OK all you Maintainers, what words of wisdom do you have for the rest of us?

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OK all you Maintainers, what words of wisdom do you have for the rest of us?

This topic contains 20 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  diverdog 6 years, 4 months ago.

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  • Someone shared a bit of general knowledge gained from experience the other day on an over 60 thread.

    Now I wonder if there are other things not expressed by Dr. Mosley that have proven to be pretty universal. How long have you been at intermittent fasting and what tweaks have you added or what do you avoid to have success? Did you have to start over? How many times?

    Hi Chubster. I’ve been maintaining my goal weight of between 59-61kgs for 17 months. I lost 23 kgs. You’ll find all sorts of individual variations on these pages. Personally I found that naked 5:2 worked exactly as advertised in Dr M’s book. I strictly adhered to two fast days and ate what I wanted on the other five days.

    I started this WOL in August 2014. I experienced a fairly steady and modest weight loss of about 2kgs per month with a couple of fairly lengthy plateaus – one due to my first Christmas where I continued to mainline everything I’d been used to at that time of year and the second one where I decided it might be time to investigate other aspects of my diet. At that point, I cut out bread and pasta altogether and reduced my intake of rice and potatoes to negligible. It made a huge difference. Nevertheless, I still believe in mastering the two FDs before changing anything else.

    I’m strongly averse to calorie counting but obviously it takes some planning and perseverance in the beginning. It can be quite an eye opener. But the fasting days just naturally shaped my portion control and food desires on the other days without my even realising it. Feast days means you can have you what you want to eat. It doesn’t mean have as much as you want. Enjoy them, otherwise how is this different from any other diet? It has to be sustainable for the long-term. Don’t think of this as a diet, it’s a way of life.

    Some of the best tips I’ve learned from these pages are:

    Eat mostly plants
    Don’t eat anything your granny wouldn’t recognise
    Nothing tastes as good as being slim feels

    Know that hunger comes and goes in waves – it doesn’t have to be satiated by food. You can distract it by keeping busy. Post regularly on this forum for support. Continue to post when you’ve met your goal to help and encourage others.

    Keep it simple. Good luck! Show your commitment and come and join me on a Christmas Challenge: https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/topic/silly-season-challenge/

    *sorry, not enough time to edit properly on a brain foggy FD: Feast days means you can have you what you want to eat. It doesn’t mean have as much as you want.

    Started my weight loss journey in Feb 2015 but didn’t find out about 5:2 until Oct 2015. Hit my goal weight in March 2016 and have been in maintenance since then.

    I sound like a broken record but my twist on 5:2 is that I very rarely have grain based foods. If you think about it most “snacks foods” are sugar and grain based. Eliminate sugar and grains and you just about solve all your snacking issues in one foul swoop.

    For those that are doing 5:2 Id recommend that you try doing one of your days as a water fast. Not saying its easy but if you get through it the next day your on a mental/emotional high. The sense of accomplishment is amazing. If you cant do it, not a problem you can still be successful doing 5:2. My tip, give it a try, even if only once. Just give it a red hot go, you don’t know what you can do until you’ve tried it.

    I’ve been maintaining for just a few months (reached maintenance in September 2016). What I’ve found out since, is about the importance of quality sleep. When I’m in sleep deficit, my fasts are very challenging and what I’ve discovered is that if I go too depleted of sleep over many days that I’m not able to fast at all. Admittedly, I have a medical history of weak adrenals and have even been on medication for this condition in the past, so I’m writing from the place of someone who experiences this in the extreme, however, I still would say that the quality of one’s sleep contributes greatly to the ease or difficulty of this WOL.

    Interesting posts, thanks all. Bb, I am building up to a water fast day especially as I tend to rely on cream in coffee to see off cravings for sweet things. Have a feeling too much cream can’t be a very good thing for health even if it supports weight loss.

    Thank you all so much for these!!! I hope we’ll hear from many more successful Intermittent Fasters.

