Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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  • I was first diagnosed with an underactive thyroid then chronic fatigue. I hadn’t been able to exercise and the weight slowly piled on over the past couple of years. I have been on the 5:2 for 3 weeks and am finding increased energy levels on the day following my fast day and though I don’t weigh myself, my clothes are fitting better so it’s definitely working. Anyone else out there finding CFS symptoms are improving? Cheers, Annie.

    Hi Annie,

    I have had Chronic fatigue syndrome for 13 years. I too have piled on the weight. Same appetite as when I was well, no exercise. 6 stone heavier but that represents a very small over eat, about 50 calories a day. I have banged my head against a brick wall with all medical services to get any help for the CFS. None forthcoming. However this diet was something I could do for myself at long last. Logic dictates that if I lose weight, even with CFS, I should have more energy to do other things as I am expending less heaving the extra 6 stone about.

    I have been doing the diet for 7 months and have lost 2 stone. I dont have any more energy though. I am not overly worried though as I am still carting 4 stone extra about. I am sure I will see some improvement.

    The prior pages do say dont do this diet if you are unwell. I dont entirely agree and will persist. I am thrilled to have found out about this as I have done no exercise and have lost weight at exactly the same rate as “normally active” women are supposed to on 5:2, although I do 4:3 most weeks.

    CFS not improving but mood better just doing something to help myself! Thank goodness Michael went public with this, I think he has done more to improve the health of the nation than the Health promotion departments of local authorities ever have

    Hi there Flyder. Well done for losing the two stone. I didn’t hesitate to try the 5:2 since I wanted to at least be proactive. I hope I do as well as you 🙂

    Hi Annie, well hopefully it will help you not get to the stage I have done in the first place. With CFS meals are one of the few things you can still enjoy as you did in your previous life so its hard to suffer in that area too; although I did do Atkins very successfully and strict calorie counting when kids weddings were looming. This is soo much easier though. I am sure you will do well.

    Hi to all. First of all, well done to you managing to lose weight when coping with CFS/Thyroid problems as well. My husband has CFS and I have an underactive thyroid (controlled with tablets but still difficult to lose weight). Any suggestions regarding CFS/Thyroid problems would be welcome (especially any guys out there with CFS).
    I would also welcome any comments from anyone who is vegetarian and doing this diet, what do you eat on fast days?

    I have CFS or ME as I prefer to still call it! I’ve had it for 13 years (I[m 49). I had to stop training 5 times a week when I became ill following a brain virus, I too piled on about 6 stone. I lost some of it back in 2009 when I felt a little better, and could start to walk more.. but a dodgy hip and back has now put paid to that, so put 2 stone of the 5 stone I lost back on. Back to now.. I started the 5:2 4 weeks ago, and have now lost a stone.. pretty damn good considering I don’t exercise, and use my car to get around.

    I do feel more energetic on the fast days, and have found that I am quite “up” with my moods. People have now started to notice the weight loss, so of course that makes me feel even better.. not that I was depressed.. just that it can make you bit fed up (understatement of the year) to have a long term illness.

    I did get a bad headache or two, the first couple of fast days, but these seem to have passed now. I find that I am choosing to eat less on non-fast days, and healthier food. I make a vat of the Allotment soup, and my mother makes me take her some she loves it so much (she is skinny and I’m trying to feed her up!)

    Not sure about the inflammation benefits yet, but I am sure the lack of weight on my joints is going to help with my osteoarthritis!

    Oh another plus.. my hair seems to be growing quicker, feels great, and my skin is fresher too.. weirdly the whites of my eyes are much brighter! Must be all that healthy food 🙂

    I did comment to family the other day, that perhaps I’ve found the cure for ME… but maybe not quite yet.. I’m bloomin tired today. I will definitely be keeping at this though.. and have persuaded about half a dozen people to take up the diet.

    I too have piled on the weight since getting ME 14y ago. Know it makes sense to try and loose it, and realise it will be a slow process as I cant do much more exercise than I already do, ie not a lot!.Hopefully I will be able to do more once/if Ive lost some weight.Reading about other`s experience is definately encouraging.

    i’ve had cfs/me for 6 years and have piled on 2 stone, though my weight seems to go up and down a bit. I’ve noticed that it takes me much longer to lose weight these days and when I have a period of relapse, even of 2-3 days I seem to pile on about 5 pounds really quickly despite no appetite changes.

