The Basics for Newbies – Your Questions Answered!

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The Basics for Newbies – Your Questions Answered!

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  • Hi Austrian:

    I doubt the study would/could be done today. But those were different times . . .


    I have often commented on the inaccuracy of fitness trackers. You simply cannot rely on what they are saying:

    If you want to lose weight, use the TDEE calculator at the top of the page, which we know is also just an estimate, put in sedentary for your exercise level and use that number as a starting number. If by eating to that TDEE or less you lose weight, great. If you do not lose as much or as fast as you want, adjust the TDEE number down (eat less) until you get the results you want.

    Another aid would be to enter your goal weight instead of your current weight, which would be even more helpful if weight loss is your primary goal. If you use a tracker to determine your base TDEE, do not believe the exercise calories used and eat them back.

    As a general rule, if your goal seems to be to eat as much as possible or ‘allowed’ on your diet, then you may not have a winning weight loss frame of mind.

    Good Luck!

    I’m wondering if anyone knows how long it takes to clear fat from NA fatty liver?

    I’m not losing weight with the standard approach and just thought maybe I am clearing my liver and pancreas. Long term insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes here. Am trying the Blood Glucose Diet now that Mosely has published recently but am mixing with 5:2, due to pretty resistant body hanging onto what its got!

    Has anyone heard anything about fatty liver having to be cleared prior to weight loss kicking in?

    Hi Matrika:

    I’m not aware of any research that proves that a ‘fatty liver’ must be ‘cleared’ prior to weight loss ‘kicking in’. Going from memory, the Dr. that did the research that the BGD is based on contends that liver fat is the first to go on a severe calorie restricted diet. But many people go on ‘slow’ moderate calorie restriction diets and lose weight. And even if liver fat does go first, the weight connected with the liver fat would go with it.

    So, if you are not losing weight, I’m aware of no research saying it is because your liver fat is still with you.

    The less you eat, the more you lose.

    Good Luck!

    Hullo and thanks simcoeluv.

    Hello! I completed 3 weeks of 5:2. I do not own a scale but I feel a little leaner and am happy to continue. I enjoy fast days. Non-fast days, I find myself struggling to limit food and drink to around my BMR, which is 1175. I am learning that I don’t need much to survive (and thrive) but I enjoy yummy food and cocktails at sunset. Any advice for challenging non-fast days? (I’m looking at you Simcoeluv!)

    Hi Suzy:

    You have just started and your body is not yet used to your new way of eating. I suggest you continue to focus on doing your diet days correctly. After another couple of weeks of successful diet days, I suggest you try to eat nothing on your diet days (water fast). When you have accomplished this, you can turn to your non diet days.

    In the meantime, the concept is to eat to your TDEE or less. If you want, you have a few more calories to play with on your non diet days – your BMR does not have to be your goal. I also suggest only eating foods you really enjoy. Many just eat without total enjoyment and rack up their calorie count without any real enjoyment to go with the calories.

    Good Luck!

    Thank you Simcoeluv! I will follow your advice, be mindful and patient. I am excited to have discovered this method of living and look forward to ridding myself of this persistent belly fat. I have read your other advice and am grateful for it. Stay happy!

    Hi Suzy and Simcoeluv,

    I am curious Simcoeluv why you suggested water only on fast days. Is this an occasional thing to do or something you do consistently? I haven’t heard of this before and am wondering what your experience has been….

    Thank you

    Hi una:

    My thoughts on water fasts on diet days are in my 12 Dec 15 post on P. 7 of this thread. I have been doing them for about 2 years and find them easy to do.

    One of the lessons of 5:2 is that you won’t get sick and die if you don’t eat for awhile. People come to 5:2 having been taught or believing they must eat, often 6 or more times a day. They believe if they don’t eat their metabolisms will slow down and prevent them from losing weight and many other myths. They don’t know that an overweight person could go for months without eating anything and not only emerge lighter, but also healthier.

    When faced with two days of eating less, their first quest is for 500 cal. recipes so they can eat as much as allowed on the diet. They often continue to believe they must eat three times a day. They can’t imagine not eating for a whole day (really over 30 hours).

    But not eating is the secret of 5:2. That is how you cut enough calories out of the diet to lose some weight. And that is the key to maintaining any weight loss achieved – if you see your weight creeping up because you are eating too much, you stop eating and reverse the weight gain.

