Re-starting the 5:2

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  • Hi there,

    I’m in need of a bit of help… if possible.

    I started the 5:2 a few years ago, I had great success and lost 3 1/2 stone, since then life has just happened and I got out of the 5:2 way of eating- Gradually I have put on about half of what I lost which isn’t too bad but I feel heavy and unhealthy- more to the point I feel quite disappointed with myself for getting out of the WOE which actually made me feel great (as well as losing a lot of weight and completely changing my body shape too!)

    I’m really trying to get back into the 5:2 but finding it way tougher than I did before. Is there anyone out there who has done something similar- stopped fasting then tried to take it up again? Would be really keen to hear how you got on and how you got back into it and if you have any tips at all.

    Thank you!

    Hi Dani1986!

    I’m also restarting the 5:2 diet with yesterday as my first fast day. I’m trying a new strategy with the timing of meals and will see how it works out. Yesterday went a lot more smoothly than what I remember fast days going for me, so I’m pretty hopeful. So, Dani1986, maybe it would be helpful to try something a little different on the fast days just to mix things up a bit.

    Hope this helps!

    My husband and I restarted 5:2 today. Dani, I hear you. We moved to another city, a very stressful move with an incompetent real estate agent selling our last condo. So we fell off the wagon too. But I’ve learned this. Life will ALWAYS get in the way, and this has to be a lifestyle for us, not just another diet. After a lifetime of dieting, honestly 5:2 is just about the easiest way of eating there is. Personally, I’m finding 5:2 easier this time around because I upped my calories from 500 to 800 per Dr. Mosley’s latest guidelines. It’s amazing how psychologically satisfying an extra 300 calories are! Hang in there. We can do this.


    I’m doing my second 500 day this week so I am hanging in there, It’s taken me weeks to be able to do this though, I’ve found it so difficult!

    Matpi- when you mention timing of the meals what are you doing? I’m intrigued! You’re right mixing it up is what I need to do, I’ve tried to go all in and just get to dinner without food as I used to do- if I remember though I didn’t start 5:2 that way, I used to have something small for lunch when I started first time, maybe this is why I’m struggling.

    Coffeebrain_gal- You’re so right- 5:2 isn’t a diet and it is the only thing that has worked for me, that’s interesting re: 800 calories, I may have to have a look at this, the 300 calories is almost another meal entirely! Weird how we look at calories when we only eat 500-800 in a day!

    Hi Dani!

    Today I’m also doing my second FD! Hang in there!
    The first time around I kept to the two-meal plan and I definitely had to work on distracting away from hunger indications almost all day.
    I think that one thing that caused the hunger pains is the two-meal plan differs from the way I usually eat on non-fast days. Usually I have 5 small meals and that works out really well for me.
    So this time I’m trying to maintain the regular schedule, but make each of the meals only 90 calories or so.
    What works, at least on the first two FD’s for a mini-meal is a sandwich made from a single slice of 35-calorie bread cut in half. I put a thin layer of nut butter on the slice of bread and I know from past experience that my thin layers of nut butter run about 45 calories. For a sandwich filler I use a layer of vegetables such as green beans or sliced brussels sprouts. I then eat it very slowly and that seems to work out well. I really haven’t experienced much in the way in hunger pains, and if the tummy rumbles a little I know that there’s less than a couple of hours until the next mini-meal. So far I’ve found that a good psychology for me to use.
    Let me know how FD2 has gone!

    I’m re-starting too. I originally followed the diet back in 2012/13 and lost a few stone. Stupidly I gave up and went onto more extreme methods such as vlcd and juicing. I lost a lot more weight but put it all back on.

    I think if I had stuck with the fasting I would have kept the weight off.

    I have already been following this for 2 weeks and I’ve lost 6lbs so I think it’s entirely possible to have success with the diet the second time around. Good luck!

    Hi Dani1986,

    I’m restarting too. Like you, I lost 3.5 stone back in 2015. I was actually a bit lighter than I wanted to be so was happy to regain 7lbs. However, I’m certainly not happy about the additional 1.5 stone that’s piled on in the last year! After living in the same area for nearly 50 years, I found a move 150 miles away very stressful and turned to food for comfort. Today is my first fast day. It’s going fine so far. I’ll let you know if I find it more difficult this time round. I hope your first week has gone well!