    I’m one month into 5:2 and it doesn’t seem to be having any effect. The fasting days make me tired, headachey, thirsty (even though I drink 3 litres of water) and not able to sleep and I’m not noticing any weight loss despite also trying to cut some calories on other days too.

    Any suggestions??

    Seems the CFS and weight gain problem is sadly not that unusual. My weight gain is similar, 5-6 stone. I have successfully lost weight (lots of it) before, using a number of strategies. Didn’t really notice any difference in fatigue levels, but mode, self-esteem and arthritis improved. Did 4:3 fast earlier this year, felt pretty good apart from fatigue, but fell off the wagon and regained weight when unwell. Exercise is the real challenge – will be interested to hear from anyone who has been able to try HIT, at even the lowest level and didn’t get the usual side effects from exercise.

    Good luck to all of you in the New Year 2014.

    Hi EllieD, I addressed the exercise intolerance in the other post, but wanted to say I figure less weight can only help us. less to try and move about with our wonky muscles. 🙂 and the feeling of doing something positive for ourselves can only be a good thing. Phyllis

    Hi fellow Chronic Fatiguester’s. I started the 5:2 diet last April and got good initial results with weight, energy and self esteem. Mostly I felt relief to find a way of stopping my weight increasing and hopefully sidestepping diabetes 2. (Over 50 and had gestational diabetes, so I’m a strong candidate for D2). But back to the fasting; I found the 5:2 a bit difficult to keep up and that at times it just felt too much for me. However I felt better for doing it on the whole. So I looked around and found another fast that I find easier called the 8 hour diet, where I fast for 16 hours and eat for 8. I’ve been do this most days since Nov and have no trouble keeping it up. So those who find the 5:2 difficult to do might want to look into other fasting regimes. Sorry for posting a ‘rival’ fasting diet on this forum. I have to say that the 5:2 and Michael’s program were the best things that I have found for my condition, it’s just that I needed to modify it. The principles of fasting are the same and I use the 5:2 book and forum a lot as a reference. So thanks Michael and Mimi and all those who share.

    Hi Annie Annie, I tend to do 16:8 most days. just seems natural to me, but if I get hungry earlier, I eat, just most times I don’t. still fast 2 days a week also. I really feel that this way holds the best hope for us. I also find that I do better if I keep the carbs low, especially simple carbs like breads, cookies etc.

    I think a lot of folks here are also doing the 16:8, so don’t worry about posting a “rival” diet. we all need to find what works for us. glad you posted. Phyllis

    Hi guys,

    The Fast diet is the best tool I have ever come across in my [personal] struggle with CFS/ME. Like @ellied and many of you, exercise has been a real struggle.

    I started the 5:2 diet on 1st Jan this year after 17 years of struggling with CFS/ME; 13 of them undiagnosed and therefore causing my thyroid to give out after compensating for so long, and the last 4 being very strict with pacing and GET to increase my stamina to a point where I could function somewhere approaching ‘nearly’ normal (i.e. very low end of ‘normal’ activity but probably considered ‘highly functioning’ on a CFS/ME scale). However, it was an every day struggle to keep going.

    I had heard about the 5:2 diet for a while before I was even in the right head-space to read about it, let alone try it. Some of the changes I have noticed since starting are listed below: –

    Within a couple of weeks of starting, I suddenly just took myself to the pool up the road and started swimming agin, after years of the ever present thought “I really should go swimming as the pool is so close” lurking in the background;

    I wake up refreshed (although sometimes physically tired from exercise, but not the mind and nerve crushing fatigue) at about 7.30am on average with relative ease, rather than dragging myself from slumber an hour or so later and feeling like an elephant had used me as a pillow;

    I have managed to go for lunches and nights out with my friends in Bath (a 100-mile round trip) driving up and back in a day (getting ready, an hour’s driving, socialising for a few hours, another hour’s driving before bed), and often these have been for an evening when I have already ridden the horse for an hour or more in the morning. With no ill effects or even post-exertional malaise;

    I’m now swimming 2-3 times a week, I got up to 24-26 lengths (not a large pool) before I got fed up of loosing count of my lengths and now I just try and swim continuously, with only brief rests to catch my breath or avoid crashing into people) for 25-30 minutes;

    I continue to do my one class of Pilates a week (which was integral to improving my stamina with pacing and GET) and am just about to start a belly dancing class to gradually increase my cardio exercise (as I use swimming for more toning than cardio)

    My thyroxine dose has been reduced from 150 to 125 micrograms and I will be having a blood test in a few weeks time to see whether that needs to be reduced further (possibly but I have a really understanding GP who wanted to reduce it gradually rather than shock my system).