    I believe 5:2 is not a diet, it is a mindset. And the mindset is very different from the norm. Unless you do it long enough to get it ingrained in your conduct, you will be unsuccessful. And I believe water fasting on diet days helps ingrain the mindset, giving a person a better chance of losing weight and keeping it off. Water fasting teaches you that you can not eat and still survive and prosper. Once you understand constantly eating food is not necessary for your well being, it is almost liberating.

    Good Luck!

    Dear Simcoeluv,

    Thank you for your response. I read your post from December 12th on page 7. I am intrigued. I am going to try it tomorrow. I already did one of my fast days on Sunday and ate 500. I think it will be challenging not to drink any cherry coke zero or diet minutemade lemonade with brewed iced tea but I am going to go for it. It’s better to just drink plain water anyhow.

    I have been fasting 2 days a week for a month and lost about 5 lbs.

    Thanks for your well written and informative posts!

    Hi una:

    You are welcome. As they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! I think it will be worth it.

    Good Luck!


    This link was posted on another thread. While a non-scientific article, it is accurate and gives a nice history of how the low fat diet became ‘law’ and saturated fat became ‘evil’ – all without any scientific evidence to support either belief. This information has been out there for decades but is only now being discussed. As an aside, while sugar is now the main culprit, the scientific fact is that flour, pasta, rice, potatoes and some meats accomplish the same negative results as do sugar (in varying degrees). The research on insulin is explaining why that is the case.


    I am very new to this ,I have been on the fast diet for 3 weeks and have lost 5.8 lbs- my question is to anyone out there- what about almond milk – I love my hot tea with stevia and a splash of almond milk -on the carton it has checked low GI but I do not do on my fast days , but if it would be O.K. I would prefer it . The book mentions soy but not Almond milk. Thanks for any advice.

    Hi cl3 and welcome:

    5:2 is concerned with calories, not type of food eaten. So you can eat anything you want as long as you count the calories. Use all of the almond milk you want on diet days as long as your total calorie count for the day is 500 or less.

    Good Luck!


    An interesting interview with Dr. Longo (of the Eat, Fast and Live Longer video) about IF, human clinical trials and the future. Seems he is on to something:


    And one of the human studies mentioned in the above interview:

    Today was my first fast and — hopefully — start of a new way of life. I didn’t eat anything all day until this evening when I go home from work when I prepared a giant salad with low-cal dressing a bit of cheese. Even if I stretch the calorie count, the total only reaches about 250–less than half of my allotted 600 calories. Yet, I feel pretty full.

    Should I eat MORE to hit the 600-calorie level, or simply enjoy the fact that the salad filled me up?

    Hi Chicago and welcome:

    Enjoy! I often wonder why some people on a weight loss diet strive to eat as much as possible on the diet. All that does is slow their weight loss!

    The less you eat, the more you lose.

    Good Luck!

    How can this diet effect your metabolism? How is it considered a lifelong benefit, and is their a ceiling for a calories on the non-fasting days?


    Dr. Longo’s research is giving us a lot of potential help, if it continues to pan out. Larger human trials are definitely needed.

    While I’ve been fasting 4-5 days once per month and 5:2 the rest of the month. (water fasting only) It begs the question would it be better to do 2 day fasts every week or even a 3 day fast once per week.

    I’m wondering what cycle is required to gain the best benefits. For me it is not about the weight loss it is the health benefits and I’ve got them in spades. I’d like to increase them if possible.

    Don’t get me wrong what I’m doing is working for me, but the evidence is very slim and anecdotal. I’m 1. So any ideas on what would be the best cycle. 20 day fast once a year and 5:2 the rest of the year? Just wondering on a key board

    Hi Quiet:

    I will not pretend to be able to answer your question. The research is incomplete and subject to change at any time.

    You are doing what current research says is the best possible. If I was in your situation I would be delighted to accomplish what you are doing.

    I think your conduct is amazing and admire your efforts. I have nothing to offer but my encouragement to do what you are doing.

    Good Luck!!

    Hi MN and welcome:

    Your ‘metabolism’ is not affected by 5:2. The ‘starvation mode’ myth is just that. Check out the FAQ at the top of this page for more information. It is a fact, however, that as you lose weight your TDEE goes down.

