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5:2 Thread No. 59: Oh the weather outside is frightful. But the fasting is so delightful. And since we've no place to go, let's jump back in the 5:2 flow !

(972 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Fri 27-Nov-15 21:47:36

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
Calc Ideal Weight Range
Body Fat: Calc
Choose / Visualise Goal Weight: 3D BMI ripped / normal
Bod Vis 3D rotate

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 !

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Fri 27-Nov-15 21:50:56


Welcome to 5:2 thread number 59, everybody !
smile smile

"HOW TO START" in the OP has all you need plus
+ FD recipes
+ Cool Bod Calculators &
+ 3D Visualisers for your goal shape.

Or check out "Scientific Evidence for Fasting"


OP’s posts: |
talkinnpeace Fri 27-Nov-15 22:32:24


OohMrDarcy Fri 27-Nov-15 23:05:57

Loving the title of the new thread grin

Isn't this like my fourth thread or something shock

Breadandwine Sat 28-Nov-15 00:14:16

Becoming an old-timer, MrD! grin

Thanks, BC! star

confusedandemployed Sat 28-Nov-15 07:08:32

Marking place. Thanks BC

Another fitness milestone - 8k outdoors in 45mins yesterday. Felt very strong, so I'm confident I can break an hour for 10k. I'm contemplating joining my friend on a few parkruns.

Any Saturday fasters out there?

We're child free from lunchtime, DD is off to Grampy's for a sleepover. DH and I are off to the rugby, then out for food with friends tonight. Have a good one everyone!

ednabuckett Sat 28-Nov-15 08:05:38

Morning all! Loving the new thread and so happy I'm joining yet another one - it's like proving my dedication to this woe to myself!

That said, I didn't manage the third fast yesterday sad. I was just too tired and miserable. TDEE tho so hopefully no major damage. I just can't believe how that mid week binge last week (birthday party) has slowed everything up! It's taken me out of a routine I'd worked hard to establish and I'm back to it next week without fail. I lost 0.2 of a pound last week (pathetic) but a loss is a loss. So many people commented on my weight loss yesterday though. That was a boost.

Anyway I dare say I will end up a little over tdee at the weekend but no events planned so I won't be going mad. Soooo looking forward to a 'normal' week next week.

Jeez if this has thrown me off how the hell am I going to deal with chrimbo confused.

LetMeDriveTheBus Sat 28-Nov-15 09:27:41

Thanks for the new thread big.

I'm 9 st 11 lb as of this morning!! So unbelievablely thrilled grin. Had a couple of impulsive overeating moments the past few days, due to overtiredness I think. But am really happy I managed to just log them and move on.

Am going to try and keep on the sensible eating track until 19th Dec. I've come so far this year. I want to go into 2016 feeling as good about myself as I do today.

Edna well done for staying under TDEE. And a great NSV that people are noticing and complimenting you.

lovemyway Sat 28-Nov-15 11:03:23

New thread already. I joined just before the last thread and have lost 9lbs since then. Ok the last 3 were due to a stomach bug but i'm maintaining that loss so far and am determined to keep it up. Luckily the bug has totally put me off alcohol and as i only drink at the weekend that's got to be a bonus.
I feel like i'm boasting but in the spirit of motivation I can't lie about how good it felt to pull on my size 10 , just washed skinny(ok relaxed skinny from Next) this morning and do them up with room to spare. Keep going everyone and if you know someone with norovirus, snog them! Ashamed of that totally irresponsible last sentenceblush

m0therofdragons Sat 28-Nov-15 12:03:05

Okay this week really hasn't gone to plan and I always knew it would be tricky. Life threw in a few extra curve balls but I am not going to let it stop my woe. Today I'm saving all my calories for tonight. I can do this!
Love the new title. Hope everyone's had a better week than me.

BigChocFrenzy Sat 28-Nov-15 12:04:10

Congrats on your SV, Bus That's excellent, comfortably into the 9 somethings.
That's a good idea to keep to the sensible eating until it's really Christmastime.

That's an encouraging compliments NSV, Edna and you managed not to gain, despite the party.
When you have big occasions, it's fine just to have a maintenance week.

Great progress with the running, confused
10k in 1hr is a good target. You'd probably really enjoy parkruns and the comradeship.

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Sat 28-Nov-15 12:30:01

Keep going, Dragons
If you can maintain this week, then you can nail the FDs and NFDs next week to get right back on track.

Well done on your skinny 10 NSV, lovemyway
I hope everyone avoids novo and all other bugs: good health is our main aim on this WOE.

OP’s posts: |
lovemyway Sat 28-Nov-15 12:47:07

Yes sorry Missbigchoc blush Stay healthy everyone, it really was vile. Getting confused over which thread to post on now. I'm no good at multi tasking.

boldlygoingsomewhere Sat 28-Nov-15 12:56:58

Here you are! Just posted in the old thread blush...