    Hi Lizzi, I’m someone addicted to coffee which is the only thing preventing me from doing 24 hr fasts. Of course I could just make myself but it’s been one thing I’ve resisted giving up because two coffees in the morning keep my FDs normal for me and I do intend this to be for life. Anyway, just letting you know that, if you’re like me and can’t handle black coffee, I found almond and coconut milk to be a very low cal, acceptable substitute for milk. It doesn’t froth but it’s far better than skimmed milk in my opinion. I get two coffees out of 80mls A&C milk for only 18 cals. I freeze the rest in 80ml portions.

    Everyone will have individual results and challenges. Staying focused and making sure you take action if your weight goes above a certain point will help. I use juicing to help me maintain.

    May this post encourage. I started 5:2 approximately 4 years ago having tried various diets on and off without success for years. Since 5:2 I have lost around 16 kilos and although I sometimes fluctuate 2kgs (due to holidays/Christmas) I have stayed at a healthy BMI ever since. Currently 169cm and 67kg. I am so grateful to have got off the yoyo diets and found a relatively easy lifestyle change instead. As a person who loves food, even after 4 yrs I still have some resistance to fasting so Tip 1 – accept resistance and do it anyway!! I occasionally feel a victim of 5:2 (especially when someone at work is sharing their birthday cake on a fast day) so Tip 2 – when fasting for encouragement I say to myself ‘just for today’. I’ll be able to eat birthday cake tomorrow! I generally can eat what I fancy on not fast days. Sometimes I’ve been hungry e.g like when the weather triggers a feeling of wanting stoggy food so Tip 3 – if I’m feeling vulnerable I read people’s encouragement in the 5:2 book/website or watch Michael Moseley talk about 5:2 on youtube. Or rewatched the 5:2 science doco. Doc always helped me refocus! Some days have been really tough so Tip 4 – be kind. Although there’s great merit in discipline if the day starts heading away from fasting don’t beat yourself up. Tomorrow’s another day. I need to know what I’m going to eat on fast days so Tip 5 – I had the same menu every fast day so I dont have to think. Boring for some but it works for me. (Oats and berries for breakfast and eggs and salad for lunch).
    I didn’t get all the blood tests at the beginning but at 51 yrs I feel younger and healthier and more vibrant which makes me so happy. I try to do the interval fast exercise now too. Best benefit for exercise is it also makes me feel happy! I came on this website tonight as my brother has just decided to do 5:2 so was just checking info for him. The 5:2 is my way of life now and so I really hope one day I can meet Dr Moseley face to face and look him in the eyes to just say a heartfelt thanks for his dedication and passion in spreading the benefits of this science. It has been a great blessing and very empowering. It continues to work for me, it’s cheap, sustainable, simple and I am truly grateful. Thank you thank you thank you. Jo

    Thank you for that, Gratitude1.

    I’m printing that out and keeping it near because I have a long way to go and I know that will come to my aid over and over again!

    Good for you! May you enjoy this journey while reaping the benefits of greater health, vitality and wellbeing.

    Chubster, 5:2 is the way OH and I live now, too. However, two meals a day is plenty. Coffee in the morning then breakfast, bran flakes or porridge at 1ish. It’s basically 16:8 maintenance.

    We do know that, for us, using Mimi’s recipes is crucial: none of this simply cutting portions. The recipes are well-designed to be both interesting and satisfying. Delicious in fact.


    Maintainers…. My time on 5:2 is 3 yrs and 6 months. I lost 11.8 kilos. I, like Gratitude 1, have found it very good for a life style. I also benefit from feeling better on fast days. I have plenty of energy. The first month or so this may have been less the case. I decided in the beginning I could do anything for a day. When I am in a fast day I don’t think of even the full day but the hour or 2 ahead.