    TDEE – celling on diet days – is the amount you can eat that neither causes weight gain nor weight loss. If you eat more than your TDEE you will lose weight slower on 5:2, or not at all. This explains TDEE:

    Good Luck!

    Hi Quiet1. I agree with simcoeluv. We are not medical experts but merely research and comment on our experiences. Simcoeluv and others are good at that so he is worth noting. What I would say is to recognise your goals, maintain a healthy body weight and do not go over board with your fasting regime. Do what suits you. Dr Mosley, in his programme also talked to Prof Mark Mattson who researched the effect of fasting on the cognitive impairment in mice. He concluded that Intermittent fasting was best for humans in respect of brain function and the prevention of Alzheimers. Also remember that Dr Mosley mentioned that following his three and a half day fast his medical readings returned to dangerous levels when he came off such a fast. This means that like Dr Longo one has to continue with a hard 3 – 4 day fast on a regular basis. Such a difficult regime is beyond most of us hence his development of the 5:2 way of life.
    Can I also suggest you go into Google Scholar, type in “Intermittent Fasting and Health Benefits”. A list of documented research will appear. Take time to browse them. Many only have abstract conclusions but it may be enough to give you increased information on the benefits of ADF. Finally I have been reading a book I ordered from my library. “How Not To Die” by Michael Greger, MD. (Macmillan books) It is not about fasting but about the benefits of a vegetarian based diet. (not for me I think). He has some very interesting research on the impact certain foods herbs and spices have on our health. It may expand your knowledge base.
    Good luck.

    Does 1 calorie=1 calorie no matter how you ingest it? In other words, instead of eating salads and/or protein on my fasting day, I decide to splurge on 600 (or less!) calories of pasta, will that affect weight loss?

    Hi Chicago:

    You will still lose weight eating pasta.

    What will likely happen, though, is you will be more hungry eating the pasta. This is because pasta spikes blood sugar, which then is quickly removed and the body wants more – hunger. Eating fat, on the other hand, helps maintain a constant level of blood sugar and you are less hungry.

    Another effect of eating processed carbs like pasta or sugar or flour is water retention and water weight gain. The quick blood sugar spike is handled by the body by storing the sugar as glycogen. Glycogen needs three or four times its weight in water for storage. So your body will retain water to store the sugar. This will cause short term weight gains and loses as the body stores/uses the glycogen. That is why many on this site believe eating high fat, moderate protein foods is better for their weight loss and maintenance. Science has also confirmed that a high fat, low carb diet is the most healthy diet for humans.

    But the genius of 5:2 is that over time it works regardless of the food being eaten.

    Good Luck!

    Thanks for the great explanation. Back to protein and salads!

    Plea for help from a desperate person! I am at my wits end! I have been doing the 5:2 for nearly 4 months! I am getting on fine with the fasting part and fast on Mondays and Wednesdays. I have no problem with that or being hungry at all. The rest of the week I am restricting calories to no more than between 1200 to 1500 a day approximately. I also do Zumba and gymn three times a week as I enjoy them anyway. However, I still have 30 pounds to lose as my weight has been gradually creeping up over the last year.

    I weigh myself a couple of times a week. Every week it is the same pattern. I weight myself on Thursday morning and after two fast days I have lost three pounds! Yippee. However, on the following Monday morning, its back on again and I am back to square one. Its a constant 3 pounds off, 3 pounds on. The exact same pattern happens every week and has done for four months. It is like the two fast days are only at a weight maintenance level. I have been to my doctor, but after blood tests said there was no hypothyroid issue. do I need to cut back on non fast days to even less than 1000 calories a day? Please help as I have come to the end of the road for how I can change this pattern.

    Hi Deb and welcome:

    The only way you can lose weight is to eat under your TDEE over time. There is no other way. If you are not losing weight over a period of four months, you are not eating under your TDEE. Forget the ‘numbers’ you are quoting – whatever they are, you are eating to your TDEE, not below it.

    The key to your comments is the word ‘approximately’. That means you are not keeping track of what you are eating. Research shows that people that estimate the number of calories they are eating underestimate the number by almost 50%. So you are probably eating around 50% more than you think and say they are.

