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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 Wed 12-Aug-15 11:26:30


BigChocFrenzy Wed 12-Aug-15 11:25:53

Thread closing ......

BigChocFrenzy Wed 12-Aug-15 11:25:40

Thread closing ......

BigChocFrenzy Wed 12-Aug-15 11:24:52

Thread closing. Please go to the new 52Thread56

BigChocFrenzy Tue 11-Aug-15 22:11:19

Aleesha The BFers do 1000-cal FDs and they lose ok. Why not try that and then when you feel able, gradually go down to 900, then 800 etc

Alternatively, Try eating 1200 cals daily within an 8 or 10 -hour window, i.e. fasting for 14-16 hours each day.

Whatever you decide, good luck and I hope you reach your goals.

Aleesha Tue 11-Aug-15 17:24:11

Awww thankyousmile

ErrolTheDragon Tue 11-Aug-15 14:39:56

Aleesha - I think everyone else has moved to the new thread, but didn't want you to feel you were being ignored.

Maybe it's not right for you, but there are people who work into it gradually by starting at 800ish and gradually reducing towards the 500 as they figure out what works for them on an FD. Or some people do one of the other forms of 'intermittent fasting' such as 16:8. If at some point you want to give it another shot, these threads will be rolling on for advice and support. Good luck whatever you do! smile

Aleesha Tue 11-Aug-15 12:47:47

Tried this diet for few weeks couldn't keep even 1 fast under 800 calories, so stope this diet and went back to my old one where I eat under 1200 calories everyday .I lost weight with this diet in the past.I guess 5:2 not the right diet for mesad

MazzleDazzle Tue 11-Aug-15 10:18:32

Hollyfuck what a terrible time you've had thanks. Post on here for support whenever you need to. Well done for getting back on track.

BigChocFrenzy Mon 10-Aug-15 22:56:30


This thread is nearly at the 1000 post limit, so

we have a new 52Thread56


Sounds like the Monday fasters have done very well.
So night, night everyone and join us on the new thread in the morning.

BigChocFrenzy Mon 10-Aug-15 22:50:40

Welcome, Cain and very well done with food & exercise on only your 2st FD
Your menu sounds within 500, assuming the bacon & lentil soup is about 50 cals.
It's possible to cram quite a lot of food into 500 cals, if you avoid fat / cream / sugar and pile on the veg.
There are several tasty recipes for FD curries, stews and stirfries that will also keep most folk full, see the 52 Recipes Thread* and our own grandpa breadandwine can suggest vegan options

CainInThePunting Mon 10-Aug-15 21:51:24


I've just started 5:2ing and I just wondered if I'm doing it right?
Today was my second fast day and I've logged it all on mfp at 430 cals and I'm absolutely stuffed, there must be something wrong!
Full on a fast day??

Breakfast: black coffee
Lunch 120 cals: 50g soft boiled egg chopped up with a dash of soy. 1 sachet of bacon and lentil soup.
Dinner 227 cals: 1portion tomato and pepper sauce with quorn meatballs and 100g broccoli. I weighed and logged this as a new recipe on MFP when I made it so the calories are all there. I may have gone slightly overboard with the Tabasco...
Snacks 84cals: 2x mini baby bel lights.
Drinks: black coffee, liquorice tea, water.

I went out and walked about 2 miles and had dinner when I got back.
I felt reasonably hungry today but not famished.

I'm just astonished at how easy this seems to be and wanted to check with you if that's ok? First week weigh in is Weds.

I'm reading the threads too, up to the end of Jan 13 so far. It may take the rest of the year to catch up! grin

OhHolyFuck Mon 10-Aug-15 21:32:51

bigchoc i have 2 year old DS2 on reigns, all walking is done at a snails pace whilst we stop to look at flowers/grids/interesting sticks!

confusedandemployed Mon 10-Aug-15 21:28:45

FD done, also an hour of aerobics and half an hour of Zumba (I left discreetly halfway through because, quite frankly, it was rubbish).
Just eaten, coming in at 472 I think. Goodnight all!

mrsmugoo Mon 10-Aug-15 20:46:08

Had a very good and healthy eating day today - am not counting cals at the moment as 16:8ing but definitely within TDEE. Just made a tomato and avocado salad with some lovely pomegranate and fig balsamic and a slice of spelt and sunflower bread.

