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5:2 Thread number 58: Do you eat like a Labrador ? Or nibble all day like a hamster ? Join our friendly group and get your menagerie under control.

(983 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Sun 01-Nov-15 23:03:38

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 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 roughly the number of calories your body needs to maintain - NOT reduce - its weight (see TDEE calculator below).

If you have had Eating Disorders you should NOT do 5:2 or any other kind of fasting


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 for Caucasians. Upper limit may be 22 for some of Asian origin.

FD = Fast Day: aim for 500 calories (600 for men or 25% TDEE if higher) or 1000 cals for BF
Even if you exercise strenuously, do NOT increase FD cals

MFP = My Fitness Pal, a useful App or website to track food & drink calories

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 , 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
Choose / Visualise Goal Weight: 3D BMI Visualiser with sliders & ripped / normal

FAQs / Tips:

- WATER: Start each day with a glass 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 you've ever had EDs, or if pregnant, under 21, over-stressed, 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 or water, - in most diets, 25% of lost weight is muscle, up to 50% for sleb crash diets.

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 (consecutive FDs) 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

Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications: J CellMetabolism
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

His recent article in J Aging Mech Disease 2015 explains the health benefits of intermittent fasting in great scientific detail.

Also this interview with a leading researcher into fasting in combination with standard cancer treatment: 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 01-Nov-15 23:18:47

Welcome to the new Thread 58, everyone
LadyF Most people find b2b much tougher than non-consecutive FDs.
However, b2b works fine - just imcrease FD cals to 650, which was what was used in Michelle Harvie's two b2b human studies.

Lovemyway I'm a scientist in a totally different field - STEM PhD - but I've examined a huge number of scientific articles on Intermittent Fasting, so I'm the resident geek.
Some of us have been maintaining a long time, continue fasting for health benefits in later life. There is a lot of peer-reviewed science in reputable journals backing up IF for this.

Breadandwine Sun 01-Nov-15 23:33:35

Snagging. Tks, BCF!

annielostit Mon 02-Nov-15 07:06:57

Found you, you've jumped to #58.
Need a slap. Not particularly a good weekend, hovering about tdee 3 days but food choices seem to have left me bloated and sluggish.
FD today, should be fun!
I aim for 2 plus at least 2 mini / well below tdee, got a family thing this weekend, need to fit in my new dress. Nsv size 14.
It was interesting go read that inch loss = fat loss, where cells can fill with water. I did wonder how your thiner but not lighter. God, I sound thick.grin

Marilynsbigsister Mon 02-Nov-15 07:30:54

Thank you BigChocFrenzy for you words of encouragement on last thread. It's Monday morning and my new WOE starts here. Unlike all the other Monday mornings, I really think I can do this !

OohMrDarcy Mon 02-Nov-15 08:03:21

Morning all, and the returning weigh in says I'm 3lb heavier. I'm not convinced that's all fat, so am back to drinking water like a fish and hope at least one of them buggers off by tomorrow.

In my head for that weekend I an happy as long as whatever I gain is lost again this week, which should be possible I think.

mrswhiskers Mon 02-Nov-15 08:16:01

Just place marking and will catch up with the thread later.

Frenchfemme Mon 02-Nov-15 08:37:44

Good Morning all - sneaking back after a long absence, although I've been following the threads from a distance! Time to get my arse back into gear and get a good solid few weeks in before the festivities start.
Thanks tip for your "fasting schedule" - I've upgraded MFP so I can put in different goals for different days (need all the help I can get).
I have decided not to weigh for a while, but go on how my clothes fit as they are noticably tighter than they should be.
Wine is my downfall (not bothered about chocolate, cakes etc) and I do like a ripe cheese. I had to laugh at m0therofdragons being tempted by baguettes, Brie and wine on holiday in France - I live here so face that all the time! No fish&chips, fast food or takeaways though.
Fasting tomorrow - good luck to all fasting today.

boldlygoingsomewhere Mon 02-Nov-15 08:42:05

FD for me today. Feeling a bit disappointed with myself at the weekend as I seem to be eating even when I'm not hungry. I think it's mainly because we're eating as a family so I feel a bit weird not eating with them but several times I've sat down to eat not feeling hungry at all.

Not quite sure how to get out of that cycle when we are eating together.

Good luck to all doing their FD today.

lovemyway Mon 02-Nov-15 08:45:23

Thanks bigchoc love your geekiness! Thanks to Talkinpease for your comment about being around 9st, sometimes over, sometimes under. That's a good way to think about it. TOTM due this week so that might also explain a bit of gain. FD today and the comments on here have spurred me on and to not give up. It's really useful to come on here when you're feeling tempted to throw the towel in. Thanks to you all smile

lovemyway Mon 02-Nov-15 09:22:45

Got a day off and it's FD as above. Just read all the inspirational stories on eatriskier thread. Wow. So impressed. This thread is fab. Reminded me of the flexibility of this WOL. I am annoyed with myself that I did 5:2 after the Horizon programme and got to 8st 13 then let it go and am now 9st 12( on way down from 1Ost 2) I needed this thread to boost me.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to keep this thread going. Sorry if i'm rambling and using up yet another thread space .flowers

BigChocFrenzy Mon 02-Nov-15 09:38:22

Go for it Marilyn You can do this.
So many people have lost weight on these 5:2 threads.