    So the answer to your question is simple – eat less than you are eating. There are several ways to do that. The most instructional way is to calorie count for a week or so – write down or log every calorie you put in your mouth. Gum, tastes of food while cooking, breath mints, milk in coffee or tea – everything. If you eat something from a bag, check out what a serving is. You might see that there are 10 servings in a bag you just ate all of. You will then start to understand how many calories you are really eating. Here are my thoughts on plateaus:

    Good Luck!

    Not sure what your food choices are when counting calories but steer away from white foods…flour, anything with flour, potatoes, rice, regular sugar. Also, I’m sure you already know that with exercise you’re building muscle which weighs more than fat. It sounds to me like you’re doing everything right but I wouldn’t reduce calorie intake because your body needs food as a fuel to burn calories and fat just like a fireplace needs wood to produce heat.

    You may have reached a plateau so stick with it because that is when your body really kicks into gear to burn the real fat and often times comes off slower.

    Hope this helps! Stay motivated:)

    Hi reeree:

    A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat.

    Also, you don’t need food to burn fat. The longest documented water fast (eating no calories in food or drink) lasted for over 54 weeks, and the guy burned over 250 pounds of fat during that time.

    The less you eat, the more you lose.

    Hi Debs, I am afraid simcloeluv is correct. Medical and female reasons apart such as water retention, medication or a medical condition that increases weight then if you are putting on 3 lb per week you are eating way to many calories than you think. It is a standard that to lose one pound in weight per week you need to average a 500 cal loss on a daily basis from the required daily calorie intake you need to maintain your weight. That means you need to reduce weekly calorie intake by 3500 cals per week to lose 1 lb of fat. If as you say you are putting back 3 lb per week then you could be eating up to 10500 calories per week more than your required cals which you can work out from your TDEE.
    As simcloeluv suggests keep a diary and note EVERYTHING that passes your lips including the odd biccy, milk, sugar with your tea or coffee and any thing else you consume including alcohol.
    Michael has averaged the daily calorie intake for a woman to be 2000 hence the 500 cals you have on a fast day. Two fast days equal a loss of 3000 cals per week, almost that needed to lose a lb of fat. Give it a go but please keep us informed of your efforts and progress. Remember you have the support of all posters on this forum.

    Hi Debworthy,
    Just another response to agree with Simco and Couscous – track exactly what you eat and you will be surprised. Congratulations for sticking with it for four months without significant results, that proves you have the determination required!
    I have lost 23kgs on 5:2 and maintained almost a year. I struggled with my weight for decades prior to 5:2, maintaining the loss has always been the problem. The biggest thing I have had to come to terms with is the realisation that I actually don’t need many calories to maintain, whether exercising or not! Our society is so saturated with highly calorific foods, we have become used to overeating/snacking/nibbling at every turn. Even healthy food is in our faces at every turn, food is such big business! I am in my 60’s and my generation were busy with live music, parties, cars etc – we didn’t sit home watching Master Chef or My Kitchen Rules. Food was just something you needed. But I still managed to eat too much! So the current obsession with food at every turn makes it even harder for people to control their weight. Our bodies apparently don’t need as much as we think they do….
    My solution to this has hinged on accepting that I don’t need as much food as I thought, plus taking up new activities/hobbies to keep busy and interested and not thinking about my next meal! Regular fasting acts a brake when the social life gets too busy and I overindulge. I know I can have my (occasional) cake and eat it, as long as I compensate with a fast! Feeling slim and healthy is more than enough reward. Good luck!

    My first week on 5:2, fasting Monday and today, Thursday. No issues with being hungry eating veggies and fish as my protein on my fast days. 480 calories on Monday and 512 today.

    Have not weighed myself for the week yet – that’s tomorrow. But I feel fine, not tired or cranky. So far so good. Will try the water fast next week just to see if I can do it, if not I can eat later in the day.

    lots of good information, had no idea about BMR/TDEE and now realize that I have not been eating enough, I have been eating under my BMR. Now that I know the numbers will be eating within them.

    Hi safety:

    The guidance is to eat to your TDEE or less. BMR is irrelevant for weight loss – it is included in your TDEE.

    There is no need to eat between your BMR and TDEE. There is no need to eat to your TDEE.

    The less you eat, the more you lose.

    Good Luck!