    I have lost 9lbs overall (not an awful lot for the 3-months but I taking into account the increased muscle mass gain from the extra exercise this is still fabulous) and I have lost 7 3/4 inches across my chest, waist & hips.

    I FEEL so much better.

    The only change in my life I have made this year is starting the 5:2 diet; I don’t eat especially healthily on non-fast days (fasts are often broken by a bacon & egg sandwich made with soft white bread) and in fact, as I’ve been doing more socialising, I’ve eaten out more often on non-fast days too.

    This change has been extremely noticeable and many friends and family have commented on it. One of the greatest feelings has been re-claiming my pre-Glandular Fever (what kicked this whole sorry mess off in the first place in 1997) highly active persona; although I have had to remind myself for the last 4-years that I actually am an Active Person (thanks to 13-years of doctors assuming I was just lazy and want a magic wand to make me thin), I am now feeling better than I have since I was 17, riding for up to 4 hours a day, jive dancing between 4-12 hours a week and generally being a busy, active, lively, burn-the-candle-at-both-ends kind of girl.

    I still have to watch myself and be wary of days when I have a lot going on and plan in rest days. I still have setbacks, but these days they are much less traumatic.

    I would recommend trying this diet to anyone with CFS/ME.

    Apologies if I’ve rambled but I’m rather excited at feeling like the cloud is finally lifting a little.

    Dear Triciaruth,

    It’s really inspiring to hear this – one of the things that helps keep me going.

    My energy levels are much better, but exercise remains a big and rather unpredictable issue. I still have days where I don’t manage much, but can recognise that like you, I am lucky and have very high functioning CFS. I still work more than full time, but it’s at the expense of a life outside work.

    I’ve lost about 1.5stones from this diet so far, migraine much better, energy levels better, and now want to stop taking the amitriptyline that I’ve taken for years for migraine prophylaxis – and cutting back even a little brings all the symptoms back.

    Keep us all posted, it’s lovely to hear a success story.


    Thanks 😀

    I have a wordpress blog ( where I discuss in more detail my journey with CFS/ME and, in particular, my successes with GET and pacing which helped me increase my sustainable exercise before the fast diet. It’s all about sustainability of the exercise levels so it might be of use.

    Hi triciaruth, thank you so much for sharing your story! so glad you have seen such improvement! will check out the blog. I still struggle with the pacing bit, so I tend to push too hard and crash. you would think after 20 yrs I would have learned. just some days it takes less to push too much, and I figure that our AFTER I’ve done it. 🙂 I love the sound of belly dancing, let us know how you get on.

    Hi Ellie, good to hear that your migraines are better, and energy levels up too!

    congratulations on the weight loss both of you! I’ve been really happy with the weight loss aspect. have lost 26 pounds since last August, and lost my daily heartburn and reflux. looking forward to more energy and other improvements.

    keep us posted from time to time on how things are going. Phyllis

    Hi Peeps.
    I’ve had CFS for 13 years and my wife for 23 and both are fighting the gradual increase in weight that seems to often occur. So I’m going to try the 5:2 diet to see what happens, I can only benefit from not carrying 2 stone of lard around!
    I’ve said it now so there’s no going back, lol.

    Hi MrC, I’ve had CFS/ME for 14 years, got a lot of medical problems at the same time and put on 50 pounds in a few months (ugh). I’ve been doing 5:2 + lots of walking since last August and have lost 37 pounds so far. Welcome and good eating to both you and your wife 🙂

    Hi MrC, welcome!! sorry you and your wife are dealing with this illness. the weight does seem to find us doesn’t it? my daughter, husband and I are dealing with M.E/ CFS. my husband hasn’t gained a lot, but my daughter and I struggle.

    I can tell you that you will loose weight on this WOE. I have lost almost 25lbs, my daughter 14. she had to be patient because it was several months before the scales started going down more than a lb or two. up and down a lot, BUT the inches were going down. be sure to measure yourself. waist, neck, chest, arms, legs. it will help when the scales don’t budge.

    we seem to be seeing an increase in energy. can’t promise it’s from the diet, but time will tell. we have been sick for 20 yrs, I expect it will take a while to reverse( if that is possible) anyway, as you said, less pounds to carry around can only help.

    be sure and keep your water intake up, it helps. good luck and keep us posted on how you get on.

