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5:2 Thread No. 78: Welcome to our friendly support group to help you become a lean mean fighting machine.

(964 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Fri 08-Jun-18 10:59:19

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 re the cause of type 2 diabetes: Twin Cycle Hypothesis T2
and showed a 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 Fri 08-Jun-18 11:07:47

⛵️⛵️⛵️ Welcome to our new 5:2 thread 78 ⛵️⛵️⛵️

Sorry everyone for delayed new thread blushblush
My ipad pro is in danger of being binned if it doesn't pull its socks up
It has both wifi and SIM card < glares at the offending object >

but it is about 18 months old, so Apple's built-in obsolescence is probably working as designed angry

Fortythreeandfatasfuck Fri 08-Jun-18 11:17:14

thanks for the new thread BCF I must admit i was getting a bit twitchy when I couldn't find one grin

FD here and just tea and water thus far, have chicken pieces, tomatoes and pickled onions for lunch, starting to get a rumbly belly but not long to go now....

quackingduck222 Fri 08-Jun-18 11:18:41

Thanks for the new thread BCF.

Fortythreeandfatasfuck Fri 08-Jun-18 11:19:02

bcf isn't that the Ipad that got damaged in your recent flat leak grin of course i'm not advocating claiming falsely on the insurance for a new one shock

PopGoesTheWeaz Fri 08-Jun-18 11:31:00

Morning everyone. NFD (woo hoo). Had a lovely run into work this morning and I'm walking 40 minutes this evening to meet friends after work and feeling kind of giddy at the lovely weather and not fasting.

And well done everyone, I loved reading the last thread close with so many great SV and NSV. You all are such great inspirations x

I had my weigh in this morning and I was down about a pound since last weigh in which I was really pleased with as it was two weeks ago but had my holiday inbetween. I was so worried a week off was going to undue 6 weeks of fasting but I seem right on track. Fingers crossed that I'll lose another pound this week and will have hit mini-goal two of 1 stone lost.

OohMrDarcy Fri 08-Jun-18 11:42:16

Checking in on the new thread - thanks Bigchoc!

BigChocFrenzy Fri 08-Jun-18 12:17:38

Well done on your SV, Pop
That's excellent after a holiday

Walking outside is excellent for what are termed the "executive functions", so let's make the most of the Vitamin D too

43 Nope, I am rigidly honest about money and will probably die poor (but happy) smile

Good luck with your FD and to all the other Friday fasters
I think I'll join you - had a light session at the gym and am going to enjoy more Rhine walks for as long as the temp stays under 28C

I check the thread a few times daily, so towards the end of this thread, I'll ask for a couple of volunteers to post once we reach 960 posts
- the ipad is a lazy lying toad and doesn't update pages as it claims, so I thought we had > 100 posts to go !

WreckTangled Fri 08-Jun-18 12:18:14

Thanks BCF!

Elsasalterego Fri 08-Jun-18 12:30:28

Thanks for the new thread bigchoc no 78!! I looked back at my 'I'm on' and I was around during threads 50-61- things have moved on a lot! You do a seriously amazing job keeping this thread going so huuuuge credit to you, it's such a helpful place for everyone with keeping motivation going.

So today I had the guts to weigh in and start my first FD. Scales were better than I expected - at 77.8 kg but I'm still horrified that it's 12 stone, 3 and a half pounds. And I can feel that having avoided carbs the last couple of days and being pretty low carb too means I am actually lower than I was already. I have a lot of work to do as 64 kg/10 stone is my goal. Bmi calculator says bmi 26.3 so overweight. Not that I needed anything but the mirror to tell me that... I am v flabby right now!

0 calories consumed so far today but feels fine so far as I have pretty much avoided breakfast for the last few years- although I was finding that I was cheating at about 10.30am and eating pastries etc- part of the reason for the weight gain! I am at work and can smell fish and chips from the canteen. I'm going to find it hard to go in there and take the salad option!

Saw the surgeon this morning and am due to have my op at the end of the month. I'm going to give it a really good try to get a bit lighter by then!

Topsyturvey10 Fri 08-Jun-18 13:06:16

Thanks for the new thread and the thorough information. I am only on FD number 2 but feeling unusually (and I have years of failed diets behind me) committed.

I reckon I might be on target for a 2lb weight loss in a week and with only 2 days of restriction instead of the usual 7👏

I am still exercising and not noticing any reduction in energy levels at all.

