Having been quite an early adopter of the 5:2 Diet (later to be known as The Fast Diet thanks to the book of the same name by Dr Mosley & Mimi Spencer) in August of 2012 I eventually started looking online for other likeminded souls. I guess my friends in real life were getting tired of hearing my evangelical babbling about the wonders of the 5:2 fasting method and I just wanted someone else who understood that I could talk with!
Towards the end of the year I discovered a number of Facebook groups about this amazing way of eating, some of which were more active than others. It was through these groups that I found out about Dr Mosley’s then forthcoming book and placed my pre-order right away. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive and to be able to share it around once I’d read it. Actually to this day it’s still out on loan. Not that it matters, you really don’t need any books to do 5:2, all the info you need is out there free of charge (much of which can be found on the forum!).
With the launch of The Fast Diet book came an official website, minimal but something at least. Many of us on the Facebook groups had hoped for a forum as the now quite busy groups were getting harder and harder to follow due to the volume of posts – and important information was getting lost down the page all too quickly due to the nature of Facebook groups in general. A forum was needed in order to better organise the information and allow it to be found more easily.
Several of us tweeted the good Doctor about this need and his responses indicated that he didn’t intend or have the time to set up a forum. As a web developer myself with forum admin experience and some spare server space kicking around I offered my services. The two-word tweet I received in response would prove to be yet another life changer (the diet itself being the first of course!) for me from Dr Michael Mosley.
I tweeted him a simple message thanking him for the 5:2 diet and asking if I could set up a forum for my fellow 5:2 dieters. His response as you see above was simply a quoted reply with the words ‘DO PLEASE’ added. This can still be found on his Twitter timeline.
I immediately set about purchasing a suitable domain name and installing the forum software – and thus The 5:2 Fast Diet Forum was born, so named to ensure both important keywords were covered and help us (hopefully!) be found by Google.
Members trickled in from the Facebook group and slowly but surely the forum grew. As I found myself with a bit of unexpected free time in the first couple of weeks of the forum’s existence, I decided to develop a ‘Weight Loss Progress Tracker’ to allow members to graph their 5:2 diet success and with the hope of learning a little more about the effectiveness of the diet. The system has seen much development since its launch, including forum-wide stats compiled on a regular basis which display graphically how different types of people are doing on The Fast Diet. The data can be filtered by things such as age group, starting BMI, gender, length of time on the diet and really does offer some interesting figures. New features such as graph trendlines and a TDEE calculator are now much valued and well used features of the 5:2 Diet Progress Tracker.
In the first 6 months the 5:2 diet forum gained over 8,000 registered users with up to 200 browsing at any one time. The forum became so busy that before long it needed a more professional look, extra pages of information and additional staffers. The server started to fall over, it was just too busy – at which point a VPS was set up and the site moved to its new, better equipped home.
We are now getting close to the 10,000 members mark, with around half of the members logging their 5:2 diet results on the Progress Tracker! When interest in the 5:2 diet/The Fast Diet peaked we were gaining around 70-100 new members a day. Even now we still have over 30 newbies join us every day and around 400-500 new posts too. That’s more than ten times as many posts per day as the next most popular Fast Diet forum 😉
No doubt there will be more to add to this story as the forum continues to grow, but for now if you want to know more why not head over there yourself and take a look around? 🙂