I’m a huge advocate for intermittent fasting and my favourite method is 5:2. I’ve been doing it since 2015 and practice it as a 6:1 during winter and ramp it up to 5:2 during the warmer seasons. It’s easy for me to manage, it doesn’t interfere with my family and their food consumption, I can change the days around to suit me, based on what events I have in the week, and on top of all of that – it works!
For anyone who has not heard of 5:2, it’s a simple concept consisting of 5 days out of the week eating normally and 2 days of the week fasting (limited calorie intake). On the fasting days, women are to consume no more than 500calories and men, 600calories. Personally I prefer to adhering to 100 calories less than what is suggested as I find the results are better. On the days where you don’t fast, you’re free to eat what you like, but most adhere to a healthier diet with one cheat day a week. For many, it’s easier to adhere to the 5:2 concept than radical dieting. The results are just as good as radical diets but with more benefits.
Fasting is by no means, a new concept. It has been followed for many years, by religious and spiritual people who perform fasting on a path to enlightenment, and also a healthier body. Much research has been done on people who perform fasting and scientists have found a direct link between reduced instance of diabetes, dementia and cancer with intermittent fasting. In a recent study of 100 obese females, half of them were asked to perform intermittent fasting two days a week, and found they had not only reduced their body fat, but significantly reduced their biomarkers related to breast cancer risk.
But what if you’re not overweight? There is still a lot of evidence to suggest that even fit men and women who fast one day a week may not lose any weight however their biomarkers for diabetes and insulin resistance reduced greatly.
It doesn’t end there. The amount of research surrounding intermittent fasting is huge. Ranging from ischemic stroke, weight loss, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, degenerative neurological disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia) and cancer all point to a reduction in these diseases.
For me, 5:2 was a great way to reduce my pesky post baby fat – however since starting 5:2 I have become more aware of the foods that in consume and the amount of ‘empty’ calories are eaten on any day. My downfall was definitely the ‘empty’ calories – where I could devour a chocolate bar and consume 300 calories but very little nutrition. Since starting 5:2 I am conscious about what 300 calories would mean and how better I could include beneficial nutrients into that intake. A meal consisting of poached chicken breast, brown rice and steamed vegetables would amount to the same amount of calories, but a much more fulfilling and satisfying meal. I guess, also, at my age, I would like to do as much as I could to reduce my risk for many diseases and 5:2 helps me achieve that and maintain a healthy weight range.
Almost anyone can do 5:2, however I would advise against those with an eating disorder as well as children under the age of 18. Many parents ask me if their overweight kids can do 5:2, and my answer is mostly ‘no’. If your child is overweight, find alternative methods of reducing their weight, either by increasing their exercise or limiting poor food choices. Pregnant and early breastfeeding mothers need more calories as opposed to restricting their intake. However, if your child is having one feed a day, or you are in the process of weaning, 6:1 can be included in your regime. Definitely, ill people should not be fasting. If anything, resting and eating nutritious meals is in order. This includes those recovering from surgery. Also, people with Type 1 diabetes and other significant medical conditions need to check with their doctor before starting something like 5:2.
With so many benefits to intermittent fasting, I would suggest starting straight away. You’ll probably hate me for the first day, but because you know it’s a short lived hunger, you will see results, feel amazing and be prepared to tackle another intermittent fasting day. To make it super easy, I’ve put together a simple quick flick available here…. It’s a document that details how to start 5:2, types of exercise, recipe and food ideas so you know exactly how much to eat.
Finally, I need to mention another factor that makes a successful 5:2 week – support. Get a group of friends involved and support one another during your days of fasting. You will see results together, fast together and support one another if you feel tempted to cave on weak days.
Good luck team. It’s totally worth the effort.
QuickFlick - 5:2 My guide to intermittent fasting
Easy to follow QuickFlick on 5:2 intermittent fasting. With recipes, and a guide on how to introduce your body to 5:2 for successful weight loss.
As well as some recipe, hints and ideas, included is a calorie reference sheet with common foods and their calorie content to help you start your journey to weight loss and longevity.
I'm a lover of fine food, amazing cheese and sharing with people I love.