    Hi Simcoeluv, Nama, Couscous

    Thank you so much for your responses and for your advice.

    I had been calories counting before for a month of the time previously, to try and see what I was eating on non fast days and whether, as has been suggested, this was over my TDEE. Perhaps I was not doing it accurately enough and if anyone knows of a good online or published calorie count list that would be helpful.

    When I was counting, I was certainly going no where near my TDEE (according to my calcualtions at the time)and was at the level of my BMR and certainly no more than 1500 a day when I did eat more. It is frustrating that the weight loss works very well indeed, but in 3 days I can put on a pound a day back on before the next fast day. The reason I have kept it up so long is because of the other health benefits to fasting that are not just about weight loss.So I will continue to do it anyway.

    I am a vegetarian who eats fish, so I suppose that makes me a pescatarian. I certainly don’t eat white flour much at all and if I do eat bread or pasta its wholemeal etc. I am sure that is not the issue anyway, although I don’t particularly like white carbs that much.

    Nevertheless, I will endevour to count again and record every little thing etc. I will report back fully in a few weeks!


    Hi. I’m both agreeing and disagreeing to an extent about this discussion of calories. 5:2 doesn’t only work because you lower your calories. If that was so you could get the same effect by just reducing your calories a bit on every day of the week. We know from much of the research that just eating less doesn’t work long term, especially if you reduce the fats drastically and remain on fairly high carbs. The fast days also work by reducing the action of insulin in your system. As insulin acts to stuff your fatty cells with converted spare sugars from your blood stream, and also stops the fat coming out of cells to be utilised, keeping your insulin down helps to reverse this and allows your body to burn fats. So it’s by extending the gaps between eating, as well as reducing the calories, that makes the difference. By using foods that don’t make insulin spike either, you allow your fat to be used from the fat cells and feel less hungry. Most foods result in insulin being released, but saturated fats and olive oil don’t. They also slow down digestion and promote satiety. That’s probably why Krista Varady’s study showed that if people ate some fat on fast days, even though this had to come within the 500, that these dieters were more successful, probably because they could stick to the diet better too. But it’s also why water fasts work – you get a long period where insulin is not triggered. It’s also why 0 cal sweet drinks are unhelpful, as the taste makes insulin release even though there are no sugars for it to deal with. Jason Fung has lots to say on this.

    Hi Deb:

    First, your body can easily gain or lose 2 or more pounds a day. The reasons usually are water retention and weight in transit differences. For instance, if you weigh yourself on a day when you are dehydrated and the next time you weigh you are retaining water, you might have a four pound difference. On a diet day, you don’t put nearly the amount of food weight in your body that you do on non diet days. So after a diet day you automatically weigh less, and as you start eating again the next day and putting food weight back in your body you automatically gain weight from your diet day low point. That explains why you lose weight on diet days and gain it back in the following days. You are not gaining and losing fat weight, you are gaining and losing water and food in transit weight.

    Second, you mention your calculated TDEE and that you were counting calories. Any TDEE you get from any calculator is an estimate, and may be quite different from what your TDEE actually is. But you don’t really need a calculated TDEE. That is because you have neither gained nor lost weight for 4 months. By definition, that means you are eating to your TDEE. Whatever the number of calories you are now eating, that number is your TDEE. If you have been counting your calories during this time, you know what your TDEE actually is because it equals your calorie count!

    So if you want to lose weight, you have to eat less than you are currently eating.

    I’m sorry. Life is not always fair!

    Hi Deb also you’ll notice a weight difference if you weigh yourself before you go to bed and when you wake up! Best advice – ditch the scales and invest in a tape measure – much better indicator!

    Hi Apricot:

    I really think you are mixing apples and oranges.

    Eating less long term does work. Just watch Eat, Fast and Live Longer. The first segment is about a man that has eaten 1900 cal. a day for years (no fasting anywhere in sight) and is in real good shape!

    Your logic would have a person losing weight if they ate one meal a day in a half an hour high in fat and protein that contained their TDEE or more.

    It does not work that way.

    Here are my thoughts on time between meals and weight loss:

    Hi Mulac:

    That is loss of water and, believe it or not, fat weight (if you are calorie deficient). Water is constantly expelled from the body via breathing (you can see your breath on a cold day – that is water). But when fat is broken down, the remaining components are also expelled through the lungs.

