Welcome to The Fast Diet › The official Fast forums › Body › Benefits and side effects › 5:2 did not work for me
This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Sarcina1991 2 years, 11 months ago.
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23 Jul 17
I’ve been reading this forum since January and really hoped the diet/WOL would work for me. I have effectively lost weight in the past by calorie counting, but really wanted to avoid that if possible.
So, I began 5:2 in February and lost about 3 pounds the first month, and 3 more the second, but then it plateaued for the next three months, so I’m now back to calorie counting for the past two weeks and I’m finally losing again.
I believe where I went wrong was that I clearly was eating more than my TDEE on non/fast days, even though I tried to be mindful. Aside from that I had low energy on fast days AND the following day, probably due to low blood sugar. It inhibited my ability to exercise, so that didn’t help either. With calorie counting, I have no problem doing 30-40 minutes of cardio — walking on the treadmill every day, but I did very little exercise on 5:2.
I believe the health benefits with 5:2 are great, and am disappointed it didn’t work for me. Once I realized I had to count calories anyhow, it made sense for me to go back to 1200 calories/day every day to avoid feeling so exhausted all the time. I gave it about 5 months. Just wanted to share my experience for others who are new to it. Oh, and my goal is to lose 30 pounds to get to the low end of the healthy BMI range, and I am 51 years old. I’ve accepted that I will be a calorie counter for life. It’s the only thing that works for me, though I wish I didn’t have to do it! Good luck, everyone.
Thanks caloriecounter. People have noticed my weight loss over the past couple of months and I’ve told them about 5:2, but I make sure I tell them that it doesn’t work for everyone.
I’m interested in what sort of foods you were eating on your fasting days and non-fasting days.
It sounds like you may have an problem with your diet, maybe it is high is refined sugars or something like that. It also possible there is just something physically different about you. However for an adult of almost any size, living on 1200 calories a day can’t be very healthy for very long.
I’m at a point that when I fast I don’t eat any calories. I typically have a lot more energy when fasting. In fact it used to be a problem because I couldn’t sleep through the night while fasting. Now my body does sleep through the night, thankfully.
Before I started fasting I was calorie counting but was past the point of losing weight. At nearly 3 years into it I was gaining fat and losing lean body mass. Then in a last ditch effort I gave up the last treat I had in my diet, an almost daily ice cream bar. It was typically a little more then 300 calories which is a huge chunk when you are eating less than 2000 calories a day. I gave up the ice cream and my world changed because my constant hunger when away. I studied and learned a lot about hormones, cut most of the refined sugar out of my diet and actually ended up eating more food and a lot more calories because I replaced ice cream with nuts and added a lot of other healthy foods. The result is I started losing weight and inches around my middle. My problem wasn’t calories it was refined sugar. Some months after that I became interested in fasting. It was diet first then fasting.
In short fasting isn’t a fix for a bad diet, it is an additional very powerful tool.
I have no idea what is causing your issue, only you could figure that out. Hopefully I haven’t been offensive. I hope you do well.
Sorry to hear 5:2 didn’t work for you. I have been “on diets” most of my adult life and tried everything! I wish 5:2 had been around before as it’s been the most helpful, successful and easy to manage way of losing weight I have ever tried. I have lost over 8 Kg since April and still managed to have a social life! As others have said, I feel energised and motivated when fasting and have managed to exercise too on fasting days. In many ways the fasting days are easier to manage than the non fasting days!! Also my food choices are now healthier.
It is a sad fact that in order to lose weight we need to count and be mindful of the calories somewhere along the line but as many on the forums will testify, this WOL does allow for the freedom from strict calorie counting some of the time!
I’m glad to hear you are losing again but sorry 5:2 did not work for you. Good luck.
I’m not aware of any ‘diet’ where you can carry on overeating and expect to lose weight. 5:2 is no different, it isn’t magic. It’s about eating no more than TDEE on five days of the week, and creating a calorie deficit on two. It’s sounds as though it did work for you, but you couldn’t control your non-fast day eating.
