Summer is just around the corner, and people like myself have realised they want to shed their “winter coat” for holidays. 6 weeks in and half a stone down, this is the most successful diet I’ve done and actually stuck at.
What is the 5:2 diet, I hear you ask? Also know as the ‘fast diet’, it consists of fasting twice a week and only consuming 500 calories (600 calories for men) whilst other days eating normally. Ok, I’m not going to lie to you and say eating 500 calories a day is easy, because it’s definitely not, but over time it becomes part of your routine! It all comes down to how badly you want it. Finding some form of motive is always a good idea – what I did was buy a £70 Victoria’s Secret bikini for the holidays I have coming up that was slightly too small for me. I wasn’t up for throwing £70 down the toilet, so that was my personal motive.
Something I should point out is the first couple of pounds are a bit of a bastard to shift. It took two or three weeks for me to notice the numbers dropping on the scales, and staying down. Just stick it out and be patient! Apparently, on average you should be losing around 1 lb a week. Don’t think that’s much? This is what a pound of fat looks like against a pound of muscle:
Pros to the diet
Anyone who knows me will agree when I say I may just possibly be the world’s fussiest eater; so if you’re a salad hating, chocolate lover like me, this diet can still work. Due to it being so little calories only twice a week, it’s bearable. You don’t have to stuff your face with avocado and kale on a daily basis. Winner! There a several books with recipe ideas if you’re struggling for inspiration, such Dr Michael Mosley & Mimi Spencer’s ‘The Fast Diet‘.
It’s easy to work around. It’s good to get into a routine of what days you’ll do it, helps become a normal part of your week, but for example if you know you have dinner with friends on Friday when you usually do your fast day, just can just swap the fast day for a day more suitable for you.
If you’re already a gym goer, that will work massively in your favor! Anything to assist the diet in burning calories is always a good idea.
You don’t have to calorie count on your non-fast days. Hooray! No one enjoys the ball ache of calorie counting and constantly weighing out food. But bare in mind, if you’re having dominoes or take away Chinese twice a week on your normal days… it’s not going to work very well. Eat normally but not stupidly.
In the long run, it will shrink your appetite on normal days. You’ll find yourself craving less and less unhealthy foods and feel full & satisfied a lot quicker. This means you’ll lose the weight and hopefully keep it off too.
Cons to the diet
It’s difficult. Like I mentioned earlier, you have to be motivated and genuinely be up for sticking with it. The diet days can be quite grueling, especially if you’re used to eating a particularly large amount.
You don’t realise the calories in things until you’re on your diet day. In a crumpet alone there’s 98 calories which is almost 1/5 of your daily fast intake… for one bloody crumpet. Be wise with what you eat – eat wholesome foods with a low calorie count but will keep you full. ‘MyFitnessPal’ app became my best friend on fast days. It has a great feature where you can scan the bar code of the thing you’re going to eat to save you having to input all the details of it.
There may be side effects of intermittent fasting. These may include:
- difficulties sleeping
- bad breath (a known problem with low carbohydrate diets)
- daytime sleepiness
For me, I have only noticed daytime sleepiness due to the fact I don’t get many sources of energy throughout the day from eating so little. From the perspective of someone who suffers with anxiety, I have not notice a particular increase in mine since going on the diet.
A top tip to get you through your fast days would be to not do it on a day you have loads going on. You’ll get drained extremely easily! On the other hand don’t do it on a day your literally doing nothing because you’ll just sit around thinking about how damn hungry you are. Try keep yourself occupied enough so you’re not constantly thinking about food, but not so occupied you’re knackered by lunchtime.
Sources: transformfxfitness, nhs.uk, giphy