    Hi franfit, 34lbs!!good for you!! glad you are able to do the walking. sometimes those other health challenges go with this darned disease. hope every thing is doing better.

    good fast to you both, and all our M.E./CFS fast friends. Phyllis 🙂

    Hi Phyllis and thank you. I’ve had to build up slowly on the walking, to be sure, but I think I’m averaging about 10,000 steps/day and can even go for a long walk on a fasting day now. Last August, 10,000 steps in a day would knock me right out. I need less caffeine to cut through the brain fog in the mornings now, too. Glad this WOE is working for you and your family 🙂

    Thanks guys and well done.
    Our daughter also had CFS/ME for a couple of years from age 14 but it just sort of faded away. Maybe she had her age on her side but she’s very active and slim now at 19.

    Hi MrC, how are you doing? I’m sorry I haven’t replied before now, I had a major flare and my brain stopped working. Hope you are your wife are having good results. so glad your daughter got better, that is wonderful!!

    I wish I could say that the diet is helping the M.E. but I can’t say that for sure. I did have a few weeks of more energy, but crashed again. still, I’ve had a lot of good things happen because of this plan. plus, when you have been sick for years, it’s probably foolish to expect a quick cure. 🙂

    hope you haven’t given up on me, and that you see this.

    franfit, sending you good wishes also. Phyllis

    Phyllis, good to see you again, sorry to hear about your flare. Although I don’t think 5:2 has helped my M.E. specifically, losing weight has helped me have more energy. I can walk much faster than I could when I weighed 40 more pounds nine months ago, even my son commented on how much faster I’m walking. I no longer feel like I’m hauling my body around. Also it takes much less caffeine to cut through the brain fog enough in the morning in order to be able to drive safely (when I drive instead of walking, which I try not to now). I’m also averaging 10,000 steps a day on my pedometer now, which I could not have done eight months ago without setting off a relapse; I was averaging more like 4,000 steps/day then. I still have to take a nap after working a half-day at relatively easy work, though. It hasn’t been a miracle cure for me, but still very, very worth it. I hope your experience turns out to be at least as good as mine 🙂

    Things are going okay but a bit weird! I seem to be eating 600-1200 calories every day without any major hunger issues, so I’ve lost about 6lb this month. 🙂
    It’s difficult to do any exercise but I’ve managed to do some stretches most evenings so I’m feeling pretty positive.

    My wife has difficulty standing on the scales but a couple of her old tops now fit again so something good is happening. 🙂

    Time for me to watch the Horizon video again so I can remind myself of its importance. (It’s back on iPlayer.)

    All the best!

    annie annie, I agree, variations in fasting that promote continued practice are likely to be helpful. They may not have been tested, but they have also not been proven to be failures. It may be many years before all the questions and issues involved with fasting are answered with even moderate certainty. Life must go on.

    Fasting blood chemistry improves with length of time of the fast up to a point. It improves the fastest during the first ten hours. Beyond 4 days may have little added benefit. One researcher said as a rule of thumb, fasting is considered to begin at ten hours. Other fasting plans are certainly possible and a few have been and are being studied.

    A three day, four night fast is believed to drop cancer, diabetes, and heart disease risk to near zero after the first fast. Repeating every two months is believed to maintain the zero risk.

    5:2 fasting may take months to achieve the near zero risk level. It is however believed to be easier to adhere to in the long term. I fasted 3 days and three nights before I fell off the wagon. I followed up with the 5:2 plan and have been successful. I often start snacking late on my one day fasts, but have still lost nearly 20 pounds and lowered my bad colesterol significantly in a year. I try different strategies to succed. Frequently telling myself I can eat anything I want tomorrow works best for me.

    You only fail if you quit altogether.

    Paul Bristol

    Hi Paul. That’s really interesting. For me the main benefit of the fasting has been keeping other nasties at bay, especially considering my age. I recently had to change my GP. The new Dr got me to go through the gamut of blood tests again, and everything was fine – organ function, cholesterol, sugar – you name it. That was after a crash caused by stress and I was feeling very unwell at the time. I put that down to the fasting. My weight is OK too. I could lose a bit more, but I am not at an unhealthy weight and considering how sedentary I am, it’s pretty good. I really don’t think of fasting as a cure, just a way to manage overall health. Although, I wonder if it could work in a preventative way for people who may be prone to develop ME/CFS. Anyway, I’m getting beyond myself there. Good luck all, and happy fasting 😛

    Hi all. I have had CFS for 5 years and have gained 8kgs. Last week I tried day 1 of a planned 5:2, having lunch and an evening meal. However I only managed the 1 day as it took me 4 days to recover my energy levels from that 1 day!
    I have been rereading the book and the posts here and think maybe I should try a 6:1 pattern to start and do it on a non work day as trying it on a work day was obviously not a good idea. If that goes ok I would increase to 5:2 in time.
    Any thoughts?

