Advanced search

5:2 Thread No. 61: Add squats to your workouts - move the beer to the bottom shelf of the fridge. Join our friendly support group for the best lifestyle tips !

(1000 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Tue 02-Feb-16 08:07:18

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 & Health

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 Tue 02-Feb-16 08:07:43

🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴

Welcome to 5:2 thread # 61 !
smile smile

"HOW TO START" in the OP has
FD recipes & Cool Bod Calculators & 3D Visualisers
also how to calculate TDEE, Body Fat, Frame Size, Ideal Weight Range
& Daily alcohol units & cals

If you're interested in the science or health benefits,
read the OP section on Scientific Evidence for Fasting

🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴

mayflyaway Tue 02-Feb-16 08:18:52

I've managed to put on a kg through January ... usual stuff too much wine & meals out not careful enough on NFDs. So 76kg as of today.

Been reading about short people needing BMI lower in the healthy range - I was aiming for 55kg but may need to go lower than that. Bit depressing.

I'm fasting today and going to do a couple of weeks of ADF, we're going on holiday at the end of the month - really want to get my mojo back before then. Haven't had any booze for a week & will continue that until we go away.

Hope everyone has a good day smile

Brokenbiscuit Tue 02-Feb-16 09:02:01

Signing in to the new thread. Thanks BigChoc for your ongoing support and encouragement. It really helps!

GeordieBadger Tue 02-Feb-16 09:52:08

Non-fast day today. Wish you all luck if you're fasting!

Inlovewithchocolate Tue 02-Feb-16 10:15:09

Hi. I have not had any input on this site for a few years. I am going through menopause and have put on about 20lbs. I hate it but cant seem to lose any weight. thought I would come here again for some support and help... I am really struggling and hate my shape at the moment..

OohMrDarcy Tue 02-Feb-16 10:17:12

Morning all,

signing in to new thread with a Tuesday FD here, enjoyed reading others ideas about what they eat on FD for inspiration at the end of the last thread. I'm definitely a creature of habit, so lots of soup / omelette / various forms of chicken + veg here.

I did find a sainburys be good to yourself chicken tikka and pilau rice which is 400 cals and yummy.

Will check out some of the other suggestions!

On a slightly amusing note, I must have been a bit bunged up before my 6 mile walk on sunday, as yesterday I couldn't believe how much I poo'd! blush grin

Also had a bit of a headache, so will try to drink more water before / during next big walk - did take a 500ml bottle and had a glass of water when I reached the end but didn't drink enough beforehand really

GeordieBadger Tue 02-Feb-16 10:43:46

Darcy I have terrible constipation from fasting. Yet recently when I took a laxative, all it did was give me the runs blush Maybe BigChoc has advice?

Iamblossom Tue 02-Feb-16 11:16:02

morning all, thanks for new thread BigChoc.

FD went well yesterday, 550, but weighed this morning and the weekend debauchery (faaaaaaaaaaar too many carbs, lots of booze, chocolate etc) has caught up with me today and I am 4 pounds above my happy weight. And 6 pounds above my LAW that I got to a few weeks ago on 5:2. Not bothered too much about the LAW as that was an extreme, but not happy at all about the gain, particularly as it was AFTER a good FD AND I have to wear THAT DRESS on Saturday night, AND go out for dinner AND lunch on Thursday!! shock Something must be done.

So - am reporting live from my first ever B2B.

And feel absolutely fine so far, nothing but water and black coffee and have been to the gym.

Will report back later. Planning 2 boiled eggs about 4 (my usual danger time) and 2 salmon fillets with veg for tea.

sparkle789 Tue 02-Feb-16 11:17:42

Good luck tuesday fasters.

Weighed in today and lost 1 1/2lbs.

boldlygoingsomewhere Tue 02-Feb-16 11:29:42

A new thread already! Just marking my place for now.

Good luck Tuesday fasters. smile

OohMrDarcy Tue 02-Feb-16 11:41:10

ooh blossom, let me know how it goes! I've been intrigued but not brave enough to try yet! grin

Geordie, I'm not normally constipated with it - but haven't been eating as much veg since Christmas which serves me right really, lesson learned and all that!

Iamblossom Tue 02-Feb-16 11:53:23

nothing like a scales shock as a motivating factor. Been far too complacent recently.

Maddy128 Tue 02-Feb-16 12:15:35

"nothing like a scales shock as a motivating factor. Been far too complacent recently."
Too true blossom
Scales are not my friends at the moment.

Thanks for the new thread BC and for all the ready meal advice. Shame I don't live closer to an M&S. Popped in a Sainsburys local and got a little spinach and ricotta cannelloni ready meal (all they had in the Healthy range!) and some lentil soup for tomorrow.

PMS and a terrible nights sleep means I'm having a terribly NFD today and grazing on all kinds of rubbish. But I'm too tired to beat myself up about it. Tomorrow is another day.

diggerdigsdogs Tue 02-Feb-16 12:21:52

Finished a FD here. Finding it much easier if I water only until 11ish. If I have tea in the morning I'm starving til I eat.

Just place marking. Life is mad and not any time to catch up or keep up with the thread.

