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5:2 Thread number 53: You won't get the bum you want by sitting on the one you have. Come join us ! You may not reach your goal next week, but you'll be closer than you are now.

(977 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Sun 10-May-15 12:15:05

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.


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, is calculated from your current weight, height, age, activity level.
Aim to average about this over the week's NFDs.

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.


. 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

Useful Resources & Calculators
Calorie Counter: mfp
Calories for NFD: TDEE Calc
FD Recipes: BBC Good Food 52 , Good2Know
Alcohol: Calc Safe , Calc Units
BMI: Calc
Body Frame Size: Calc
Body Fat: Calc

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.
Most prefer either to skip breakfast & save most cals for supper, or have 2 meals.
- 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 & junk food, keep alcohol within safe limits. 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
- To speed up 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.
- 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 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

Research by other US and European scientists in this DailyTelegraph Article about the medicinal uses of fasting, for many serious conditions & diseases.

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 Sun 10-May-15 12:15:52


Welcome to 5:2 thread number 53, everybody !
smile smile

I added a new section Useful Resources & Calculators to the OP, which you might want to try.

It's been a tough week, so chill and tell us how you are getting on.

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


thewavesofthesea Sun 10-May-15 12:45:21

Hi all,

Good to hear that it can be normal to be more tired on the first couple of weeks. Might make today the first FD of next week IYSWIM, finding today okay. Have stared to experiment with new foods on FDs and I am looking forward to cooking and trying them :-)

I have it in my head to 'trial' this WOE for 6 weeks to see how it goes. If it helps then I will carry on, if not then I will have a break. It seems more manageable that way!

confusedandemployed Sun 10-May-15 12:52:57

Hi all
Well I had planned a FD for today (still haven't eaten, except milk in coffee), however I just realised that DP is out til gone 10pm tomorrow so it makes more sense to do it tomorrow. So, I will have a bash at 16:8 today as well. Not feeling hungry though - I may change my mind again!!

confusedandemployed Sun 10-May-15 12:53:22

PS thanks for new thread BigChoc

InglouriousBasterd Sun 10-May-15 13:34:08

Since we have a new thread I thought it might be time to delurk smile

I've been on 5:2 since January and have dropped from a size 18 to a 12 and find it so easy to keep up. My scales are bust but I have been measuring and have lost around 7 inches from my waist in that time shock

I do one meal on FDs with a small banana if heading to the gym beforehand; I do work out most days quite hard which has played a massive role.

I just have one problem - the weight is coming off so quickly and whilst I love it, I have totally lost my appetite on NFDs. I'm struggling to hit 1000 cals most days and at 5'10, age 30 working out every day it's nowhere near what I should be eating.

Any suggestions for squeezing in some extra cals? I'm not a big meat eater and tend to eat fish / veggie / salad based things. I'm on the avocado and olive oil but I am struggling to finish meals at the moment!

PS. This topic has been an amazing place to lurk - picked up loads of tips and stayed motivated, thank you smile

mrswhiskers Sun 10-May-15 13:34:45

Just place marking on the new thread smile

confusedandemployed Sun 10-May-15 13:54:54

Wow, InglouriousBasterd congratulations on your loss! That is amazing.
I suggest adding nuts into your diet. High calorie / energy, but healthy too. A good friend of mine used to play international sport and her TDEE at the time was around 5000 cals. She ate nuts like they were going out of fashion because they are so energy efficient (wrong term but can't think of the right phrase).

BigChocFrenzy Sun 10-May-15 14:08:28

Welcome, Inglorious and congrats on your excellent progress and SV
High cal foods:
. Avocado
. Nuts, preferably unsalted.
. Nut butters (check label that no sugar or oil added), e.g. pnut, almond, cashew butter
. Oily fish, e.g. salmon, mackerel (I don't mean tinned in oil)
. Full fat cheese, e.g. cheddar, camembert, cheese fondue
. Drizzle olive oil on salads
. Bake root veg in oil

BigChocFrenzy Sun 10-May-15 16:04:22

A minority find their appetite goes right down on NFDs.
If your average intake drops significantly below the TDEE of your goal weight, don't eat junk. The high cal foods I listed above are examples of healthy choices.

Reasons for Reduced Appetite:

1) You are burning a lot of body fat for energy. How accessible your fat is for fuel depends on many factors: genetics, insulin metabolism, estrogen metabolism, type & intensity of exercise, age etc

2) The FDs acted as a reset to your metabolism, especially insulin - raised levels of which increase hunger - and the hormones leptin & ghrelin which also regulate appetite. The previous weight gain may in fact have been due to metabolic imbalance.

