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5:2 Thread No. 77: AARGH ! Frustrated with the grind of daily dieting ? Eat normal food 5 days a week, fast 2 days

(1000 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Wed 16-May-18 20:50:06

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

b2b (optional) back-to-back / consecutive fast days, each with an increased allowance of 650 calories instead of 500

BMI (Body Mass Index) healthy range is 18.5 - 24.9 for Caucasians. Upper limit may be 22 for some of Asian origin.

FD = single Fast Day: aim for 500 calories (600 for men or 25% TDEE whichever is higher) or 1000 cals for BF
No alcohol or junk on FDs.
Even if you exercise strenuously, do NOT increase FD cals to allow for exercise

MFP = My Fitness Pal, a useful App or website to track food & drink calories

miniFD = MiniFD, 850-1000 calories, no alcohol or junk

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 Diabetes 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 !

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Wed 16-May-18 20:54:44

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grin Welcome to 5:2 thread # 77 ! grin
We’re a very friendly bunch, so pop in and join us
Post whenever you need advice or support, or just to tell us how you are doing

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

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OP’s posts: |
CheshireSplat Wed 16-May-18 21:58:19

Evening all. Boris that's a hilarious image! Well done 43, remember how nervous you were last week? Shame it wasn't quite the exercise you were hoping for but so good for your head and time out of the kitchen and in public means you can't eat.

I went for a jog after work today. Was running on empty when I realised I'd probably only had about 2300 cals in last 3 days: 650 FD, 1000 mini FD and not much so far today. Managed it though. Had amazing NFD apple and parsnip warm salad for tea, with potato wedges. Yum yum!!

BCF can I ask a favour please? Can you pop up your snacking bs no snacking insulin graph please? I said I'd send it to my mum as she's been told by a surgeon that she needa to lose weight before her much-needed operation. There's nothing like the zeal of the newly converted!!!

CheshireSplat Wed 16-May-18 21:59:05

"bs" that graph is not "bs" 😳 Meant vs. sorry.

HLBug Wed 16-May-18 22:06:58

Thanks for the new thread BCF. Second maintenance FD completed at about 700 calories (I've assumed 200 for my soup at lunch but it could have been higher).

Not been hungry at all over the last few days, which I always find interesting. I sometimes have weeks when I'm really not hungry and some weeks when I am. What this WOL has taught me is to actually listen to my body, and that it all evens itself out eventually.

Congratulations to all the other fasters today and 43 I'm really happy to hear you joined the walking group, having the confidence to do that is a NSV all in itself.

MirrorMirror21 Wed 16-May-18 23:29:02

Checking in guys. Well done on everyone completing FDs today. Am weirdly quite excited for tomorrow's blush

frieda909 Thu 17-May-18 06:19:21

Hurrah! Yesterday was a particularly difficult FD and I almost didn’t make it through (there were some delicious custard tarts in my kitchen calling my name) but I managed to finish it at 600 cals AND I’ve lost another 1.2lb! 🎉🎉🎉

I was really not expecting it because I had a really heavy weekend (Eurovision party!) plus I was PMSing, so I’m delighted. I’m now (just) under 13 stone for the first time since November.

I was seriously ready to quit yesterday but now I can see that it’s working and will be sticking with it.

BigChocFrenzy Thu 17-May-18 06:38:37

Well done on persisting with a tough FD and on your SV, Frieda

Exactly right, bug Don‘t eat if you‘re not hungry
Your body is either burning more fat for fuel, or it temporarily needs less fuel.

OP’s posts: |
BigChocFrenzy Thu 17-May-18 06:46:15

For Cheshire’s mum:

Why we shouldn't snack_

Even "healthy" ones like fruit or dipping veg - keep insulin raised and hence reduce the time in which your body can burn fat.
And the most common / tempting snacks are not even healthy

Also, human studies show that most people consume more calories in a 24-hour period if they snack,
because the reduction in meal size (if any) is usually less than the calories contained in all the snacks.

Snacks were popularised by BIg Food around 1980, solely to increase profits

This has caused a fundamental change for most of the population,
compared to many millennia of evolution - almost no traditional eating culture includes snacking.

Each 24 hour day is now insulin-dominant instead of fasting-dominant,
see graphs of 24-hr insulin levels
#1 shows traditional 3 meals without snacks, #2 shows with snacks
(graphs from Dr Jason Fung, who is a kidney specialist, dealing with patients who have T2 & BP complications. He uses fasting extensively)

OP’s posts: |
Clearskies99 Thu 17-May-18 07:13:11

Sorry not been posting at the moment but I'm still very much here and so glad to be back on track with 5:2. Nearly lost the first (of many) stones and am sticking religiously to NO snacking, NO refined carbs, and already feel SOOO much better for it.

Lovely to see others doing so well, sticking with it when it gets tricky, enjoying the SVs and NSVs.

5:2 works! smile

Clearskies99 Thu 17-May-18 07:19:11

Maintenance BUG that's fantastic. I plan to get there in time

That sounds scary for you MrD - hope it all calms down.

Many thanks wreck I think it was you for what you said about 5:2 really helping a guy who was T2Dor pre T2D turn things around. I'm at high risk but now feel confident I can get healthy again.

