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5:2 Thread number 70: Is there is a lean person inside you struggling to get out, who is currently sedated with chocolate & wine ? Join us to find that person - without giving up all your favorites

(991 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Tue 26-Sep-17 12:24:47

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: BF 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 (Mosely referred to his research) 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.

Brain metabolism in health, aging, andneurodegeneration :
"lifestyles that include intermittent bioenergetic challenges, most notably exercise and dietary energy restriction, can increase the likelihood that the brain will function optimally and in the absence of disease throughout life"

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

Fasting can help maintain brain health during aging:
"lifestyles that include intermittent bioenergetic challenges, most notably exercise and dietary energy restriction, can increase the likelihood that the brain will function optimally and in the absence of disease throughout life"

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 !

BigChocFrenzy Tue 26-Sep-17 12:27:06

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grin Welcome to 5:2 thread # 70 ! grin

Wow, our 70th 5:2 /IF thread !

FAQs & tips in the OP

"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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HLBug Tue 26-Sep-17 13:22:06

Hello shiny new thread smile

Rahrahcantdo Tue 26-Sep-17 13:32:34

Yes please. Had success before but fell off the wagon. Desperate to release a leaner me.

GingerAndTheBiscuits Tue 26-Sep-17 13:57:34

Checking in.

SingingGoldfinch Tue 26-Sep-17 14:31:30

Thanks for the shiny new thread BCF! And welcome back Granny! I'vs wondering where you were!

OuchBollocks Tue 26-Sep-17 17:03:05

<passes round snacks>
<remembers snacks are forbidden>
<recalls snacks>

GrannyGrown Tue 26-Sep-17 17:32:50

Good to be back Singing. I've been lurking round the £1 bags of wine gums and buy-one-get-one-free family size bags of crisps ... .

BigChocFrenzy Tue 26-Sep-17 18:42:03

< eyes ouch suspiciously, frisks her for snacks >

Welcome, RahRah smile and good luck

BigChocFrenzy Tue 26-Sep-17 18:43:41

Welcome back, granny You can have those crisps & sweets as part of an NFD meal
because of course you won't snack ever again halo

BigChocFrenzy Tue 26-Sep-17 18:48:15

bug I see from the end of thread #69 that you caught a stomach bug
I hope you and the DC are soon fit again flowers

However do NOT fast until about a week after all symptoms have gone - your gut needs the extra time to recover fully, even if you feel ok.
In the past, some folk found that fasting right after a bug brought back the symptoms for another couple of days

MazDazzle Tue 26-Sep-17 19:55:11

70th thread! Wow, that's really something. grin

BigChocFrenzy Tue 26-Sep-17 20:08:02

Yup, when was your 1st thread, Maz - can you roughly remember ?

norajane Tue 26-Sep-17 20:21:39

Just climbing back on the wagon after a spectacular fall off. First fast day today in ages and I'm counting the minutes until I can go to bed and forget my hunger smile

Ta1kinPeece Tue 26-Sep-17 21:05:57

Saunters in, flumps into a chair, drinks a pint of water ......

TheMShip Tue 26-Sep-17 21:18:51

Checking in!

norajane you can do it! star

MazDazzle Tue 26-Sep-17 21:42:33

I think it was Thread 42 BC. My first FD was Dec. 21st 2014. I was on another weight loss thread, could have been a Shred thread, and someone called sweetheart mentioned fasting. Haven't looked back since!

MazDazzle Tue 26-Sep-17 21:43:20

There's nothing like a FD under your belt norajane. Well done!

BigChocFrenzy Tue 26-Sep-17 22:17:03

< clinks water glasses with tip >

OuchBollocks Wed 27-Sep-17 04:38:26

The baby's sleep has gone to ratshit this week. I'm exhausted and my self control is tanking.

SingingGoldfinch Wed 27-Sep-17 10:22:27

Hang in there Ouch! You can do this! Fasting can definitely seem harder when you're tired - I'm in the same boat at the mo, though no baby to blame for lack of sleep though, just a racing brain that won't switch off!

Good to have you back Granny - and to hear that you've stepped away from the wine gums! They were always a failing of mine - I'd always have a packet in the car and would chomp through them whilst ferrying the kids around! I've not touched them since May when I started 5:2 and I'm determined not to get back into the car munching habit!!

Welcome Nora! Hope your first fd goes well! We're all right behind you!

SingingGoldfinch Wed 27-Sep-17 10:24:39

Fd here. One cup of tea and water only so far today and my tummy is making very large rumbles - one colleague has already commented on it! Think it's going to be another slog but I'm confident I'll get through it ok. Goan fish curry for tea later - yum!!

GrannyGrown Wed 27-Sep-17 10:26:49

Remind me how old the baby is Ouch - sleep depravation is the worst and remember those times with no fond memories at all. Are you on a FD today?

My OH is retired now - used to complain he got very little to eat whilst at work but he's certainly making up for it now with his constant eating. He's currently crunching toast very noisily next to me which is annoying because I half thought I may try today as a FD rather than tomorrow as today is an exercise rest day. Now my tummy is rumbling horribly.

SingingGoldfinch Wed 27-Sep-17 10:27:03

And Maz- love that you've been around that long and still keeping up with the thread!

I'll go away and stop rambling now!

missludgatecircus Wed 27-Sep-17 10:51:24

Hang in there Ouch and good work Goldfinch!!

I am not sure about doing a FD today - Weds is my usual FD2 of the week, but this Friday/Sat I'm observing Yom Kippur which is a full 25 hour fast with no food at all.

Would it be silly to do a FD today and again over the weekend? TBH I I could do with a bit of a boost as I am still hovering at 59.9kg and 60kg and just cannot seem to break through!

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