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5:2 Thread number 62: "If God wanted me to touch my toes, she’d have put chocolate on the floor ?” There’s a more scientific approach to nutrition & fitness in our friendly support group.

(1002 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Wed 16-Mar-16 15:22:59

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 !

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Wed 16-Mar-16 15:23:42

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Welcome to 5:2 thread number 62 !
smile smile

"HOW TO START" in the OP has
. FD recipes
. Body Visualisers
. Calculators for ^TDEE, Body Fat, Frame Size, Ideal Weight Range, Daily alcohol units & cals

To learn about the science and possible health benefits,
read the OP section on Scientific Evidence for Fasting

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OP’s posts: |
Breadandwine Wed 16-Mar-16 16:18:09

Well done, BC! flowers

OohMrDarcy Wed 16-Mar-16 18:36:40

Woop woop - thanks BigChoc smile

littlepooch Wed 16-Mar-16 19:45:19

Thanks bcf

Marking my place so I don't forget!!

Clearskies99 Wed 16-Mar-16 20:41:01

thanks BCF feel like an old hand now I'm onto my 2nd thread! Day 26 and loving it smile

Yes indeed very Happy Trousers Day here - wearing them now, tight but they are on!

mootime Wed 16-Mar-16 21:25:06

Ooh shiny new thread.
Manic day here again.
Congrats on all the happy trousers!!
Sv here today. I weighed in at 169 this morning so I've dropped below 170!! Only 2lb and I'll be 11 stone something...

I've also just invested in a proper spiraliser and have just cooked celeriac carbonara. I honestly don't think I've had something so delish for a very long time. Slightly ruined my FD but still Fine on the BSD. I've some in around 900 cals today so not the end of the world and I managed 10k steps today so not doing too badly.

BigChocFrenzy Wed 16-Mar-16 21:51:48

Congrats on the SV, Moo Eagerly waiting to hear when you are in the 11 st somethings smile
A healthy low carb 900 is fine for BSD. How did you cook your carbonara ?

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Wed 16-Mar-16 22:00:40

On the old thread, we had Happy Trouser Day for Clear, Persis, Pooch smile
Keep doing the Happy Trouser Dance !

OP’s posts: |
mootime Wed 16-Mar-16 22:09:16

This Hemsley and Hemsley recipe. It was amazing.

littlepooch Wed 16-Mar-16 22:17:12

Thanks BCF I am so so glad I tried this WOE as I am loving it and it is working as evidenced by my jeans victory....still dancing away here smile

moo that recipe sounds so delicious! Shame I don't have a spiralizer!

PersisFord Thu 17-Mar-16 06:35:04

Morning everyone. FD here after 2 rather overindulgent NFD.....feeling good to be back on the wagon. Plan for today......omelette for lunch, soup for supper. Tough fasting when the kids are home but we are going to go out to soft play then hopefully have a play date in the afternoon.....

Anyone else fasting today?

Clearskies99 Thu 17-Mar-16 07:05:23

Yep FD here Persis started with pint of water and a brisk 1/2 hour walk at first light. 2nd pint at my side now

Have a good day everyone smile

Clearskies99 Thu 17-Mar-16 07:06:04

Yay Moo that's fantastic news! smile

PurpleAlerts Thu 17-Mar-16 07:29:18

Morning all! Haven't been on here for a few weeks as seriously fell off the wagon last week-blush just couldn't stop eating- and not the right stuff either- snacks, biscuits, the lot blush (although did manage to keep up with the exercise)!

However I dragged myself back to 5:2 on Monday and have done my 2 FDs already (surprisingly easy) and a careful NFD on Tuesday. To my amazement I have lost another 2lb in the last fortnight. Total loss now stands at 18lb. smile Weight is still coming off at a steady lb a week which is fine for me.

Off to buy a few new holiday clothes today as am off to our holiday home in the Algarve for 12 days at Easter and know that all the clothes I keep out there are going to be a size too big!

Well done to all those with successful SVs and good luck to all the Thursday fasters.

