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5:2 Thread number 55: When birds are using oven gloves to pull worms out of the ground, stay cool fasting with us (worms taste sh*t anyway)

(1000 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Sat 04-Jul-15 21:00:22

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 by Dr Michael Mosely 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

SV = Scale Victory

TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure, the average number of calories you burn in a day, is calculated (see calculators below) 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
Safe Alcohol: Calc Daily UnitsCalories , Calc Weekly 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 Sat 04-Jul-15 21:02:40


Welcome to 5:2 thread number 55, everybody !
smile smile
Post and tell us how you are doing.

Check out "HOW TO START" in the OP
Don't be shy; join us and post smile

Everybody: Drink lots of water with ice and a slice


Breadandwine Sat 04-Jul-15 21:15:41

Well done, BC!

Good to see your birthday hasn't slowed you down, any! grin

stripytees Sat 04-Jul-15 21:45:14

Place marking...

My sales clothes shopping order arrived today, all size 10, all fit. grin

BigChocFrenzy Sat 04-Jul-15 23:19:19

That's a very satisfying clothes SV, Stripy

BigChocFrenzy Sat 04-Jul-15 23:20:14


DeckSwabber Sun 05-Jul-15 08:06:51

Joining in again after trying this very successfully a couple of years ago. 1st FD completed successfully on Thursday, now starting day 2.

fusspot66 Sun 05-Jul-15 08:58:59

Checking in on the new thread. Today's weigh in was down 1.5 lb. I'm now at 13'4 (&3/8!) I'm still baffled by my measurements which have hardly altered yet clothing is looser, belts are tighter.i think I'm measuring wrong. I'm wearing t shirts instead of smocky tops and am more confident and energetic. If anyone is wavering over trying this way of eating (WOE), just give it a go. I'm someone who is always hungry, always thinking of the next meal, I used to feel shaky between meals and reach for a quick fix biscuit. On a fast day, as long as I stick with protein/salad/greens and a salty beverage at some point, it's ok, and I'm no hungrier than usual, definitely not feeling that shaky/false hypo way.

BigChocFrenzy Sun 05-Jul-15 14:28:00

Welcome deckswabber and well done on your 1st FD back on 5:2.
You sound very confident and organised
Well done on your SV, fusspot
If the tape measure shows no change, but clothes are looser, then you are probably measuring incorrectly / inconsistently:
Did you measure in the same way and at the same time of day - your stomach may be a couple of inches bigger in the evening compared to morning.
See these pics for guidance where to measure:

Baloostika Sun 05-Jul-15 14:45:59

New thread already? shock
Place marking, waves at DM BCF
Do have a great Sunday y'all with lots of brew.

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jul-15 16:04:13

Not fasting at the weekend, but as I have to drive at 10pm today, not drinking either, so my calorie intake will be much lower than normal today!

peachypips Sun 05-Jul-15 16:13:31

Hello everyone. Starting as I mean to go on and coming in here every day to check in. My first fast day is tomorrow and I'm nervous I'm going to fail already which is ridiculous!

I am very like you fusspot - I get shaky and weird and hungry a lot. What exactly do you eat on FDs? And is your salty drink marmite? Wish me luck for tmrw!

BigChocFrenzy Sun 05-Jul-15 16:53:30

Good luck for your 1st FD tomorrow, peachy
To avoid headaches, I suggest that mid-morning and mid-afternoon you have either a teasp of Marmite from the jar, or a Bovril drink, each 10 cals.

Drink lots of cold water; have diet fizz too if you like it.
Avoid fruit juice - too high GI.
Avoid anything with added sugar imcluding breakfast creals, to avoid insulin spikes and cravings.
Salads are ideal in this weather, but check calories in your dressing - creamy / oily dressings can be 200 cals per salad - and avoid crutons, usually high cal too.

Some folk take a couple of weeks to get used to fasting, so don't worry if tomorrow needs to go a bit over 500
Post whenever you need support - we've a lot of experience and can usually help.

peachypips Sun 05-Jul-15 17:41:59

What a lovely supportive group. Thank you! I am going to do it strictly for a month then reassess.