    Hi Ausmum. I did the 5:2 and found it tiring as well, but I was getting benefits. So I changed the “8 Hour Diet”, another intermittent fast where I only eat within an 8 hour window and fast (water and tea OK) for the rest. So I eat between midday and 8pm, as much as I want, although I’m always careful to break fast with a nutritious meal like a smoothie or home made muslei, and generally I eat healthy food. I find it a lot easier. Because I do it every day I can break it when it becomes inconvenient and just keep on with it the next day. However, according to the blurb it only has to be done 3 times a week to get the IF benefits.
    Hope this helps.

    Thanks for the info Annie. I was very glad to hear I was not the only one adversely effected by fasting! Yours sounds like a workable option though I think I would start with 3 days a week. How long have you been doing it and are you losing weight?

    Hi Ausmum. I started the 5.2 in April 2013 and did that until Nov 2013 and have been doing the 8 hour since. I stopped looking at my weight because it always read heavier than I felt. I have probably lost around 10 kilos, but I have definately not been puting it on. When I started I was having trouble getting into size 16 (australian) jeans and pants, I am now a comfortable size 14 and have my shape back. I have lost puffiness from fluid. My energy is better and people tell me I look good (I’m over 50). My IBS is a lot better too. I like doing the intermittent fasts because I am hopeless dieter, and love cooking and eating. I’m no good at the calorie counting thing either, I use to miscalculate the cals for the 5.2 fast days all the time! Anyway, if you google 8 hour diet, lots comes up about it. Good luck, and think of your health and your weight loss will follow.

    Annie, we could be twins! I’m a mid fifties Aussie, have IBS and am a hopeless dieter! Thanks for all the advice. I think I will give it a go.

    Hi, just starting 5:2 yesterday with 1st fast day. Have had ME/CFS for 16 yrs. Put on approx 30 kgs, got some off by myself over about 10 yrs, but not able to go further. Now have 18 kgs to go to my normal weight. Seems to me there are 2 ways we go when we get Cfs/ME either put on weight or get thin. You know which I was.

    I agree with the theory that getting back to a normal weight can only help. If it gives extra energy, or allows me to do a more I’ll be very grateful for that. If it doesn’t I’ll be grateful for the rise in self esteem at being a normal weight, and looking how I look in my mind, rather than the person I see in the mirror, window reflections, and in photos.

    My doc says every 5 kgs off off benefits the heart. Heart health is a challenge for us so being normal weight, the heart has less strain on it, so hopefully that helps whatever the challenges we have with hearts.

    I noticed that my balance improves the more I get off, especially going down stairs, so I’m looking forward to just moving better as the weight goes down.

    My 1st free day today, and already questioning my food choices rather than going silly with food.

    Checking in. It’s the beginning of week 8, and I missed 2 fasts over Christmas. Ate treats, but moderately. In the 7 weeks on 5:2 I have lost 4.3 kgs (about 14lbs.). Aftter a quick start, I think my regular weight loss will be about 400g ms(about 1lb). I’m very happy with 5:2, and so no repercussions with my ME/CFS.

    11am ish 1 boiled egg with salt
    6.30 ish a meal, usually 125 gms of canned salmon and a large salad of diff lettuces, tiny tomatoes, cucumber, 2 tiny pickled beetroot, and atspn of loc cal dressing. After that a few strawberries, or rockmelon.

    Through the day I find tiny amounts of something strong tasting helps,…1-3 pistachios, a strawberry, a sheet of nori dried seaweed sheet( wierd but works for me) and only 9 cals, a cup of hot bullion from stock powder. Also water, water, water, weak black tea or Earl Grey tea, or peppermint tea. Sometimes low cal lollies 9-15 cals. A mouthful of Low cal dry ginger ale also.

    Again no repercussions at all health wise. I’m finding it relatively easy, and does not decrease my energy.

    Should have added that the food day outlined is my fast days of Mon and Yhursdays. Non-fast days I eat healthily and have the occasionally have a treat but keep the size smaller.