    Hi Simcoeluv,
    I am not sure the best place to ask this question, but since I am still a newbie and it’s a question I thought I’d try here. My apologies if this has been asked and answered already.

    Since you have been at this for over 3 years I am curious what your challenges are at this point. Have you reached your goal and are maintaining or are you still working to lose?

    Thanks for all your helpful posts and topics – you have helped me tremendously.

    Hi Melinda:

    A personal question, so a personal answer.

    I believe if a person has the ability and knowledge to do something, they can do it if they want to. I have the ability and knowledge to lose weight, so it simply comes down to whether I want to or not. A few years a ago someone took a picture of me and one of my grandsons and I decided I wanted to lose some weight.

    But I more than knew that just losing weight was not a goal in and of itself. For decades I have observed people that set a goal of losing 20 pounds with the idea that after they finished losing the 20 pounds they could get back to their normal, non diet lives. Of course, they would lose the weight and then gain it all back and more. So really, their ‘goal’ was wrong. It should not have been to lose 20 pounds. It should have been, if it was really that important to them, to lose 20 pounds and live the remainder of their lives at that 20 pound lighter weight.

    I was and am steeped in the knowledge of diet and nutrition and I was truly wondering what I should do. I knew I could lose weight – any reduced calorie diet would allow me to do that. But I also knew that I did not want to follow any of those weight loss diets for long periods of time. Low fat – I liked eating fats too much. High fat – I am addicted to some carbs, bread in particular, and had proven time and again I could not long go without it creeping back into my diet.

    It was then by pure accident I ran across 5:2. Literally a 2 minute TV segment stumbled upon while channel surfing. I immediately knew it would work and wondered why I had not thought of it decades ago. It was clearly a ‘diet’ I knew I could do forever and wanted to do. I ‘started’ that day.

    I was and am in no hurry to lose weight. I set no goal to lose X pounds in X time. Just as in the Eat, Fast and Live Longer video, weight loss to me is a by product of the 5:2 way of eating. I am not diligent in following 5:2 – I do it when I want to and have time. I travel and choose not to do it when traveling – although 5:2 taught me I could skip meals when traveling and reduce the impact of any good food and drink I might be subject to along the way. Sometimes my schedule makes it difficult to get two diet days in each week – so I just do one, or none and skip a meal whenever I can. Last year I decided to see if I could maintain my 40 pound weight loss for a year, so I tried all sorts of fasting related combinations to see if I could maintain, but not lose weight. I ended the year within a pound of where I started. This year I want to lose some more weight, so I am.

    So to answer your question, I really have no challenges or obstacles to losing weight. For the first time I have found what is for me the ‘diet’ that works and that I want to do. Not just to lose weight, but to keep it off forever.

    On this site I try to help others to determine if 5:2 is right for them. I try to ‘manage expectations’ so they stick with it long enough to see that it actually works.

    I’m happy my posts have been helpful to you, and you are welcome!

    Good Luck!

    Hi Melinda:

    As a PS to the above, I think the two major challenges or obstacles to a newbie are fear – fear that fasting is dangerous or simply fear of the unknown – and doubt – doubt that it will really work.

    Once they get over the fear and doubt, it simply becomes a matter of whether or not they want to do it. Of course, that is totally up to them. I just try to get them past the fear and doubt stage.

    Thanks Simcoeluv,
    Your response does not disappoint πŸ™‚
    I am very encouraged and inspired by your experiences. Thanks for sharing your insight with us all.

    I am finding that this is easily adapted to a lifestyle as well, though having only been at it for about 5 weeks it can be frightening and doubtful wondering if this really will work. Fantastic to have mentors who have been down the road and can help others over the bumps in the road.

    Again, many thanks!

    Thank you, Simcoeluv for your many posts of sound advice regarding the 5:2 FD! Making sure to review the FAQ (several times now for me) was extremely helpful. I have only recently started 5:2 (now in my 5th week), but have found it to be a very manageable and enjoyable lifestyle change. I have lost a total of 14 lbs/6.2 kgs.

    The first week was a bit of a challenge adapting to the restricted amount of calories, but once over that initial bump, I’ve really enjoyed and now look forward my fast days.

