New start?

Mental Health PSA: If diets are a trigger for you, please skip this post and any future posts tagged “5:2 diet”.

After a lot of humming and hawing, I’ve decided that I’m going to give the 5:2 diet a go.

I’ve been looking around for an eating plan that fits with my approach to food and is reasonably easy to fit around what Hubby will actually eat, as well as being something that I can manage on our rather small food budget. The end result I’m looking for is bit of weight loss, and an overall shift towards more consistently healthy meals (we tend to be rather red-meat heavy because that’s what Hubby prefers. I’m going to be aiming for more fish and the occasional vegetarian meal. He’ll probably accept the fish, but he probably won’t be too impressed with the vegetarian).

For those of you who have never heard of this diet, the basic premise is that you eat the recommended daily calories for 5 days a week (my recommended level is 1500-1800, depending on how active I am that day), with a reduced intake for the other 2 days (generally recommended as 500 for women).
I was a little hesitant about it at first (I was worried about the whole “starvation reflex” thing) but after speaking to a dietician friend about it, it’s actually a pretty good eating plan. It’s based on the idea that our bodies evolved in an environment where food was not readily available all the time, and our bodies still have not gotten accustomed to the constant food availability.
She said the most important thing was just to make sure I was planning my “fast day” foods so that I was getting a good amount of protein and veges on those days so that I wasn’t feeling hungry.

This seems like it might be the way for me to go, for the following reasons:

  • I seem to naturally do this anyway – I have days were I LITERALLY forget to eat, but I figure if I can plan those days, I’ll eat better foods than I do now on my impromptu “fast” days when I suddenly realise it’s 4pm and I haven’t had anything to eat since my morning coffee.
  • It gives the freedom to work around life – you can switch up your “fast” days, depending on what your week plan is.
  • There’s minimal calorie-counting associated with the non-fast days – most info I’ve read says that calorie counting on non-fast days isn’t really necessary, as long as you’re eating reasonably healthy foods and are aware of your portion sizes.
  • I don’t need to buy any special foods – I just work with whatever I have in the pantry/fridge/freezer to do the “fast day” meals, because there’s no special shakes or anything involved in it.
  • Weight loss – I’d like to lose a few more kg (currently 66kg, my goal weight is 60kg), and the weight loss associated with this diet is supposed to be easier to keep off, as it is based around a lifestyle change rather than weird things. Also, the diet gives “weight maintenance” recommendations for once you reach your goal weight; you can either double the calories on your fast days, or drop back to a 6:1 ratio.

I’ll try and give little run-downs of how I’m going with it all as I go along (partly to keep myself accountable).

~K

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4 thoughts on “New start?

  1. Sounds interesting, though the 500 calories sounds like it’s a bit too small of an intake? I mean, if you’re just not hungry that day and not really physically active I guess it’s okay, wouldn’t recommend it on busy days, though. Let us know how it goes!

    • The diet recommends doing only light exercise if any on fast days. The 500 is adjustable depending on your “normal” calories, it’s designed to be approx 1/4-1/3 of your non-fast days.
      I’m figuring it will work quite well while I’m studying and chained to my desk, since I’m minimally active some days.
      It’s actually amazing how much food 500cal can give you if you’re smart about it – lots of veges!

  2. I’m doing the 5:2 diet. I’ve been on it a while now! I work long days of 10 hours with very little break time so I find it easy to go to work and not worry about the low calories on fast days as I’m usually very busy and forget about it. As well as steady weight loss I do feel generally healthier and more refreshed! It’s good to plan something nice for the normal day after each ‘fast’ day to look forward to if you’re struggling. And keep hydrated! When I first started I got bad headaches as I wasn’t compensating for the water I’d be getting out of food. Now I drink a lot more water on fast days. Good luck! I hope it works for you! 🙂

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