Information On The 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 diet is a form of intermittent fasting. This is where you fast by reducing your food intake (NOT starving yourself) on an occasional basis, rather than every day. The 5:2 diet was promoted by Dr Michael Mosely, who has written a book on it. He researched a number of ways to lose weight and found that intermittent fasting had a number of health benefits in addition to helping with weight loss. These include the psychological benefit of being able to say “it’s just for today, tomorrow I can eat what I want”. More tangible health benefits include better sleeping, longer life expectancy, possible better protection from disease and even, it is claimed, better protection from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
How Does The 5:2 Diet Work?
The 5:2 diet works by restricting the amount of calories you take on two days (2) a week and eating normally on the other five days (5), hence the name 5:2. It is possible to use it on a 6:1 basis, fasting one day a week (with restricted calories) and eating normally the other 6 days. Of course, weight loss will be slower but this does not matter provided you are losing weight at an acceptable rate (to you) AND you feel able to stick to it. The calorie limit on the “fasting” day is 500 for women and 600 for men. There are no calorie limits on the other days. You can get cookbooks giving meals of 100, 200 300 and 400 calories, etc.
I tend to use protein shakes for 2 meals in the day (1 scoop = 100 calories), using up 200 calories of my allowance. These shakes are NOT diet shakes, instead they contain a good amount of protein, with very little carbohydrate and use artificial sweeteners. This leaves 300 calories for a woman’s dinner and 400 calories for a man’s dinner. This works well for me. Others prefer to have two slightly larger meals in the day or even use all the calories in one meal. Some tips for dealing with hunger are to have hot drinks, eg black coffee or a stock cube dissolved in a pint of hot water, etc., many people find this helpful. Other tips are to drink a large glass of water 30 minutes before a meal and to eat slowly.
By using a cookbook with calorie counted meals in it and sticking strictly to the recipes and amounts given, you do not have to count calories. Other, of course, than choose which combination of meals suits you best in making up your allowance of 500 (women) or 600 (men) for that day.
How Does This Help With Weight Loss?
While you can eat what you choose on the non-fast days of the week, it has been found that people do NOT eat twice as much the next day after fasting. Instead, it has been found that they eat perhaps 10% more calories than usual. This means that the average calorie count for the week as a whole will have dropped.
Can You Change It?
There are a number of online support groups for 5:2, many on Facebook. Most of the groups are very active and many have a policy of “no negative comments”, so you will find a lot of helpful, constructive information about the diet. Some adherents use 4:3 to start off their diet, moving to 5:2 and eventually to 6:1 as a maintenance diet. Others find it easier to remain on 5:2 and build it into their daily and weekly routines. I have seen posts from some people who follow this even on holiday and have done for a number of years. For those who choose to fast on 2 or 3 days a week, they have a choice of fasting back-to-back, that is, on two consecutive days in the week or spacing out the days throughout the week. A very popular choice for those on 5:2 is to fast on Mondays and Thursdays. Some people find the idea of others working at the same diet at the same time as them to be helpful and supportive.
If you have diabetes or any other illness or concerns, check with your doctor or medical adviser before starting the 5:2 diet.
Just One Day
Could YOU do this diet for just one day? That’s all you have to do, is to choose to try this diet for one day. If you try it, record how you feel, and when your hardest times and easiest times are. Perhaps keep a journal page or write an article or blog post. If you can do it for one day, you can do it for another day, as well, perhaps next week?