    Hi, it’s my very first fast day today. I have been in a wheelchair for the past 12 months due to ME but have just ditched it with help of graded exercise, I am still incredibly limited but am optimistic for the future., I often say I have negative exercise due to the fact that in my previous life as a teacher (I lost my job due to ME) I rushed around 24-7, ran 5k three times a week and swam regularly. I have decided to do 4:3 due to me not burning anything extra after reading the book and browsing around here. I am 43 and would like to lose 42 lbs ideally. How wonderfull to have a site with so much support that is inclusive and free.

    *wonderful (am pedantic too!)

    Hi Lulabell, welcome. Don’t know if we’re the only ones on this thread at the moment, but it’s been encouraging reading the previous posts. Check in when you’re able to. Here’s to a lighter future.

    Hiya, my name’s Lizz, I’ve only just found this thread and I have to say that it’s been very encouraging to read, it’s nice to know that people can still do everyday activities even if it’s just a little. I’ve had CFS since I was 15(now 18 and much better but still struggling with a fixed routine (e.g. Full time work, school etc.) Throughout the end of my GCSE years in secondary school I was either on a walking stick or bed ridden…so I resulted to independent studying (A-levels) which is a mission in itself :/

    I’m glad to hear there are still chances or improvement or recovery as time goes on. Just like many have mentioned in this thread, I too have gained weight..:/ sadly about 2-3 pounds..being the 18 year old that I am, I am sensitive so I try not to weigh myself often considering I know I’ve been lacking exercise and everyday ways of living? (I’m not sure if living is the way to describe it)

    I still have time for improvement I guess but I still find myself easily worn out..I’ve had situations where I have fainted in public.. I was just wondering what others do when they feel their fatigue hitting suddenly like I do when I walk a little past my limit?

    Sorry for the long post, I hope we’ll get along!
    Let’s all step forward together this year~!

    “I was just wondering what others do when they feel their fatigue hitting suddenly like I do when I walk a little past my limit?”

    Hi Lizz….It was suggested to me to do less on my good days and a little more on my bad days.
    It’s working quite well so far…recent info for me.

    Hi Guys, I would really appreciate your advice and experience on whether to combine the 5:2 or 8hour with a food delivery diet? Brief background: i have had CFS+POTS (a small heart condition where heart rate sky rockets with light excersise and can faint) for 2 years now and gained 14kg (thanks to pneumonia). I am a high-functioning sufferer, working 50 hour weeks. I lost 4kgs with specialist controlled excersise but cannot shift a kg more.Thanks to this thread i have realised i already do a 9hour diet not eating until 12pm and then stopping about 9pm. I am thinking of trying a low calorie food delivery diet for a couple of weeks that provides 3 meals a day meaning i would start eating before 12. Should i try it on it’s own? Or combine it with my already 9hour version? Or try it with the 5:2? Your advice will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you for your inspiration!

    Hi LizzE,Lulabelle, MMatrika,
    Good to know we’re not alone on here at the moment.
    I’m midway through week 13 now, and doing 500 cals Monday and Thursday, and 1500 on The other 5 days. I have lots of food intolerance problems so after the 1st 6 weeks, I spent 6 weeks testing things out, and I’m finding I can only eat starches on special occasions e.g birthday cake. If I eat any sort of grain food, eg pasta , bread, biscuits, pastry etc, either normal or gluten free, I don’t lose weight or I only lose a tiny amount.

    My total loss since I started is now 6.1 kgs( 13.4lbs)and I am very happy with the 5:2 way of eating. My resting heart rate has gone down, and my blood pressure has gone down. My balance has improved considerably and I’ve started moving into some clothes the next size down and giving away the biggest clothes I had. I am confident, now, that 5:2 is very compatible with my ME/CFS. My Dr is very happy with my progress and I would recommend it to anyone.

    Lulabelle, many people with ME/CFS have been type A personalities and lived very full lives. How are you going? I’m confident now that 5:2 would help me get weight off steadily even if I was bedbound. It seems to reset something in the body. I’m pretty sedentary and function at 30 % on the CFS scale. I was 5% for the 1st 2 yrs, and am now nearly 17 yrs in. 5:2 has given me much hope that I can get my weight back to normal.