Scales said 129 this morning! I'm in the 120s!! I'm really happy to try to maintain at this weight.

My mind is fixated on pancakes - I'm going to make some buckwheat pancakes for breakfast tomorrow I think.

BigChocFrenzy Mon 10-Aug-15 20:43:42

Well done on your FD, Holy 600 is very respectable for the 1st FD of your return.

If you are time-poor, why not check out the Fast Fitness Blasts on the 5:2 ExerciseThread3
They literally take 4-8 mins and can be done by folk at any fitness level.
If you are out walking, try to add "walking intervals" where you add in a couple of mins at a brisker pace.

OhHolyFuck Mon 10-Aug-15 20:26:30

Thanks everyone for your kind words - Im on 600ish for today, not the 500 i originally aimed for but Im not going to beat myself up about it too much.
Need to start thinking about exercise too but I have no idea where Im going to find the time

BigChocFrenzy Mon 10-Aug-15 19:48:55

Fanny That was a good mini-FD.
You could optionally move on and just nail the next scheduled FD, so this WOE remains sustainable and doesn't mess up your plans.

thoroughlymodernfanny Mon 10-Aug-15 19:37:28

Holy- what a hard time you've had, it's incredible that you've kept the strength to keep going and get motivated, your inspirationalthanks

Mini fd today after a failed fd. Children's party tipped the scale. Two mini pizzas took me to 738 cal for the day confused not worth it.

Fd in earnest tomorrow though.

Well done Monday fastersgrin

BigChocFrenzy Mon 10-Aug-15 19:13:41

Well done on your SV and maintaining, Blossom
Exercise accelerates weight loss for some folk and definitely seems to help maintain.

Iamblossom Mon 10-Aug-15 19:03:06

FD done, 532, even counted the three mouthfuls of Bolognese meat sauce I couldn't resist scoffing out of the pan that the boys had for tea.

Ate very early for me, 5.50, but the meal was so enormous I was still eating it at 6.20!! Whole packet of tescos oriental veg stirfry with a packet of prawns added. Delicious and very filling. Also had a 0% greek yoghurt with berries and seeds and a sugar free jelly.

Kitchen closed.

Thanks confused - I am delighted. Was 9 5 when I started and very quickly have lost at least half a stone and more importantly kept it off. Fabulous. Just in time for my holiday too!

ErrolTheDragon Mon 10-Aug-15 18:33:37

DH and DD have gone away for the week, and I'm planning to excavate the fridge/freezer/cupboards rather than shopping for the duration. So I think I'll be having some sort of omelette in a moment.

confusedandemployed Mon 10-Aug-15 18:15:31

Evening all. FD going well, just about to have an egg before aerobics and, possibly, Zumba as well. I'll see how I feel.
I have haddock in dill sauce and 10cal jelly for later. The haddock is a Lidl Steam ready meal, I've had it before and it's lovely.
lamblossom well done on your run! I am extremely envy of your amazing weight loss!

LetMeDriveTheBus Mon 10-Aug-15 17:37:52

What a lot you've been through Holy. I'm so sorry for your loss.

I've had a nice early dinner before my exercise class tonight. Am aiming for maintenance over the next couple of weeks as I have a lot of social eating engagements!

TerrorAustralis Mon 10-Aug-15 15:10:11

Holy so sorry for your loss and the hard time you're having. Good on you for getting back on track, though.

AntiqueRose I've been decluttering and selling loads of stuff around the house. All the money is going into my 'smaller boobs new bra fund'. Of course if there's anything left over it will go on new clothes.

I had a pretty carb-tastic weekend, so the scales were up a bit this morning, but hopefully it won't stick.

FD today and it felt like the easiest one in a while, so I only had dinner and really enjoyed it - some baked paprika chicken and steamed veg with green goddess dressing.

Good luck Monday fasters!

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