    I’ve noticed on my Monday and Thursday FD days, I have a very restless sleep that night. I should add, I typically sleep no more than 7 hours/night, but I was surprised to notice that this restless sleep seems to be a constant (thus far) of my restricted calorie days. Is this something that others have experienced?

    With thanks and appreciation for your many helpful and informative forum posts!

    Hi CT:

    Insomnia is fairly common. If you check my 13 Dec 14 post on P.4 of this thread I go into a bit more detail. I wish I could edit my initial post to include the issue because it is a common question, but this site won’t allow me to edit posts after 5 minutes so many of my answers to some common questions are scattered throughout the posts on the thread.

    I’m glad you are settling down with 5:2 and enjoying so much success!

    Good Luck!

    HI Simcoeluv…thank you for all the helpful info you’ve provided on this site…I’ve read through a ton of it so far.

    I’m just really frustrated trying to find this one thing that I read, and then lost. I’m pretty sure I remember you were the one who posted it…maybe you can help?

    It’s to do with a possible reason why a person might do every thing right, but see no movement on the scale for weeks…then all of a sudden see a 3 pound drop in weight. Something about the insulin process, fat burning, glycogen, and some tissue in the body holding on to fluid and suddenly dropping it.

    Does that ring any bells or make any sense at all?

    Hi Deep:

    Might have been in my ‘Warnings’ post.

    Many people think if they eat less they should immediately lose weight. Some eagerly weigh themselves after a diet day and expect to see pounds lost. And sometimes they do. But the body does not necessarily work that way. Body weight does not simply consist of fat weight. Two other factors are water weight and ‘food in transit’ weight. Muscle weight does not vary quickly, so I will ignore it.

    The one that seems most variable is water weight. Water can be retained or lost for various reasons. A common reason to retain water and its weight is eating processed carbs. The excess blood sugar is stored as glycogen in the liver or muscles, but to store it the body needs 3 or 4 times the glycogen’s weight in water to go along. This is why people that have a holiday and eat what they want, or a fun weekend, or even a big meal can report they gained literally pounds right after. It is also why people that eat carbs for awhile and then change their diets to lower carb (whether intentionally or unintentionally) can drop weight quickly. Also, hormones play an impact, as can salt intake.

    Going along with eating more – carbs or otherwise – is food in transit weight. Whatever you eat has weight (if you weigh your food, you will see it can be literally pounds a day) and it takes awhile for it to pass through the digestive system and be eliminated from the body. It varies by person, but it can take two to three days (or more) to be eliminated from the body.

    All of this weight gain and loss resulting from water retention and food in transit weight happens in pretty much of a random pattern. So you will have days when your water retention is high and your food in transit weight is high and if you weigh you will get a high reading on the scale. Then you can get a day when you are a bit dehydrated and your food in transit weight is fairly low and you will get a low reading on the scale. That is why your weight can vary two or more pounds every day.

    Fat weight loss occurs fairly slowly – on 5:2, only a few ounces each diet day. But it does continue over time.

    So a person is victim to what their body is like the day they weigh. Even if you weigh once a week, it is possible to weigh on a low day but then weigh on a high day the next week or two. These pounds of water and food in transit weight easily cover up the ounces of fat you are losing. But eventually you will weigh on a ‘low’ day again and woosh – two or three pounds will be gone, reflecting the fat weight loss from one low day to the other.

    People that report fairly consistent and steady weight losses usually have very consistent diets over the week – they eat similar foods week in and week out, which levels out carb induced water weight which is probably the main mover of quick weight shifts.

    This process is why many average their weigh in weights and look for the trend. It is also why I suggest in my Plateau post that it is not a real plateau unless you go for a month without losing – by that time fat weight loss should show up regardless.

    People that expect to constantly and consistently lose weight when they start 5:2 have problems because of this. They are still unsure that 5:2 even really works, and when they don’t lose weight for a week or two they either quit because it does not work, or panic and try to ‘shake things up’ by doing something different. More exercise or ‘going to 16:8’ or whatever other things recommended to them are tried. Most often, these changes ‘work’ – but only because they have continued with a calorie deficit in their diets. But they would have had the same results, however, if they would have just continued with 5:2 and waited. That is why you sometimes here on this site ‘just keep on keeping on’ – because if you do, it works!

    Good Luck!

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