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5:2 Thread No. 73: Go up a gear and enjoy life in the Fasting Lane. Let science boost your performance.

(979 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Wed 07-Feb-18 08:47:01

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 , BBC Good Food 500 cal meals ,
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.

Fasting boosts "autophagy" = recycling of old cells
Yoshinori Ohsumi won the 2016 Nobel prize for Medicine for research into autophagy
NOBEL Lecture “Autophagy – An Intracellular Recycling System”

Prof. R Taylor (Newcastle Uni) won the 2013 Diabete UK Banting Prize for his Twin Cycle Hypothesis which explains the cause of type 2 diabetes: Twin Cycle Hypothesis T2
and showed a strict fasting diet could reverse T2

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

HORMESIS & 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 Wed 07-Feb-18 08:52:08

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grin Welcome to 5:2 thread # 73 ! 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 Health & Fasting" is at the end of the OP and includes links to peer-reviewed science papers
NEW links:
+ 2016 Nobel prize for Medicine on autophagy (cell recycling)
+ 2013 Diabetes UK Banting Prize and reversing T2 with fasting

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

quackingduck222 Wed 07-Feb-18 08:59:27

Thanks for the new thread BCF.

Pumperthepumper Wed 07-Feb-18 10:11:00

Thanks BCF, just checking in here.

2kidsnopets Wed 07-Feb-18 10:19:18

Placemarking, thanks for new thread.

HLBug Wed 07-Feb-18 10:29:09

Thanks for the new thread BCF - I'm cruising down the 5:2 fast lane just now smile Day 2 of B2B and I'm positive it's going to be another good day.

peachypips Wed 07-Feb-18 10:33:05

Checking in to new thread. Day 2 of b2b and feeling totally fine.

Using recipes from BSD book today for my fast meals.

slinkyme Wed 07-Feb-18 11:13:19

Checking in for 2nd FD of the week. I'm too chicken to do a B2B. In London today for lots of meetings so hoping keeping busy will keep my mind away from food.

A kind of a SV - feeling slightly irritable and thought I wonder when TOM due as normally irritability and usual PMT symptoms start almost up to 2 weeks before I come on. Checked calendar and I am due to start in 2 days. Apart from mild irritability I am feeling nothing - no bloating, nausea, etc etc. I hope this continues but for now will take it as SV from fasting.

MazDazzle Wed 07-Feb-18 11:27:32

Thanks for the new thread BC.

Had a night away with DH at the weekend. Although I had a few drinks and a nice meal, didn’t go overboard and skipped dessert.

First FD of the week was on Sunday, followed by 2 days at goal weight TDEE. Fasting again today.

I’m 4lbs away from the weight I was back in 2007, pre-DC and 9lbs away from my goal (the weight I reached in 2014 with 5:2, before having DC3). I’m so close, but it seems like such a loooong, slow struggle.

Anyone else nearing their goal?

quackingduck222 Wed 07-Feb-18 11:45:10

Well done Maz that’s absolutely fantastic.

I’m 2.8lbs away from target, my body is clinging on the every 0.1lb and feel so close but so far. It’s very very slow now.
Whatever my weight is Monday after a B2B fast on the weekend will be me done unless I’m very very close. Mentally I’m done now.

stopfuckingshoutingatme Wed 07-Feb-18 12:01:26

Can I join! I plan to start this next week. I have gone from 13 stone to 12 and feel great (I am tall and busty!) but I think to get to my target 11stone I need an extra push. I am lurking and listening, thanks for this

DrWhy Wed 07-Feb-18 12:32:42

Thanks for the new thread! I’m on a NFD today, I’ve moved desks to the far end of the building from the canteen and coffee shop this week, which I’m hoping will help with snacks, it’s also on the 3rd floor so more stairs!
My weight doesn’t seem to be shifting this week, I cheated and weighed in after a FD this morning and am only 1/2lb down vs after an NFD last week. I’m sticking at it though and I’ll see where I am in a month. I’m currently still heavier than I’ve ever entered in MFP before (including during pregnancy and post birth!) - I have 9.1lb to go to get to my first goal, just about 1st to get to a comfortable maintainable weight and another half stone after that to get to my ideal weight. Really hoping to reach at least the 2nd goal by mid May when I’m a bridesmaid.

DrWhy Wed 07-Feb-18 12:36:54

Maz and quacking that’s so impressive, great work on getting so far’ the last bit is always hardest, doesn’t help that your TDEE goes down as your weight goes down!
Welcome stop you’ve done brilliantly so far - I hope 5:2 works well for you to loose the rest.

Bestbees Wed 07-Feb-18 14:28:19

Quacking it sounds like you have done so well. I kniw you mentioned that you are thinking of going to maintanance. I wonder if those last few lbs will melt away when you take the focus off. Like when i stop thinking about exercise being about results and focus on the experience my results improve. Does that make sense?

