Do many people count calories in between fast days?

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Do many people count calories in between fast days?

This topic contains 16 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Pollypenny 2 years, 2 months ago.

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  • Hi,

    I’ve been doing this for 6 weeks now and seen no progress. I haven’t been counting calories in between fast days and admittedly I am sedetary. Having read Michael’s book this is ok. I don’t go mad but I’m not on a diet inbetween fasts either. Does anyone else do similar? Or must we calorie count inbetween to lose. Would love to hear your experiences.

    Becky x

    Hi Becky, Whether you count on non-fasting days often depends on how low your TDEE is. Mine is only 1400 calories – a long way from the 2000cal discussed in MMs book.
    I’ve been using 5:2 for a year. In the first 5 months it was to lose weight and since then for maintenance.
    While I was dieting I found I had to learn a new “normal” for my non-fasting days. I counted calories on the non-fasting days for the first few months until I was confident my food choices and serving sizes were consistent with my TDEE. Previously, what I had thought was normal was actually too many calories for me and it took me a while to adjust my expectations.

    If you don’t know your TDEE, go to the “how it works” link at the top of the screen. I would recommend you work out your TDEE for your goal weight so that you get practice at eating the amount of food that will be required to maintain the weight you want to be. I would also recommend you underestimate your activity level as I have found the uplift factors used in the calculator are quite a bit more generous than applies to me.

    Hi, Becky! I count calories on my non fast days! I found that if I don I wind up far exceeding my TDEE and not losing weight. I don’t know how people lose weight if they eat whatever they want. I know I can’t. Good luck!


    What you consider to be a normal day of eating is undoubtedly too much or you wouldn’t need to lose weight. It’s a common mistake when embarking on 5:2.

    LJoyce has given some very sound advice so I would say follow it and I’m sure you’ll lose weight.

    After that it is up to you whether you think you need to continue counting or are happy that you’ve worked out where you were going wrong and don’t need to.

    Good luck.

    I try not to – If i feel like i am depriving myself it is counter productive! But I find i tot them up in my head.

    Becky, there are days when I gain weight and then can’t shake it off. Then I count calories, even on Slow Days. i’ve been Fasting for 4+ years, so my appetite has decreased by a LOT. You’ll get there too. if you get a handle on what and how much to eat on a Slow Day. Ignore a target of 2000 calories/day. Pure fiction for most of us. Good luck to you.

    Thank you all

    Hi Becky,

    I did the 5:2 three years ago – actually I did alternate day fasting (I found 5:2 too slow and I needed a bit of momentum to make me stick to it) and I lost 3 stone in 7 months (I went from 10st 7lbs to 7st 7lbs.) I had never ever successfully dieted. On my non fast days I sort of based my diet on Slimming World – ie almost unlimited vegetables and fruit (there’s a list of the ones you can eat unlimited..not all fruit and veg are ‘superfree’ – ie unlimited) with small portions of protein – meat, fish or eggs – i avoided pasta and bread (and still do.) But even unlimited fruit and veg felt like a feast after 500 calories and also the weight seemed to fall off. Also it was a really healthy diet. I haven’t done 500 calorie days for 2 years but I have tried to balance out days when I’ve eaten too much by having low-cal days – ie no muesli and maybe a piece of fruit for breakfast and then 2 low calorie meals. I find miso soup brilliant – you can slice up some cooked meat and veg – I love broccoli and always have some cooked in the fridge to nibble on and hard-boiled eggs are good too.. I’m not really that rigorous – lots of avocados and roast veg in olive oil, legumes (chickpeas etc) and things like pearl barley, quinoa. But all this is very personal so it’s worth searching out things which are low calorie, healthy and you’re happy to grab when you’re very hungry or make a good low calorie meal. For me healthy food has really impacted on how I feel – not just the weightloss.

    Weirdly I find exercise has a negative impact on my dieting. I am pretty active anyway but doing serious exercise makes me starving and psychologically I feel like I’m due a treat and end up eating more than I would without.

    Anyway I managed to put on almost half a stone this Christmas so I’m doing alternate day low cal days – definitely more than 500 calories but it definitely helps me lose weight.

