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TOPIC: 5:2 fasting diet anyone?

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January 28, 2013 5:58 AM
Has anyone else tried this diet, where you stick to under 500 calories a day (for women) on two days a week, and eat normally on the other days?
How did you get on?
I am just starting on this as I am having trouble losing anything so far, and thought it might kick-start things into moving.
Would love to hear other peoples experiences, good and bad. Thank you.
  20099445
January 28, 2013 7:25 AM
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of fasting diets, simply because they are hard to maintain for long periods of time. What else have you tried to do to try to lose weight? What is "eating normally" to you? Maybe you should look into portion sizes, drinking more water, and WHAT your eating, rather than caloric intake. It's more than just number of calories.
January 28, 2013 7:47 AM
I can't imagine that *netting* 500 calories for the day would be pleasant, much less only *eating* that much. I'd have to spend the whole day in bed to not feel like absolute sh*t by noon if I did that. I have hypoglycemic tendencies, so if I go too long without eating I get agitated, shaky, and irritable - I can't simultaneously fast and continue to function.
  15501055
January 28, 2013 8:53 AM
Thanks for the replies.

Portion sizes are not my problem, and I very rarely get take-away food. But I am quite a bad snacker, so on an average day I would have very little breakfast and lunch, reasonable dinner and then snack in the evening :(
I know what I eat is not always great (big fan of sandwiches!) but I still don't really understand how a calorie of one thing is better or worse than a calorie of another?

I don't find I am tired when not eating, although I have had a couple of headaches which I put down to lack of carbs.
I know I could do with more exercise but (largely because of the weight) I have terrible pain in my knees and hips so exercise can be painful. Have been to the doc but she just says it will be better if I lose weight - bit of a catch 22 really. I know people say swimming is good in these circumstances, but I just don't have the confidence for that - I barely go out as it is because of the way I feel about my weight, so going out and taking my clothes off is not going to happen :)
  20099445
January 28, 2013 8:56 AM
I do 20/4 and it's quite manageable because your body adjusts to the new eating schedule so you don't get hungry during the day. 5:2 sounds harder because your body doesn't adjust to it.
January 28, 2013 9:04 AM
Unless a doctor tells you to fast or you are fasting do to certain personal beliefs I don't see any reason why you would want to only eat 500 calories a day.

Watch what you eat and portion control. So basically what everybody else said.

If you are really wanting to lose weight by a plan give you doctor or a nutritionist a call. I have a feeling they can help a lot better and you can eat a normal calorie amount.
  18320733
January 28, 2013 9:20 AM
OK so think about where you are at the moment.

Your 'normal' eating pattern is to eat little during the day but a good sized dinner and then snacks. If you are maintaining a heavy weight and your portion sizes are not huge then you have gotta be packing some calories into those snacks because the weight has come from somewhere.

If you are not able to eat a balanced diet throughout the course of the day then why do you think the 'starving yourself' for a day or two each week will be successfull for you!!?

Tough questions i know but if you really want some long term success then anything that you can't keep doing is perhaps not such a great plan. Addressing two days per week by starving won't fix the other 5 days when you aren't.

I would suggest that you take a really good look at what you can do EVERY day to make your diet better, control your calories and eat food that doesn't leave you hungry or needing to snack. As for the exercise, start on the sofa if you need to, upper body exercise with some small weights just to get you moving, it all helps.

As for where the calories come from there is alot to be said for nutritional content that I won't go in to but a single nice yummy sandwich can pack 500 - 600 calories which is more than I eat in my evening meal and am I more likely to snack cos I'm hungry having only eaten a sandwich or am I more likely to snack when I've had a really nice big satisfying meal???

It's not about where the calories come from so much as how much you can buy with them!!
January 28, 2013 11:00 AM
I appreciate peoples comments, but unfortunately as we all know - diets, like clothes, are not "one size fits all" and I find this kind of diet far easier and sustainable than anything else I have tried.
I am fat, not stupid, and I have researched fasting diets, particularly for the health benefits. I am not advocating them for anyone else; was just curious if anyone else had actually tried it as I keep reading in the newspapers how popular they are. Although apparently not here!
  20099445
January 28, 2013 11:02 AM
i have never personally done a fasting diet, however, if that works for you then who am I to tell you differently.
as long as you get your vitamins and nutrients (take a multi-vitamin please) then i have no problem if you decide to fast two days a week.

good luck on your weight loss journey

♥m
  1679800
January 28, 2013 11:04 AM
I've been doing it for the past 2 weeks. If you use the "search" function, you'll be able to find a whole bunch of like-minded people, there's even a Group specially for us!

There's also a really good page on Facebook, with links to some of the studies behind it, and plenty of others trying it to ask for advice.

Also, if you're in the UK, this week's Radio Times has a pull-out section on it, with recipes and everything.

Good luck!
  3627003
January 28, 2013 11:05 AM
I've never heard of it, but what is meant by eating "normally" on 5 days?
January 28, 2013 11:05 AM
The main thing is to be in an overall calorie deficit over time. If you find it's easier to intermittently fast to do so, then go for it - just keep notes on how it's actually working for you in regards to your satiety, energy levels, and overall well-being as well as whether or not you are losing weight. A lot of people have trouble snacking at night. I sometimes eat very little during the day just so I don't have to worry about having a larger dinner or having a small snack, etc.

Find out how you can plan your meals so you don't have to think about it so much and you control your urges to snack on things that don't fit in your plan. Try pre-planning your meals and see if that works, also. You may try including more protein or fat in your diet to help you stay fuller longer -- I know if I eat too many carbs I will just be hungry again later.