BigChocFrenzy Sat 28-Nov-15 13:14:02

Sorry if I made life complicated with 2 threads, but thread 57 sprinted suddenly and had 998 posts when I created thread 58 in a mad rush.

Let's just post here, on the new one.

On the topic of refusing communal junk food:

* Some people feel cross because it makes them realise they shouldn't be eating that crap either.
They can't say no, but you can.

* Some "friends" or family deliberately try to sabotage your weight loss, either because they feel it shows them up, or because they've always enjoyed looking down on you for your weight and they intend to continue.

OP’s posts: |
PhoebeMcPeePee Sat 28-Nov-15 14:58:08

Can I join you guys please? I lost 3 stone on sw last year, maintained for the first 9 months with a combination of lots of exercise & eating healthily most days but things have slipped recently & I've put on half a stone sad. I don't want to go back on SW so tried a 7 day 'cleanse' last week - ok so I stopped after 4 days due to sheer boredom BUT I have realised that I could quite easily fit a couple of days fasting into my week and 1 or 2 days on a very limited diet was nowhere near as bad as I thought grin.

I've read the main thread so got the gist of it, but need to get my head around what I'll actually eat on FD. I'm quite happy just to have veggies in one shape or form but presumably there's a limit and some veg is better than others. What do you all actually eat? I need to eat something in the morning & have usually grilled mushrooms, courgettes & tomatoes with scrambled egg so without the egg might be ok? Can drop dairy & carbs no problem but again, doing a veg stir-fry or soup for example, would I need to weigh everything!

Many thanks smile

BigChocFrenzy Sat 28-Nov-15 16:32:24

Welcome, Phoebe Eat the way you like
5:2 fits into whatever you like to eat: omnivore / vegan / veggie / piscatarian / low carb / low fat / Mediteranean ......

Nothing is banned, except on FDs you shouldn't drink any alcohol or eat any junk food, especially sugary crap.
No need to cut out dairy - many folk enjoy Greek yoghurt with berries on FDs.
Most people find it easier to have just 1 or 2 meals on FDs, based on protein & veg, but do have whatever works for you.
Caffeine is fine too, just include any milk calories in your 500 total (almond milk is yum and much lower cal, btw)

On NFDs, I keep reminding everyone to stay within the recommended NHS safe limits (and several folk ignore me grin !)

All you need to know is in the HOW TO START section of the OP, which has also has links to all kinds of 5:2 FD recipe sites.

OP’s posts: |
Greengardenpixie Sat 28-Nov-15 17:12:22

Ah, found the new thread. Just place marking smile

PhoebeMcPeePee Sat 28-Nov-15 17:21:27

Ooh yum I love plain yogurt and berries so will definitely incorporate a fat free version. I definitely need a couple of meal & snack ideas up my sleeve & have supplies in advance as that's where I struggled doing a longer cleanse ( well that and the day of just beef & friggin tomatoes shock).

Maddy128 Sat 28-Nov-15 17:41:24

Lovely new thread thanks BC and you totally hit the nail on the head with the communal treats pressure/guilt thing.

BigChocFrenzy Sat 28-Nov-15 17:54:03

Phoebe We have learned this important tip:

NO snacking, EVER, EVER

Eat meals, at least 4 hrs apart, without consuming calories in between.
If you snack, your insulin levels stay raised which hinders fat-burning.
Also, snacks are often calorie junk bombs.
Even healthy snacks / picking / grazing tend to leave you less satisfied, so you consume more calories overall.

OP’s posts: |
talkinnpeace Sat 28-Nov-15 18:06:41

Apologies for the utterly childish first post grin but having been on these threads since number 3 its quite fun to time it right smile

SPLENDID title BigChoc

Welcome to the gang Phoebe : there is a recipes thread somewhere with lots of good ideas - but basically veg and low fat protein will make a fast day something to be looked forward to rather than resented.

Re the shared food at the office problem : its just a case of saying NO politely but firmly.
Give no reasons, make no comment.
Do not stand near the plate of food, offer to hand it round if needs be : an excellent way to not eat while being seen to join in focus on the fingernails and you won't be hungry
Watch what the other lean and mean people in the area do ...
bet you'd not noticed before that they hold back as well grin

BigChocFrenzy Sat 28-Nov-15 18:07:24

Soups, stews, stir fries are all ideal FD meals.
You can have ready meals, e.g. the Skinny range of Covent Garden soups or DIY:

Butternut squash casserole is 313 cals / portion.
You could add some chorizo and / or yoghurt if you just have one FD meal.

These BBC Good Food 5:2 recipes are < 250 cals.

re communal junk: Maggie We just have to put ourselves first and ignore social pressure to agree to something we don't want, whether that be junk or boozy nights out.

OP’s posts: |
LadyintheRadiator Sat 28-Nov-15 19:09:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BigChocFrenzy Sat 28-Nov-15 20:21:31

Welcome back, Lady
NO snacking It really helps a lot when you want to lose weight.

OP’s posts: |

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