    I keep food in the house for fast days. It means a couple decisions to make and meal fixing is quick. I do not what to fool around with food on a fast day. {That feels like dieting to me when you are deciding what will I have to eat and it turns out you then face a day when you realize you have few choices. That is a negative}

    I want to boil my egg and steam my broccoli or put my frozen meal in the microwave and enjoy the food. I don’t have breakfast. I will often have yogurt for lunch but I find I miss chewing action so I have celery or radishes either with yogurt or about 3pm when I am noticing hunger. I eat again in early evening and save 120 calories for microwave popcorn.

    I do drink 2.129 liters of water each day including fast days. That was my habit before 5:2. I am 71 and use to yo-yo with weight. I hated diets when I learned about 5:2 in 2013. Decided with my husband to try this. He likes it less tha I do. Still he has stuck with it.

    I should say that I have gained weight over Christmas each yr and than taken it off. We may do 6:1 over some part of Dec when lots of extra rich eating is involved. It doesn’t come off fast, but it does. I still have temptations to eat too many sweets. I have learned that I do much better when those items are not in my house. Those are my thoughts on the wonderful subject of 5:2. I am very grateful to Michael Mosley for this idea!

    I think to maintain you need to still be extra sensible on a couple of days a week still. The problem I have had each time I have lost 30lbs is that I’ve put it back on easily by going back to bad habits. And here I am with 30lbs to lose again. (in fact this time I’m looking at losing 37lbs 205 to 168) I’m on 200 now after the first week.

    Although I diet 4:3 mainly so I need to be extra sensible for 3 days a week really!

    Hi LA Chubster,

    I used to be morbidly obese and lost just over 50kg on a VLCD (very low calorie diet of 600-800cal per day). The trouble is it didn’t teach me how to keep the weight off. That’s something I’ve found with 5:2.

    I came to 5:2 in January after regaining 9kg. I got that off over about 3 months then stayed on 5:2 for maintenance. I found that it has just become part of my weekly rhythm and I tend to make one of a very small range of meals on FDs. I know their calorie count so I don’t even bother counting FD calories any more as I know it will be under 500. If there is one thing that I’m certain about it’s that the way you use fasting has to be sustainable for you personally – while we can offer advice, what works for us may not suit you. So try different ways to approach your fast days until you find the one that suits you. If it’s not sustainable it’s too difficult to stick with it long term.

