When to stop? What is a healthy target anyway?

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When to stop? What is a healthy target anyway?

This topic contains 17 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  lemonstar 5 years, 5 months ago.

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  • I said a lot of what I’m about to say in other posts. In about 13-14 weeks I dropped from 90.1 to 83kg so it’s gone well and I’ve not found it too challenging tbh and quite enjoy the 5:2 fasting days and feel good about having done it and about the changes in my attitude to eating, my habits and choice of food, when I eat, how I deal with hunger, etc. I am 1kg below my target and somehow feel reluctant to stop. I only set a target of 84kg as that was the lowest weight I was at any point during the last 4 years of my life when I was running regularly – it was a religion – I loved everything about being out at all times – early morning runs with my girls before school, late night runs in the snow, drizzle, mist, wind, long runs on baking hot sunny days in the summer – up hills, through woods, along canals, beaches, across fields, etc – after my 3rd lot of knee surgery I decided to stop – it was a head over heart decision. I started swimming as a replacement sport – it had to be front crawl as breast stroke is murder on your knees and although I could swim and was fit from running I couldn’t swim 2 lengths without a break. In 3 years of swimming I ramped up to swimming 9 hours a week – 3 lots of 2-3hr swims (200-300 lengths) and then, last April 1st 2017 I realised I had a shoulder problem that was not going to go away – I’m now 12 months down the line from that and still have no idea if my shoulder will ever be right again but stopping running and starting swimming changed my shape – my legs slimmed down and my top half bulked out a bit – nothing drastic and I slimmed down but my weight, which had crept up after I stopped running from 86-88kg to 90-92kg – that was partly why I started swimming. Swimming lost me a bit of weight but it stayed around 88-90kg – I think it was higher than when running because, although I lost a fair amount of muscle from my legs, my chest, shoulders and arms bulked up a bit with extra muscle. When I had to stop swimming last April (I swam rarely – my shoulder just couldn’t take it – maybe once every 3-6 weeks and only 30-40 mins) my weight crept back up to 90-92kg. This is why I started 5:2 – Jan 16th 2018. 84kg seemed like realistic and reasonable target. I know the BMI is now widely criticised – it does not necessarily apply well to certain body types. At 5′ 10″ I am not particularly tall and probably, with my background of playing football, running and other sports all my life, I am bit on the stocky side and I know my BMI was high – it’s down from 28.8 to 26.5 – not a huge change but I’m now at the lightest weight I know of (I kept a lot of records at various times) – I know I was 80.5kg when I was about 25 – I’d just finished uni and started work. I looked at the NHS BMI calculator and I’m still beyond bemused to see it say that I should loose another 14.1kg to get in the middle or the normal healthy weight range – I find that incredible – that would put me down at 68.9kg – I must have been a kid when I last that weight. So… what is health weight for me? How do I define a reasonable, worthwhile, healthy target? I am actually feeling OK about my weight but – and this is a concern I have – I am not keen to stop – I have got used to applying myself – I’ve enjoyed it, got a sense of achievement and out a lot out of the whole process – I feel it will be hard to decide to go to 6:1 and give up, somewhat, on what I have been so locked into and focused on for 3 months. I don’t think I’ve come across very much in what I’ve read, about the mental challenge of “stopping” – about the difficulty of that step. As usual I said a lot to put some context around the numbers – i.e. I was never overweight as in “out of shape” – I have exercised my whole life – I put on 2-4 kg of flab around the middle and sides only when I wasn’t exercising due to injuries – 5:2 was my alternative to exercising that wasn’t going to injury any more of my limbs! At 5′ 10″/178cm and 13st 1lb/83kg – am I really classed, medically, as unhealthy or at risk of bad health? I wrote somewhere on these forums about suffering from the cold – I wear a thermal vest during the day and a thinner one at night and have a doubled over blanket on my quilt (my wife is in the menopause so she is the opposite end of the scale!) – sometimes I take a hot water bottled to bed. I am curious about what will happen if I continue with the 5:2 fasting days so I’m thinking of continuing but have no real idea when I should stop – I’m not even sure my GP would know how best to advise me (plus I’d feel I was wasting their precious time anyway). Any thought about all this? Are you also in a dilemma about your target and stopping? Also feeling a reluctance to stop while you are doing so well?

    FWIW – there’s always a link to an up to date weight graph in my profile.

    It looks like I need a target of 79kg to scrape into the healthy category for BMI so I may make that my target.

