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5:2 Thread number 68: You don't have to be in control to start, but you can start to be in control. You can do this. Go for it !

(975 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Fri 19-May-17 22:27:10

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 smile

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 mainitain 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 , Vegetarian ,
Foodie Under 200 Cals
Any Day: Meal Planner
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 body variations ripped to normal
Bod Vis Measurements & 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, but on FDs count any milk / sugar calories.
- 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 less than you burn. 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
Instead, calculate NFD target with your activity level set one level below what you estimate.

- 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 fine.
Aim for TDEE, but you may under-eat by say 20% on 3 NFDs to save calories for weekend.

- Plateau / Losing & regaining same few lb: Many folk have a plateau after losing 15 lb +, while their body rebalances.
It may also be a longterm "set point" weight, so homeostasis is causing your body to resist losing more fat.
Just be patient & you'll break through.
However, if this persists for 4 weeks+ then typically you are overeating on NFDs, so aim to average within TDEE - mfp for a week, to reality check.

- Lots to lose - how to speed up weight loss
Optionally calculate the lower TDEE for goal weight, but eat to current weight TDEE at least 1 day per week.
This helps your body adjust to needing less food as you lose weight.
Also trains you how to eat to maintain goal weight.

- 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

5:2/IF Exercise Thread #3 gives advice & support on combining 5:2 with exercise.
The OP explains science behind fasting, exercise & health & has many calculators.

Recipe Thread has many FD recipes. Post your own too.

Inspirational Thread has reports from Mumsnet 5:2ers who have lost weight.

Scientific Evidence for Fasting & Health

BBC article on the original 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.

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.

He compared 5:2 to ordinary daily diets on overweight women with family history of breast cancer.
Fasting group lost more belly fat, retained more muscle & had slightly better blood sugar regulation.

More of his research is in HealthyAging , Health , AvoidParkinsonsDisease

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

Why intermittent fasting and stopping snacking can lower your risk of serious diseases:
Meal frequency and timing in health and disease

This interview with leading researchers into fasting in combination with standard cancer treatment: ScientificDiscussion MoselyMattsonLongo and a LongoInterview

NY Times Fasting Overview

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.
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 19-May-17 22:28:58

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Welcome to 5:2 thread # 68 !

FAQs & tips in the OP

The "HOW TO START" section has
. Tips & FAQs
. FD recipes, meal plans
. Body Goal Visualisers
. Calculators for ^TDEE, Body Fat, Frame Size, Ideal Weight Range, Daily Alcohol Units / Cals

"Scientific Evidence for Fasting" is at the end of the OP

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OP’s posts: |
rocket74 Sat 20-May-17 09:02:41

NSV today! A pair of trousers I wore about 2 months ago but were uncomfortable and I couldn't do up the final button - now fit much better and are pretty comfy!
They are still a size 20 - but little victories I guess - and I have a wardrobe full of size 18, and 16s to work towards. grin

BigChocFrenzy Sat 20-May-17 09:09:38

Well done on your trousers NSV, Rocket That's bodyfat you've burned off.

OP’s posts: |
CinderellasBroom Sat 20-May-17 11:20:56

Well done rocket!

I was wondering, has anyone fasted after giving blood? I clearly won't fast that day (the instructions say it's important to eat before and after you donate) but I was wondering about the day after. I assume your body is working extra hard to make new blood, so I thought it might make sense either to do my HIIT class the following day or to fast the following day, but maybe not both.

quckingduck22 Sat 20-May-17 11:59:57

Oh nice new shiny thread.

After my disastrous gain last week of 5.6 lbs. I have been very sensible this week and have lost the 5.6 lbs.

BCF I was looking up HIIT yesterday and came across a old thread you started. I've heard lots of amazing things about it was wasn't quite sure what it was.
I've restarted the c25k again at week 4 it's running in intervals this week was warm up. 5mins run, brisk walk, 3mins, walk, 5mins, cool down when I was doing my running section for the last minute of each set I was going really fast and I got my hear rare upto 180bpm. Is what I was doing HIIT? Is it short bursts of intense excersize?

It's been a while since doing any excersize but I really enjoyed it and hope to do it again tomorrow as I am really aching today.

BigChocFrenzy Sat 20-May-17 12:11:53

Good for you giving blood, Cinderella flowers
Of courses, never fast on that day. Personally, I wouldn't even do 16:8
I recommend at least one NFD after giving blood. So, do your HIIT class and have an NFD.

Duck That's indeed HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) because you were doing short intense bursts with short recovery periods between.

I don't know which of my old threads you found smile, but the current , 5:2/IF Exercise Thread #3 has lots of science, explanations and exercise routines in the OP

Time-poor 5:2ers might especially like Mosely's Fat Blasts, a few minutes on 3-5 days per week

OP’s posts: |
quckingduck22 Sat 20-May-17 12:41:23

Thanks so much for the link.

Yes it was the first thread you started that had reached 1k posts. Brilliant thanks.