    The things that work for me personally:
    – Even in maintenance I still do 2 FDs per week. If I have a particularly challenging week with meals out, then I occasionally add a third. I have a particularly low TDEE and a slower than average metabolism. My TDEE is 1400cal. This is quite limiting, so the 2 FDs give me a little more leeway the rest of the week which I find easier than trying to stick to 1400cal every single day. I have tried doing 6:1, but it’s not enough for me to keep my weight stable.
    – I keep FD recipes simple and choose from a very limited range that I know work and that I know I will always enjoy eating. They are all very quick to make. I also make sure I have a suitable FD meal in the freezer for those days when even 15 minutes of cooking is beyond me. Mostly, these backup meals are veggie & legume soups or veggie curry.
    – I avoid food for as long as possible on a FD. I skip breakfast and lunch and will sometimes have a small piece of fruit mid-afternoon. I have most of my FD calories for dinner, which means I don’t go to bed feeling hungry. To keep the calorie count modest I pad my FD meal out with extra veg so I feel satisfied by that one meal. I also drink cups of tea throughout the day, they really help me avoid food. I’ve tried it without the cups of tea, but I just feel like I’m being punished – not conducive to sticking to FDs long term.
    – I’m flexible when it comes to which days I fast. I look at my appointments and social obligations and then work out which 2 days will best accommodate fasting that week. If I have multiple options then I tend to choose Sunday and Thursday.
    – I mostly keep two NFDs between any FDs. I learned that one from experience – If I do the FDs too close together then I overeat on the NFDs.
    – I have no absolutes. Banning things completely tends to have bingeing repercussions for me. Although there are some foods I don’t ever buy, I will eat them on occasion when I’m out.
    – I plan my evening meals ahead for the week. I need to do this anyway for the grocery shopping, but it also allows me to plan easy meals or leftovers when I know I’ll have a busy day. This means I’m more likely to have easier FDs and I’m more likely to eat healthy balanced meals on NFDs.
    – I have a very long history of binge eating and although I have this quite well managed now, it was a long journey to get here. I found I needed to develop strategies for dealing with this pattern. Allowing enough time between FDs (minimum 2 days for me) was the first one. A number of other things have also been useful, particularly mindful eating. When I do decide to eat a high calorie treat food I need to approach it this way otherwise I consume too much.
    – I have gradually changed what I eat and when I eat. I mostly follow a 16:8 pattern. Which means I eat no food for 16 hours out of 24. For me this just means I skip breakfast. As I’m rarely hungry first thing in the morning, this was no hardship. However, for me the big bonus is eliminating evening snacking which had been a big problem for me. It was very difficult to do this to start with but it feel very normal now. I actually feel a sense of relief when I reach the end of my “food” hours as I know I don’t have to make any more choices about food again until tomorrow.
    – I have gradually adapted my diet to my specific digestive issue. (I had IBS for may years and I have no gall bladder – so have difficulty digesting fat in any quantity.) The food I know my digestive system copes best with is a diet high in fibre and low fat. so I have made changes to make sure I have high fibre whole grains and legumes in my diet often. My diet also includes a large quantity of fresh vegetables and fruit. Most of my fats come from dairy, nuts and legumes. I don’t eat much meat or fish daily – maybe 3 times a week. I actually prefer vegetarian protein sources.
    – I make sure I have the support I need. I talk on this forum almost every day, and sometimes more often if I need to. I also have continued to see a dietitian every 3-4 months to discuss any issues or questions I have. I find this is a safety net for me that I’m not ready to let go of completely yet.

    Most of this is very specific to me and my personal health issues. You need to experiment with options and find what works for you. Once you find the approach that fits, it becomes much easier to make it a way of life.

    I reached my target weight in about 8 months and have been maintaining for the last two years.


    Don’t F… with the 5:2 Diet. Just do what it says.

    I eat what I like on my 5 days and never count calories. However quite naturally I found I did not want breakfast anymore and lost my appetite for Carbs.

    I never eat pre-cooked meals on the 2 days. I cook things from fresh ingredients: Soup, omelette, Dahl, salad, etc. And I use kitchen scales, the claorieking website and a spreadsheet to calculate how many calories I am eating.

    Don’t touch alcohol on the 2 days – it can kill the fasting.

    That’s about all really. Just keep doing it and enjoy how wonderful it makes you feel.

    Hi Key so you are needing to lose after regaining weight. That sense of…here I go again. Getting back on the horse so to speak is sometimes the last thing you feel like..especially with Christmas looming. I’ve already been tucking into excess cheese and dips and it’s likely the belly may get a lttle rounder. Looking at the long term…what do I really want. To be happy? Yes please. So what makes me happy? Cheese? Yes sometimes…but too big a belly makes me uncomfortable too. What is my strategy for happiness…no not cheese…5:2 yes? It doesn’t mean being a saint…but it does mean atleast cultivating an intention to create happiness by looking after the body and also the mind. So… 37lbs..36lbs…35lbs…36lbs…34.5lbs…may it be so…little by little it trends down but don’t let a number crush your aspirations. The intention is set right…5:2…so now go for it. Enjoy your cheese too! Life is good because you are having a go as we say in Australia. Have a go mate! Awesome Key you have done this before so you can do it again. True? You can do it…even better you will do it. See it as already done. How does that feel? Best Christmas ever. Blessings and love from Oz

    For us, FDs are about more than eating sensibly: they are about using Mimi’s recipes so that we enjoy our meal, already calorie-counted. We’ve not gone back to three meals on any day, as IF taught us that we were eating by the clock rather than need, so basically we do 16:8 on NFDs.

