fastiversary

52 weeks on the 5:2 Diet (or ‘How to change your life in a year’)

Wow, doesn’t time fly?

I can hardly believe that this time last year I was over 23% heavier than I am now and really struggling to shift anything.

One year ago today was my first 5:2 fast day, just a few days after ‘Eat, Fast and Live Longer’ aired on the BBC. What a difference a year makes! My first fast, while successful in the sense that I managed on 500 calories without chewing my own arm off, was a something of a failure in all other respects – I hadn’t planned it as well as I’d thought. I embarked on my fasting journey knowing that I could easily eat breakfast late into the morning, and decided it would be easiest to skip breakfast, have a good sized lunch (‘to last me all day’) and a cuppa soup for dinner. Getting through until lunch time wasn’t much of a problem, I drank plenty of water to keep me going and had a delicious jacket potato with beans & some salad for my lunch – rather more substantial than my usual lunches. I was then ravenous all afternoon (strange, I thought) and by dinner time I was very much looking forward to my 100 calorie cuppa soup while hubby chowed down on something rather more dinner-like. One sip of the cuppa soup told me that perhaps spending several years in the larder had left the soup in something less than prime condition and I hastily poured it down the sink. Right, what else was there in the cupboard which might fill me up for those kind of calories? Not a lot to be honest. I measured what was probably the tiniest bowl of cornflakes known to man with perhaps all of a tablespoon of milk. It may not have been much, but it was nothing short of a banquet to me that evening! I survived through to morning and was pleased to note a loss on the scales the next day.

shame

Fast forward a year and my fasting method has changed somewhat, going right through until dinner time with only water, then enjoying a 250-500 calorie dinner. It seems perfectly normal to me now to have a couple of days a week where I don’t eat much. Actually it seems really strange having too many feed days in a row! For example, this week I’ve had to fast Monday & Wednesday instead of the usual Monday & Thursday – so Wednesday felt like Thursday, yesterday was Friday and now somehow I’m still working today?! Yes, I’m a creature of habit!

So, what’s changed in the last year as a result of the 5:2 diet?

I now love water

For a long while I struggled to drink plain water, it didn’t seem to quench my thirst. I mostly drank juices for some years, then swapped to squash for the sake of calories. After my very first fast day of drinking nothing but water I fell in love with the clear stuff. I tried a glass of squash and it was just too sweet! I’ve barely touched a drop in the last year.

I’m a lightweight

No, I’m not talking about having lost weight, I’m talking about booze! Yes folks, previously I seldom experienced hangovers and could get away with a reasonable amount of drink without feeling at all delicate the next day. These days a single glass of wine is enough to get me merry, two and I’m liable to notice an achy gut the next morning. I haven’t gone as far as 3 in a long while – at least not full strength stuff. I love low alcohol wine now – it tastes good, has less calories and I can enjoy a couple of glasses without feeling unwell. I don’t know whether this is more down to 5:2 or the weight loss. I guess it takes a bigger dose of tranquiliser to take down an elephant than a gazelle, so I suppose it takes more booze to bring down obese Moogie than healthy Moogie. It’s that or my body now tries to tell me off for consuming things which are in essence toxic.

I’m healthier!

Yes, as per my previous point I am happy to report that I have gone down from a BMI of almost 32 (obese – how did that happen? Oops!) to around 24.5 – in the healthy weight range for my height. I’d like to lose a little more to get into the mid healthy range – but Obese to Healthy in one year ain’t bad! I’m now over 20kg lighter than when I started and fitting back into size 10/12 clothes, when this time last year I was bulging out of my 16s and heading towards an 18 for the first time in my life. Goodness only knows how much body fat I’ve lost, I didn’t have a measurement for it when I started but since January I’ve gone down over 5% according to my scales and am in the upper healthy range for my age & gender. I’m on my way to getting fitter too so I can start toning up my slimmer self.

