Advanced search

5:2 Thread number 54: Do you think you are what you eat ? Do NOT hunt down a skinny person for lunch ...... instead learn WHEN to eat.

(1000 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Fri 05-Jun-15 15:35:26

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.


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, this 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 for NFDs.

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


. Take initial measurements: weight, waist, hips
. Use TDEE calculator below 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 , NHS 10 Recipes under 100 cals , Mirror 5:2 50 snacks under 50 cals
FD Ready Meals, Takeaways, Restaurant: Mirror , Indie
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

Exercise: BigChocFrenzy's thread gives advice & support on combining 5:2 with exercise. The OP explains the science behind fasting, exercise & health and has many calculators.

Tips and Links : BreadandWine collects practical tips & info gained over all the 5:2 threads.

Inspirational EatRiskier has reports from Mumsnet 5:2ers who have lost weight.

Recipes: FrenchFancy has many FD recipes. Post your own here too.

Maintaining: talkinpeace's thread is for those who have successfully lost weight on 5:2/IF and are now maintaining (some for 2 years +)

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 Fri 05-Jun-15 15:36:08


Welcome to 5:2 thread number 54, everybody !
smile smile

Let's start this new thread with a big drink of water.

If you want some new ideas for FD meals, I added more links under "Useful Resources & Calculators" in the *How to start* section of the OP

Newbies: Don't be shy; come and post smile


Iamblossom Fri 05-Jun-15 15:40:45

marks place. Thanks big choc

ErrolTheDragon Fri 05-Jun-15 15:41:10

Ah, a nice new empty thread. With another great title.grin

Meerka Fri 05-Jun-15 15:45:04

<grins> great thread title!

Iamblossom Fri 05-Jun-15 15:53:11

I am in serious danger of falling into a glass of wine I love Fridays too.....LOVE them

ForEverythingAReason Fri 05-Jun-15 16:32:11

Haha love the title. Thanks BigChoc for creating and thank you all for being so welcoming! Completed my 2nd FD (ever and of this week) yesterday and found I really enjoyed it. Didn't manage to do 16:8 today annoyingly as I knew I would end up having a late lunch and couldn't wait till then blush.

Have guests staying over the weekend till Tuesday so hope I don't overeat... Good luck to those doing weekend FDs and happy Friday!

boxofholes Fri 05-Jun-15 16:36:53


I've posted on various 5:2 threads with various usernames over the last 12 months ... I'm getting there slow & steady wink

NFD & weigh in day today - 78kg, my target is 64kg & my start weight was 101kg

Waist 34in (aiming for 30/31), it was 40 after about 4 months of 5:2ing (didn't measure at the beginning)

I do a mixture of 5:2, 4:3, ADF & 'off plan' <depending on how motivated I am> ... I've had periods with little weight loss (for some reason I stayed at 82kg for an age) but haven't gained weight at all while I've been IFing. That's a huge achievement for me.

I'm desperate to get under 75kg because then I'll weigh less than my beanpole DH!

TalkinPeace Fri 05-Jun-15 16:39:31

Bigchoc You are a legend for keeping the threads ticking over.

This is my 52nd thread
ie there have been 52,000 posts since I started 5:2
and probably 52,000 new people trying and succeeding with it since then.

Just remember folks

confusedandemployed Fri 05-Jun-15 17:16:42

Checking in. Great title as always smile

BigChocFrenzy Fri 05-Jun-15 17:18:47

Welcome back, Box That's excellent progress, excellent SV and inches NSV.

Well done on your 2nd FD, Reason Sounds like you've got the hang of it very quickly

Wow tip your 52nd thread ! What date was the first one ?
I joined 10 October 2013, about thread 30.

It was our Tip who first discovered the "no snacking" rule which is so important for Intermittent Fasting.
And no snacking means no grazing, of course.

btw, as MNHQ said we averaged 40,000 hits per month last year, I suspect there are far more lurking Mumsnetters doing 5:2 than have ever actually posted here.
So, don't be shy. Jump in and meet us smile

confusedandemployed Fri 05-Jun-15 17:20:18

MFP experts: why does my profile say I've lost 0lb? I can't work out how to change that, or how to like / comment on other people's postsconfused

vvviola Fri 05-Jun-15 17:36:38

Place marking for cheering on purposes (and starting back on the wagon on Monday)

Iamblossom Fri 05-Jun-15 17:44:50

Why do you say no snacking? I get it for FDs, but on NFDs I will still have a spoon of peanut better mid morning or a chunk of cheese as long as I am in my TDEE....

igivein Fri 05-Jun-15 17:59:20

Place marking.
Thanks for the new thread BigChoc

Baloostika Fri 05-Jun-15 18:17:50

Marking my place.
Thanks BCF, encouraging and inspiring always.brew

mrswhiskers Fri 05-Jun-15 18:34:50

confused when you log your starting weight then go into 'goals' and log your weight after a loss it updates the weight lost ie: if you were 10 Stone to start with then you lost 2 pounds you'd update your weight as 9 stone 12 and mfp would then say lost 2lbs.

mrswhiskers Fri 05-Jun-15 18:36:44

' progress' not goals on mfp. sorry

ChesterDrawers Fri 05-Jun-15 18:39:07

Marking place. NFD today and looking like I will be a few 100 cals over. Friday's are always weird as I'm usually out with DS at sift play etc meaning food choices are generally rubbish.

Think next week I'm going to fast mon and wed with a fast til teatime on Friday, then I'll have usual Friday grub and wine. Plan maybe?

mrsmugoo Fri 05-Jun-15 18:40:31

Marking place smile

NFD here and I've saved 800 calories for yummy pizza tonight. Omg can't wait!!

BigChocFrenzy Fri 05-Jun-15 18:59:56

And a big brew to you too, Baloo How are doing ?

Sounds a good plan, Chester

See you Monday, back on the fasting wagon vvv
Good to hear your mum is coming out of hospital next week.

confusedandemployed Fri 05-Jun-15 19:00:54

mrswhiskers I do that but fro some reason it doesn't feed through to the profile page. Weird. I can see the graph but it doesn't total it all up confused

mrswhiskers Fri 05-Jun-15 19:40:15

confused sometimes there are problems with mfp that get resolved with updates. is it the app you are using? sometimes it works better if you uninstall then download again.

mrswhiskers Fri 05-Jun-15 19:50:12

I've had a bit of a revelation this week in that eating full fat mayonnaise/butter/cheese/yoghurt etc has led to me eating less in a day and consuming less calories overall. I used to eat full fat and sugar everything when I was slim before so it shouldn't really be such a surprise. Switched to low fat when I was calorie counting at the start of the year (pre 5:2). it's taken me till now to realise that's probably why I've been hungry constantly and nothing to do with my recent conversion to vegetarianism.
Had a lovely salad for dinner today with olive oil, eggs, cheese and mayonnaise (as well as the usual salad suspects) and it filled me up for hours despite being half the size of my usual plain pasta salad that never seemed to be enough. The calorie count was slightly higher but it meant no snacking later on.

LetMeDriveTheBus Fri 05-Jun-15 19:50:45

Ooh a lovely new thread grin. Thanks Big.

I've been plugging away at 16:8. Had a lovely meal out on Tuesday but other than that, I've kept within my targets.

Weigh in for me tomorrow and scales not looking like they've budged but I'm feeling good in myself. So many NSVs. Everyday I notice a change in my tastebuds or appetite. As someone said at the end of the previous thread, I eat to nourish my body now.

This thread is not accepting new messages.