The 5:2 diet. Does it work?



My life seems to mostly consist of preparing meals for 2 toddler terrorists, who would live on fish fingers at every mealtime if they could, and a carnivore husband, who would live on sausages at every mealtime if he could, so I am surrounded by temptation (who hasn’t stuffed a leftover fishfinger in their mouth when tidying up teatime – no one I tell you)

Add to that, I work from home, only 2 rooms away from my fridge, so it has been hard to lose weight.

Smallest toddler terrorist has just turned one, and my pregnancy with her was very full of custard slices and jam doughnuts so I wasn’t exactly lithe.

I signed up to Slimming World first and it was very enlightening. I didn’t want to sit in a room every week particularly so I did the online version. I think the sitting in a room bit might be quite key because while I followed the plan and printed out all the recipes, I wasn’t incredibly motivated or religious about it. But it did drag me out of my reliance on jars of sauces and readymade freezer things though, I can now make curries and jambalayas and all sorts of other things from scratch (only took me 38 years to get there). We still regularly cook most of the recipes now, although never, NEVER, with the syn free sausages or reduced fat cheese. Life is too short.

So I moved on to 5:2. It was massively popular just before I went on my first maternity leave, all the guys in my office were doing it. I tried it after the first baby and it was great, I eeked out the 500 calories that you are allowed throughout the 2 days of fasting – ate half tins of baked beans and rice cakes – and lost some weight but then when trying for second baby decided it was affecting my chances so knocked it on the head. So I dusted it off again, this time I did some more research.

I read that the longer you can go without eating anything at all the better it can be so I decided that on fast days I wouldn’t eat anything until dinner time, other than a tiny snack like some carrots. The only concession was tea, I still drank tea with milk and sugar all day. Life is too short. Then at dinner time I ate a grilled chicken (doused in Cajun seasoning) and some salad and salad cream (the Carnivore would also have a baked potato and cheese with his too). You have to drink loads of water, otherwise you get a headache. And it wasn’t that hard. The children’s teatime was a bit of a challenge but if you tell yourself its only until the next morning or have a cup of tea while they are eating (and throw their leftovers away IMMEDIATELY) you can do it. And strangely the next morning you don’t wake up starving or that desperate for breakfast. On fast days where I did eat something small early on, I found I felt much more hungry all day and resentful/cross/mean to everyone around. Interesingly, I also found I could still exercise on my fast days and it fact, running while fasting is fine. You must drink LOTS of water though.

The other main useful thing I read was that half fasts have been found to be just as effective. This works better for me, because finding 2 whole days to eat like a hermit has been very hard, so I’ve done some 5 ½ :1 ½  weeks and these have worked just as well. Just follow the same principle as normal fast days i.e. nothing during the day but have a proper dinner (and some wine) in the evening.

So far I’ve lost 2 stone or thereabouts. Not quite where I want to be and I seem to have hit a plateau recently (I’ve got down to the older fat that is a bit more stubborn I reckon) but along with the exercise regime ramping up for the triathlon, hopefully it won’t be long.



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