    Well FD #3 has gone well, even with all the activity today. Having a small amount of complex carbohydrate seems to make the fast day so much easier for me. Last year I tried a low carb diet and over 5 months lost about 18 pounds (8.2 kg), but felt rotten most of the time, so I went back on a more Mediterranean type regimen. It seems that going too low in carbs doesn’t work out well for me. After a couple of months perhaps things will change. Michael mentions in his book that he lost his sweet tooth. It will be interesting to see if that happens with me in a few months.

    Hi Everyone!

    Matpi- that’s impressive spreading your calories into 5 meals, I have to save my calories for one meal, if I start eating I end up eating everything to best to leave it. Mediterranean diet is nice too so it’s good when you get to have a really nice dinner on a fast day, having said that I do still have carbs. Since my last post I’ve done three fasts and I’m feeling way more positive now. It really felt that I had a mountain to climb. I haven’t weighed myself yet though, I don’t want to feel disheartened if I haven’t lost anything!!

    Loulovesplants- Yup I’ve tried everything too, keto, juicing, the dukan diet (worst ever) and I was about to sign up for herbalife when I had to have a word with myself! I know 5:2 works but I always look for other things as well. I, too, should have just stuck to the fasting. Well done on the 6lbs, almost half a stone is well impressive. Good luck, I hope it works for you too 🙂

    Baxter the cat- I did exactly the same, it’s strange isn’t it, when we know this works but you just get out of the habit- I had a particularly bad break up and everything went down hill for me- I also turn to food for comfort and I did a lot of comforting! Moving away like that must have been very tough for you! Feeling really positive about the eating now I just need to stick to it! ope your fast day went well!

    I’m really happy to find this thread as I can relate so well to what most of you are saying! We’ve been back on 5:2 for about 1 month. It was very successful the first time – I lost 5 stones in 2014, my husband lost about 1.5. I got quite skinny so we started doing 6:1. That slowly got ‘forgotten’ and we started cutting out carbohydrates instead.

    Unfortunately, as we’re in our mid-late 60s and my husband is vegetarian we found that loading up every coffee with cream and eating a very rich ‘moderate carbohydrate’ diet has meant that my weight has crept back up by about 2.5 stones and he was getting a distinctive belly! We tried a 16:8 fast once per week but this does nothing, frankly. I think you need to do it every day, which we’d find hard.

    A routine health check 5 weeks ago, including a weigh-in, meant I could no longer kid myself that my clothes were shrinking in the wash. I cycled home from the doctor’s thinking ‘5:2, 5:2, 5:2’. It felt like a relief, if I’m honest, and my husband was just as keen as me to get back to it.

    The only difference, this time, is that our 5:2 meals are lower-carb and higher in protein (mostly from eggs and Quorn). Instead of missing lunch, we don’t eat until 3-4 in the afternoon and this seems to suit us better. I searched online for some new recipes which are all really tasty and have made fasting almost a pleasure. We are eating ‘sensibly’ i.e. low-carb but not too high-fat on non-fast days and we’re not (so far) feeling hard-done-by!

    So far, it has worked like a dream. My husband’s belly has almost gone and I’m fitting into many of my ‘shrunk’ clothes again so we must have lost at least half-a-stone apiece, maybe a bit more. I now believe that low carb + 5:2 really is the way to go for both weight-loss and health – as long as you don’t overdo the fat or let the carbs creep up on non-fasting days.

    All this is just as well as we’re off cycle-camping in France next Wednesday and I’m very happy not to be lugging quite so much of me up those hills!

    Good luck, everyone on this thread – if you’re not already, consider trying low-carb – Diet Doctor is a brilliant site if you don’t already know it.

    Hi all!

    Yesterday was FD #4 and it went very smoothly. Today, especially the afternoon, was really stressful. Yet I kept to my plan of having only one sweet treat today. This time around I’m trying the strategy of having a dessert/treat on the day after a FD and then on the other NFD’s keeping the number of added grams of sugar each day to under 30. With all the stress, I’m glad today was a dessert day! How are other people keeping on an even keel on the NFD’s?

    —Miriam, like your husband, I am a vegetarian. In my case, an ovo-lacto. I really like that the 5:2 is flexible enough to let me maintain my regular regimen.