Captainladder Thu 17-Mar-16 08:04:29

Good morning all! persis and ckearskies I am fasting today too, my first one for years! Weighed in this morning at 85.9kgs. Would like to get to 70 eventually! Feeling determined.... I do best when I have nothing in the day and then eat at dinner (bit of an all or nothing type!) am at work this morning so just hope I can stay out of the cupboards and fridge this afternoon!

PersisFord Thu 17-Mar-16 08:08:08

Wow moo I missed your SV!!!! Great job!

Lovely to be fasting with you clear and captain grin I have drunk a pint of water and am sipping a cinammon tea.

littlepooch Thu 17-Mar-16 08:25:01

Morning all

NFD today. Good luck to all fasters - hope the day goes nice and quickly for you!!

I weighed in this morning and lost just over a pound. I'm pleased with that as its TOTM and I feel huge and bloated and wasn't expecting to lose anything!

Another busy weekend looming here so I'm thinking about doing another fast day tomorrow or at least a much lower calorie day to try and bank some calories.

doineedhelp Thu 17-Mar-16 08:32:14

well done on all your SVs and NSVs - so inspiring smile
Good luck to Thursday fasters, my second FD tomorrow as out for lunch then theatre today, going to be hard on a friday not having wine after work watching googlebox will be a first but fingers crossed I don't shout at everyone too much smile

going to bella italia for lunch, it looks like they have a 600 calorie and less menu so will pick off that, shouldn't be as difficult as i thought smile

MPP81 Thu 17-Mar-16 08:42:00

Ahhhhhh, here you are!

I also had a bit of a wagon fall, but firmly back on now! One FD complete this week so far, and second planned for tomorrow. Ten weeks till my wedding and I'm hoping to shed another half a stone before it gets here.

Congrats to all those with SV and NSV, and good luck to the Thursday fasters! smile

RhubarbCrumbled Thu 17-Mar-16 09:06:09

Congratulations everyone! Checking in on my second fast day this week. Finished yesterday on 1300 cals so hopefully today will go alright. I'm feeling better for getting back into it.

bugsyburge Thu 17-Mar-16 09:21:11

Hello hello hello,

I used 5:2 ( and these threads!!) really successfully in 2013 but then life and starting a family took over. I'm back to my pre pregnancy weight but feel a different shape so it's time to return to 5:2 to see if I can shift a bit more weight and hopefully feel better about my change in shape. Ideally I'd like to shift 10lbs so here we go!!

So far so good....restarted on Monday and I prefer to do every other day fasts or 4:3 if we have a busy weekend so I have fasted Monday,Wednesday and will fast Friday.

Congrats to all those who are making great progress....I like reading other people's experiences to push me along!!

jingscrivvens Thu 17-Mar-16 09:25:13

Morning everyone!

I go away for a day and everyone has brilliant SV and NSV - well done!!

Weigh in yesterday, and I was 0.8lb up. Totally expected and quite happy that its just less than a pound. Need to be more mindful on my NFDs this week, hoping to get a lot of heavy gardening done this weekend if I'm allowed. Desperately needing fencing so need to clear space for it to go to save a wee bit of money. DP a bit peeved at having to look after DS for best part of 2 days and reckons the fencing men should just do it. Anyhoo, a bit off piste there!

Good luck to all fasters today!

OohMrDarcy Thu 17-Mar-16 09:29:36

Morning all

FD here and I'm glugging the water like there's no tomorrow smile

Well done all on the SV's / NSV's - sorry can't remember all names but think it included clear, moo, persis, pooch? Harder to track across the two threads!

annielostit Thu 17-Mar-16 11:51:38

New thread, thought you were hiding.
Good trouser dances going on the tail end of the last one. Good efforts May the fasts be with you always.
Yesterdays mini got went wonky, had late lunch with dh after helping him to a meeting, then stuck in traffic for 8 hours - succumbed to half a hot cross bun on the motorway.
FD 2 will make up for it, got a nice bottle of fizzy water to keep me occupied. Throw in the mini tomorrow.

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