 2 diabetes. Just having the mind set of not being prepared to go down that route is half the battle. The other half is not eating the cake, or all of the things grin.

I used to snack in the evening but got myself out of the habit by keeping a (very honest) food diary on my laptop. Once I'd made the decision to be honest with myself about my eating habits it was somehow easier to close the kitchen after we'd had our evening meal. I guess it's a matter of not associating 'me time' with 'snack time'. You are not doing yourself any favours or treating your body by nibbling in the evenings - quite the opposite. Step 1 might be finding something else to do with your hands, any hankerings to get knitting or similar? It's also hard to snack if you're typing on a keyboard... mumsnet has it's uses!

BetsyBell Thu 24-Apr-14 20:36:02

TheOrchardKeeper Snuck in quietly there! Hello! smile. Please tell us a bit about yourself...

MetellaEstMater Thu 24-Apr-14 20:50:44

Wheeeeeeee! Thump.

Thanks Betsy!

BetsyBell Thu 24-Apr-14 20:52:18

Oops, sorry orchard you're all over the end of the other thread blush. I can't keep up sometimes smile

TalkinPeace Thu 24-Apr-14 21:10:23

Aha, here's where its at

veryseriousgirl Thu 24-Apr-14 21:12:06

BetsyBell, thank you! Knitting and mumsnet sound like good ideas. smile Amazingly didn't have the stuff my face urge tonight, but will keep them in mind for future and NFD, when eat normally doesn't mean eat all the things. ;)

plecofjustice Thu 24-Apr-14 21:15:11


If diabetes is a potential issue, I'd recommend looking at Chia

I make it into shots (1tsp chia seed ground, mixed with juice of 1/2 lemon, a sprig of mint, and about a tbsp of water) for breakfast on fast days. Very filling and has blood sugar regulation properties too....

ErrolTheDragon Thu 24-Apr-14 21:15:22

Hello, veryserious. Some people go for the bath and early night route. I make sure I've enough credit for a milky decaff tea last thing and look forward to that.

BigChocFrenzy Thu 24-Apr-14 21:18:15

Now we're all back together again:

Tip You're right: My mum died 3 years ago in her 90s and I definitely felt much older - all my aunts and uncles went earlier.
Well at least both sides of the family seem to reach their 90s, so I hope 5:2 will keep me kicking the hunks until then and being generally an active disgrace
My umpteen 1st cousins are up to 25 years older than I am, so maybe that means I'm not old after all ?

Southeastdweller Thu 24-Apr-14 21:18:18

Thank you dear Betsy.

Pretty awful NFD here - I think the sea air yesterday in Brighton then two glasses of wine with my dinner unleashed the carb monster today. I'll try to skip breakfast tomorrow, though.

plecofjustice Thu 24-Apr-14 21:23:13

Ooh, pearl barley for tea in place of rice in risotto, pretty low cal and very filling for my first post easter FD

HumphreyCobbler Thu 24-Apr-14 21:23:23

Hello, thanks for all of the support last night, I managed to only go 80 over the 500 limit thanks to all your advice and encouragement! Given that I am still premenstrual (tmi) I think I will go for a 1000 day tomorrow.

I am slightly missing low carbing, before this baby I lc successfully and my cycle was regular and I had no pms for the first time in my life. I had resumed it after the baby was born but sadly DH has developed an inability to cope with the low carb food so I had to stop we may have had a massive row about it

Don't get me wrong, I am LOVING this WOE, just missing the benefits of all that fat I think.

Still, two people have told me that my boobs have shrunk <throws bra in the air>

BigChocFrenzy Thu 24-Apr-14 21:26:51

<waves to Angie, Overtired >

Welcome Veryseriousgirl
Yes, scientific papers plus many human studies all suggest IF helps improve insulin metabolism and other health factors, like cholesterol.

More tips to stop evening snacking:
. Write out your evening meal in advance and do not put any more than this on your plate
. Drink a BIG glass of water or cuppa
. No second helpings or extras
. Clean your teeth and swish with Listerine

veryseriousgirl Thu 24-Apr-14 21:33:38

Thanks for the link, plecofjustice. I have an unopened bag of chia seeds in the cupboard. Will try that for breakfast on Monday.

Errol, I love chai rooibos tea (discovered when I was pregnant and I could drink by the bucket) - think I will have a cup of that, then go to bed.

First (successful) fast day - coffee for breakfast, bowl of chicken stock with an egg swirled through it for lunch (like a very simple stracciatella), then grilled salmon fillet and asparagus with lemon for supper. Boiling the kettle now. smile

ErrolTheDragon Thu 24-Apr-14 21:34:59

Humphrey - would it be possible to adapt your food so that your DH is eating 'normally' and you're somewhat nearer low carb - eg he has pasta or rice, you have lots of extra veg instead, dressed with butter/oil/cream/cheese or whatever you are missing?

TheOrchardKeeper Thu 24-Apr-14 21:34:59

Oo yep I did grin
First fast day over and have fifteen cals to spare. It's a modern day miracle shock

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