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5:2 Thread No. 64: Instead of "get in shape for summer," get in shape for the rest of your life. Be a lean mean FASTING machine

(1000 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Tue 07-Jun-16 20:12:00

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 , Mosely LowCarb , 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 07-Jun-16 20:13:06

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Welcome to 5:2 thread number 64 !
smile smile

The OP has FAQs & lots of tips.

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

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

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Breadandwine Tue 07-Jun-16 20:58:06

Thanks, BC! You are a star!

bugsyburge Wed 08-Jun-16 09:26:58

Checking in....

OohMrDarcy Wed 08-Jun-16 10:27:20

Checking in for a wednesday FD here smile

2 pints of water down already and just planning what I'll make for dinner. Thinking a BGTY Chicken Caesar, so I'll have enough cals for a little cheese omelette at lunchtime if I think I need one, or if I don't then a little supper.

Clear you'll make it to being a lean mean fasting machine in no time, as will I!

Mrstumbletap Wed 08-Jun-16 13:44:02

Ooo that salad sounds nice, can I ask what do you put in it to make sure it's low cal?

Today is a FD for me too, only my second one so far, had water and 2 teas with a little skimmed milk. And just got a hunger pang and had 2 ryvita with marmite and a laughing cow light triangle.

Hopefully I can make it until a stir fry tonight, but I am struggling to search online for things to put in it that won't take me over 500cals. Peas seems to be quite calorie heavy!

Need to get some different noodles, as all I have in the cupboard is low fat super noodles, planning on having half a pack, with veg and then that will be me done for the day.

OohMrDarcy Wed 08-Jun-16 14:10:08

Its a sainsburys pre packaged be good to yourself (low cal) caesar salad. Half a bag is 150 cals - including dressing and croutons / parmesan. So I have half a bag with a cooked chicken breast and its around 350 cals for the meal smile

ApricotExpat Wed 08-Jun-16 15:03:26

Hi BC and everyone,

I'm a returner. Time to lose that stone again - so please may I rejoin the team?!

grannygrins Wed 08-Jun-16 15:40:45

The more the merrier Apricot - I think there's quite a few of us re-joiners.

Good luck for your FD's today MrDarcy and MrsStumble.

Pinkpanther22 Wed 08-Jun-16 17:17:31

Second FD of the week and struggling more than usual! Having a bit of a trying day and nearly caved but currently having a cup of highlights whilst I have a brief moment to myself whilst my LO is napping. Hoping that will see me through until dinner time for which I've kept aside 400 cals. Woohoo!
Sending positivity to all fellow FD-ers.

MazzleDazzle Wed 08-Jun-16 18:35:00

I'm ba-ack! (waves) A baby lighter and stones heavier, but I'm back nonetheless.

Ahhh Cadbury's Highlights! One of life's joys on a FD Pinkpanther!

After trying and failing at every diet, I lost 2 and a half stone with the help of this fabulous thread and it stayed off...until I got pregnant. My little boy is now 10 weeks and I'm somewhat reluctantly keen to get back on the wagon! Glad to have Apricot and granny rejoining too. How are you getting on?

Managed a successful FD today! Haven't had anything to eat so far, nor have I felt a single pang of hunger. I guess my post pregnancy body must have plenty of blubber to survive on! blush

The tricky bit will be to stop at 500 once I eat my evening meal though!

Planning on having hot smoked salmon, asparagus, sun dried tomatoes a boiled egg, and salad leaves.

I've Fanta zero in the fridge I can break out if I get desperate later!

Hang in there fellow fasters - we're almost there!

BigChocFrenzy Wed 08-Jun-16 18:58:14

With most salads, it is the dressing that can pile on hundreds of calories.
Also too much garnishing with cheese, bacon, croutons - best to use a teaspoon to measure garnish on FDs

BigChocFrenzy Wed 08-Jun-16 19:04:44

Welcome back, Apricot, Maz < waves >

How lovely for you, Maz flowers
At only 10 weeks post-baby, don't worry about sticking to 500 cals.
I suggest: if BFing, have 1000 cals; if not then 700 cals

btw, we've discovered fiery Ginger Beer Light (Waitrose or Jamaican) suit FDs brilliantly. I think it was mtum who found this originally.

BigChocFrenzy Wed 08-Jun-16 19:15:28

MrsTumble Prawns, egg or tofu are excellent low-cal protein.
Just use a teasp of oil. Add unsweetened soy sauce, rice vinegar, spices like ginger, chili powder or chillies
Lots of choice with low cal veg for stirfry:
bok choi, mushrooms, beansprouts, red/ green / yellow peppers, broccoli, spring onions, shredded white / red / green cabbage, mange tout ...

