Advice on what works best?

This topic contains 15 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  rockyromero 10 years, 7 months ago.

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  • Hi,

    I’m new to this site and it is my second week of attempting 5:2. Last week I did two fast days from 7pm-7pm. I lost 2kg initially and then by the time I came round to starting my second week I had put it back on again. I don’t count calories on non-fast days but I generally eat healthily and always have done. I never eat white carbs and only the occasional cake/chocolate type treat. This week I am trying 2pm – 7pm (splitting 500 cals over dinner, breakfast, lunch) as I am hoping psychologically it will be easier. I am also trying to do HIIT exercise everyday. Does anyone have any tips on this method and whether it will still work?

    Any advice for a newbie would be much appreciated 🙂

    Hi Clare
    Its much to early to agonise and worry. If you lost 2kg the first week that is great, remember muscle is heavier than fat (unfair but true).
    Don’t count calories on non-fast days (but check that you are not overdosing on really high calorie stuff like nuts)
    Be brave and try just water. I fast from after dinner (to lunch 40 hours later) twice a week and drink only water (not the 500 calories) and also do 80 minutes cardio (including 60 minutes crosstrain) in the gym 5 days a week, including fast days.
    I don’t count calories at all (wine every NONfast day and a piece of Lindt after dinner) and have lost 17kg after 6 months (I also lost 1.8kg the first week but it averages out after a while. Sorry don’t understand HIIT.

    Hi. My advice would be to choose a plan and stick to it for a month or two (if it is tolerable). Two fast per week combined with a healthy attitude to food and exercise should do the trick.

    You lost 2 kg from 2 fasting days and gained it all again over the weekend. This indicates that it was not all fat you lost and not all fat you gained (2kg of fat is a lot of calories!) and shows how unreliable weight is.

    You need to look at the long trend in weight (over a month or two) and long trend in e.g. waist measure. Be patient; if you stick to your plan and is otherwise healthy your weight will go down.

    Keep us posted

    Vicki: HIIT is high intensity interval training, an exercise protocol also highlighted in a BBC broadcast by dr Mosley. Same family as the 7 minutes workout.

    I prefer the 2 hours bike ride to and from work twice a week.

    I was wondering what HIIT was as well. Thanks DrLL for the explanation.

    The way I track my weight is to weigh once a week, on the same day each week, before breakfast, in the same PJs. Weight fluctuates and weighing in more often can lead to confusion. What we need is a long-term trend, although I admit to being thrilled that I’ve lost 3 lbs. in the first 2 weeks.

    I’m confused about your description of the length of time you’re fasting. The way Michael Mosley describes the 5:2 system, you would eat dinner the evening before a fast day but have nothing after that; when you wake up the next morning, you have 500 calories to distribute throughout the day in whatever way works best for you; then no more calories until you normally break your fast again the following day. So that actually makes a 36-hour period with a 500-calorie allotment, which most people seem to divide between breakfast and dinner (making 3 12-hours fasts) or save up for dinner (making a 24-hour fast followed by a 12-hour fast), with some people needing a small mid-day snack (a 12-hour fast, 2 6-hour fasts, and a 12-hour fast). If you do shift work you may want to shift it around to work with your work/sleep schedule. As far as I know there is no research showing that one of these patterns works better than the others for weight loss. And I’m sure other lengths of time fasting have their benefits, it’s just that this is how the 5:2 system is described.

    I’ve been trying the fast from 2pm so after eating a normal breakfast and lunch I fast from 2pm-8pm and have a 200 cal dinner, then the next day I’d have a 200 cal breakfast and another 100 cal snack if needed with a normal dinner that night at 8pm. I am effectively still spreading 500 cals over 30 hours. Any thoughts on this method?

    Thanks all for the encouragement and advice so far.

    Took me about three weeks to find what suits me and works. Definitely need to try things out. I dont eat breakfast, keep my lunch to under 110 cals and the rest goes on dinner. Some weeks I dont even reach 500 cals (doesnt happen alot) I also weight lift and do cardio on the actual fast days.

    Trial and error, dont give up keep trying diffrent things.

    Do you think it’s ok to do different patterns each week or should I try and stick to one?

    It says in the book you can pick and choose what ever day you want to fast. Im one for routine. However I have changed the days a few times with work things come up unexpectantly


    You might think about going under 500 calories on fast days, especially if that’s more than 25% of your normal intake. I usually keep it under 300 by eating just vegetables (low cal ones like broccoli and cauliflower) and fruits (usually blackberries or blueberries w/splenda–that seems very desert like to me) to finish off the day. I fast for 36 hours, from 9pm Sunday evening until 9am Tuesday morning for example, two days a week. I’ve lost a bunch of weight, my blood sugar and pressure are way down. My cholesterol responded, but not as much so I still take statins for now (but 1/4 dose). Triglycerides also are way down, and the statin didn’t seem to work on that problem too well. I expect that not everyone achieves the fasting state as easily as others, so I advise trying to go lower on fasting days if you’re not losing weight. But it’s also possible to overeat on non fast days. I’ve done that sometimes and had setbacks, but for me, over the long run, I’ve lost weight

    Great to read this advice dlroseberry. In the first 3 weeks I lost 3 kg, but in the last 3 weeks nothing. But I don’t have a lot to loose, so feel pretty good already. I have an exercise program (which I have done for years)that I’m happy with, so eating less on the fast days may suit me. I had just decided to try eating less on non fast days during the week, then just having what I want in the weekends. But your suggestion is more “cut and dried” Thanks. I find drinking lots of water helps and after 6 weeks, find the fast days OK.

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    wish there was a better way ugh

    hi clare – i just started this week myself – welcome aboard.

    since this is new for me, i decided to track my food and do my meal planning on i also calculated my TDEE to give me an idea of my boundaries. yes, you can eat what you want on feed days, but it’s good to track how you’re doing to see where you need to tweak.

    i have never been fond of logging my food, believe me, but whenever i need to follow a particular eating plan or gauge how much i’m eating, i’ll log into others use other sites/apps for food logging.

    bottom line is, make sure you’re eating 1/4 of what you normally eat on fast days, and on feed days, stay near your TDEE.

    “and another 100 cal snack if needed with a normal dinner that night at 8pm. I am effectively still spreading 500 cals over 30 hours. Any thoughts on this method?”

    Consider this recommendation of using a red plate for snacking less?


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