    I’ve found this feed really helpful! I lost 2.5 stone about 5 years ago and kept it off for 2 years then let it slip. A stressful move, and renovating a kitchen did it for me (lots of takeaways reignited my bad habits) I got to my current and pre 5:2 weight about a year ago and have been fluctuating with various diets but always bounce back to this weight or more. So, back to 5:2 for me. It’s releaving to know that it worked last time so all I need t do is keep it up.

    I did my 3rd fast day yesterday and stepped on the scales this morning expecting to see some results, but alas, the scales said I’d lost 0. Have you guys had good results now that you’re a few weeks/months in?

    It would motivate my loads to hear of your success!

    Good job, All of You! Glad you had the fortitude to come back to 5:2 and the success is showing. We have been Fasting for 5.5 years and love it.
    Best wishes for continued losses.

    Hi Refaster (and all), there seems to be a variety of reasons why weight seems slow to shift for some people. I would check your clothes – are they looser than they were before your 3 fasts? Also, I would suggest not weighing yourself too often – no more often than weekly.

    Since I posted in August, my husband and I have kept up 5:2 consistently apart from during our French cycling holiday in August-September when we mostly missed breakfast instead and it was fine. We drank a fair bit of wine but otherwise stayed on our customary low-ish carbohydrate diet (no bread, rice, pasta, cakes or biscuits) but we eat pulses because my husband is vegetarian.

    We are both convinced that keeping carbohydrate on the low side is key. 5:2 is both easier and more effective than 4 years ago, and it worked well enough then when we ate more carbohydrate on fasting days. Now, fasting seems really easy and we hardly notice that we’re doing it. We’ve worked up about 20 tasty recipes (vegetarian, low-carb, low-fat) for fasting days. Some will be familiar to everyone but get in touch if you want them.

    We don’t own scales so I have no idea how much weight we’ve lost since re-starting 5:2 in late July but we appear much slimmer and our clothes are either fitting better or are actually too big now. People are finally starting to notice and we feel fit and well. Hill-walking and cycling are easier than before. We intend to stick with it this time!

    Thanks for that Mirriam, sounds like you’ve got a good thing going on! I too like cycling holidays and recently shed a stone doing a scenic lands-end to John o groats trip. It’s just when I’m stuck in London I find it hard to behave with my food! I’m finding a mixture of 5:2 and 16:8 good atm, so I’ll weigh myself in a couple of weeks and hope for the best.

    Thanks again,

    I am also Vegetarian, May I have a few of your recipes?

    Hi Murph58 (and all),

    I’ve posted my 5:2 recipe collection here: Sorry it’s in such a clunky format but there doesn’t seem to be another option other than to post the text. Anyway, I hope some of them will be useful to you. They are as accurate as I can make them but I had to take a few ‘educated’ guesses about calories in cooked pulses as online info is confusing At any rate, they’re working for us, so far.

    Here are a few general tips we’ve both found useful this time round on 5:2:

    a) Stay away from low-fat anything. A tiny piece of Parmesan or Cheddar is much tastier and more satisfying than any amount of horrible low-fat mozarella, in our view. Thank you Celia Brookes (‘5:2 Vegetarian’) for that one. A mall amount of butter or olive oil also goes a long way and makes a dish tastier and more satiating.
    b)Get a silicone spoon so you can get every last drop out of the pan or dish. Thank you Celia for that one, as well!
    c) Because they’re veggie, a lot of these recipes contain pulses which are high in carbohydrate. We find they work as long as you don’t try and sneak in other carbohydrates such as starchy veg or rice/noodles (there’s one serious exception, no. 15) Use green veg instead. If you’re not vegetarian, most of them would work with lean meat or fish.
    d) Eggs are the fasting ‘magic bullet’ for us. They keep us going for hours like nothing else.
    e)Cauliflower rice is the other one!
    f) Not eating for as long as you can in the morning/afternoon works better for us than missing out lunch as we did the first time on 5:2.

    To re-quote everybody, there’s no ‘1 size fits all’ for weight-loss or fasting. We’ve had to be prepared to experiment on ourselves but so far, so good.

    Good luck, everyone.

    I tried this diet successfully in 2013 but now need to work at weight gain again.

    Have all the old tracker records of 2013 time period gone?

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