    LizzE, if you’re fainting you’re doing too much. One of the best things to learn about managing your CFS is “pacing”, and learning to stop before you reach your limit. If you reach your limit you’ve done too much, and your body will need recovery time. That’s called “push crash”. Learn to pace your energy useage and learn how not to push crash. Look up the online courses which use the resource book “Managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia” written by Bruce Campbell, PhD. You will learn how to manage your CFS symptoms and energy-envelope or energy bank account, and optimise your living ability. Push-crash keeps us very ill and stops recovery. Pacing allows us to always stay in our energy envelope, keeping some energy always in our energy bank account and helps us improve little bit at a time. This is not an illness you can fight by pushing yourself. Re weight, 2-3 ilbs is a very small amount and isn’t a problem long term. If you keep putting on weight, maybe try 1 day fast 6 days normal, with 500 cals on 1 day a week and a normal amount of food the other 6 days, before trying 5:2. If you find yourself caught out having overdone it, lie flat on your back, close your eyes, have a small amount of dark chocolate or drink chocolate milk, and don’t do any thing till you’ve recovered. There is something in the combination of chemicals in chocolate that helps us(proven by research, and it’s not the sugar.) I have swallowed my pride and lain down in cafes, libraries, art galleries, Other peopkes’s houses, the dentist waiting room etc, I carried dark chocolate with me the entire time I was learning to pace my energy.

    Have to go, more later

    I’ve never heard of do more on your bad days – in my opinion that’s guaranteed to make you sicker longer, and there are people all over the world lying in bed in the dark not being able to do anything, that have followed that advice. I commonly hear do less on your good days – that’s because we try to get so much done on our good days that we overdo it, and miss the cues that tell us we’ve done too much or the cues that tell us we’re getting close to our limit and need to stop. If you do less you have a bit of energy left over that your body can use to help heal yourself.

    Managing this condition is not about evening out what you do day to day, it’s about never exceeding your energy envelope or energy bank account at any given time. Iff you only have so much energy on a bad day, pushing yourself to try to go past that is damaging to your body, and inevitably leads to a crash at some point in the future if not immediately. I’d caution you against using that advice. I’ve never heard anyone who really knows about this condition give that advice. In fact quite the opposite. There are some countries who’s Health Departments still only consider this a psychiatric condition, and give the advice that people should try to do more. CFS is a very real physical condition affecting many systems in the body. Sorry to be so blunt, but the consequences of doing more than you the energy you have that day are frightening.

    M86, welcome,

    My advice would be to do the 5:2 on it’s own, and keep to an 8 hr window on your fast days. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you eat just 1 meal on the fast days or in several, as long as you stay in the 8 hr window. I use 11 am to 7 pm, and frequently eat at 6 or 6.30pm on those days. On the 5 normal days I’m finding that keeping to that same 8 hr window helps, though I deviate a bit on special occasions e.g. Family birthday.

    Since you are time poor, working the hrs you do, is it possible to get the food delivery only for the 5 days you’re on non- fast days i.e. The cals for your TDEE. There is somewhere on this site to work out your TDEE ( sorry can’t remember the words right now).

    So in a nutshell, here’s my advice:
    1. 2 days/ week e.g. Monday and Thursday, eat 500 cals (female), or 600cals( male).
    2. Other days eatyour TDEE i.e. The amount of cals worked out for your height,weight, gender, and physical activity level.
    3. Eat in an 8 hr window each day.
    4. Drink lots of water, at leadt 2 litres
    5. Eat fresh, less processed food.
    6. Eat lean protein.
    7. Have a meal b efore 7pm on fast days, as this helps you sleep.
    8. Check their is some salt and magnesium in your diet ( specific to CFS sufferers to minimise cramping).
    9. Keep records – weight, measurements, each week so you see your progress. When you weigh isn’t as important as weighing in at the same time each week. E.g. Monday morning on rising, or morning after 1 st fast day of week.
    10. It doesn’t matter what foods you eat, but most people find low GI foods work best.
    11. The first couple of weeks are the hardest while you’re working out what to eat, when, that works for you and your lifestyle.

    Most people find the fast days much easier than they expected. You get used to it very quickly.

    Long term, getting the weight off can only help your heart.

    Good luck, check in and let us know how you’re going

    PS. I recommend to everyone, that they get the book about 5:2 Diet by Dr Michael Mosely and read it.

    The areas of food I think important to CFS sufferers are:

    1. We seem to need animal protein
    2. Salt and magnesium help with cramping or pain. Epsom salt in bath helps us to absorb magnesium through the skin to help ease pain.
    3. Fresh food, limit processed food.
    4. For a crash, dark chocolate helps. Some people use coke, but keep these for emergency situations. I get the 5 packs of small dark chocolate bars from Aldi, keep it in the fridge, and if I’m going out to a situation where there’s a possibilty I may get caught out , energy wise, I carry one in my handbag. E.g When I have to catch a plane, and there’s the possibilty of delay. In this situation, I think of the chocolate as medicine, and only use it if I absolutely have to, and I’ve laid flat on my back in airports as well.