I’ve never calorie counted in my life and I didn’t start when I began intermittent fasting (3.5 years ago) except to get an idea of what 500 calories looked like for fast days. However, I did also make changes to my diet more generally. I realised that my eating habits were the problem, and I didn’t just want to lose weight but continue with the diet that was the cause of my weight gain. So I’ve pretty much cut out added sugar, except for an occasional treat at the weekend. And I don’t eat bread, pasta or rice on a daily basis any more. I don’t touch low fat anything. My go to snacks are raw nuts and full fat cheese.
Intermittent fasting has been liberating. Prior to 5:2 I never went anywhere without a small snack. Train running 10 minutes late? I could die! Better have a packet of crisps/ snack bar! Now I know I can happily go more than 24 hours without food, and I know that eating a biscuit will make me more hungry not less. I’m finally free from the tyranny of sugar 😀
The evidence I’ve seen is that 5:2 is no more or less successful than any other diet for weight loss. Once you’ve lost weight of course you’re then faced with how to keep it off. And that, I think, is where intermittent fasting blows every other diet out of the water.
Good luck with calorie counting and daily calorie restriction. I know it’s not for me!
@caloriecounter, like @happynow, I’ve never calorie counted. And I have no idea what 500 kcal looks like, as I always do 0 kcal on my fasting days. Also, as I wanted to get to my target weight quickly, I’ve been doing alternate fasting days for the last 4 monhts. Although July hasn’t been great, I am still down over 20kg / 45lb.
So maybe standard 5:2 hasn’t worked for you, but I’m pretty certain 0 kcal AFD will produce results.
Though 0 calories would probably work, the low energy on fasting days is too much for me to handle. It seems like most people have high energy on fast days, but I didn’t. I felt really tired, even the following day.
As for my diet, I don’t eat a lot of sugar, but I drink a couple glasses of wine or a few beers on weekends. I don’t do low carb either. I usually eat a sandwich for lunch with high grain thin bread that has 70 calories a slice. I also still eat pasta and rice. I know low carbs would help, but it’s not sustainable for me.
I juice regularly as well (3-4 days/week) with 80%/20% veggies to fruit. I sometimes have a juice as a meal replacement.
And I know that 5:2 is not a free ticket to eat crap the other days, but I felt like my diet was pretty healthy. I know there’s no way to prove this, but it seems like my metabolism slowed down because the final weeks before I got off the diet I was calorie counting and doing 1600 on non-fast days but still no change on the scale. But it’s probably just the lack of energy from fasting because my workouts are much better now that I stopped fasting.
Bread pasta and rice are refined carbs. Bread and pasta are converted into maltose (two glucose rings joined together) while youre still chewing that mouthful in your mouth. Shortly after entering your stomach it is converted into glucose. The difference between a slice of bread and sugar? Virtually nothing. Not a big fan of juicing or smoothies. Completely destroys your sense of portion control. Ask someone to eat 4 apples and a banana in one sitting. Almost impossible. Ask someone to drink a smoothie with 4 apples and a banana. That’s easy doable.
Sounds like you have a very sluggish liver if you didn’t have energy the next day? Your glycogen stores should be pretty full (well at least 60-80% full) after you wake up. Your liver should be topping up all your stores overnight.
A constant calorie restriction will slow down your metabolism. That’s normal. Personally I think its better to severely restrict twice a week and then eat normally for the other 5 days. Try and eliminate one of those refined carbs you mentioned and replace with something containing lots of fibre. Have an apple as your go to snack. Have the sandwich filling without the bread. Good luck.
24 Jul 17
Throwing in my 2 cents …
Sandwiches can be loaded in sugar and the alcohol is basically the same as fructose to the liver. @caloriecounter your diet and possibly the very calorie restrictive eating are a possible the source of you feeling sluggish.