I look at food & hunger differently now

5:2 has certainly made me more in tune with my body’s needs compared with its wants. I’m more inclined to give myself smaller portions now and if my eyes are bigger than my belly then I will leave food on the plate. I don’t enjoy most processed foods anymore – I don’t want a chicken kiev & chips or all that ‘beige food’. If hubby wants it, that’s his choice but want to taste some real nutrition in my food these days. I’ve come to love my veggies and will bulk a meal out with them. My carb intake has naturally decreased a bit too, though I still love my potatoes, rice & pasta I feel better for eating salad or veg so focus on those and protein too of course. I’m so much more aware of what will satisfy and fill me up. Yes, there are times when I do overindulge – but I soon regret it (no, I don’t mean emotionally, I meal the physiological response/reaction) and that gives me a good reminder not to do it again anytime soon ;) Again, I see this as my body’s way of telling me I’ve overdone it. It’s funny, I find hunger so easy to ignore now that I think my husband’s a right wuss any time he moans he’s hungry and has to eat immediately.

Mealtimes? What are those?

I don’t really stick to set mealtimes/eating patterns anymore – with the exception of my fast days which are easy with just one meal. If I don’t feel hungry when I wake up then I don’t have breakfast, I’ll eat it later when I actually feel hungry. My body soon tells me if I’ve eaten just for the sake of it or because it was ‘time to eat’. Likewise if I’m not hungry at ‘lunchtime’, I don’t eat then, I’ll wait until I actually feel hungry. This has relieved me of the problem I’ve had for many years of not knowing what to eat for lunch. I always ate because it was ‘time to eat’. Now I wait until I’m hungry and I can get a feel for what my body needs. If I know dinner is going to be a bit late that day I can fill up on protein to keep me going for longer, or if I know dinner is going to be carb-heavy I balance it with a good pile of salad or veg for lunch. Sometimes I’ll just have a yogurt and fruit. I try to give my body what it needs or is really asking for. If there’s a piece of cake calling to me then I might on occasion have that instead of my lunch, or just that and a piece of fruit. No, it’s not something that would be good to do every day but it’s surely better than having it as well as lunch and overstuffing oneself?

I’m not alone

I’ve never wanted to go to a slimming club, I can’t stand the idea of groups and being weighed like that. I don’t even like the idea of group exercise, I guess I’ve always been more of a loner at my computer! However through 5:2 I have met so many wonderful people and learned a great deal from them at the forum. It’s lovely to get such support, praise & encouragement from my fellow dieters and to be able to share the same with them. At the forum we’re all equal, we’re all on the same journey together. I can’t believe I’ve been running the place almost 7 months already nor that it has reached over 10,000 members in this time.

No more guilt

Knowing that I can now manage my weight and control my food intake better I no longer feel guilty about eating foods which on most other diets would be classed as forbidden, ‘Syns’, naughty etc. I certainly still enjoy cake, chocolate (mostly dark these days, milk is too sweet) and biscuits regularly, but it’s part of an overall more balanced diet and I know I needn’t feel bad for enjoying those things. I feel free to enjoy my food.

I feel so much happier

For me I think this is one of the most important benefits of 5:2 – I feel so much happier in my life. Not only because I have a much better figure and can walk confidently with my head held high (and even showing a bit of skin!) but because I feel in control again. I’m enjoying all the foods I’ve always enjoyed, plus I’m enjoying lots of healthier foods which I wasn’t keen on before – and all the while, I’m losing weight. It’s been win-win all the way.

 

whatadifferenceyear

So, that’s how my life has changed after a year of 5:2 fasting, but where do I see myself this time next year? Why, in a bikini & hot pants of course! I hope to be another stone lighter and maintaining by then. I’m not sure how I plan to maintain, I guess I’ll be experimenting to see what works. I’d like to try keeping to 2 fasts a week but perhaps with a larger dinner so I can cook the same for both of us. That’s still a while off though and until then I’m happy to keep losing slowly & steadily while enjoying my food.

What I’d also like to be saying this time next year is that I have a better knowledge & understanding of diet, nutrition and the basic biology that goes with them. I’ve learned a lot from folks over at the forum and have found myself watching more documentaries about food and diet. I plan to invest in a couple of beginners books to expand my knowledge and hopefully be able to offer a bit more useful info & advice to members at the forum, other than just my own experiences from this way of eating.

 

Never have I kept to a ‘diet’ so long and loved it so much. I’ve certainly never had a diet change the way I think about food in this way. 5:2 really has been a life-changer for me, I hope it will be for you too.

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