Don't worry, MrD You almost certainly haven't gained 3lb fat, however indulgent the week.
It would be a mixture of undigested food, plus retained water due to excess carbs - these are stored along with 3-4 x their water weight, e.g. 250g excess carbs leads to a 1kg temporary gain.
So, nail your FDs, have sensible NFDs and you should soon lose that 3lb.

lovemyway Most women retain a few lb water around totm. If you resist the associated cravings for fatty sugary food, then that water should be released the week after totm, usually along with an extra lb.

It is important to consider weight loss as a longterm process over several weeks - over many months if you have a lot to lose.
Celebrate the SVs and NSVs, but ignore the blips on the journey to a leaner you.

annie Weight loss is a complex process and science is still progressing in its understanding of all the interacting factors.
However, calorie deficit is dominant for almost everyone.

boldly Social pressures are tough, but it is important only to eat when hungry. Some ideas:
. Why are you not hungry ? Have you been grazing / snacking ? Don't !
If you really must munch, chop up raw carrot (NO dip) and munch them slowly. Drink water.
. On your plate, concentrate on lean protein with masses of veg.
Have small portions of starchy carbs. Preferably complex carbs.
Avoid or take tiny portions of very calorie dense food, e.g. yorkshires, pizza
. Have fruit for dessert, i.e. substitute healthy choices

Welcome back, Frenchfemme
If you don't want the scales, why not measure waist and hips now, so you can monitor progress. Once at goal, you'll know how many inches you lost.

Lulabellarama Mon 02-Nov-15 09:39:48

Morning all, I finally feel well enough to get back to a FD today. I think I did pretty well while I was ill and over the weekend and won't have been too far off TDEE, but I wasn't logging.

Plan for today is hardboiled egg and cherry tomatoes for lunch but I have no idea about dinner. Big food shop is being delivered between 9pm and 10pm and I have nothing in before then and my eldest has my debit card!
Could possibly rustle up a lentil soup?

Iamblossom Mon 02-Nov-15 10:52:24

morning all, marking place.

8 stone 8 this morning after a week of no fast days, little exercise, loads more than I usually eat and lots of alcohol.

The freedom this WOL gives me is staggering - skipped breakfast yesterday, knowing we had a family lunch. Had a huge plate of vegetables, admittedly no potatoes but did have roast parsnips, and roast beef and gravy, and a small bowl of apple and blackberry crumble with a spoon full of vanilla ice cream. Also had a sandwich, fruit and yoghurt and a biscuit for tea. No booze which kept me within TDEE (ish).

I am fasting today, but will prob have 600 calories and then do a mini fast rather than a full fast on Wednesday. Booze free week as am doing NNN (only drinking on weekends).

Happy happy happy that my weight is now so easily controlled - wish the rest of my life was like that! grin

LetMeDriveTheBus Mon 02-Nov-15 11:17:26

French I'm seriously considering ditching the scales at least temporarily. I have my goals which are around continuing to improve my strength and reducing my waist to 0.45 of my height (about an inch to go). I've been finding my mood is too affected by the number on the scale and I don't like it.

I don't want this to derail me though. Anyone got further thoughts or experience?

StompyFreckles Mon 02-Nov-15 11:24:10

Right, I am steadily putting on weight at the moment and I need to do something! I have always previously been a size 8/10, but I am now 3 children on, recently turned 35 and I am definitely getting bigger - none of my clothes fit now. I followed the 5:2 diet two years ago and felt amazing - I just really need to get back in to it. So far today I have had two cups of tea and a glass of water - wish me luck!

TerrorAustralis Mon 02-Nov-15 11:46:03

Welcome Stompy good luck for your first FD. You might find it hard at first, but as time goes on it gets easier and easier. There's lots of advice here on how everyone makes 5:2 work for themselves.

Great news blossom that's very encouraging.

I have had a couple of NSVs over the weekend. Firstly, I hit a long-term goal when I fit into and bought a pair of Uniqlo trousers. Granted they are XL, but they're a Japanese XL, which is more like a Caucasian M.

Also had a few friends and DH comment on the fact that I am looking slimmer, so I think the new trousers are quite flattering too!

FD today and I've just had dinner of some baked chicken and veg with a bit of rice.

