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The new 5:2 diet thread

(1000 Posts)
GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 21-Aug-12 23:46:48

The continuing thread for those of us following either the 5:2 diet or the alternate-day fasting diet. Both are two versions of Intermittent Fasting, which you can read more about here.

The 5:2 diet was featured on Horizon recently, and essentially requires you to fast for 2 non-consecutive days per week. The other 5 days, you can eat what you like. Alternate-day fasting is just how it sounds; you fast every other day. By "fasting", we mean that we keep our calorie consumption very low, around 500 calories on average, on those days.

Come join us, and tell us about your experiences with this diet! smile

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 22-Aug-12 10:20:04

Laska ooh welcome to MN! smile

Ugh I'm sorry about the link. I did think we were close to it not working anymore. I think the programmes only stay up for 2 weeks on iPlayer. The related BBC article is here, which gives an overview of the findings.

RightBuggerforit Wed 22-Aug-12 10:22:51

Second fasting day of week 3 for me. I'm doing 4:3 as well, lost about 8lb so far so really motivated to keep on. I can't do 1 meal though, I need my breakfast (slimfast) and then normally have dinner in the evening, or a few bits throughout the day. Was bad yesterday and had fastfood, but as it was an eating day, I didn't technically break any rules! Still felt really bad afterwards though. I might set myself a weight goal and say no more fastfood until I get to 9st. Then it's like a reward, instead of being naughty! I'm not a food person at all, but I do like junk!

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 22-Aug-12 10:25:18

LBY oh no it was a good question, I should have answered it in the OP. I'd just noticed several people in the old thread were fasting more than two days, so thought I'd mention it.

Am doing three days now but, like the person who wrote that BBC article, I suspect if I keep this up long-term it might make more sense to try 5:2. I'm liking the results at the moment, though, and I think I need the results for motivation right now.

thinkfast Wed 22-Aug-12 10:34:03

sore throat went not long after breakfast....strange...

SilveryMoon Wed 22-Aug-12 10:40:46

How are you all losing so much weight? Very jealous.

BuntCadger Wed 22-Aug-12 10:42:07

Fast day today.

Nancy66 Wed 22-Aug-12 11:32:15

I'm doing ADF.
Although this week I'll have to do 5:2 as I've got things on Sunday and Monday (planned months ago) and I'm not going to be nibbling on radishes while everyone else is enjoying a BBQ and Sunday roasts.

goodygumdrops Wed 22-Aug-12 11:59:24

Thank you aftereight and Laska - going to watch it now!

Badvoc Wed 22-Aug-12 12:25:07

2nd fast day this week for me...
Just taken the kids swimming so that shuldnhavenburned off a few cals smile
Was naughty this morning and weighed myself - normally domitnonce a week on a Saturday.
I am down another lb since Saturday and yesterday I went to idea and had chips and meatballs and a strawberry cream tart!!!
Will be interesting to see what it says on Saturday!
If I can lose 2 lbs per week it will only take me 10 weeks to get to goal smile
Still not eating bread or rice.
Limited potatoes.

WilfSell Wed 22-Aug-12 12:26:23

Thanks for doing new thread greeneggs...

I'm on my 5th week of fasting and am losing weight slowly but surely. I've lost 5lbs in the first 4 weeks which is fine because I am trying to do this as a lifestyle change - ie do something I can do for the rest of my life rather than as a quick fix...

As a consequence, I am trying not to obsessively calorie count, nor to particularly moderate what I eat on normal days, since I want something that doesn't make food, types of food, calories in food a mahoosive ISHOO. So yesterday I had pancakes with butter on for breakfast, had wine and haribo in the evening grin and fishcakes with oven chips with the kids. After a decent loss after Monday's fast, I seemed to put on about half a lb yesterday.

Today I'm fasting and have only had a cup of tea so far. It seems to work for me to do a version of the 16 hour thing - ie to eat very little during the day and then have a substantial pile of veggies in the evening. I'm going to make a veggie soup for tonight but before then I will have a milky coffee and a piece of fruit as 'lunch' about 2pm.

Monday's fast was hard though - I wasn't feeling great in the, er, bowels dept and had much worse cravings than normal. Gave in an had some serious carbs in the evening but this didn't seem to be too bad as I still lost weight. Much easier today now things feel back on an even keel.