    I weigh daily, giving myself a 3lb wriggle room, as I don’t won’t to go below 126lbs. We rarely feel hungry. If we do, it’s a case of keep busy and take your mind off food.

    Maintenance mode sine early May (lost 12kg – more than I had targeted). Currently 160+/- lbs, 12% BF. I hit 210 lbs back in my 20s (pizza &beer) but started to eat healthier & ranged from 175 – 185 most of my working career.
    Started 5/2 to get blood sugar under control. Successfully dropped from 5.9 (approaching type 2) to 4.8/normal.
    On 5/2 have dropped my consumption of breads. I have also changed my drink of choice to red wine from beer (liquid bread). Not a big sofa drinker, in the past, but now almost totally avoid (exception is the hot dog deal at Costco).
    My triggers to overeat have always been sweets/snacks & I learned long ago to avoid them – but occasionally indulge. Don’t keep them in the house to avoid temptation.
    I don’t follow any special diet plan on NFDs, but do eat lots of veggies & salad to fill up (have a very good appetite) & stay active (gym &/or maintain large property when home). I also gets lot of sleep – go to bed at the same time majority of evenings.

    So many words of wisdom about weight loss on this thread — it could be a motivational book!

    If hunger is not the problem, then food is not the solution.

    It’s been 17 years for me. I weighed ~240lbs @5’10” from my 30’s to 50 YO. A heart attack scare motivated me to lose 50lbs in 9 months by restricting calories, especially carbs, weight lifting and walking. I stayed at 190lbs +- 5 lbs till 6 years ago when my wife’s terminal illness inspired my to get really fit to care for her better. I went from 195 to 170 in 6 months by eating 5 small low carb meals a day, lifting, doing HIIT on a bike and getting regular sleep. I’ve been at ~180 lbs for most of the last 5 years. I love to research and I started to read a lot of info on fasting around 3 years ago and I was really excited about the potential health benefits more than the weight control aspects. I started experimenting with 5:2 off and on about 2 1/2 years ago. At first the idea of not eating did not sit well with me as I am a foodie! so I started to follow the 5:2 exactly as planned <600 calories on fast days. My only modification was to eat low or no carb on fast days. After a few weeks it was pretty easy to do. I’m a data junkie so I tracked my key bio markers and they didn’t change much as they were already quite good. I followed 5:2 off and on until ~ 5 months ago when I tried a home grown version of Valter Longo’s “fasting mimicking diet. 5 days of <500 calories, no protein 50% fat 50% carbs. I measured my blood ketones twice a day and found that serious fat burning didn’t start for 3 days! I measured my ketones after a 5:2 “fast day” and saw that there was very little fat burning going on. My My friend Penguin has been extolling the efficacy of water fasts and I decided to give it a go. Much to my surprise it wasn’t that difficult to do and my fat burning was really cranked up with 3-4 times more ketones in my blood! ( I also did an intense 20 min HIIT workout on the fast day for both methods) I’m @ ~167 on fast days ~170 on NFD

    Sorry for the long winded story but is has been a 17 year journey!

    lessons learned:
    Progress not perfection-you are going to cheat on your plan. Just pick up the pieces and keep going!
    Plan for success
    Keep a clean pantry- No junk in the house!
    Cut out sugars and grains
    Engage others to share support, family, friends, on line
    Be prepared to deal with friends and family that will try to sabotage you
    Eat plenty of healthy animal fats: eggs, grass fed butter, fatty fish, organic meat etc
    Avoid all vegetable fats except avocado, olive and coconut
    Eat lots of non starchy veggies / fiber
    Eat fermented foods
    work up to 35-40 hour water fasts
    Get on a regular sleep schedule
    Be involved with a spiritual fellowship
    Lift weights
    Do not do steady state cardio, jogging etc
    Minimise sitting

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