Finding all the posts really inspiring.

comehomemax Fri 08-Jun-18 13:09:38

Thanks for the new thread BCF. I was a bit worried as im reading EVERYTHING to stay motivated.
Im only 3 weeks in but am actually enjoying this way of eating. I had lost 2lbs this morning since last week when i finally bought new scales. Im wearing a pair of trousers today that feel a little roomy for a change. I know its not much yet but its a start and i feel so much more in control of my appetite on nfd’s like today. I actually turned diwn cake this morning as i just didnt crave it so i just said no <proud>

Elsasalterego Fri 08-Jun-18 13:12:52

I am sooooo excited!! Had a couple of hard boiled eggs at the salad bar- I hate hard boiled yolks anyway so I didn't eat them - and mfp says a hard boiled egg white is only 17 calories- boom!!!

snailhunter Fri 08-Jun-18 13:26:50

Thanks so much for new thread, BCF!

So just to update for the new thread, I'm once again thinking about whether I should go for my goal weight (9st 7lb) after being stuck at 9st 10/11 for the last six weeks. BCF, you asked my stats. My BMI is 23.5, which is healthy/normal, and my waist-height ratio is 43.67% which comes up as healthy. So that's all good. I would really like to get my waist down a bit further - my stats are currently bust 35in, waist 28in, hips 36in. But at the same time, I know that if I stay this weight, then that's fine.

I've decided to see if I can cut cals further which will cut carbs at the same time, and do a couple of minis for the next couple of weeks, and see if that makes a difference. But if it doesn't, I won't sweat it! And thanks very much to those who shared their 'final few' stories. Was really useful to hear what worked for different people.

SmiledWithTheRisingSun Fri 08-Jun-18 14:03:02

Hi all 🖐
Just checking in.
Not fasting this week but will be back!

CheshireSplat Fri 08-Jun-18 14:06:14

Hi all. Great to hear so many positive stories!!! Well done all.

My FD is going well. Calorie-wise just one Bovril, just finished. Am hungry but I know it'll pass. Looking forward to tea already. I'm thinking I might buck the trend and have a ... wait for it...... Prawn omelette!!!! And an early night.

openupmyeagereyes Fri 08-Jun-18 14:15:44

Just checking in. Thanks for the new thread BCF.

NFD here, next FD Monday.

Good luck everyone fasting today. You can do it!

BigChocFrenzy Fri 08-Jun-18 14:24:15

Good luck with your FD, Elsa
and especially on your goal of being lighter to help with the OP

I love the yolks and always leave the whites ! grin

Well done on your SV, comehome
and on your trousers NSV
You've had good habit NSVs too, which is a very positive start

You may not have any excess fat, snail - can you actually see any excess ?
Have you had Bodytrax fat analysis done at a gym ?

I suggest instead of low carb or extra minis, that you first have 2-3 months on 5:2 just with healthy habits - no snacks etc - and low carb only on FDs,
but cut out all alcohol and sugary crap

and UP your cals on NFDs to your real TDEE Mosely's Calc, just 1 level below what you think, so "moderate" activity.

You can relax on that, which at your BMI & waist might even help your body lose - sometimes you need to chill for the final bit, or maintain a while until your body is ready to lose the final bit.
It might be only 1lb per month, but that would be a good rate for someone probably quite lean & muscular

It would alternatively indicate whether you can maintain on standard 5:2 without too much effort, which is important to know when planning for the longterm.

igivein Fri 08-Jun-18 15:26:33

Hello, I'm back ...
I did 5:2 a while ago (early 50's threads I think). It worked like a dream, I lost 4.5 stone, then went on holiday for 3 weeks, stopped fasting, never got back to it when I came home and put the lot back on blush
I've started fasting again, and eating 'well' on NFDs (lots of plants, oily fish, not too much fat or simple carbs, to the tune of about 1500 cals a day).
It started really well, I've lost about 2 stone (which sounds brill but that still leaves me at 17stone 2) and I seem to have got stuck. I'll lose a pound, gain two, lose two, gain one lose one -what's going on?
I am doing a bit more exercise than I was (swimming and walking), so might be building some muscle (hopefully!) and I am post menopause now, which I suppose has an impact, but I can't understand why i'm not seeing a steady decline on the scales.
Anybody got any ideas?