I suppose I like being able to notice how my body's feeling on this WOE and to be able to cope with hunger (although it doesn't feel quite like hunger anymore, more like something else). I also have given up any notion of guilt, bad foods etc on normal days since if I know I can have it, I don't feel the need to stuff MORE in! Stupid psychology I know but it's working for me.

Good luck everyone - most of us seem to be doing really well so far!

littlebluechair Wed 22-Aug-12 12:42:15

Just marking my place. I did one fast day, then doc told me I needed antibiotics so have just eaten normally. Thinking of doing another fast on sat if I'm better.

Somebody mentioned 'debunking the breakfast myth' - I'm interested to know what they mean? I naturally like to leave my breakfast til lunchtime but was always told this was unhealthy.

muriella Wed 22-Aug-12 13:08:19

Hi, fast day today for me. Coffee for breakfast and just had a boiled egg and carrot soldiers(!!!) for lunch. Haven't experienced a sore throat as per above, but it is getting easier overall. I'm in 2nd week of ADF.

LookBehindYou Wed 22-Aug-12 13:15:48

Yes I feel rubbish today. Really tired and my voice has gone. My fast day was yesterday.

HeartsJandJ Wed 22-Aug-12 13:24:31

Hello - been inspired by the Horizon programme to do 5:2 and now on the 2nd day of my first fast.

We (DH is doing as well) have decided to do consecutive days as that works better for our lifestyle. I saw an earlier comment which said non-consec days was better but everything I've read says there is nothing conclusive about consec/non-consec. Does anyone have updated info on that?

We're doing it basically to keep healthy longer because we are older parents, DH is 50 so is reaching a make or break time with his health. I'm doing it to reduce percentage of body fat rather than actually lose weight as I'm quite slim and generally happy with my weight but would prefer a better fat/muscle ratio.

My general approach is not to stave, if I feel hungry I'm having a couple of nuts but I'm not going to be too strict on keeping to 500 calories, especially during the school holidays when I need all my energy!

However, definitely finding this easier than I expected and have really only had one energy dip yesterday mid-afternoon. I'll see how it goes today and maybe make adjustments for next week's fast to take account of my findings!

naturelover Wed 22-Aug-12 13:27:17

Please can I join?

I have a few questions though.

I'm not trying to lose weight, well not much. DH and I are both in the healthy range though we'd be happy to lose 1-2kg each around the tummy. Our main reason for wanting to do this is for the potential long-term health benefits.

But my concern is that I'll be ultra cranky on the fast days. I'm the sort of person who gets shaky 2 hours after breakfast (breakfast is sugar-free, nut-rich muesli with oat milk). I've been tested for hypoglycaemia before (came up negative) but I do get very low blood sugar if I don't eat little and often. I try to avoid sugary foods, always eat protein at meals, only eat sweet things at the end of a varied meal, and am generally pretty health-conscious. I suppose I'm worried that on a fast day I'll keel over and/or get extremely irritable (I'm already a bit grumpy with the children during these endless holidays!)

I recently gave up coffee in order to try and balance my blood sugar a bit. And eat more nuts, seeds and veg. I get terrible PMS and these are some of the recommendations. Too early to tell if it's helped yet though. My second concern with the fasting is that it'll make my PMS worse by upsetting blood sugar - though actually my blood sugar is already erratic as I explained above.

Do any of you have any experience (when fasting) of a) irritability or b) PMS?

My other question relates to DH who cycles 100 miles a week. Presumably he cannot survive on 500 cals on the fast days? I just can't imagine how he'll get through his (long) day at work on that little!


LookBehindYou Wed 22-Aug-12 13:33:20

Hi HeartsJandJ. Welome! Not sure what you mean by 2nd day of first fast? Do you mean your having your second fast of the week?
I haven't had any irritability so far and if anything PMS is possibly better (don't get it bad anyway).