3) You used to eat a lot of sweet / carby / fatty junk. You cut these out completely on FDs and have probably decreased the amount on NFDs too. So, 5:2 broke the spiral of raised insulin levels, which previously led to hunger and cravings for more junk

BigChocFrenzy Sun 10-May-15 16:14:50

Healthy High Cal Mealplans - we do NOT snack, but try some of the main meals if you struggle to eat enough on NFDs

cherryblossomtime Sun 10-May-15 18:44:49

Hi guys I see you have a posh new thread so I am planning to join in and start fasting again. I have tried 5:2 before and although I liked it in some ways and lost a bit of weight I found it difficult sometimes and ended up coming off it after a holiday. I am thinking of having Tues and Thursday FD ( can't face Monday FD).

igivein Sun 10-May-15 19:53:14

Checking in to the new thread.

mootime Sun 10-May-15 19:55:12

Long post on old thread! Basically jumping back on the band wagon after a bad week.
Wish me luck for my FD tomorrow.

confusedandemployed Sun 10-May-15 20:15:02

I am scoffing a bowl of that made-up cookies and cream thing posted on the last thread. It's very nice indeed....
Next time I will freeze it!

BigChocFrenzy Sun 10-May-15 20:19:05

Right, I just posted on the old thread to tell everyone to come here.

Welcome Cherry
If you check out the OP, you may find some advice or resources that will help you persevere this time. Or just post whenever you need moral support.

Well done on your compliments NSV, moo That must be motivating.
And you did well to maintain with all that going on.

Good luck to you tomorrow and to all other Monday fasters smile

TalkinPeace Sun 10-May-15 20:21:18

Inglorious that is amazing
if you are not hungry, up your fat intake : oily fish, nuts, avocados, dairy

planning to get back into proper fasts tomorrow. probably

vvviola Sun 10-May-15 20:28:46

Checking in. Have been off the wagon a bit due to horribly stressful time at work, but I'm all set for a FD tomorrow and getting going again. And while I haven't been fasting, I've managed to avoid snacking and have been a bit more aware of portion sizes, so I haven't gained at all. I appear to have lost a little weight on my face and boobs, which is exactly where I don't need to lose any

umisnotananswer Sun 10-May-15 20:41:24

Hello sorry have name changed. I was a newbie on the thread really. And not doing very well! But I want in, so hopefully I'll pull my finger out this week and crack on with it smile

mildlyacquiescent Sun 10-May-15 20:45:24

Inglourious, wow! Losing so much at the waist is just remarkable. Hope you find a way to enjoyably and healthily up your calories. Btw we are the same age. smile

Good luck, moo! It must be lovely for other people to notice your successes. Hope you have an easier time of it ahead of you.

Welcome, cherry! brew

stripytees Sun 10-May-15 20:55:51

Has anyone noticed their body composition is different on 5:2 than at the same weight previously? I.e. my waist measurement is now smaller than it has been at a lower weight before and my legs seem quite toned even though I'm not doing much exercise (yet) other than lots of walking. I wonder if this is because 5:2 targets fat in particular rather than say losing weight from muscle?

confusedandemployed Sun 10-May-15 21:04:41

stripytees my legs are definitely slimming down far quicker than say when I was on WeightWatchers (which, to be fair, I also had success with).
My own personal observation (and NSV I suppose) for tonight is that my perception of treat food has changed: I used to be terrible for crisps. Tonight I'm having a pack mainly because there is nothing else in the house and I fancy a snack. But nowadays I think how empty the calories in a bag of crisps are: not just in terms of being calories wasted on crap food, but also in terms of not doing the job of filling me up. I would far rather have eaten a handful of nuts, had I had them. I think the realisation that food is fuel first and fun second is finally dawning on me.

Trenzalor Sun 10-May-15 21:18:13

Hello all, I'm just jumping on to mark my place.

Accidental FD today (long car journey, no money for lunch and too late and in a rush for breakfast) so I will probably have a NFD Monday for a change.

hevs10593 Sun 10-May-15 21:27:15

Just marking my place. I too find it significantly hard to overeat anymore, it's my birthday today and I couldn't even over indulge on cake and it was chocolate. I've also found this WOL had changed my eating habits as I actually eat vegetables! Previously my diet was very 'beige' and now it's very colourful and green!

Not2bObvious Sun 10-May-15 21:57:05

Hi all, old 5.2'er from last year, did it for about 1.5 years, lost at my best about 19 pound but lost my way and found my 19 pound plus another few to keep it company! No idea where I am right now but I'm planning a Monday/ Thursday fast after which I'll accept the number the scales gives me and confess...gulp. It's going to be well over 12 stone but I have to start somewhere right? I've been lurking the last few weeks and managed my first fast in nearly 9 months last Thursday. Didn't quite stick to 500 but was under 800 so I'm counting it as a good start. My tdee is 1600 and I'm following TIP's formula of 20% less etc which worked great for me before. I think I lost my way cause I was overthinking it and making myself miserable, convincing myself I was starved, well by the size of my saddlebags that wasn't the casegrin Looking forward to keeping myself in line with the threads really supportive vibe, looking forward to the success I can achieve if I let myself. Sorry for the blah blah blah, excited to be back!

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