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5:2 Thread number 52: If you want to be delivered from temptation, but would like it to keep in touch ... join us to lose weight & improve health while still enjoying good food & wine

(986 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Tue 14-Apr-15 11:37:00

Welcome to the continuing thread for those following 5:2 or other forms of IF (Intermittent Fasting) such as 4:3, ADF, or daily 16:8
The 5:2 diet was introduced on BBC Horizon on August 2012:
Basically it is 2 very low cal days ("fasts") per week - which need not be consecutive - and eat "normally" the other 5 days.

For those who have dieted or maybe overeaten for years, eating "normally" means somewhere around the number of calories your body needs to maintain - NOT reduce - its weight (see TDEE calculator below).

For most folk, 5:2 results in a weekly 3,000 calorie deficit, so averages 1 lb loss. However, some folk may lose much more quickly / slowly, or in fits & starts.
Initial weight loss may be much quicker, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose.

When you are within a healthy BMI range and just want to trim a few more lb, progress may be much slower and you may need to monitor carefully that you don't average above TDEE on non-fast days.

Acronyms & Calculators:

16:8 is a different type of fasting, which can be combined with 5:2.
Daily zero-cal fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8 hour window. To lose weight normally needs a weekly calorie deficit as well

4:3 = fast on 3 non-consecutive days per week

ADF (Alternate-Day Fasting) = fast every other day

BMI ( Body Mass Index ) healthy range is 18.5 - 24.9
FD = Fast Day: aim for 500 calories (600 for men) or 1000 cals for BF
If you exercise, do NOT increase FD cals

MFP = My Fitness Pal, a useful website or app to track food & drink caloriesi

NFD = Non-Fast Day, averages around TDEE

NSV / LSV = Non Scale Victory / LifeStyle (change) Victory, e.g. compliment, smaller waist, new skinny jeans

TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure, the average number of calories you burn in a day. TDEE is calculated from your current weight, height, age, activity level.
Aim to average about this over the week's NFDs.

To speed up your weight loss and to train yourself how to eat on maintenance,
optionally calculate the lower TDEE for goal weight,
but eat to current weight TDEE at least 1 day per week.

WOE / WOL = Way Of Eating / Way Of Life. We say this instead of "diet", to emphasise that to maintain our new healthy weight longterm requires a permanent change in how we eat.

How to Start

. Take initial measurements: weight, waist, hips
. Use TDEE calculator above as a rough guide to how much to eat on NFDs
. Choose any 2 days for FDs, non-consecutive is easier.
. Before each FD: plan, shop & calorie count ALL food & drink for the day

FAQs / Tips:

- WATER: Start each day with a pint of water; and drink plenty during the day.
- HOT DRINKS: No limits on tea or coffee, just count any milk / sugar calories on FDs.
- FDs: If possible, choose days when you are busy, but not preparing meals for others.Concentrate on protein & veg; avoid / reduce starchy carbs & sugar, including juice.
Soups & stews are good; ready meals are fine.
Many prefer to skip breakfast & save most cals for supper.
- BFers: 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.
- NFDs: No rules, but to improve health, try to cut down on added sugar and junk food. A few treats per week are good though!
Aim for TDEE, 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
- SLEEP: Try to get enough sleep, or it may slow weight loss.
- EXERCISE: is healthy & can help weight loss - BUT only if you do NOT eat back exercise calories. Fasted training can burn more fat.
HIIT and resistance training both work well with 5:2/IF.
If you exercise, do NOT increase FD cals
- Do NOT fast: if pregnant, under 21, over-stressed, have past or present EDs, fever, stomach bug, even a bad cold.
When ill, your body usually needs more nutrients and less stress. So don't force yourself to eat, but if hungry then eat nutritious food to TDEE & cut out junk, added sugar, fizzy drinks, alcohol.
- CHECK with your Doctor: if you have diabetes, any other endocrine condition, any serious past or present medical condition, or if taking ANY prescribed medication (fasting may affect absorption rate)

Useful MN Threads
Browse previous 5:2 threads in the fasting section

Tips and Links : breadandwine’s thread collects practical tips and info we have gained over all the 5:2 threads. It is especially useful for newbies.

Inspirational: eatriskier’s Thread has reports from Mumsnet 5:2ers who have lost weight.
Read to boost your motivation.
Add your own when you have lost weight too smile

Recipes: frenchfancy has collected delicious FD recipes from all the threads.
Post your own here too.

Exercise: bigchocfrenzy has a Thread for advice & support on combining 5:2 with a healthy exercise regime.
The OP explains the science behind fasting, exercise & health and has many calculators.

Maintaining: talkinpeace has a Thread for those who have successfully lost weight on 5:2/IF and are now maintaining.
Some of those sharing experiences have been maintaining for 2 years, which shows 5:2 is sustainable longterm.