WreckTangled Thu 17-May-18 07:28:18

Clear yes it was me. Have you had an hba1c blood test?

NFD for me today and lunch is left overs from last night. Dinner is pizza as it's swimming for the dc but I'll try to just have two probably four slices with salad grin

Hockneypool Thu 17-May-18 07:37:11

Morning all

Thank you BCF really like the insulin no snacking graph. It’s a really helpful image to have in mind during the day and does help me in not snacking.

Also it somehow feels quite grown up not to snack - about time as I’m 52!

Homemadehopeful Thu 17-May-18 07:47:02

Checking in to the new thread.

Thanks BCF, that information on snacking is really useful and makes sense, no traditional eating culture does include snacks and I had never really thought about that!

MrsD hope you are ok flowers

Well done for sticking with it yesterday Frieda I had a wobble earlier in the week but am very glad it didn't last as I do think this will work for me long term and the results are coming slowly smile

quackingduck222 Thu 17-May-18 07:49:21

Thanks for the new thread BCF, I can’t believe how quick we’re going through them.

Cheshire - well done on your run, it’s daunting doing it on empty but surprisingly it works doesn’t it. Good luck with getting your mum on board, I converted 3 people to 5:2 last week I don’t talk about it unless I’m specifically asked but it didn’t take much convincing they were concerted before watching the horizon link I sent.

Well done Bug on the maintenance, how you finding it?

Well done Frieda on your FD and your SV, fantastic stuff.

Well done clear skies almost a stone is bloody amazing. That is loads.

Hockney - it’s a good graph isn’t it and really stops you in your tracks.

I’m so happy, BCF you were right my massive 9lbs gain is fading away 6.4 now lost in 2 days. A healthy NFD today should put me back to my target range. Shopping ordered meal plan done and I’m on track to have a great week.

WreckTangled Thu 17-May-18 07:51:17

BCF as my body doesn't produce insulin does that mean I can still snack? gringringrin

Pinkvici22 Thu 17-May-18 07:54:32

Ooh this is the first time I’ve ever stuck to anything which has meant I’ve got on a continuation thread!!!

Second FD of the week for me - hoping it’ll be quite easy as I’ve got a really busy day at work. Been for a jog and had a coffee.

yumyumpoppycat Thu 17-May-18 08:10:14

well done pink!

I had visualised a 1lb off for this morning so hard that I was confused when I weighed in and thought I had gained but actually STS so not so bad!

Motheroffourdragons Thu 17-May-18 08:19:21

Checking in to the new thread.
Did second FD of the week yesterday, but really struggled in the afternoon, feeling very light headed. I think its because I went swimming, so maybe next week I will fast on my non exercise days!

FannyDaggers Thu 17-May-18 08:43:31

Checking in for the new thread and have now read through all the last one. Loads of S and NS victories, we’ll done everyone and fab job on getting to target Bug really inspiring!
Looking forward to getting started again next week and will take your advice BCF and start with 800 cal FD’s. Good luck to any fasters today.

snailhunter Thu 17-May-18 08:52:52

Hello everyone and thank you BCF for shiny new thread!

FD for me today. DS is off school again with his chronic undiagnosed stomach thing, sigh, which I always find very stressful, as I am supposed to try and encourage him to get up, be distracted, etc, and get him into school for the afternoon. But even worse, my Pukka ginger tea is out of stock everywhere and I am being forced to drink An Inferior Brand which has liquorice in it, yuck. Truly life is hard. smile

OohMrDarcy Thu 17-May-18 09:30:07

Checking in on the new thread.

Thank you for all the get well wishes. I managed to sleep last night without waking for a coughing fit so I'm hoping that is a sign that things are starting to improve... Still feel ill and chesty, but if I can make it through the day with less than 3 rounds of <coughing fit> <10 puffs on inhaler> <30 mins shakes> then it will be going in the right direction at least. Bloody exhausting it is!

Fortythreeandfatasfuck Thu 17-May-18 09:32:38

Thanks for the new thread bcf the last seemed to fill up real quick!

oh dear mrd that sounds horrendous, hope you are feeling better soon, and snail hope your ds is better soon also. How rude that you have to drink inferior tea grin

well done to everyone battling through FDs yesterday grin you did amazingly

well done on your SV frieda and getting rid of most of that 9lb quacking

NFD today, although i can't physically bring myself to eat until after the hospital appointment for my DS later this afternoon, he has a hole in his heart and is having his check up ECG today, I am too much of a worrier..... i still have some leftover birthday cake that I'm planning to treat myself to as pudding tonight, that thought will get me through today!!!

Good luck thursday fasters smile

Fortythreeandfatasfuck Thu 17-May-18 09:50:01

well done on the STS yum I visualise too and it often throws me when its different grin

yumyumpoppycat Thu 17-May-18 10:27:20

Glad it's not just me grin I wasn't planning on today being a mini fast but think I will as then I wont need one on Friday plus I might get that 1lb off

Plus thanks Big Choc for all your support and for always welcoming back those of us who pop in and out of the threads flowers

Have a great day all.

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