    The diet does work and wish you lots of luck,

    Best wishes,


    Hi Becky,
    Rather than count calories on non fast days, I concentrate on trying to eat well: lovely nutritious meals, sensible portions, no snacks.
    Some days my old habits are insistent, and I let myself enjoy the food, knowing I’ll be back on track the next day.

    I have lost all my excess weight on 5:2 and continue 6:1 – 5:2 for maintenance, I am sedentary because of chronic illness.

    I hope you can work out how best to make 5:2 work in your life. If the scales are disappointing you, what about your clothes? Are they are little looser?

    All the best.

    I only rarely count calories on NFD, and only if I’m stuck on a plateau. It often means that youeating something or in an amount that’s high calories without realizing it. What worked better for me if I got stuck was to do a B2B fast. I didn’t have to do them often, but it worked when I did.

    No I definitely don’t count on non-fasting days – part of the attraction of 5:2 is that once I’ve sorted out a few different meals that will do for the fasting days, I really don’t have to waste my time being pre-occupied with numbers on packaging 5 days a week. However, having said that, my taste in food to snack on and in general has changed slightly so I’m not turning to bread or toast and I’m cooking less pasta dishes and eating a lot more fruit and the fasting days have turned me on to eating fish more than I ever have. I had a bad experience being left in hospital at a child – my parents couldn’t be bothered to pick me up – this was late 60’s when I was 6-7; the hospital used to cook fish on a Friday – the smell was terrible and to this day that’s why I don’t like the smell of fish being cooked. I also made myself ill by going outside to escape the fish smell at the hospital and eating what I thought were apples from a tree in the hospital grounds – they were crab apples – they just made me unwell and that, I think, added to my dislike fish. So – no I don’t count of think about the calories but I don’t over-eat and my eating habits – why I eat and when – have changed somewhat. I treat chocolate and many other foods as treats but I don’t worry about eating anything I want to eat (I’m baking a Valentines chocolate cake today and will happily eat some and not think anything of it); I react differently to hunger, my sense of taste has changed – it seems like I appreciate the taste of everything more these days and I only started in mid-Jan 2018!

    @beckyelizabeth and hello all,

    I’m doing the 5:2 to improve health but the main focus right now for me is actually losing weight. When I completed my profile on this site when I logged on it gave me vital statistics – like the TDEE so I knew the maximum I could eat without putting on more weight.

    For me, as my TDEE is 1922 calories, I’ve decided to limit myself to between 1200-1400 on non fasting days (depending on exercise) so that way I am set to lose at least 1 1/2 lbs a week.

    Otherwise I don’t think I’d lose weight if I didn’t keep an eye on how much I consume during non fasting days – in fact I’d probably eat more!

    I was in China for almost two weeks and didn’t do any full day fasts. The way meals are eaten in China it is hard to really track how much you eat. The eating plate is small but people keep taking from many dishes. I have no doubt I over ate, however after bumping up my weight started a slow decline. I think the reason is very little snacking in China. Big meals but typically no snacks.

    I’m with Cinque, snacking is horrible for losing weight. I don’t think the calories matter as much as the time between eating.

    (I was working with Chinese staff, so I eat like they did.)

    Dykask, agree on the snacking. Somehow snacks, by their nature, usually don’t turn out to be healthy foods. And constant snacking, no matter what the foods, can really add up over a day’s time.

    @aimingforhealth you should think twice about restricting your calories on non-fasting days, as your body can respond by lowering your metabolic rate. One of the main benefits of 5:2 type fasting is that by eating normally most days, your body doesn’t try to compensate by down-regulating your metabolism.

    You do need to be careful not to overcompensate on the non-fast days though.. just calorie count to your TDEE, or avoid snacking.

    Fast-o-rama: I count calories on my NFDs but only to make sure I stay within my TDEEs. I have found it very helpful from keeping me from going overboard!

    Hi, Becky. I agree with all the above. Ljoyce gave a good summary, especially for the early stages.

    My TDEE is on,y just over 1400, so I did count while I was actively losing weight. Now I just keep an eye on things, eg I was shocked to discover an apparently heathy yoghurt was 180 cals!

    My appetite has reduced enormously, anyway, I I maintain on 16:8 every day, with the occasional strict fast if i know I’ve indulged

    Pol. .

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