Also scales are flat so no idea what I weigh!

mrswhiskers Tue 02-Feb-16 12:31:06

Just place marking. NFD here next FD planned for Thursday
Good luck Tuesday fasters

Brokenbiscuit Tue 02-Feb-16 12:44:43

Day 2 of b2b going ok so far. I'm a bit peckish, but it will pass! Thankfully I have enough to keep me busy this afternoon to keep my mind off stuff.

Iamblossom Tue 02-Feb-16 13:13:57

bumps fist with Brokenbiscuit. Weird isn't it you would think I'd be starving after fasting yesterday but I am not at all...

LadyPriggsbottom Tue 02-Feb-16 13:25:11

Morning all and thanks for new thread bcf.

NFD here today. FD1 yesterday was ok but I think I may have gone a bit over my target of 500 cals annoyingly. Think it was more like 800 blush. Tomorrow is my next FD. Considering doing three this week as a kick start and also because I was a bit rubbish at it yesterday. Will play it by ear.

Good luck today to fasters and non fasters alike.

fusspot66 Tue 02-Feb-16 16:46:00

I've been doing 5:2 since the end of May and lately I find I'm able to wait till teatime on a FD to eat which makes for a more substantial evening meal. I would not have thought that possible at the start.

mayflyaway Tue 02-Feb-16 19:05:24

"nothing like a scales shock as a motivating factor. Been far too complacent recently."

oh yes, me too!

FD finished - a smidge over 400 (which is 25% of current TDEE) ... lots of veggies, tea & smoked mackerel. I feel good.

Well done for your loss sparkle smile

Iamblossom Tue 02-Feb-16 19:21:11

Well done sparkle

Kitchen closed at 714. FD yesterday was 550 before I knew I was going to try b2b so whilst cumulative total should have been 1200 if you are allowed 600 a day on a b2b so I am over by 64 odd cals.

Am surprised at how easy it was. Have exercised both days. Was hungry by 2pm today so had two boiled eggs and a 0% fat greek yoghurt. Changed my evening meal choice from salmon to a tuna and tinned tomato stir fry which make a massive bowl full, nfd feel comfortably full.

Verdict = definitely doable with the increased allowance and I will do it again. Was not remotely bothered about no breakfast today even after a FD yesterday.

shortaris1 Tue 02-Feb-16 20:37:47

FD done and kitchen closed on 484.

Passed probation today at work but was determined to fast so will celebrate tomorrow, under TDEE though!

BigChocFrenzy Tue 02-Feb-16 20:42:38

Congrats on your FD, Sparkle

Digger If you want to monitor progress, do you have a tape measure, or even a piece of string, or previously tight jeans ?

Prolonged / vigorous exercise often helps poo throughput, MrD grin
Do remember to drink more though. For that length walk, I'd take a 1l bottle or at least 750 ml

For newbies, sometimes your digestion can take a few weeks to get used to fasting. If so, just try to eat a bit more healthily during this time, with plenty of veg & beans, not too much junk.

Geordie I'm surprised to find a lifter with constipation. Do you do ATG squats (Arse To Grass) ? Usually works a treat !wink
OK, some thoughts:

+ Doing IF and with your intense exercise, I'd estimate your body requires at least 2l water per day, in addition to any liquid in food and your protein shakes. Do you manage this every day ?

+ I wonder if your digestive system is finding 5 years of ADF a strain - on maintenance, do you alternate continually between say 25% TDEE and 175 % TDEE ? It's a much tougher regime than 5:2 for your system, even if you find it psychologically simpler.

+ You posted that your FD intake was a protein shake and cucumber sticks. Very little fibre there.
To boost fibre, I suggest adding flaxseeds to your shake and swapping cucumber for broccoli
What do you eat on NFDs wrt fibre, also sugar, general food quality ?

If you are v low carb, or just v low veg, on NFDs I recommend adding beans, lentils, peas, avocado, berries for healthy fibre that also helps blood sugar.
If you are high carb, switch from e.g. white bread to wholegrain and try to cut down on added sugar & sugary junk.

+ If you think your diet and water are good, I suggest your consult your GP if you haven't already.
Self-medication is ok for occasional constipation, but if it happens more often it's best to get proper advice & meds to sort out the problem.

There are some conditions that affect the hormone balance and upset fluid balance, hence sometimes causing constipation e.g. diabetes, underactive thyroid, overactive parathyroid gland.
Numerous other causes e.g. narrowing colon, misfunctioning of pelvic muscles during bowel movement.

BigChocFrenzy Tue 02-Feb-16 20:57:13

Congrats on your SV, Sparkle The scales are moving along.

Congrats on passing probation, short That must make you feel much more secure too.
LadyP You are doing ok. It takes most folk 2-3 weeks to get used go fasting.
Don't feel you have to add a 3rd FD or keep trying for the 500 FD; just ease in gently and accept 800 FDs if need be for your 1st week or so.

Well done on your b2b, Blossom Even most experienced fasters find those are tough !
Note: b2b is really easy with up to 800 cals. Remember the BSD has 800 cals and Mosely reports people find the extra 300 cals makes a huge difference in sustainability, for the 800-cal lc Med version too.

Well done on your FD, fusspot That's a good system that enables a decent supper.
It gives you a really long fasting window for maximum fat-burning and benefits for your insulin metabolism.

This thread is not accepting new messages.