Mooey89 Wed 08-Jun-16 19:29:34

Just checking in!

bugsyburge Wed 08-Jun-16 19:37:21

Kitchen closed here. Had roast chicken with salad leaves and beetroot for tea. I'm hoping for at least a pound off on the scales tomorrow otherwise I'll be disappointed envy

SeaEagleFeather Wed 08-Jun-16 20:52:25

Kitchen closed, except for herbal teas

aimed for 1000cals, came in at 800 and did 1,5km swim ... so Im pretty happy. First FD in several months.

Mrstumbletap Wed 08-Jun-16 21:00:33

Oh I don't know how today has gone really I found it a lot harder than the other one, can I share what I ate today and you tell me if I'm being unrealistic with my calories?

2 teas with red milk and sweetener - 40 cals?

Lunch 2 original ryvita with light laughing cow triangle and marmite -100cals
Couple of strips of cooked chicken breast - 50cals?

Split red lentil homemade soup, just with some onions, can of chopped tomatoes, (a few sprays of fry light for the onions) garlic and herbs and spices. Used 100grams of lentils but have half for tomorrow in a flask for work. And my DH pinched a bit of the soup, so I would say I had about 40grams of lentils. 80calories in total? Or am I kidding myself??

Then had a little bit of DH chilli, which was lean mince, peppers and onions, again in fry light, with all fat drained of the mince, and I had 6 dry nachos with it blush 200 calories in total do you think? Probably had about a child's small bowl of chilli.

But then just had a 70 calorie cereal bar- why oh why???

So I am guessing that is about 540 in total, does that mean it won't work today? Was it a waste of time because I cocked it up at the end?

Clearskies99 Wed 08-Jun-16 21:00:44

Thanks BCF. I do fasting walks first thing but will look up Fat Blasts. I realize I have a long way to go, not even 'overweight' yet, let alone healthy BMI, it's just relative to how I was I have shrunk alot!

Well done bugsy. Don't forget scales can have all sorts of blips of no significance

Congratulations mazzle on baby mazzle and welcome back, and Apricot too!

We will MrD and boy will it feel good!! grin grin

MrsT drinking water also helps if hunger pangs come on

Successful NFD here today, 3 healthy delicious meals, no snacks and loads of water. FD tomorrow

OliveBranchCollins Wed 08-Jun-16 21:33:03

Hi I wrote a massive post but it must have got lost in the move.

I have been religiously logging everything i eat in mfp. I am getting nowhere near my TDEE of 2000 most days I'm arround 1400 but I'm defiantly not feeling hungry.
I haven't had a FD yet as I wantedto get a good overview of how I've been eating.
I have lost 2lb this week but that's probably all sweat wink

eatriskier Wed 08-Jun-16 21:38:19

Placemarking ready for tomorrows FD

Clearskies99 Wed 08-Jun-16 21:41:59

MrsT x posted with you. Most important thing don't beat yourself up, over the cereal bar or the calories. You will still have had a significant deficit and the first few FDs take a while to get used to and find what works for you. I find it helps to plan in advance exactly whatI'll eat - helps then not be tempted by other stuff.

Clearskies99 Wed 08-Jun-16 21:43:45

olive I like the idea of defiantly not feeling hungry!!

BigChocFrenzy Wed 08-Jun-16 22:10:39

MrsTumble It is better not to have multiple tiny meals on an FD, because it is much more difficult to keep track of calories. More importantly, lots of little nibbles through the day keep insulin raised and tend to make you hungrier.

Most folk just have 2 meals, lunch & supper - 250 cals of protein & veg is a decent light meal, e.g. salad, stir fry, stew or curry
Some folk save almost all their calories to have a substantial supper
btw, cereal bars are a con - they are very carby and often high sugar.

BigChocFrenzy Wed 08-Jun-16 22:14:42

Anyway, you achieved a good calorie deficit for the day, MrsT even if your estimates weren't exact.
Most folk take at least a couple of weeks to get used to fasting and find a system that works for them.

That's good practice for the NFDs, Olive
You may find you are a bit hungrier once you start adding FDs, so that you eat your full TDEE some days
If you are a bit scared of the FDs, you could ease your way in, starting next week with 2 x 1000 cal FDs, then 800-900 the following week etc

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