How to start on The 5:2 Fast Diet?

After watching Michael Mosley’s inspirational documentary Eat, Fast and Live Longer way back in 2012, it sat in the back of my mind as something that I would consider attempting. I loved the fact that it was all based around scientific research and there was mounting evidence of its health benefits. I also saw it as something that I thought could be able to sustain long-term.

Now over 2 years later and a bit of a push from my husband as he wanted to lose weight, I decided that this year was the year. So I began my fasting lifestyle on the 5th Jan 2015. I had not planned to start, I just decided on the Sunday night and began on the Monday morning.

Here are a few things I hope will help you with starting this new way of life.

Keep It Simple

Try not to get too bogged down in the numbers on your non fast days. Just count your fast days calories and keep them under 500 for women or 600 for men.

Only start counting non fast days if you find that you are not losing weight and check it against your TDEE. I found that I counted at the start because I was not sure exactly what 2000 calories in a day looked like, so just for my own curiosity.

The easier you make it on yourself the more likely you are going to be to succeed and it will be sustainable. You can always make adjustments and change things later. The best thing you can do for yourself is just start.

I am not losing weight

Don’t stress if you are not losing weight, everyone is different. Some people lose it quickly and some people don’t. That does not mean that because the numbers on the scales are not showing results that inside your body in not getting healthier.

Do not mistake fat loss with weight loss. These are 2 totally different things. When losing fat you may not see it on the scales due to many different reasons such as water retention (very common), bowel movements and hormones.

Measure yourself

I cannot highly recommend this enough. I hear so many people getting disheartened by not losing weight, but if you take measurement you will see that even though you may not be losing kg’s you are actually losing cm’s. And really isn’t this what us girls want, to fit into that smaller outfit.

In the past on earlier diets I have gone 3 weeks and not lost weight, but to my surprise I had lost many cm’s. So do not let the scales decide how happy you are.

Get a calorie counting app.

The most commonly used one I found that people are using is My Fitness Pal (MFP). It’s not always completely accurate though so to begin with you may want to cross check some things with other calorie counters. It’s also important to be aware that these apps often give you a suggested calorie target that is below your TDEE as they are designed for traditional diets where you restrict your calories every day. If you want it to display the correct calorie target for 5:2, make sure you select ‘maintain current weight’ as your goal when setting up your profile.

How often should you eat on fast days?

This is a totally personal choice. You will not know exactly how 5:2 works for you until you have a few fast days under your belt. Every single faster is different.

I like to have just water and coffee all day and then something small around 3pm to get me through till dinner time. My husband seems to be able to last all day on a coffee and water and saves up all his calories for a filling dinner. Michael Mosley like to have eggs and salmon for breakfast, then nothing except coffee through the day until her has dinner that evening. So don’t compare yourself to others.

The best advise I can give you it to see each fasting day as only a practice for the first month until you finally find your groove. You will learn to understand your body and what it wants.

Don’t be scared on hunger

My first 2 fasts were quite hard, as my mind was telling me “OMG your hungry – you must eat.” So I was looking for anything I could to get to my 500 calories. Then I would try to go to sleep so I could wake up for breakfast.

After a couple of fasts I noticed that the hunger was not that bad and if I just waited about 15mins it would pass. Hunger never stays with you all day, it comes in waves and you just have to ride it out.

Forget about the word DIET

It is a very hard task to try to forget about all the old diet ways that we have been brought up on over all these years. The way we think of dieting is to calorie restrict everyday of the week or you are not going to succeed. So many people struggle with letting this notion go. But 5:2 is supposed to be easy, and not stressful. Just count calories 2 days a week and the other days will just get better with food choices and amounts without you even realising it.

Don’t rush it, this is not a race to the finish line. It is a slow and steady change in our own mindset. Try to focus just on those 2 days, and trust that you are doing good things for your body.

In no time at all you will be an expert in fasting and be able to spread the word about how wonderful it is and convince others people that this is a fantastic way of life.

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