I’ve been debating whether or not to write this post or not, but I thought this post might be helpful for any people who might me thinking of starting the 5:2 Diet. I used to be very thin when I was 16, dancing and playing rugby, but since I stopped with added Uni and office jobs, I have gained 2-3 dress sizes (depending on shop). I don’t think of myself as being ‘fat’ but I definitely have weight to loose, and it’s always been something I’ve put off, thinking I’ll do it in 6 months and it’s been a good few years since telling myself that.
My main motivation for wanting to lose weight is that I’m going to be a bridesmaid for my future sister in law next year, and I want to feel confident and when we go dress shopping I don’t want to feel limited to the style of dress I can wear because of my shape, I want to wear what she wants me to wear – and look good in it!
I started the 5:2 diet 2 weeks ago now, and for those who aren’t aware, for 2 days of the week you limit your calorie intake to 500 kcal for women or 600 kcal for men. Those calories are to include any drinks etc you also have for a 24 hour period. For the other days you just eat normally as long as you don’t over compensate on your ‘off days’ you should lose weight. You’re suggested on staying on it for 6 weeks, then maintaining with 1 day doing the diet.
When January rolled round my boyfriend and I were talking about it, I’d previously looked into the diet and thought it would be something I would consider doing, he had never heard of it but someone at work had mentioned they had lost a stone doing it in 6 weeks. He suggested that we looked into doing it, but right then in the moment I had the motivation to, so I ordered a load of recipe books off amazon, and the next day they arrived and we started the day after.
The hardest part has been retraining my brain, you do have to get used to the feeling of being a bit hungry, I find that having a glass of water and waiting half an hour usually means that the feeling passes. I work in an office where I am in a big team, with lots of birthdays, which equals lots of cake, having to say no is hard when everyone else around you is eating!
Even on my days where I can eat normally, I have swapped my lunch for low calorie meals every day, Whether it’s a salad, stir fry, or my personal favourite courgettes (21 calories each + very versatile – look up courgetti if you’ve never heard of it), my lunch is normally now always under 150 calories, usually even 100. I substitute chicken in lunches for Quorn chicken pieces which is lower calorie (living with 2 veggies in Uni meant I was pretty used to eating it anyway). And I must admit I enjoy my lunches much more now than when I used to go and grab a cheese toastie or jacket potato from the canteen at lunch.
His extra 100 calories means that he can eat a breakfast in the morning, where as I would rather wait to eat until lunch. I’ve found that not eating for as long as possible is the best way for me to get through the day without feeling hungry. I don’t tend to feel hungry in the mornings so can quite happily have a few drinks through the morning which will keep me going until lunch time.
My boyfriend and I both agree, it’s quite enjoyable to do, it’s a challenge planning what you’re going to eat and how you’re going to use your calories. I’ve even made it to the end of the day with 90 calories to spare which I’ve made up with a few pieces of Galaxy which curbs any naughty temptations you might be feeling. But getting to the end of the day and feeling full, knowing you’ve only consumed 500 calories is quite satisfying.
My Typical 5:2 Fasting Day
My one regret with this diet? That I didn’t start it sooner. In my first week I lost 5lb (I was ill at the same time, which I believe boosted the results as one day I had a sickness bug and only ate a yoghurt all day), and in the second I lost 3lb. Already I can see a difference as to where I have lost weight from, some clothes which were a little tight no longer are, and one jumper which normally is quite a ‘snug’ skin tight fit even looks a little baggy.
This evening my parents are taking me out for a meal to celebrate my Birthday (tomorrow!), and it’s my first time that I will be eating out whilst on my diet. I’ve no idea where we’re going as it’s a surprise but I feel like that I’m going to make a better informed decision on what I’ll eat as I don’t want to ‘un-do’ any good I’ve done through the rest of the week, I now also have a better understanding of how many calories are in a dish.
I can see myself continuing the diet until I am happy with the weight that I am at, I don’t currently feel that in 6 weeks time I will be dying to get off it. One of my friends at work is doing the Cambridge diet (something I know personally can be bad for you rather than good – 2 people I used to work with were told to get off the diet immediately by their doctors), her food is higher calorie then mine, and I don’t envy her soups/shakes at all!
My biggest tip if you’re doing the 5:2 is to spread the days out rather than doing 2 in a row, that way if you’re feeling hungry you can tell yourself, it’s only for one day. I’d also recommend getting some recipe books, as not only that but the 3 I have all have a glossary of ingredients at the back with a calorie measure against them, so even if you aren’t cooking a recipe, or substituting ingredients out you can easily work out the calories in the dish.
Have you tried any diets like this or the 5:2?
Are you interested in seeing any low calorie recipes?