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5:2 Thread No. 71: O Come All Ye Fasters, Joyful and triumphant, O come ye, O come ye to our 5:2

(1000 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Tue 21-Nov-17 19:34:41

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 21-Nov-17 19:37:10

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grin Welcome to 5:2 thread # 71 ! grin

Time to prepare yourself for the festive season

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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OuchBollocks Tue 21-Nov-17 19:42:50

Place marking

Collectorofcookbooks Tue 21-Nov-17 19:47:10

Evening all, hope everyone feels better soon.

My eldest DD is having an operation on Thursday, I’m trying hard not to think about it. Keeping busy.

I’ve got 100 cals over for today’s FD, any inspiration on what I should have to eat? Ended up sharing hummus and veggie sticks with the kids when they came in from school, and now totally at a loss!

HLBug Tue 21-Nov-17 20:01:06

Hello New Thread smile FD ended on about 600 calories. Which may, or may not, have included a very small chocolate rice crispy cake. Ahem...

HLBug Tue 21-Nov-17 20:02:04

PS love the thread title BCF, very festive smile

BigChocFrenzy Tue 21-Nov-17 20:17:32

That's so tough for you, collector
Best wishes to your DD flowers

100 cals: boiled egg & a tomato ?

Well done on nailing your FD, bug
We're getting our festivity started early here, with the thread title - but the last thread has been whizzing througn

OuchBollocks Tue 21-Nov-17 20:25:52


quackingduck222 Tue 21-Nov-17 20:29:08


Also mini - I found asda has a good range of turkey sausages we had caramalised onion and they were really nice but going to give the sweet chilli a go as that sounds really nice. Honestly no fat in them at all so we will definitely be make bf a permanent change to them.

OuchBollocks Tue 21-Nov-17 20:34:07

Venison sausages are good too. Very meaty. Amazing with a tiny drop of chilli ketchup.

Bestbees Tue 21-Nov-17 20:52:45

Best wishes for your daughter collector. flowers

And for you too ouch flowers

I am hoping for a weight of 9.8 before i leave for my parents for christmas on 22nd. Bring on the festive vibes! That means i have 5lb to go. Fingers crossed!

BigChocFrenzy Tue 21-Nov-17 21:27:31

Good luck , bestbees that's very feasible if you stay focused

purpleviolet1 Tue 21-Nov-17 22:17:29

Placemarking! I seem to have put on a Couple of lb anyone know if UTI cAn cause bloat/ water retention? I do feel rather sluggish.

The no snacking rule has been revolutionary for me. I had forgotten what it felt like to get hungry 😋

HandMini Tue 21-Nov-17 22:43:21

Hi 👋 everyone!
My motto inspired by this thread is No Snacking Ever.
Had a good NFD today as even though I had a few chocolate buttons I had them as part of my meal.
Night night all

BigChocFrenzy Tue 21-Nov-17 23:18:09

Well done, handmini That's the right way to enjoy treats

Collectorofcookbooks Wed 22-Nov-17 11:34:57

Thanks all. I found a ramekin of ratatouille in the fridge, so had that. Scales down this morning so heading in the right direction.

Good luck Best! 5lbs is totally doable. Says she... so far today I've had two boiled eggs and a smidge of smoked salmon, going to try and power through to dinner as have my folks staying to help out over the next few days, and I know my mum will have made something yummy but calorie laden for dessert!

1moreRep Wed 22-Nov-17 12:21:18

hi all! was having a good nfd yesterday and then had a loaf of olive bread-shockso ended at 1760 oops!

ive been to the gym this morning - in averaging out 5 hard hit and weight sessions a week (crossfit) and ive upped my steps considerably! i think what’s really helping us my mifit (cheap fit bit) really inspired me to get off my arse out of gym time

everybody is noticing my weight loss which has kind of an opposite effect - it makes me think “cool i can reward myself!”

also i watched the horizon show about 5:2 on the i player and it was very inspiring

peachypips Wed 22-Nov-17 12:35:28

Hi all- so sorry about your ankle Ouch. That sucks. Hope you get some answers.

Get well everyone else + children. I live in a house with four males. Three of them have been struck down with this coughing virus- just me and DH that are left standing! I’m sick of poorly men.

FD today. Usual soup and milk in day, planning salmon fillet with an egg and salad with pickled onions for dinner. Then my standard rich tea biscuit.

Put a skirt on today from my thinner days. It fits!

HandMini Wed 22-Nov-17 14:09:51

Yay. Clothes feel so great when your core area feels leaner. I love that I no longer have to HAAAAUUUL my jeans button together!!

peachypips Wed 22-Nov-17 15:03:44

Me too Hand- keep forgetting that smaller clothes now fit me!

quackingduck222 Wed 22-Nov-17 15:11:32

Yeah same here I can’t get my head round it. A couple of times I’ve thought I will wear a old skirt or jeans put it on for it too fall back off again. I’m struggling to see it tho.

I did some toning today so that’s a victory for me. Well I’m say toning actually it was more like piss about on my Virbro plate for 30 mins with some stomach and bum crunches. But my legs ache so it must have done something grin

I’m absolutely gutted I was keeping score of my inch loss from earlier this year. It was in my phone in my notes but I’ve upgraded my phone and deleted them all so that’s a bummer.

HLBug Wed 22-Nov-17 16:18:33

Ohh I'm intrigued by your vibro plate quacking - which one do you have? I'm the world's laziest exerciser, so this appeals to me wink

Motheroffourdragons Wed 22-Nov-17 16:23:58

Wow, I cannot believe there have been 71 threads on this!

Sorry to hear that some have been unwell/bad joints etc. Hopefully they will feel better soon.

I am not going to weigh until next Tuesday - I think that my mini break away and now my friends coming for the weekend will have played havoc with my good work the three weeks earlier, although we did do a fair bit of walking at the weekend and yesterday so fingers crossed all will not be as bad as I fear.

I am also going to go swimming 3 times a week at least from Monday so I am hoping that will help too. I have a friend lined up to go with so hopefully she will keep me to this schedule!

quackingduck222 Wed 22-Nov-17 16:58:54

Bug - I have this one

I’ve found them come up on gumtree dirt cheap.

I’ve done it in conjunction with the diet from about February and it has massively helped my legs and I’ve lost a lot of inches in particular on my thighs. It’s my problem area. I know some people say they are nonsense but my legs are red after. I find as long as I lock my legs you feel the burn.

I honestly just dance about on it pretty much as I find it more fun that way grin

BigChocFrenzy Wed 22-Nov-17 19:43:04

Congrats on your clothes NSVs, mini , peachy
and your jeans falling down NSV, duck wink

also on your compliments NSV, 1more
- train yourself to enjoy non-food rewards, e.g. new haircut / colour, new nails color, slimmer clothes, DVD, book etc

Well done on your SV, collector

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