When target weight has been reached on the 5:2 diet, should you swap to 6:1?

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When target weight has been reached on the 5:2 diet, should you swap to 6:1?

This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Purple Vegie Eater 8 years, 8 months ago.

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  • I’ve been fasting as per Mr Moseley’s advice for 1 ½ years now. In my own experience, the answer to that question is “No”. You won’t eventually waste away to nothing if you stick to the 5:2 diet because your weight will bottom out and settle at a steady level. Here’s how it went for me:

    My height: 5’5”
    My age: 68

    2012: Visit to Doctor
    Weight: 10 stone 3 pounds. Doctor tells me I have blood sugar in the high range of “normal” and that I could possibly develop diabetes in the next 10 years. This scares me. I immediately drop all sugar from my diet, (and still do) and my weight drops to 9 stone 7 pounds. Blood sugar is OK after this.

    2013: Doctor Mosley’s TV programme on fasting
    I started the 5:2 diet, not with the intention of losing more weight (as I thought that 9 stone 7 pounds was already reasonable), but to minimise future risks of cancer/heart problems etc.
    After 2 weeks on the 5:2 diet, my weight dropped to 9 stone 3 pounds. This worried me – would I waste away to nothing if I went on with this diet?? I switched to the 6:1 diet and remained on it for over a year. My weight continued to drop a little at the beginning but settled around 9 stone – sometimes slightly less, sometimes a bit more. That’s where it is today and though it is the lightest I’ve ever been as an adult, it is still within the normal range for my height. My waist is 28”.

    2015: Back to 5:2 diet
    I gave the 5:2 diet another try as I felt that it might be more beneficial for maintaining general health than the 6:1 diet. I saw no loss of weight when I did this and so have continued on the 5:2 diet for months now. At times when my workload is particularly heavy, I do not fast, as fasting does make me tired. When I go without fasting, I notice that, on some days, I have very little appetite – it’s almost as if my body has got used to the “lean” days and has now adjusted to expect them.

    I’ve been within one pound of my target weight for the last six weeks and what follows is what I did.

    When I first started the 5:2 in April of this year I went from Sunday night to Tuesday morning with one 400cal meal at lunch time on Monday, so Monday was my first fast day. From Wednesday night to Friday morning I had only water, so Thursday was my zero calorie second fast day.

    I reached my goal weight five weeks later (I wasn’t very much over to begin with) and now I do 24 hour fasts on both of those days, so I have supper Sunday night and again supper Monday night, no eating in between. Similarly I have supper Wednesday night and again, supper Thursday night and no eating in between. The supper on the fast day is not calorie restricted, but I always try to not over eat on my fast days.

    Doing it this way I have maintained my weight and I know that if I ever indulge, I can do my stricter 5:2 at any time.

    I’ve noticed too that on those few occasions where I didn’t intentionally fast on my fast day, I still didn’t eat very much as I hadn’t much of an appetite.

    I know there is another popular alternative to 6:1 and that is to consume under 1000 calories three times a week. However, I am still sticking to the 5:2 format as I have got so used to it over the past three months and want the other health benefits as well as maintaining my new lower weight. I just try to eat larger portions of healthy food on the other days. I have always spread the 500 calories eg lunch and evening meal or sometimes just had a light breakfast too – never succeeded in getting past lunch time with no food!

    Realistically I know that in the winter months I will gain a few pounds so I am enjoying being the lowest weight for 33 years while I can. In the winter my goal will be to remain under 130 lbs.

    SW 139 lb GW 125 lb CW 120.8 lb

    Nice to hear from philplasma and glexinda. Their posts both show that they too have found there is no need to swap to 6:1 when your target weight has been reached. Staying on the 5:2 diet, it seems you just do what is best for your own body and you juggle your weight as they both do by tucking in a bit more if your weight is low and being a bit stricter about your food whenever you are becoming more “porky” than you’d like.

    I too go twice a week from evening meal to evening meal with nothing in between, (24 hours without any food). I don’t have breakfast on a fast day and my evening meal on a fast day consists of a mountain of mixed vegetables and a piece of lean meat or fish, a non-fat/non-sugar plain yogurt and a piece of fruit. This may be more calories than Dr Moseley recommends but it means I don’t go to bed too hungry because I suffer from Restless Legs Syndrome and often don’t sleep well and certainly don’t want to add to my difficulties in sleeping by being kept awake from hunger. Sometimes, I have a small bowl of oats in the middle of the night following a fast day if I’m having difficulties sleeping. It all seems to work for me and I intend to go on with this 5:2 rhythm for years to come.

    Interesting, but if you are doing 5:2 by the book, TDEE on non-fast days, quarter TDEE on fast days, you will continue to lose weight. The only way you could fast twice a week and not lose weight would be by overeating on the non-fast days.

    Personally, I don’t do 5:2 or 6:1 any more because I don’t want to lose any more weight (5ft7, 59kg ish, BMI just over 20).

    I lose 0.5kg each time I fast. So I do occasional, and infrequent, fast days if my weight is at the top end of my maintenance range.

    I’m not prepared to keep fasting and see if my weight stabilizes naturally, I’m thin enough, I don’t want to be emaciated!

    You may be right, HappyNow. Perhaps the reason I am able to maintain a steady ideal weight and continue with the 5:2 diet is because I may eat a bit more than the recommended daily calorie intake for women on non-fast days, but that’s OK. I don’t know because I don’t count any calories – that would be too much trouble to keep up long term. I control my weight and my food intake by my waistline measurement and what the scales tell me.

    The point about intermittent fasting is that your body goes for short periods of time without food which shocks it into “repair mode”, thus helping, (hopefully), to maintain healthy organs. If we can reap the health benefits of regular intermittent fasting while at the same time keeping weight at an optimum level, by whatever means, we’re doing OK, aren’t we?

    Very good points bettybody and HappyNow. I have been recording everything on Calorie Count for the past three months and my overall average calories for that period were 895 per day. My recommended TDEE = 1350 on feast days and I always ate 400 – 500 calories on the two fast days giving a weekly total of 7750. Now my TDEE is calculated to be 1195.
    Funnily enough I never feel hungry because I do enjoy my vegetables (no potatoes)! Recently stopped CC as I want to be able to control my eating habits by just weighing myself on a regular basis and by now (hopefully) have a pretty good idea of portion sizes. Surprisingly my weight has continued to drop another few pounds, even though I am trying to increase the amount of food I eat.

    Hi Betty,

    In some ways I’m disappointed that my weight is now pretty stable without regular fasting, because I worry that I’m not getting those invisible other health benefits!

    But then I’m not sure how much added extra health benefit I’d get from 5:2 or 6:1 compared to what I’m doing now!

    But I definitely agree with you, we’re doing OK 🙂

    Great to read about all the other maintainers “doing ok”. Like many of you, I find the regular rhythm of fasting suits me. After well over 2 years, it is second nature. I also don’t count calories, but assume I must be eating slightly more on nonfast days as I usually go 24 hours with no cals, followed by a light meal, on my fast days. My weight has been 56-58kg (my healthy range) for nearly 18 months now. I hope the regular fasts are allowing cell repair. I guess only the long term will tell.
    Well done everyone. We are living proof that 5:2 (in all it’s variations) works. Purple 🙂

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