Treadmillmom Wed 22-Aug-12 13:43:43

Just to clarify, I am sure you do not have to restrict yourself to one meal, the 500 calories can be spread over meals and snacks.
This is my second week, on my fast days I eat approx 600 cals;
Breakfast - 50g plain porridge made with water
Snack - 25g peanuts/sultana's
Lunck - Shredded Wheat with Skimmed Milk
Dinner - Roast chicken with stacks of steamed veg
Lots of water/green tea/black tea in between.
I am not in the least bit hungry as I've picked carb based meals to keep me fuller for longer but only 600 calories for the day.
Week one I lost 2lbs, I was genuinely amazed, I've lost 14lbs since January and had hit a plateau 4 weeks ago.

LookBehindYou Wed 22-Aug-12 13:56:41

Hi Treadmillion it's not really good to spread the food too much because you won't be in a fasting state and insulin will continue to circulate. Insulin is lipogenic and also has a role in cell growth hormone which is not what we want. It is the cgh that can cause cancer. smile

suja1983 Wed 22-Aug-12 14:00:16

Fasted yesterday and feeling great today so trying another fast day today. I'm hoping this will compensate for the excesses of the weekend and Legoland!!
I have found though that even on eating days, I don't want chocolate like I usually do. I think it's because I'm aware of how many calories etc it has. Can only be a good thing as chocolate really is my downfall.

RightBuggerforit Wed 22-Aug-12 14:20:09

Badvoc - you lucky thing, i looooove ikea meatballs! I'll have to tell dh we need some furniture so i can go and have some too, haha.

Tried doing it differently today, had slimfast breakfast then lunch of salad, egg, bit of tuna and a slice of nimble bread. So that's most of my calories gone i think, and aaaaaaall afternoon to get through, eek! I'm hoping it'll stop me getting to that stage of feeling really weak and low blood sugary.

Nature lover - i am a bit like that, i really feel it if my blood sugar is low. I do get a bit weak and exhausted and irritable by the end of the day on only a slimfast breakfast, and then i have dinner, but that takes time even after i've eaten to start feeling better iykwim. This is why I have had lunch today instead of dinner, to see if that takes me through the day better. I'm not as extreme with it as you are though, by the sounds of it, so I can put up with it ok.

thinkfast Wed 22-Aug-12 14:32:13

I am going to keep going with it for a while Naturelover but I felt very like you yesterday. Very shaky, faint and headachey. Feel so much better after breakfast today though. Not sure I will be able to keep it up during a busy day at work though...

Laska42 Wed 22-Aug-12 14:50:28

well so far i've had 100g berries (strawberries and blueberries , half a nectarine and two dessertspoons of natural yoghurt for breakfast.
and 3 olives just now..
also black coffee , black tea and fizzy water with lemon and feeling fine. Have 150g turkey and veggies for later but will eat them as an early dinner so I can get my 16 hours in before my feed day breakfast tomorrow.

The trouble is I cant stop looking at food sites! (and I'm supposed to be working !)
However , this one does look good so I thought id share it , has some really good 5:2 fast day recipes on it

BuntCadger Wed 22-Aug-12 14:55:15

What's this 16 hour thing?

Laska42 Wed 22-Aug-12 15:07:33

I may have this wrong but I believe what Dr M was saying is that you should go 16 hours with no food at all , to give your body time to go into cell repair mode.

So 500 cals on a fast day (I think he said the optimal is only 400 for a woman , but I don't think I can do that right now) and then eat your last meal so that you have time to make up 16 hours of no eating over night to reduce the amount of insulin in your body and stop cells from being in 'Go go' mode ..

Perhaps some one else who's been doing it longer can clarify / confirm

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 22-Aug-12 15:18:50

naturelover I know I keep quoting articles, I will find the one that's in my mind for you. But I think the best answer for your active DH is to try to use most of his calories for a reasonable meal in the middle of the day, or whatever time suits time for biking. There was an article with a researcher, and she said the test group (for their particular study- I believe there's been a few similar) had their meal in the middle of the day. This was to stave off lethargy at a time when most people still need to be active. It also has the benefit of being in the middle of the fast time, so you've got about 8 hours on either side of that meal when you aren't eating. (however that bit has not been tested, so don't get worried about having to have a small snack at another time of day. I've been having a meal of veg around 3pm and then another later in the day, with decent results.)

And you should be okay with the diet. It wasn't originally meant as a weight-loss thing, it's just a happy (well, for a lot of us!) side effect.

Shall go find the link and report back with it.

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