    Ummmm….. The ‘coke’ mentioned above refers to that famous Cola drink of course, and not the illicit sort. It would be the caffiene in it that would help, I think, but comes with a very huge amount of sugar we don’t need.

    Yes I know chocolate has sugar, that’s why the dark choc works best. More effect with less sugar. Again, there is something in the combination of chemicals in chocolate that helps us in emergency situations. In early years once had a crash in a large supermarket. Member of staff asked, should she get an ambulance etc, I said no, please get me some chocolate. She came back with jellybabies because her daughter had medical condition, maybe hypos, that jellybabies fixed, but useless to me. By that time I didn’t have the energy to ask again or debate, and just gave her a family phone number to ring to get someone to help. Meanwhile I stayed where I was resting in the freezer area, thank goodness, because the cold helps me when I’m not very good.

    Anyway, it’s Coke, not coke, that some people use in an emergency.

    Just a comment on the recent posts.
    I’ve has ME/CFS for almost 25 years. My experience has been such that I fully agree with what Merry has written above in relation to NOT doing more on your bad days and adhering to a very methodical pacing routine. Very boring, but it can minimize or even prevent major relapses.
    Most days I try to walk around the neighbourhood. However if I feel drained or if I have a virus, even a cold, I don’t walk or do any exercise until I start to feel better. Even then, if I have been unwell and not walking for say 10 days, I can’t just take up where I left off usually walking about 3 km a day. I have to start with a couple of blocks round trip and then see how I feel the next day. If no serious fatigue I do that amount for another day or two. If I’m still O.K. I increase the walk by another block or two. Over a few weeks, if all is well, I get back to the 3km again.
    Over the past 25 years I’ve tried other approaches but often ended up with relapses that lasted any where from weeks to months. That generally doesn’t happen now.
    I also make sure I sleep when I feel the need. Sometimes I sleep 8-9 hours at night and then after getting kids off to school I get another couple of hours late morning. I had some tests done a while ago and it showed that my cortisol levels where abnormally low overnight up until very late morning. If I can get enough rest up till mid morning I’m generally O.K. for the rest of the day and night.
    I’m about to try the 5:2 diet again as my weight has crept up over the past 18 months- nothing to do with the ME/CFS but other stuff in my life. Hopefully it will work as well as it has for Merryme as I need to lose about 10 kg.
    Wish me well!

    P.S. just on the issue of energy pickups, I carry a ziplock bag of mixed nuts (no allergy problems) and use them if my energy levels drop between meals or if I get sugar cravings, intermittently a problem for me. Seems to work well.

    Hi Lady Jayne, wishing you well with your 5:2 journey 🙂

    I second the nuts. Over the last 5 yrs or so, I’ve really noticed that once I’ve started eating on any day, I need to eat something 2 hourly. It doesn’t have to be a lot so a few nuts have been a regular for that purpose. Since I’ve been on 5:2, on fast days of 500 cals I eat 1 boiled egg at 11-11.30am then my ‘somethingevery 2 hrs has become 1 raw almond, or 3 pistachios, and somehow that seems to be enough. I have no idea how or why the 2 hr thing happens or works for me, just that it does. Other options I use are 1 cherry tomato, 1 strawberry. I am a member of a ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia support group and a number of people also had discovered the ‘ must eat something every 2 hr’. My non CFS husband, on 5:2, on the other hand, eats nothing till our evening meal. Bye for now.

    Hi everyone, I’ve had ME/CFS for 22 years and have piled on the pounds because exercise is so difficult. I have just completed my first 2 fast days and found it much easier than I thought it would be. Just wondering if anyone else out there is on LDN(Low Dose Naltrexone)for their ME – I’ve been taking it for just over a year and am finding it really helpful.

    Hi grumpyoldbag, from another occasional grumpyoldbag 🙂

    Well done on your first 2 fasts! Keep posting on here and let us know your progress.

    Just looked up Low Dose Naltrexone, and had a quick glance through an article. No I’m not on it, but it does sound promising, and I’m glad it’s helpful for you. I’ll keep reading and may take it up with my Dr.

    Cheers to you grumpy,

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