Tomorrow I've got a lunchtime function, that will probably spill over into the afternoon & evening. I'm not going to worry too much about it, and will have another FD on Wednesday.

Good luck Monday fasters!

confusedandemployed Mon 02-Nov-15 12:44:33

Checking in. Thanks for new thread BigChoc.
Welcome Stompy and congrats on your NSV Terror. I love new small trousers!
Successful FD on Friday then the usual weekend off. Although didn't go overboard, for once!
Gym session today and making lemon drizzle cake with DD later. Oops. FD tomorrow will be very much needed.

TalkinPease Mon 02-Nov-15 13:15:28

57,000 posts later and NO SNACKING is starting to go mainstream

boldlygoingsomewhere Mon 02-Nov-15 13:27:27

Thanks for the tips Bigchoc.

I'm not snacking which is why it's so strange that I haven't felt hungry. I think it's because I'd had a couple of larger meals the day before so was probably still full!

Breadandwine Mon 02-Nov-15 14:14:21

God, I sound thick.

Annie Not thick at all - came as a surprise to most of us, I guess!

Keep in mind, folks, that weight gained over a couple of days (as with the indulgent walking weekend I’ve just had) comes off quickly, whereas weight that builds up slowly comes off quite a bit slower. I’ve put 5lbs on over one of these weekends – and lost it by the Wednesday after 2 FDs! Don’t gain that much these days, since I don’t have breakfast (extra half hour in bed! grin) and passed on the Sunday pub lunch.

Huge welcome to all the new posters (and returners! Hi Femmefrench) – you’re certainly in the right place!

Hello Kreesh - I’ve always said that vegans and veggies have a bit of a head start with this WOE, given the very few calories that are in veg. You may have seen on the last thread how I struggled to collect 500 calories of veg all in one place! Have a look on the 5:2 recipe thread, where I’ve got several low cal veg curry recipes – including one for less than 100 cals!

One day down on my dry November challenge – the w/e was fairly boozy, but I finished my last glass of port at 5 to midnight on Saturday.

I think I’ve invented a new drink – certainly for these threads. For sometime now I’ve substituted my usual pint of home made stout before dinner with a shandy – half stout and half lemonade. Yesterday I tried a glass of (low cal, cloudy) lemonade, but I found it too sweet on its own – so I thought I’d try a water shandy! grin Half water, half lemonade – which made it quite acceptable.

Then I have a small glass of iced water instead of wine with my dinner. I can do this!

All the best to any fasters today - lovely to see all the NSVs/SVs piling up! grin

Just in case there are any more lurkers out there wondering whether to jump onto this shiny new thread or not:

I can honestly say that taking up this WOL is one of the best things I've ever done!

I've been IFing for getting on for 4 years now - I lost 24lbs I didn't know I had to lose (WW - long story sad), and I've been maintaining at my current happy weight for over 3 years, now, with one 24hr LOF and several 16:8s each week.

I have more energy than I sometimes know what to do with - for instance I skip across the lounge in the morning to open the curtains; I can't see a set of stairs without running up 'em; when I'm out walking I often break into a bit of a trot. I feel as fit as I've ever done - like a fit forty-year-old, in fact - when I'm a guy in my late 70s! grin

IF, along with the fabulous advice doled out by BCF on her exercise thread, has given me a quality of my life I could never have imagined!

So please, cease your lurking and your indecision* and come and join us on what is the friendliest thread on Mumsnet!

(*Bear in mind that everyone on these threads started off wondering if we could actually manage on just a quarter of our calories - and we've all been surprised to discover just how easily and quickly we take to this WOL! grin)

Breadandwine Mon 02-Nov-15 14:33:01

57,000 posts later and NO SNACKING is starting to go mainstream

Great stuff, TiP!

A couple of things which help with no snacking are:
Being vegan; and,
Avoiding palm oil.

There are lots of vegan biscuits out there - but the great majority contain palm oil! sad

Lottielulu Mon 02-Nov-15 14:41:36

Welcome to all the newcomers and good luck to anyone fasting today! FD for me too here going well smile

m0therofdragons Mon 02-Nov-15 15:46:40

Haha French my main issue is dh and dc only eat cheddar so any nice cheese I buy is all mine and I can't throw it!
Having a fd today so just living on coffee and blueberries so far. Still not feeling well so have no appetite but I will have something for dinner later. Managed to resist picking at the dc's picnic earlier. So that was good. Feeling good that I'm sticking to it. It only works for me when I'm in the right mindset and I seem to be there at the moment. Will be good to get the first week under my belt - feels like I've been doing it for longer! In fact I've just realised that this will be my 3rd fd in one week - is that a big problem in the first week?

OnceAMeerNotAlwaysAMeer Mon 02-Nov-15 16:48:09

bigchoc what were the rules for NNN? I looked back but coulndt quite find them (busy day with builders still here and various visitors)

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