Scientific Evidence for Fasting

BBC article on the Horizon program

Telegraph comments on 5:2 and gives a brief overview by Dr Mosley, useful for newbies.

This InterviewPart1 and InterviewPart2 with leading ADF researcher Dr Varady explains why fasting helps you to lose weight AND improves some health markers.

A science Study specifically addressed the effect of this diet on obese men & women, wrt health and weight loss:

"... After 8 weeks of treatment, participants had an average 12.5 lbs 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."
i.e. almost all the weight lost was fat, not muscle, which is unusually good for a diet.

It also describes improved blood values:
"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%)."

Dr Michelle Harvie (funded by cancer charities) showed possible benefits of intermittent fasting compared to standard daily calorie reduction in her trials with women at high risk of breast cancer: ComparingDiets , EarlierResearch52

Dr Johnson showed intermittent fasting helped Asthma

Why Intermittent Fasting Works: Mattson , BlackSwan and Hormesis

Recent research into the health benefits of fasting: e.g. by world-respected neuroscientist Dr MarkMattson showed:
. Improved glucose regulation
. Loss of abdominal fat with maintenance of muscle mass
. Reduced blood pressure and heart rate
. Improved learning and memory and motor function
. Protection of neurons in the brain against dysfunction and degeneration in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and Huntington’s disease.

Some of his research is in HealthyAging , Health , AvoidParkinsonsDisease
Also this ScientificDiscussion MoselyMattsonLongo and a LongoInterview

Recent trials with Type 2 diabetics and those at risk of having it used a form of daily fasting - skipping supper.
Their conclusions: eating 1-2 meals per day is better than several small meals for losing weight and controlling insulin levels, see Type2Paper


A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed their experience and tips over all these threads.
This has created a wealth of very valuable practical knowledge to help us all.
Any lurkers and newbies, come join us and share your experiences too. These are lovely supportive threads and everyone is welcome !

BigChocFrenzy Tue 14-Apr-15 11:37:36


Welcome to 5:2 thread number 52, everybody !
smile smile

Any newbies: The basics are in the OP, but do ask if you need advice or just post for support


BigChocFrenzy Tue 14-Apr-15 11:38:10

You don't have to exercise to lose weight, but it helps your shape and your health.

Whether you are an absolute exercise beginner or a super-fit athlete, everybody is welcome on the
Come share your experiences, get ideas and support.

Dotty342kids Tue 14-Apr-15 12:44:11

Just marking my place smile

OsloGin Tue 14-Apr-15 13:19:17

Me too

SauceForTheGander Tue 14-Apr-15 14:15:23

Thanks for all the links - I've been reading the inspirational 5:2 thread which I'm going to keep going back to.

I'm nearly 42 & have been putting on weight slowly but steadily, gaining a wine gut. I want a diet that's going to stop the gains & make me more mindful of what I'm eating - and readjust my thermostat. My last DC goes to nursery in a week so for the first time in 7 years I'm not caring for a small DC at home. I'm retraining (for a new job) & getting into shape & leaving the baby years behind me.

I'm 5ft7 & 10 stone. I'd like to lose 10 pounds - as that's the weight I was pre DC.

I'm going to be doing 30 day shred as well.

I need to really plan my 500 cals day carefully because I pick at leftovers & can inhale toast & marmite. I have no idea about calories - I've never counted them before so this is new to me.

BigChocFrenzy Tue 14-Apr-15 14:24:09

Welcome, Sauce
On FDs, many folk find it easiest to have say a Covent garden soup or other small, good quality, ready meal to avoid working out the calories in home cooking. Whatever works for you.

BigChocFrenzy Tue 14-Apr-15 14:25:53

Try to restrict wine to 2 days per week, which also gives your liver a rest.

SauceForTheGander Tue 14-Apr-15 14:33:38

Soup is a great idea. Thank you! smile

mildlyacquiescent Tue 14-Apr-15 15:09:00


squigglehead Tue 14-Apr-15 17:20:26

Hello! A new thread is just what I need I think... From Saturday onwards I have lacked any form of motivation whatsoever sad I've been half heartedly trying to make better choices but have basically been failing dismally and not using MFP properly. Mainly because I'm just exhausted at the moment and find it impossible to watch what I'm eating when I'm this tired! No idea what's causing it either though I'm suspicious that DS is having a growth spurt...

So I'm attempting a FD tomorrow. We have a baby group in the morning which makes it easy to eat nothing til lunch. Then small lunch, and if I feel hungry in the afternoon I can exercise instead. That always staves it off for a few hours!

New thread, new motivation, continuing on towards New Me! <attempts to motivate self>

Hope everyone else is having a better time of it than me! Any tricks to staying on track and making good choices when you can barely keep your eyes open and uts making you crave fat and sugar??

BigChocFrenzy Tue 14-Apr-15 18:59:28

Squiggle As you are BFing, are you doing 1000-cal FDs ? If not, raise your FD cals to 1000, because I think you need that atm.