FD here which is going really well so far. Yummy dinner planned of salmon with a fennel, courgette and pain de sucre salad followed by an apple. Lovely yoga class tonight, the focus distracts me from munching!

Got a big weekend ahead with university friends coming so will be lots of food. Planning on no breakfast on friday and a small soup or salad for lunch. Will try to skip breakfast on the sat and sun to hopefully balance it out a bit!

m0therofdragons Wed 07-Feb-18 14:33:18

Hi everyone!
NFD today but carefully calculating calories as I want to make sure I don't eat FD calories back. This week has so far included 2 swims and will be 4 by Sunday. Hoping that increasing my exercise will actually make a difference.

Good luck everyone on FDs!

HLBug Wed 07-Feb-18 14:34:11

Hey peachy my B2B buddy for today - how you getting on? I'm full of tea and water smile but powering on through to dinner.

quackingduck222 Wed 07-Feb-18 14:55:35

Best - yes totally. I’ve started to relax a little more this week and slightly upped cals and the scales are starting to move again.

Clear out of clothes done and my god I didn’t take into account of the financial impact it would make, I really have nothing left. Unless I bought it just before Xmas it no longer fits. Cardigans and jumpers I can get away with as I seem to size up in them. But tops wise I literally have a few items left.

Even half my shoes I’ve had to get rid of as I’m down a shoe size.

I suppose as it’s a gradual change to us so it’s not as noticeable.

2kidsnopets Wed 07-Feb-18 14:57:31

FD going well today, had some chicken breast and salad, and will have some veggie soup for dinner later.
Not even that hungry today weirdly. Feel like I need more coffee though after a broken night with ill child.

2kidsnopets Wed 07-Feb-18 14:59:37

quacking when I lost weight pre kids I got some charity shop bits to get me through the losing weight bit as there was no sense spending lots of stuff that would be too big if I reached my goal. Won't need to do that this time though as I have prekids sizes in the loft I can fish out.

Motheroffourdragons Wed 07-Feb-18 15:13:44

Thanks for the new thread, BigChoc flowers.

Feeling better today but not having a FD, just trying to eat normally, as my appetite doesn't seem to be what it was.

Hopefully it stays that way for a while grin.

My husband is doing really well, he has lost almost a stone since he started last October/November, and looks very well on it, which is good as he was starting to look a bit of a candidate for type 2 with all the weight round the middle. That is just about gone now, although he reckons he should lose at least another half a stone.

Unfortunately from a diet perspective, but happily from a personal one, I am trundling back to the UK next week for the half term. It will be difficult to stick to FDs but I think I will try to keep to maintenance and regroup once back home. Then it will be nearly March ( well only a week to go) and I will have to start seriously again as I want to be a much better shape going into the summer.

HLBug Wed 07-Feb-18 15:39:14

quacking I'm in the same boat - sent 6 bags to the charity shop last week. Thankfully I had kept a lot of my 'nicer' things from my slimmer days, but basics like jeans and tops are severely lacking!

CheshireSplat Wed 07-Feb-18 16:07:08

Just checking in. It’s a NFD today, and I’m very pleased with myself. Away with work and went out on the semi-lash with colleagues from a different office who I haven’t met before. Then, slightly but not too, worse for wear this morning, at the amazing hotel breakfast, I thought about 5:2 and how I have so many treaty days that 2 FDs can’t make up for. Adding that to tapas and wine last night, I stepped away from the cheese, and the amazing bread, and the butter, and the jam... and I had some ham, tomatoes and cucumber, some fresh fruit and the only indulgence, a yoghurt, fruit, granola thingie.

FD tomorrow for me!

purpleviolet1 Wed 07-Feb-18 16:17:26

Hit a new low of 9st 4.5lbs grin however my body fat is 29% according to my scales. Can someone put this in perspective? I've no idea what it should be

My goal is to get under 8 stone 7lbs hopefully.

Butteredparsn1ps Wed 07-Feb-18 16:21:38

Thank you for the new thread BCF I'm mid fast day. I've had a pepper and onion omelette for lunch and I'm looking forward to Salmon & veggies for dinner.

mummymacphee Wed 07-Feb-18 16:21:52

Hi everyone - can I join too!

I have somehow crept up to nearly 14 stone which is not looking good at 5'4" and I am finding it nearly impossible to lose. I am 51 so all the diets that I have tried and that worked in the past are not working any more but I am encouraged by the posters that seem to be having success with this WOE.

I had my first FD on Monday and that went relatively smoothly - probably because I was really busy and didn't have time to miss food. Going to try another one tomorrow and then weigh on Friday morning. I can be relatively restrained during the week but find weekends a real challenge - feel I deserve many, many treats! I always get to Sunday night feeling full of remorse (and wine and chocolate and crisps!) but hopefully I can change this pattern over the next few months.

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