Ever since Dr Michael Moseley popularised the idea of intermittent fasting in the BBC Horizon programme, “Eat, Fast and Live Longer“, the “5:2 diet” has gathered many followers worldwide.
What is the 5:2 diet?
Intermittent fasting has been studied in animals since the 1930s. It has been shown to help mice lose weight (and keep it off), as well as live longer. Although the benefits of fasting have not yet been conclusively proven in long term human studies, the initial results are very promising.
The 5:2 diet is pretty simple – you eat what you want five days a week, then twice a week you restrict yourself to just 500-600 calories (500 for women, 600 for men). It doesn’t matter which days you choose as your fast days, as long as you stick to the 5:2 ratio and you never fast over consecutive days.
Some people suggest starting with two small meals on your fasting day, then working your way down to just one meal over a period of time.
So, for example, on a fasting day you might eat a small breakfast – Dr Moseley suggests two scrambled eggs and a slice of ham (approx. 300 calories) – then a small dinner, such as a small piece of grilled fish and vegetables (again, approx. 300 calories).
Problems with the 5:2 diet
The biggest problems people face on the 5:2 diet are food cravings and simply the idea of ‘starving themselves‘ on the fast days. As Dr Moseley says, “I tried skipping breakfast and lunch, then eating my 600 calories in one go at supper time. The trouble is, I hate starting the day hungry. So then I tried a large breakfast and nothing else. I got really irritable in the evenings.”
Another problem with the 5:2 diet is that weight loss is fairly gradual (usually around 1-2 lb per week). The rate of weight loss can also be ‘lumpy’ – some days you may gain a little, some days you may lose a little.
Although this is quite normal and (in our experience) an ideal rate of weight loss for long term success, some people can become demotivated by this ‘slow and steady’ approach. Especially if they are dieting with a goal in mind, such as a holiday.
Finally, like other diets, it doesn’t address the underlying eating habits which caused weight gain initially. As a result, weight usually piles back on when a person stops fasting and goes back to their old eating habits.
That’s where the DietAssist Programme can help. We understand the psychology of losing weight, and the way our brains usually sabotage our dieting efforts in an effort to protect us. We also teach people how to take control of their thoughts and behaviours so they can lose weight and keep it off long term.
Our programme can help you to get going (and more importantly) keep going with your chosen diet, and to overcome the mental hurdles which trip many people up.
How DietAssist makes the 5:2 diet easier
Register free for our DietAssist video course and you’ll discover first hand how to make the 5:2 diet easier than you imagined was possible. In it, you’ll learn:
- How to change your attitude and beliefs so that your fast days become easier to face
- How to stay committed and motivated all the way through – despite the ups and downs
- How to beat food cravings and temptation on fasting days
- How to avoid your family and friends sabotaging your fasting days
- How to avoid turning to food when things get stressful
and much, much more.
Important final note…
Although DietAssist works great alongside intermittent fasting diets, we cannot specifically recommend the 5:2 diet (or any diet plan for that matter) as suitable for you.
Intermittent fasting diets such as the 5:2 diet and Alternate Day Fasting (ADF) diet will not suit everyone, nor is fasting safe for everyone – for example, it can be dangerous to pregnant women and diabetics on medication – so you should seek medical advice before doing any fasting diet.
But if you are already doing the 5:2 diet, why not add a sprinkle of DietAssist? It could be the missing ingredient you need to succeed for good this time.