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5:2 Thread No. 80: "I am controlling what food I eat; it is not controlling me" (hat-tip to IamBlossom)

(972 Posts)
BigChocFrenzy Sat 11-Aug-18 13:51:28

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

Mosely's TDEE Calc - Exercisers:Use 1 activity level below what you think
Calorie Counter: mfp , mfp
(optional) Guide 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: 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
Are You Addicted to Carbs Mosely’s Quiz

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.

- 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 !

dovegrey18 Sat 11-Aug-18 14:37:24

Thanks v much BCF! Onwards and upwards.

Iamblossom Sat 11-Aug-18 14:51:14

Oh wow!!! Really BCF you shouldn't have! Chuffed!! blushblushblush

HLBug Sat 11-Aug-18 15:51:43

Checking in smile

plus3 Sat 11-Aug-18 15:58:10

Here Miss grin

BigChocFrenzy Sat 11-Aug-18 16:07:11

< ticks plus's name & the others in the school register wink >

Hockneypool Sat 11-Aug-18 16:39:28

Here too

Friday Fd went well at about 600 calories. Had a late lunch and then chicken fajitas with avocado and lots of salad.

Feeling virtuous today, doing house and garden chores. Made beetroot soup and rye bread for lunch. Taking BCF advice about having rye bread instead of white sliced. Really liked it and think I could gradually increase the amount of rye flour.

Tomorrow we are going to Glasgow to watch the men’s road cycle race. Should do loads of walking about, as I want to see it from different streets and vantage points. (Sad cycling enthusiast) We saw the women’s race last week and they were fabulous.

Welcome Seahorse

Dove good work with the positive thinking. I think it does make a difference flowers

BigChocFrenzy Sat 11-Aug-18 19:32:17

That's good you like the rye bread, hockney
It is very filling and less moreish than wheat bread

The cycle race is exciting < fellow cyclist > so enjoy every vantage point and every minute

FD today, just finished supper and closed the kitchen
I've been experimenting with vegan FDs: veg soups, kale crackers, nuts
It's fine, but I think before I became so experienced in fasting I would really have missed my usual FD fish or steak, to reduce hunger.

SaoirseTheSeahorse Sat 11-Aug-18 19:55:27


Checking in and also saying thank you for the advice on the last thread BCF. I will start in earnest tomorrow with a sensible NFD.

BigChocFrenzy Sat 11-Aug-18 20:12:15

Sounds a sensible way to start, seahorse, a day working on good NFD habits

GrannyPenny Sat 11-Aug-18 21:35:04

Checking in too.

Thinking of you Dove and your DM. Take care of yourself.

dovegrey18 Sat 11-Aug-18 21:37:19

Aww thank you granny

Iamblossom Sat 11-Aug-18 22:44:26

Omfg dh bought pork ribs from the butcher last night, marinaded them overnight in something involving chillis and limes, cooked them for 4.5 hours and served them with new potatoes and coleslaw. I swear to god if I wasn't married to him already...

DaisyandTim Sun 12-Aug-18 09:20:37

Hello, thanks the new thread BCF

Well done Pop and 43 great losses!

I’ve got to admit I’m really struggling at the moment, I can’t seem to shift any more of the gain from my holiday so I’m basically the same weight I was 2 months ago. I’m away this weekend with no real control over the food although trying hard but just feeling a bit bluergh about it. So on Tuesday I’m going back to basics and will check in more often.
Have a good day all.

quackingduck222 Sun 12-Aug-18 11:41:06

Thanks for the new thread BCF.

Bug - it’s not just me then. I’d try ASOS they go down to a size 2. I ordered some bits recently and the returns were so easy. There petite range was pretty good too.

Hockney- well done on fridays fast day. Enjoy the cycling for today.

Blossom- oh wow ribs yum.

Daisy - sorry to hear that. But back to basics when your back sounds a great idea. Do you use MFP? Maybe try it for a week and see if it gets it moving again.

Can’t quite believe it but today marks 6 months of maintenance for me. In the past I’ve never managed 6 days before maintaining grin

Good luck to anyone who’s fasting today.

BigChocFrenzy Sun 12-Aug-18 11:50:29

daisy Are you keeping 5:2 healthy habits on NFDs, even at weekends ?