Best of luck.
January 28, 2013 11:05 AM
I would say listen to them, and not take so much offense when you don't get the answer you want.
The community here can be jerks at times, no doubt, but these people are giving solid advice. a 2 day fast sounds more like fad diet territory than actual weight loss neighborhood.
If you want to do some well known and supported fasting, try leangains.com.
  22155055
January 28, 2013 11:07 AM
I'm following Dr Michael Mosley's The Fast Diet, got the book after watching the BBC2 Horizon documentary.

I've been doing it since 14th Jan and love it.

Feel free to add me if you'd like to share experiences. smile
  21541215
January 28, 2013 11:08 AM
Actually, doing that will put you behind, not kick-start anything.

Calculate your TDEE and eat a 15-20% cut from that. You have to fuel the furnace to keep it burning strong.
  4001156
January 28, 2013 11:09 AM
Try to eliminate breads for a week and see how that works instead of fasting. I lost the most weight when i ate NO bread, crackers, chips, or sweets that aren't fruit. i was still eating the same calories each day, but something about eliminating those "empty" carbs did it for me.
  29018481
January 28, 2013 11:10 AM
I have not tried it, but I am researching into it to see if it is something for me. But I have started drinking healthy fruit/veggies juices with flaxseed, and they have helped me maintain my diet a lot. I can share some recipes with you if you are interested.

Here is a video on fasting diet, thought it was interesting... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20890613
January 28, 2013 11:12 AM
I've read a lot in the UK press about this diet during the past few weeks, and reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Some people suggest starting off with 6:1 at first to see how you get on. I have a couple of friends who speak highly of it, having been on the diet for a couple of months, though success stories seem to be more common for men than women. The females I know on it say that the first few weeks are difficult, but that you soon get used to it, and don't feel an urge to eat more on your non-fast days.

I know I'm going against the grain here, but different things work for different people. Do your research, eat healthily when you do eat, and don't exercise on fast days cos you won't have the energy ;) I've added links to some of the articles I've read, positive and negative - check the reader comments in particular if you need help to make up your mind. I've bought the 5:2 book myself so may be joining you soon!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/jan/18/hugh-fearnley-whittingstall-fast-diet?INTCMP=SRCH

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/18/fasting-diets-5-2?INTCMP=SRCH
  23818387
January 28, 2013 11:13 AM
QUOTE:

I've been doing it for the past 2 weeks. If you use the "search" function, you'll be able to find a whole bunch of like-minded people, there's even a Group specially for us!

Also, if you're in the UK, this week's Radio Times has a pull-out section on it, with recipes and everything.


Thank you :)
I will look for the group, and definitely buy the Radio Times.
  20099445
January 28, 2013 11:16 AM
I don't do well on "diets"...but I have had success with intermittent fasting. Everyone's organism and preferences are different. Some people do well with X amount of meals per day, or whichever other meal plan. I personally give myself an 8-hour window to eat within my allotted amount of calories each day. I fast for an average of 16 hours, or 18 hours at times. Through trial and error, I have finally found what works for me.
  3761504
January 28, 2013 11:19 AM
I know several people who have started doing a 5:2 fast but it's more for the impact they think it has on brain cells (preventing early onset dementia) than for weight loss that most people have done it. There was a very good Horizon documentary on the BBC that looked at it if you can find a copy online.
January 28, 2013 11:21 AM
QUOTE:

I appreciate peoples comments, but unfortunately as we all know - diets, like clothes, are not "one size fits all" and I find this kind of diet far easier and sustainable than anything else I have tried.

To sum this up, all I can say is that you are terribly misinformed that 500 calories a day anytime is sustainable or even healthy.

Our bodies are not that different when you base a diet off of TDEE and BMR, anyone can have success by eating the right amount of food, not by starving themselves.
Edited by fbmandy55 On January 28, 2013 11:23 AM
  4001156
January 28, 2013 11:28 AM
Fasting has actually been part of religious and cultural tradition for centuries, and when you factor in that we are all here on MFP because we regularly eat FAR TOO MANY calories, it makes sense to me that one or two separate days a week of eating less (it is important that the two days are not consecutive) won't kill us.

I say go for it butterbeanz x
  23818387
January 28, 2013 12:00 PM
QUOTE:

Fasting has actually been part of religious and cultural tradition for centuries, and when you factor in that we are all here on MFP because we regularly eat FAR TOO MANY calories, it makes sense to me that one or two separate days a week of eating less (it is important that the two days are not consecutive) won't kill us.

I say go for it butterbeanz x


I agree! Our bodies are not really designed to cope with a constant barrage of nutrition (until relatively recently, most of us did not have such easy access to food) and studies show people who fast are less susceptible to colon cancer and may live longer. Have a look at some of the research online, I can derive from the studies that a little fasting does work.
  15789730
January 28, 2013 12:27 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I appreciate peoples comments, but unfortunately as we all know - diets, like clothes, are not "one size fits all" and I find this kind of diet far easier and sustainable than anything else I have tried.

To sum this up, all I can say is that you are terribly misinformed that 500 calories a day anytime is sustainable or even healthy.

Our bodies are not that different when you base a diet off of TDEE and BMR, anyone can have success by eating the right amount of food, not by starving themselves.


Eating 500 calories a day for 2 days a week is hardly starving oneself. In fact, it would be possible to do this and still eat TDEE minus 20% if you averaged the week. Calorie intake does not have to be the same every day to lose weight healthily, and what is sustainable is completely personal.

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