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jul-15 18:07:00

The other thing to be aware of is that hunger passes.
Your tummy will grumble at you and try to convince you that your body needs more calories when it does not.
If you have a big drink of water and go do something else, after about 15 minutes your tummy will shut up and get on with burning the 10,000 calories it stashed across the back of your hips. smile

After about 16 hours, real hunger will kick in, but it too can be staved off with a drink of something warm
and then your body goes uh, oh, time to use up some reserves
which is the whole idea grin

And at 24 hours, something really filling will be bliss.

mrswhiskers Sun 05-Jul-15 19:30:02

Just marking my place on the new thread.
I'm still on holiday and seem to have put on a massive amount of weight which I'm hoping is mostly water retention and nothing to do with all the puddings and ice cream I was barely able to button up the trousers I arrived in. Will be sticking to salad for the final couple of days and straight back into fasting on my return. I'm actually looking forward to a FD!

CheeseToasty Sun 05-Jul-15 19:54:14

Found it really tough fasting today and have gone a little over calorie allowance. Much easier when at work. Really disappointed as I am weighing in tomorrow. I am only 5ft 1in so having to work really hard to lose even one pound. First week did 4:3 no gym and lost 4lb. Second week 4:3 4 gym visits and went swimming. I lost nothing which I found really hard. So went a bit crazy in third week and swam twice and gym 5 times and lost 2lb. I have done a less exercise this week so will probably lose nothing this week.
Sorry for the moaning just a bit frustrated atm

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jul-15 21:52:58

What are you eating on the non fast days?
Are you making sure its within your sedentary TDEE?
At 5'1" you'll have to be careful.

BigChocFrenzy Sun 05-Jul-15 22:47:46

CheeseToasty Many folk lose a few lb during the first 2 weeks, but most then settle down to an average weight loss of 1lb weekly, for a 3000 calorie deficit.
If you are short, you probably have a lowish TDEE, so even 4:3 probably won't give you a higher deficit than this.
Those with an extra few stone may lose much more quickly though.

Exercise is very important for health, but it only significantly boosts weight loss if you exercise intensely and don't eat back the calories
Best to aim for sedentary TDEE.

Calorie intake is dominant in weight loss, even for intense exercisers.
Do you mfp ? If not, I recommend you do so for one week, just to check your intake. Many people have been shocked to find how much they exceed TDEE just by eating and drinking "normally"
Others find they have to cut right back on sugary carbs and alcohol, as well as staying within TDEE

Cupoftea4me Sun 05-Jul-15 23:18:03

I'm just under 5"2 so feel your pain Cheese. We just aren't supposed to eat a lot, which doesn't sit well with me :-)

Had a mini FD today, coming in just over 1,000 cals and that was mainly due to the 1/2 bottle of wine I drank!!

Going to be tough to fit another FD in this week as I'm traveling and going out quite a lot, so will try and get a couple of mini FDs in instead and if I can, a full one in on Thursday.

Good luck for the week everyone!

CheeseToasty Mon 06-Jul-15 05:46:39

Thanks for the support. My TDEE is 1670 which I haven't exceeded but that makes fast fast day calories 417 which I have probably exceeded by about 100 calories. Just worked it out that that makes a deficit of 3510 = 1lb. Have just stepped on the scales and am 1lbs down.

LetMeDriveTheBus Mon 06-Jul-15 08:37:51

Ooh a nice new thread, thanks Big.

Ate too much of the wrong foods yesterday and am so dehydrated today. Urgh. Back on track today.

Hellokitty105 Mon 06-Jul-15 09:07:09

Oooo new thread, place marking. I'm being good this week! Go away on Friday for 2 weeks! 2 weeks without the gym is going to be a killer! I'll have to do lots of swimming and go for lots of beach walks instead!

FaffingtonBear Mon 06-Jul-15 09:16:53

Hello - may I join you ?

I have a LOT of weight to lose, after trying and failing at Cambridge / Slim and Save etc I'm reluctant to spend any more money on diets and seeing a friend who I hadn't seen for awhile and she looked amazing, she simply told me it was IF and pointed me at these threads.

So I've done all my reading last night and am now ready to Start today !

Meerka Mon 06-Jul-15 09:21:06

oh dear, I thoroughly fell off the wagon end of last week and the weekend. Just ate and ate, bad things too like cake and chocs and salted nuts and ... and ....

... and now I can see the results on the scales.

Eating properly and sensibly today, back on the FDs tomorrow. At least it's faintly cooler this week. It was 40 last week. It was ever so quiet as even the children weren't playing on the street as it was sooooo hot.

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