I don’t think pasta is that horrible but it really depends on the sauce used and how much you eat. Likewise plain rice isn’t horrible, it depends what you put on it and how much you eat. Sauces and condiments are often large sources of sugar. Juice may be okay in small amounts, but most times people drink a more than a few shot glasses of it. Juice is absolutely loaded with sugar but it at least has some nutritional value.
I’m not anti-carb I eat rice and noodles but I typically try to work in a good amount of complex carbs and proteins. Beans are a good example of a complex carb. It is basically something that slows down the digestion. Slower digestion leads to lower insulin in the blood. Too much insulin in the blood tends to make one hungry, fat and tried.
Anyway I pretty drastically cut sugar before I started fasting so I really don’t know what it is like to fast on a higher sugar diet. That could be a difference.
The key to 5:2 success, I believe, is that it prevents the body going into starvation mode which happens if one restricts calories severely every day.
Eating to TDEE on non fast eats should be good. I’m now maintaining, so 16:8, roughly TDEE most days, often under, sometimes over, if we eat out and I can’t resist a dessert,
25 Jul 17
The important thing is to follow a way of eating that works for you.
If you have the willpower and the presence of mind to be able to measure all of the calories that you eat every day then I take my hat off to you. I would really struggle with that.
Daily calorie restriction over a longer term is likely (based on animal studies) to increase longevity. So it’s probably good for us humans as well.
Today for me is a non-fasting day. I am having an early lunch right now. Beef rendang that my wife cooked last night and broccoli that I steamed this morning. I have papaya and a tomato for later. I might snack on some peanuts as well. Yes, I still overdo the carbs sometimes, and I probably always will because I love food and some of the food I love has a lot of carbs. But I’m trying to make carby food an occasional treat rather than an everyday staple.
Big_Bill hits on a point that really highlights why I like 5:2. I love to eat and 5:2 has given me the ability to really enjoy eating most days. I’m sure if I was careful with the calories I would lose weight quicker, but for me that isn’t the point. With 5:2 I’m losing fat while I’m mostly enjoying what I eat. After 3 years of not getting much enjoyment from my diet and eventually having even that meager existence making me fat, I’m finding 5:2 really much better.
31 Jul 17
@moumallick6 – It isn’t possible to fast for days and not lose any weight. If you are gaining or maintaining weight that means you are eating something and more than you need. It doesn’t matter what your metabolic rate is, if you don’t eat you lose weight. You might only lose fat 1/2 as fast as someone else but you will lose if you don’t eat. I realize you were exaggerating, but people just thinking about trying this may read those comments and not know that.
The fasting days for many on 5:2 aren’t pure fasts and some people will overeat. It is also possible to overeat on non-fast days and gain more weight than is burned off while fasting. I’ve certainly done that even though I practice zero calorie fasting. However it simply isn’t possible to fast for 36 hours and not lose some weight, unless maybe you drink a couple of liters more water than your body needs.
@moumallick6. I have to agree with dykask. It is not possible to fast (i.e. zero calorie intake) and not lose weight. Where do you think the energy to run your bodily functions comes from? The breakdown of glucose, glycogen and ketones (via adipose or fat) breakdown releases energy for bodily function. The end products are water and CO2 gas. Water is excreted as urine, sweat and water vapour from your lungs. CO2 gas is excreted as a gas from your lungs. Over a one or even two day period you may “hide” the fat loss by drinking an excess of water. But you would have consumed glucose, glycogen and fat. Unless your body is a perpetual motion machine.
If you are fasting and not losing weight or even putting weight on then all that is happening is that you are eating more than you need on your non fast days.
A slowed down metabolism might come from too little calories on your non-fast days. 1600 seems very little for me, so it would be a general caloric restriction (known to slow down metabolism over time) with additional fast days, generating a massive calroic deficit which could explain the lack of energy.
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