5:2 Diet - All you need to know

My experience with the 5-2 Diet in an Indian context

5:2 Diet - All you need to know


Before you read anything I'm going to write about 5-2, you MUST watch this documentary. It is what wowed me and won me over - Eat, Fast and Live Longer by Dr. Michael Mosley {58:50} It will be one of the most enlightening one hour of your life. This will give you the entire background to this way of life and how it was discovered

If this documentary get's you interested, go ahead buy the book - The Fast Diet: The Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting. It's written by Dr.Michael Mosley (the person behind the original documentary) and Mimi Spencer. This book by Kate Harrison:

The 5:2 Diet Book: Feast for 5 Days a Week and Fast for 2 to Lose Weight, Boost Your Brain and Transform Your Health, in which she describes her personal experience on this way of life, and how she achieved her goals is also a good read. Kate also started this Facebook group which has a huge number of 5-2ers providing enormous support and guidance to each other

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What is 5:2?

5-2 Diet (or as we call it, a way of life) is a form of Intermittent Fasting and is the simplest diet / way of life ever. And vegans, vegetarians, celiacs, everyone is invited to the party. It is the most inclusive diet ever. Only a vegetarian knows the pain of getting on an Atkins or a Keto diet, where most of the allowed things are things he / she cannot eat

I started logging some of my daily foods in my other blog - Indian recipes for the 5-2 Diet, which I've never shared with anyone thus far, except friends who wanted to see what I was eating on the 5-2 diet, when I started this way of life in March 2014. I worked out with a trainer for the last 3 years before getting on this, and while I gained strength, my weight never budged. Being hypothyroid didn't help either, or being blessed with the proverbial slow metabolism, even before my thyroid went bust. When I started this way of life, I saw the scales respond magically. And if you have listened to what I wrote in my first paragraph here and actually watched the documentary, you'll understand why the scales move

So how do I do the 5:2 diet?

I have two fast days in a week. Mondays and Thursdays typically. But if something unavoidable comes up on either of these days, I can always move it. That's the flexibility it offers and it is important if one has to be on any diet for a long term. I couldn't be on the plan for a few months in the middle because I was away from home and there were some pressing family circumstances. But otherwise, it has become second nature now

I have never fasted a day in my entire life before I got onto 5-2 and yet I do this comfortably. That's because here fast doesn't mean you don't eat anything all day. You get to eat 500 calories (600 for men) in those 24 hours - so that's 500 cals on Mondays and Thursdays and the other days I don't count anything. Of course that doesn't mean I can raid my neighboring dessert place or eat all-you-can-eat buffets on the remaining five days. It only means I can eat like a normal human being, without checking MyFitnessPal every time I want to put something in my mouth


All of the above is incorrect. And scientifically proven to be incorrect. The first couple of days, people are known to feel week, headachey and what not, but after the 3rd and 4th fast days, most people cruise through

5:2 Diet - All you need to know

What do I eat on FAST DAYS?

You can check my fast day logs here http://52recipesindia.blogspot.in/

Typically you can drink as many black coffees, green teas, herbal teas as you like. Diet Coke (if you are into those kind of things) is perfectly fine too

So if you eat a breakfast or lunch for 150 calories and spend 50 calories on sundry teas and coffees with minimal skimmed milk, you still have 300 calories for a dinner and you'll be surprised as to how much you can actually get in that much

The small problem here is most Indian foods don't come labelled properly, especially if you are cooking with fresh produce. The only way out is to weigh a carrot, a zucchini, an onion, a cucumber, check a reliable calorie providing website for calories in these many grams of the vegetable, and then see how much your dinner is worth. The few recipes I have logged on my 5-2 blog are painstakingly noted that way, and it is then easy to replicate them again and again. Yes, and you need to drink 2-3 litres of water on these days, which is even tougher for me than the fasting bit

How does one get by FAST DAYS?

Coming to #GetFitMarch - I had reached my lowest ever weight and waist size in ages, thanks to 5-2 last year. With the demise of my father, it was tough to stick to it, around those circumstances, and while I continued to fast, I wouldn't be strict at counting my 500 calories on fast days and the pounds came back. Also because weekends, I ended up eating too many wrong foods and hardly any physical activity. Coming back to #getfitmarch, I got back in all earnest to my beloved 5-2 since March 1st, and two pounds are off already. It is a mantra that never fails, if you are honest to it

So I got back to a propah fast day on Tuesday this week and I'm doing it today again this week. I'm typing this post with a one litre bottle of water next to me :)

5:2 Diet - All you need to know

Tuesday, I had a super hectic day. I had plenty of water. I had 3 teas until lunch time, each with just 2 tsp of skimmed milk and no sugar. Lunch time I had a big mug of a mock-rasam, where I add 2 tsp cooked dal, 1 tsp tomato paste, boil with mug of water, lots of black pepper and salt. This also adds to the water intake for the day. Dinner I had a bowl of cucumber, tomato, 1/4 apple tossed in green chutney and a dry sauteed veggies stuffed in smooth gourd / zucchini, baked in the oven with a touch of oil. All this came to well under 500 calories for the day

Somedays, I eat a small bowl of oats porridge or savoury oats from a pack for breakfast, teas for lunch and then dinner at 6.30pm or 7pm, sometimes, I'll go on teas and coffees until lunch, have a soup for lunch and then something for dinner, mix and match all you like, but ensure the whole day is under 500 calories and the results will be yours to see. Some people even go without eating all day and straight have a 500 calorie dinner, and that is a better than normal dinner. So it's totally how you want to play it, how your schedule is like etc

I'm a firm believer in the 5-2 way of life and the fact that human race cannot be healthy given the quantity of food that we eat currently, and pretty much throughout the day. It has worked for me, like no other exercise plan or diet has and I strongly believe in the benefits it has to offer. And it comes from a person who hates fad diets of any kind

This is just the beginning of the discussion and it's needed quite some effort from my side to share this experience. I'm happy to answer your comments here, to whatever extent possible

(c) Nandita Iyer 2006-2015

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