Essentially the 5:2 diet/The Fast Diet works by reducing your calorie intake across the week.
One pound (1lb) of fat is the equivalent of approximately 3,500 calories, therefore to lose 1lb of fat per week one must reduce one’s calorie intake by that amount or burn off that amount of calories through exercise.
Many of us who have been overweight love our food and struggle to cut back our calorie intake on a daily basis – we may achieve it in the short term through fad diets, slimming clubs etc however in the long term those of us who love our food tend to struggle to stick to these restrictive ways of eating and will fall off the diet wagon before too long. Once we go back to our old eating habits, the weight piles back on – often with re-enforcements and the yo-yo dieting begins anew!
With the 5:2 method we need only worry about cutting back our intake on two days a week. Yes, it’s a drastic cutback but this allows us to eat as normal on the other five days. It’s a part time diet, making it really easy to stick to and therefore more of a long term way of eating than a diet. In addition to helping us to lose weight the 5:2 diet seems to change our eating habits for the better. For one thing we find our appetites decrease, particularly the day after a fast when our tummies have shrunk and do not wish to be overloaded with food. We learn to listen to our bodies needs rather than just what we want and we start to make smarter food choices based on the knowledge we have gleaned from our fasting days and being so careful with a calorie budget!
5:2 Fasting is a simple way to reduce your calorie intake over the week without making yourself feel deprived and as if you are constantly on a ‘diet’. So many people diet only to get fed up of the constant restrictions and feeling guilty over ‘treats’ – this makes many diets difficult to stick to in the long term and more often than not any weight lost will be regained, often with extra weight. Yes, some people do manage to stick to these other eating plans and keep the weight off – but most of us do not want to go without our favourite foods forever.
With 5:2, you simply have 2 non-consecutive days a week where you eat only up to a quarter of your recommended daily intake of calories. For men this is usually around 600 calories and for women around 500 calories. It’s simple – go to bed on a feed day, wake up and consume no more than 500/600 calories for your fast day, go to bed, wake up and eat as normal. So, you’re only ‘dieting’ 2 days a week – some people call these days ‘repair days’ or ‘very low calorie days’ instead of ‘fast days’, as it is not technically fasting. You can split your calories however you like on your fasts, whether you want 1 large meal, 2 medium sized meals or 3 smaller meals. The other 5 days are often called feed days or feast days – but be careful not to take the term ‘feast’ literally, it is only meant in terms of the lifestyle mimicking a natural state of ‘feast and famine’!
It’s simple, and easier than you might think. The idea of fasting can sound daunting, but once you learn that hunger is only a fleeting feeling and can soon be quelled with a drink of water, black tea or coffee, it just gets easier and easier. You’ll probably also find your tastes in food change somewhat, when you realise how good your lovely filling veg and protein taste on your fasts and how good it makes you feel!
Read full article: “What is the 5:2 Diet?”