Why I decided to try the 2:5 diet

Why I decided to try the 2:5 diet

In July 2014 I decided it was about time to do something about being overweight. I weighed in the region of 91Kg, but for my height the NHS recommended range only goes up to 84Kg. I had 7 more kilograms than I wanted.   But how should I go about it?

There are lots of ways to lose weight, but most of them have at least one of these properties

– expensive
– inconvenient
– requiring effort
– potential health problems if they cause rapid weight loss
– poor track record of long term success

So I resolved that I was going to solve it myself in my own way, and that that way was going to be slow and gradual and work to keep my weight under control for the rest of my life. The first idea I hit on was to simply monitor my weight daily. The logic was that if I kept my weight in mind, my subconscious would take over and gradually improve my eating and exercising habits. It would overcome all of the problems above and I would hardly notice.

Well I gave it a year, but the end result was I weighed much the same 12 months later than I had the year before. I did have some valuable data on how variable my weight is – it seems to vary by about 400g either side of 90.2Kg – but not much else to show for it. I suppose the experiment was a failure, though I can’t rule out the possibility that without it I would have put even more weight on. But the notion that I could reach my target of 84Kg was clearly not going to happen.

So I decided I was going to try actually following a diet.

I investigated the various possibilities and they all seemed to have some kind of drawback. But I was intrigued by the 2/5 approach. This one is where for two days out of seven you fast – defined by a calorie intake of 600 – and eat normally on the other 5. This appealed to me because it is totally non-intervention for the majority of the time, and when I have tried fasting in the past I have found it difficult, but a lot less difficult than calorie counting or cutting down on helping size. I added my own twist that the 600 calories would be largely in the form of fruit and raw vegetables, with maybe some protein to make it more interesting but no carbohydrate. I find that these are very effective ways to reduce the temptation to snack when I am eating normally so I thought it would be easier to stick to them if I couldn’t eat anything else.

So that was what I did last July, which was when I wrote this post.  I’ll be posting my experience of following the diet in another blog post.

http://colinsbeautypages.co.uk/my-experience-on-the-25-diet/
photo credit: peso Free – Diet Assistant – Android apps – Free via photopin (license)

2 thoughts on “Why I decided to try the 2:5 diet

  1. Fran

    Interesting! I decided to follow the 5:2 diet in August 2014, when I first heard about it, even though I can’t find anyone else around here who’s even heard of it, let alone tried it (I live outside Philadelphia, PA, in the U.S.). I had been carrying around a lot of extra weight that piled on when I got sick several years before, and it had been very stubborn about sticking around. Any time I tried some method of daily calorie restriction/portion control I could lose about a pound a month, but after several months of feeling hungry most of the day, every day, I just wouldn’t be able to keep on doing it. But being hungry only two days a week, instead of almost all the time? That I could do.

    I focused on getting in a significant amount of protein, with a good amount of low-calorie veggies like lettuce, spinach, and mushrooms, and a little bit of fruit, on fasting days. Like you, I stayed away from starchy carbs, because they just make me hungrier an hour after eating them. I also bought a pedometer and started walking more, with a goal of getting to 10,000 steps/day.

    I lost 40 lbs. (18 kg.) in 40 weeks (from 157 lbs. (71 kg.) to 117 lbs. (53 kg.) — I’m a short woman). I feel so much better — I can really move now — I used to feel like I was hauling my body around. I think it would have taken a bit longer if I hadn’t also taken up walking. I got a little impatient and intense at the end, and fasted three days a week instead of two a few times. Originally, I wanted to get back to my starting weight of 105 lbs. (47.6 kg), but at 115 lbs. (52 kg.) my ribs were sticking out (gravity will move your weight closer to the ground after 30 or 40 years), so I said ‘enough’.

    The problem I had with maintenance was that fasting only one day a week, I kept losing more weight, instead of maintaining my loss. So I had to quit fasting altogether for a while. Everything stayed fine for several months. Then the weight started piling back on. For some reason the idea of starting the fasting again seemed very difficult. But when I hit 127 lbs. (57.6 kg.), I knew I had to do it, or end up like the >90% of people who gain all their weight back after losing. And I had promised myself that I would keep the weight off as a 60th birthday present to myself. So I managed to get started again. I had no interest in fast-day cooking at that point, so I ate separately from the rest of the family on fasting days for the first couple of weeks until I got into the groove again. Then I realized it’s not all that difficult to cook a piece of fish and some veggies, and make some mashed potatoes or rice for the others. Or make a frittata and a salad and buy them a loaf of good French bread. But it took about six months of fasting two days a week to lose those ten pounds. They were very stubborn. It took two or three months to lose the last couple of pounds. But I decided to just keep slogging away at it this time, instead of getting intense about it, and not run the risk of over-shooting my goal, so that this time I can just switch smoothly into fasting one day a week for maintenance (which I’m about to begin this week).

    I hope your experience with 2:5 was also positive. I love the fact that intermittent calorie restriction is actually good for you and has benefits in addition to weight loss. That makes it much easier for me to keep at it over the long haul. That and the fact that it’s easy to do most days once I get into the groove with it. Starting it can feel really tough, but it gets easier with practice. And if I’m just having a really lousy fasting day I can always re-schedule it for later in the week if I need to. I also love its flexibility; everyone can eat the foods they love/the foods that work for them (just not in the quantities they might have eaten previously). I find that the weighing and measuring I do on fasting days makes me more mindful of how much I’m eating on non-fasting days. If I feel like pigging out, I just remember how much work I’ve put into losing the weight, and am seriously motivated not to undo all that! I should maybe point out that I gave away all my newly-too-large clothes as I lost the weight. A lot of my women friends hang on to clothes in several sizes, but I think this is a mistake; it signals a lack of confidence in one’s ability to keep the weight off. I don’t think that’s good, on a subconscious level, for keeping the weight off. Now that I have a cute new wardrobe (I had to replace everything — even my feet got skinnier!), I am *seriously* motivated to not have to spend *any* money on larger-sized clothing, for sure!

    I hope you don’t mind my sharing. I’m looking forward to reading about your experience with the plan. Love your blog 🙂

  2. Colin Post author

    Thanks for sharing Fran – there was a BBC programme about the diet here in the UK that has popularised it so I have sort of assumed everyone knows about it. I’ll put a bit more explanation into the post for people who haven’t heard of it.

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