BigChocFrenzy Sat 20-May-17 12:50:20

Sounds like your c25k is going brilliantly, duck smile

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Sat 20-May-17 12:54:30

Check out the running calculators at the end of the OP there - you can monitor how you improve over the weeks

OP’s posts: |
calzone Sat 20-May-17 13:46:31

After plateauing for months on sw, I have weighed myself and lost 9lbs!!!!!! I'm so happy!

pangolinfan Sat 20-May-17 18:34:30

Yay, another Parkrun pb for me - that's 4 in a row since I started this WOE two months ago. Definitely not a coincidence.

SingingGoldfinch Sat 20-May-17 19:22:55

What a lot of good news for our new thread!! We'll done on your parkrun pb Pango and your amazing 9lb weight loss Calzone!! That's such a huge loss!!

I managed another 30 day shred work out today which is good going for me. I'm definitely in NFD mode though!! It's my wedding anniversary so currently sipping a g&t and will be eating out tonight and won't be thinking about the calories! Hopefully it won't drag me back too far!!

BigChocFrenzy Sat 20-May-17 19:45:46

Congratulations to you both on your wedding anniversary and have a lovely day, Goldfinch flowers

Well done on your SV, calzone

and on another pb NSV, pangolin
Great milestones on this thread already smile

I've enjoyed my usual Saturday FD:

Early 30 mins fasted bike ride, because it's a lovely sunny day
L: Soup - LazyChoc version of cooking = ½ can each of salmon & tomato and organic pea soup
Afternoon gym - 1 hr pump + 1 hr spin class
S: prawns, feta, kidney beans, strawberries & side salad. Yum smile

OP’s posts: |
calzone Sat 20-May-17 20:02:11

I'm going to fast again tomorrow.

And my official weigh in day is Monday so I might fast again on Monday.

pangolinfan Sat 20-May-17 21:24:48

Your exercise regime is phenomenal BigChoc. You are making me want to try spinning again. The last time I tried, a couple of months ago (first ever spin class) I simply could not manage the standing up bits and felt a bit ancient and hopeless relative to others as a result. I'm resolving to try again.

BigChocFrenzy Sat 20-May-17 23:35:55

Go for it, Pangolin !
The beauty of spin classes is that everyone can go at their own level:

. You control the resistance - no one knows how much you set, or even if you've any resistance on.
. You can slow down for a breather whenever you want.
. You can also sit down as often as you need - hopefully the trainer doesn't walk behind with a whip for laggards (if so, find another class !)

And as with most sport, beginners can make the biggest fitness gains.
After a few weeks, you'll be standing and sprinting more
A few more weeks and you'll be amazed at your progress

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Sat 20-May-17 23:38:53

I find that the most important factor in spin enjoyment is that the music is exciting and stimulating
Some trainers just bring in boring cheap stuff that they've downloaded in bulk.
A fairly full class is an obvious sign that it's fun

OP’s posts: |
WiggleYourWoo Sun 21-May-17 01:01:00

Hi all,

I'm back again and need your help! Last summer I lost 10 pounds on 5:2. For a few months after everything was fine but during the last 2 months I fell off the wagon and gained 4 pounds back blush. Please, please help.

pangolinfan Sun 21-May-17 08:33:43

Thanks BigChoc. I've booked into a class later this morning.

BigChocFrenzy Sun 21-May-17 08:37:24

Welcome back, wiggle 4 lb should be easily hauled back
You've fasted successfully last summer, so you know you can do this
Choose your FDs for next week
Plan the menu for your 1st FD
and jump right back in the swing

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Sun 21-May-17 08:40:49

calzone Doing b2b (back 2 back) FDs is very tough, so we allow 650 cals each FD, instead of 500.
However, if you've been doing well with NFDs between, maybe best to stick to the system you know works for you ?

OP’s posts: |
WiggleYourWoo Sun 21-May-17 10:16:51

The problem is I seem to lost the ability to fast, I cave in most of the time. I knew I was gaining but couldn't bring myself to do a proper FD. I did manage a FD this week but then scoffed for the world last night sad

WiggleYourWoo Sun 21-May-17 10:18:15

It's my eating in the evenings after dinner again that I can't seem to wrestle under control

BigChocFrenzy Sun 21-May-17 11:35:34

Are you splitting up the FD into too many meals ?
1-2 meals works best for most folk.
No snacks, because they make you hungrier overall

Are your FDs too high carb ?
Cut out fruit juice, breakfast cereal. Of course no sugar, booze, or junk food like crisps
Concentrate on protein, masses of veg
Try cutting out fruit on FDs and see if that helps. At least, never have it on its own, just as part of your FD meal.

Each day, NFD or FD, make supper a low GI meal, with plenty of protein & veg, moderate portion of starchy carbs, no more than one portion fruit.
No processed junk (pizza, crisps, deep-fried, pies ..) or booze with it.

Just before supper, drink 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water (other vinegars don't work so well) This helps control insulin levels.
Do NOT drink neat, as vinegar is an acid, hence not good for teeth or esophagus

As soon as you have finished your last meal, drink a glass of water, then clean your teeth, floss, mouthwash - it helps avoid further eating.

OP’s posts: |

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