For the FDs (and the NFDs if you are struggling there too), try to plan meals the day before, then stick to that, NO snacks or spontaneous eating.
Junk just makes you want more junk: the "food" manufacturers design it that way.

If you feel tempted to have junk, have a big drink of water, clean your teeth and take your DC for a brisk walk in the sun.
If you are still hungry, have your healthy prepared food.

squigglehead Tue 14-Apr-15 19:11:24

I am BigChoc, but am still struggling to stick to it when I'm tired. Tiredness really is my downfall! Early night for me tonight I think.

About to hop onto MFP and plan my day, am definitely planning on a walk I think as he's nap refusing at the moment and the wrap always wins grin

mrswhiskers Tue 14-Apr-15 19:30:52

Just marking my place on the new thread.
FD for me today. finding it really easy now and not sure if it counts as a NSV but I went to the cinema and didn't miss my family sized bag of sweets at all even with DC trying to force me to share an easter egg grin

mildlyacquiescent Tue 14-Apr-15 20:04:40

Nothing but admiration for you, Squiggle, doing this while breastfeeding. I was ravenous all the time, even when she was quite a big toddler and not feeding so much. Whatever you achieve, it'll be a feat!!

. mrswhiskers, that's fantastic. I dread going to the cinema. For me the snacks are the main thing, far better than the film., usually!

mrswhiskers Tue 14-Apr-15 20:18:41

Same here mildly I've usually finished my sweets by the time the film actually starts blush

Laska42 Tue 14-Apr-15 20:24:16

Ill come back and rejoin then just as long as no one reminds me that I was one of the original sucesses right at the beginning of 5.2 but have sadly put most of it back on sad

You do have to stick with it .. (reminds herself its a WOE not a diet..)

MadgeMak Tue 14-Apr-15 20:25:35

Just marking my place. I'm on holiday next week so plan to start when I get back. Really would like to loose a stone before my fortieth birthday in August.

confusedandemployed Tue 14-Apr-15 20:32:36

Hello, I've been doing 5:2 for just a week now and for once I am completely focused and doing it properly, I.e. eating to TDEE on NFDs (well less really) and genuinely staying at 500 cals on FDs.
Unfortunately I've also had a nasty nausea / diarrhoea bug as well which made yesterday's FD really easy (every cloud...).
Anyway the upshot is....I've lost 8.5lb! I am absolutely delighted so far and I've found it so unbelievably easy. I've even had a few drinks (within TDEE).
I still have at least 2st to go, and ideally 2.5st, but this loss is such a massive incentive to keep going.
Hope everyone is doing well.

ohthegoats Tue 14-Apr-15 21:54:46

I'm new to this 5:2 thing, but just wanted to say what a brilliant information there is in the OP. Whoever pulled that together should get brownie points from somewhere.

We started last week (me and partner), I'm just at 6 months breastfeeding and starting to stop if you see what I mean, so feel it's OK now to get rid of this random new flab roll I've gained. Won't get on scales for a month since it's not about weight really (I'm already 5kg under my pre pregnancy weight), but about how my clothes fit. Seems OK so far.

stripytees Tue 14-Apr-15 22:09:12

Just marking place on the new thread. smile The warm weather is naturally making me want lighter, smaller meals. FD tomorrow...

mildlyacquiescent Tue 14-Apr-15 22:18:36

I didn't realise till reading a post by (I think) talkinpeace on the last thread how dangerous for your appetite sugar was. If I have red tea without sugar, I'm fine and don't need to eat... actually, that got me very happily through mty last fast day till 11pm. If I have my black tea with a couple of sugars, I am suddenly ravenous within minutes. Definitely going to cut down on sugar... though tbh the idea makes me a bit glum! I've resisted the anti-sugar messages for some time but now I'm really paying attention to my appetite for the first time I can see that it isn't any good. sad

mildlyacquiescent Tue 14-Apr-15 22:19:28

confused, great results! Hope your tummy has settled down.

BigChocFrenzy Tue 14-Apr-15 22:25:14

Lovely to see all the newbies. Welcome, Madge, Confused, Goats
Madge Your 40th should be good motivation. Enjoy your holiday and post when you return, so we can support your first FD.

Well done on your SV, Confused Excellent start.
Do drink lots of water. If that bug persists and you don't feel like fasting, no problem: just eat nutritious food to within TDEE and maintain for a while.
I hope you feel better tomorrow.

Goats I'm glad you like my (long blush !) OP. I'm a scientist, hence the links to peer-reviewed research papers.
You might also like the 52 ExerciseThread2 OP.

I recommend you measure your waist & hips, so you can monitor the changes in your shape as you lose fat. Is your waist more than half your height ? If so, that would be a good first goal.

< waves madly to Laska >
You're a golden oldie grin Jump on the thread and tell us your aims.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 14-Apr-15 22:25:19

Just checking in to shiny new thread.

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