NHS alcohol limits, no snacking / grazing are the most important
Also: sensible about treats, lots of water & veg, cut down on flavoured fizzy drinks

I also suggest a full week on mfp
This should also give the total of sugar & alcohol consumed, both of which can block weight loss.

For a rough daily average of target calories averaged over the 5 NFDs: Calc TDEEE*

If you are an exerciser, then Mosely recommends in this calculation using one activity level lower than you think

If your 5 NFDs total above 5 x TDEE, then you are eating back the FD deficit

Stircrazyschoolmum Sun 12-Aug-18 13:36:12

Checking into the new thread. (Thank you BCF!) A quiet weekend here. Trying to stay sensible and follow the golden NFD rules. Totm is not helping!

Had a lovely moment yesterday, did my Zumba class for the first time in 3 weeks and my gym buddy said “Wow! Have you lost loads of weight?” I know the scales have been going down but it’s that moment when someone notices that kind of makes it all worth it. halo

Hope everyone else is doing okay. xx

badger82 Sun 12-Aug-18 13:57:24

Hi 👋 on way back via Lille and sooooo looking forward to a fast day Tuesday. Hasn't been too bad - alternated croissants and cheese successfully and managed a few runs but am feeling rather bloated and yuck.

Hope everyone's well!

Harrykanesrightsock Sun 12-Aug-18 15:01:35

Hi. I’m joining in from tomorrow. I have done 5:2 in the past and was maintaining at 9stone with fasting every Monday. However I have had some surgery on both hips and managed to gain 1 stone over this year. I’m determined to get it off for November, that gives me about 12 weeks.

Is that enough time?

Ta1kinpeace Sun 12-Aug-18 19:19:22

Thread 80 = 80,000 posts
when we started out
the whole idea of fasting - skipping meals to manage intake - was deemed freakish
when we started out, there were no rules - even Michael Moseley and his team used to use us as the prime resource - we predate all of his books and website
when we started out, 5:2 was not about weight loss

the last one is still the case
the other two are now history

Long Live 5:2
and thank you so much to @bigchocfrenzy for being auntie to these threads for so long
lazy gits like me who dip in and out hugely value the effort she puts in smile

BigChocFrenzy Sun 12-Aug-18 19:50:16

That's a very motivating compliments NSV, stircrazy
Stay focused during totm, avoid the totm munchies and the FD after the end of totm should zap the temporary bloat.

Welcome, Harry smile
I hope your hips are painfree now.

Your target looks reasonable, but to give yourself the best chance, I recommend you keep the 5:2 healthy habits on NFDs, as posted above

especially NO snacking or grazing between meals, even "healthy" snacks like fruit;
our clever @ta1kinpeace discovered this tip in the early days of 5:2 and then I researched the scientific basis for why this helps.

Have any treats, alcohol, fruit etc only as part of an NFD meal
Also, keep to NHS alcohol limits, even at weekends,
be sensible about sweet junk - cake, biscuits, sweets etc.
and have lots of water & veg.

Harrykanesrightsock Sun 12-Aug-18 20:03:00

Thanks Bigchoc great tips on no snacking. I tend to be really good through the week with weekends being my downfall, especially with wine. DH is on board as my alcohol police. I’m limiting myself to a couple of guns on Saturday night.

MrJollyLivesNextDoor Sun 12-Aug-18 21:18:48

New thread! Thanks BCF
Harry* I reckon a stone is doable in 12 weeks..must have a word with self about that

Stircrazy how nice for someone to notice you've lost weight, result grin

Blossom omg those ribs though! Could I have the recipe please, they look amazing

Well what a wet walk we had up Pen y fan,
we were soaked through to the skin! We must have been mad, poor DS was a bit grumpy when we got near the top but he ploughed on. I had forgotten to take a change of clothes for myself so had to drive home sat on a spare coat wearing a spare jumper of DHs but with soaking wet trousers and pants. Yuk.
Managed to drag DS for a walk halfway over the Severn bridge and back today but my legs are aching too much to do any major exercise tonight!

Cannot decide whether to do FD mon/wed or tues/thurs..

MrJollyLivesNextDoor Sun 12-Aug-18 21:19:40

Interesting bold fails there confusedgrin

MrJollyLivesNextDoor Sun 12-Aug-18 21:20:14

Interesting bold fails there confusedgrin

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