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5:2 Thread No. 72: After the winter feasting, here comes the winter fasting. We jumped into January; we won’t freak out in February and we’ll March on together in the Mighty 5:2 Army.

(978 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Tue 16-Jan-18 18:27:58

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 (exercisers: set activity level to one below what you think)
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.

5:2 FD Recipe Thread
Post your own too !

5:2 / IF 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 !

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Tue 16-Jan-18 18:28:33

🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴

grin Welcome to 5:2 thread # 72 ! grin

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 and includes papers on health benefits.

🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴 🚴

OP’s posts: |
TalkinPeace Tue 16-Jan-18 19:13:47

Ha !

Iamblossom Tue 16-Jan-18 19:13:51

Checking in. Thanks for new post BCF

quackingduck222 Tue 16-Jan-18 19:40:07


HLBug Tue 16-Jan-18 20:06:19

Ooh signing up for the Mighty 5:2 Army please sir, yes sir!

FD finished today at about 400 kcals. Felt hungry all day after stupid late night pizza tea last night - today has been an appropriate penance.

EspressoMartiniToGo Tue 16-Jan-18 20:30:56

H everyone
Jumping on to the 5:2 train, I completed my first fast day yesterday and will do another on Saturday. Wouldn't normally pick a weekend day, just have various social things during the rest of the week, including my daughters bday on Thursday and There Will Be Cake!

So here's a question for experienced fasters, do you switch your fast days around depending on what you have on each week, or do you try and stick to the same days regardless?
Interested to know what works for people. I think I'd prefer to try and stick to the same days each week, but the good thing about 5:2 it seems to me is that you can be a bit flexi. Does anyone also maybe skip a fast day one week and then do three the next week? Or am I trying to run before I can walk! Guess I need to see how I feel after the first few weeks.

OuchBollocks Tue 16-Jan-18 20:31:53

Sloping in shamefacedly

OuchBollocks Tue 16-Jan-18 20:33:50

Though I would like to celebrate the fact that when I started back at work from mat leave on Wednesday, the dreaded Work Trousers slipped on beautifully smile

quackingduck222 Tue 16-Jan-18 20:40:24

Hey espresso welcome.

I like to stick to my routine FDs when I can. But for example if I’ve been really busy and not had time for lunch one day I sometimes think half way there may throw in a impromptu fast.

I like to not fast on Sunday if I can help it as I’ve fallen short a couple of times and messed it up or DH has brought Home a takeaway. I don’t like the feeling on not being in control.

quackingduck222 Tue 16-Jan-18 20:40:59

Well done on your NSV Ouch

quackingduck222 Tue 16-Jan-18 20:50:58

Channel 5s diets secrets program tonight is covering 5:2 tonight.

HandMini Tue 16-Jan-18 21:08:28

Evening all

FD on Monday went fine. Drank about 10 cups of green mint tea which helped.

NFD today. Stupidly didn’t have breakfast and then just a small lunch of some tuna and beans. Was starving by 7pm so had jacket potato, with butter and cheese, salad, four small chocolates, a pear and an apple.

I reckon total calls was probably within TDEE but still felt a bit bingey.

Definitely having eggs for breakfast on next NFD.

I usually do FD on Mon and Wed but swapping you thursday this week due to family stuff.

DrWhy Tue 16-Jan-18 21:24:53

I’m back! I think I was Boleh when I was last here! It’s been over 2 years as I had to stop 5:2 when I got pregnant and DS is now 16 months. I didn’t gain too much in pregnancy but over a year of sleep deprivation has seen me living on sugar and I’m now a mess - I’m a bridesmaid in 4 months and although DS still doesn’t sleep through I need to do something!
So I’ve started exercising a couple of times a week and today was my first fast day. Just need to try to eat at TDEE on the other days now, I actually find it easier to fast than eat meals and ditch the snacks. So I’m going to hang out here again for the Support!

peachypips Tue 16-Jan-18 21:36:26

Good a new thread- title was too festive!

Ok NFD today. TOTM coming so craving crap.

Iamblossom Tue 16-Jan-18 21:48:09

Expresso I try to do Monday and Wednesday just purely because it gets them over with asap,but I would move them if I felt I had something on one of those days that would make it super difficult...

Carfish Tue 16-Jan-18 21:48:14



And so to bed...

New day tomorrow.

purpleviolet1 Tue 16-Jan-18 22:02:42

Thanks for the new thread BCF!

I've had a horrendous day. D&V bug, high temperature, dizziness. Feel weak and exhausted.

Will jump back on the bandwagon when feeling better.

Good luck everyone

slinkyme Tue 16-Jan-18 22:46:11

Shiny new thread. Hope you feel better purple. That sounds tough.

FD done. Busy day and the miso soup managed to get me over the line to dinnertime. Dinner finished on 400 cals. Managed to sneak 2 spoonfuls of DHs dessert - at no more than 100 cal. Looking forward to tomorrow.

TalkinPeace Tue 16-Jan-18 22:51:50

Thread 72 : I've been here since thread 3 .... 69000 posts ago !

Welcome back DrWhy

BigChocFrenzy Tue 16-Jan-18 23:09:12

< lines up the Mighty 5:2 Army for inspection >
That's a very military bearing you have there, bug smile < yes, I can see everyone ! >

Welcome, espresso Good to see you popped over from the exercise thread smile
You can switch your FDs around as you wish, e.g. to suit your job / social plans

Congrats on the work trousers NSV, ouch

carfish < wags finger at snacking >
Are you eating enough protein & veg at meals to keep you full ?
Also, if your meals today were junky - fast food, pizza, fries, other deep-fried food or especially sugary treats - these can spike hunger later

Sorry to hear you've got the dreaded DV bug, purple
Stay in bed, drink loads of water and get well asap thanks
Don't fast until you've been clear of symptoms for a week - your gut will still be sensitive for a few days after symptoms go and so it may react to the stress of fasting.

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Tue 16-Jan-18 23:21:14

Welcome back, DrWhy and congrats on your lo thanks
I remember your previous incarnation.

NFDs are "maintenance" days
So, if you find them tough, do use them to train your "normal eating",
so that the weight stays off once you reach goal and go into maintenance

What helps:
Before each NFD, roughly plan your meals for the day in advance
So on the NFD you don't go rooting about and get tempted to make poor choices
No need for mfp (unless you prefer it)

and drink lots of water

"No snacking" is an important longterm habit to learn, for those who have to watch their weight:
+ Snacks keep insulin raised and hinder fat-burning
+ Snacks have been shown to increase the total number of calories consumed

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Tue 16-Jan-18 23:29:12

Phew, tip you've been around since Thread #3 shock
I only joined around #35
Do you remember who started #1 and #2 ?

Well done on your FD, slinky and all the other Tuesday fasters

Yup, Eggs are such a versatile breakfast food, handmini
With veg especially, they provide excellent nutrition and keep you full until lunch

Stay strong peachy
Avoid the munchies and you should see the scales drop after your 1st FD following totm

OP’s posts: |
Motheroffourdragons Wed 17-Jan-18 06:43:45

Thank you for the new thread, Big Choc.

FD completed yesterday. I think I came in just under 500 calories. I am going to have some eggs for breakfast as I hope that will keep me going till lunch time.

Good luck to everyone,

Bestbees Wed 17-Jan-18 06:57:15

Fd here today. Still feeling coldy but binged on shit yesterday abd it certainly didnt help!

My aim for jan is to KOKO with FD so checking in.

I need to start logging NFD but dont want to!

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