openupmyeagereyes Fri 08-Jun-18 15:31:35

snail you’re a bit leaner than me at the same height and weight so you must have more muscle and less fat. My b/w/h measurements only tell part of the story. I’m a pear and carry most of my fat on my bum and thighs, though my waist is thicker post dc. I can’t really moan, I used to be fit and now I’m not blush

CocosMummy Fri 08-Jun-18 15:36:56

Thanks for the new thread BCF so since starting last week I've lost 3lbs which I'm really pleased with! Only done one FD so far this week, the main issue seems to be colleagues who want me to go for coffee/cake/lunch - I need to learn to say no and not feel bad about it! But I am feeling a lot less hungry, though still getting to late a night and feeling like I should be eating rather than actually wanting to and doing it more from habit, which is daft. Will get there eventually!

BigChocFrenzy Fri 08-Jun-18 15:52:36

Welcome back, igivein smile
and well done on your SV

Everyone who has lost weight on any WOE needs a definite maintenance plan
Or they regain.
Especially those who have lost a lot of weight, who probably need to maintain on 5:2, but eating back the deficit, or at least 6:1 for life
Before any holiday, write down the date of your next FD - and stick to this date.

A plateau - defined as sts for at least 3 weeks - is very common after losing a good chunk of weight - people tend to stick at "set points", i.e. a weight they previously held a long time.
This is your body consolidating its loss and rebalancing
It can last 6-8 weeks if you are unlucky
If longer, you are almost certainly somehow exceeding your TDEE, which means a miscalculation of input / output / TDEE

==> Are you seeing inches loss - especially around the waist ?
Hips, bust ?
Take measurements every 2-3 weeks if you don't already, as sometimes scales take a while to catch up

Post-meno makes loss much more difficult and you have to be more strict about junk & booze - several of us here know that - so you will be slower than someone younger, but you can still get there.

==> How long have you sts ?

If you don't mfp, I recommend a full week in which you log absolutely everything you eat & drink - several folk on these threads have massively under-estimated their intake
This will also highlight sugar, carb & booze totals
==> Calculate your sedentary TDEE via Mosely's TDEE Calcc^ and then calc your weekly deficit from mfp

==> Do you always keep to 5:2 healthy habits ? - a weekly blowout day can eat back any FD deficit
+ NO snacking or grazing between meals
+ Cut back sugary junk to no more than 1 moderate portion, on at most 3 NFDs
+ NHS alcohol limits
+ Drink lots of water

BigChocFrenzy Fri 08-Jun-18 15:57:02

Well done on your SV, cocos and good luck on your next FD

Learning to say NO is an important skill in losing fat and then maintaining
Put your bod first, before social pressure, on both FDs and NFDs

Obviously move a planned FD if it clashes with a genuinely important social occasion

Chant one of our mantras (quietly ! )
"Communal food is smeared with snot and garnished with *POO crumbs"*
This has recently helped blossom grin

Elsasalterego Fri 08-Jun-18 15:59:36

Igivein I may be kidding myself but I am sure I remember your name from last time I was around. If I remember there was someone called breadandwine around too who had been doing 5:2 since the early days too- does he ever pop in bigchoc?

Fast day on track here. My egg whites plus iceberg lettuce, spinach and cucumber from the salad bar at lunch- plus peas from the hot fish and chips counter!! Lots of Coke Zero to keep hunger pangs at bay too. Mfp reckons all that was only about 100 calories so I'm happy with that. Got a babysitter and going to the cinema with DH this evening and we're having a stir fry for tea. I just have to leave about 150 calories for 2 weetabix and some skimmed milk for bedtime. I can't sleep when I'm hungry.

BigChocFrenzy Fri 08-Jun-18 16:04:15

igivein After your previous large loss on 5:2, your TDEE will have become lower than that of someone naturally your new weight.

This is due to adaptive thermogenesis which happens after large weight loss on every diet / exercise program
Someone who lost 50lb could expect a new TDEE 12-15% lower than the theoretical calculated one
This is a major reason for regain - people don't realise this
It is not due to muscle loss - intermittent fasting preserves muscle, unlike many conventional daily diets

The effect usually gradually wears off over a few years.

However, if you regain quickly, then you will probably still have a lower TDEE than you think, in your case exacerbated by post-meno
also worsened by conditions like thyroid, PCOS, some prescription meds

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