    Hi lemonstar,

    Well done on your loss to your 1st chosen goalweight. Only you can decide what your longterm healthy weight should be. Yes, lots of people wonder what their final weight should be and generally adjust a little up or down over time.

    For me, middle of my BMI works well, and has me looking normal. Occasionally I contemplate going down up to another 2-4 kgs to where I was in my mid-20s but I’m late 60’s now, female, and it may make me look too gaunt.

    BMI – for a man 5’10” 68.9kgs seems quite low to be middle of BMI healthy weight range, especially if you are fairly muscular in shoulders, chest, arms etc.

    For me, 5’6” female, my goal weight was 62kgs, which comes at BMI 21.9. Exercise – I have ME/CFS -a chronic health syndrome that means my body does not make enough energy, following a sudden severe viral episode. I went from very fit, diagnosed hyperactive, to overnight becoming mostly confined to bed for first 2 yrs. I put on a weight after becoming ill. I’m now 20yrs from onset, operate at 50% of normal, and lost 21kgs on 5:2 with no exercise extra to usual movements of daily life.

    I’ve now been on 5:2 for 3 1/2 yrs, reaching my goal weight 18mths ago. In the early days I set 62kgs as my goal weight as being achievable , with a longer view to a bit more if I thought it necessary.

    There are some people who shift to 6:1 after reaching goal weight, but many of us long term 5:2ers stay on 5:2 and adjust our nonFDs calories up a little. This keeps us in the 5:2 pattern which many of us prefer, but stops the weight from decreasing. It also allows us to eat out occasionaly, handle special occasions easily, and still keep our weight stable.

    What we see on the forum over time is people sometimes going off 5:2 after reaching goal weight, and then the weight goes on again, sometimes all of it, sometimes less than they lost, but then they come back realising they need to stay on 5:2.

    If you join one of the threads on the forum where there are many thousands of posts, there should be people there who are maintaing as well as people who are new or losing.

    As you’ve only been on 5:2 a few months I suggest you stay on 5:2, not go to 6:1, stay on the forum so you learn more about managing your weight long term, and over time you’ll become comfortable with what you think is right for you. I don’t know what country you are in? I’m in Australia and you can find me on the Southern Hemisphere thread, where there are several maintainers.

    There are oftennmore women than men on a thread, but there is also a men’s thread for those who want that scenario.


    Hi lemonstar, you’ve had a fast weight drop. Good job!

    For me it about body fat. I’ve been trying to build muscle and reduce fat. I still have a large handful of fat on my belly and more on my back. Also there is still plenty of internal fat and in places still some fat under the skin. If I get down to about 12% body fat and I still have some fat on my middle, I’ll give up and just try to maintain. That would put my end weight around 73kg depending on how much muscle I can build. That would still leave me with a BMI of around 24. Right now my weight is bouncing around 80kg. (I’m 174cm)

    I actually think 73kg would be very light for me, I haven’t been that light for 35 years. My father is a bit shorter than me and is at 69.5kg and he seems a little too thin.

    Personally I’ve been working one reshaping my body for over six years and just going on two years since I cut sugar and started fasting. It has been slow but I like the improvements year after year. About 10 years ago I told my doctor I didn’t want to go on any medication and just use diet and exercise. He wasn’t very hopeful but now he is very supportive because of how much improvement there has been in my health. I was developing high blood pressure and high blood glucose. I enjoy the improvements year over year. My peak weight was 106kg and frankly I felt I was ready to die at that weight. Not any more.

    Lemonstar, well done on the weight loss. I agree with the other comments that only you can decide what’s healthy.

    For me a healthy weight is about health markers rather than what I look like or what a chart says I should weigh. For my body, a BMI under 30 means I have normal BP, cholesterol, sugar, etc. So I decided to set that as my upper limit. As others have mentioned doing, I also continued to use 5:2 for maintenance and went onto that once I got my weight down enough to meet all the health tests my GP set. That was May 2017 and although I haven’t been trying to lose weight since then my weight has dropped at times and my BMI is now around 27. I think by being happy with a weight that gives me good health and not stressing about trying to lose more has allowed my body to just find it’s own level. I have also concentrated more on developing a healthy diet on NFDs so that I’m concentrating more on long term healthy life choices rather than what I weigh on any given day.

    It wouldn’t hurt to chat to your GP. Mine was very happy for me to maintain a weight above a BMI of 25 as I no longer had any of the risk factors associated with being overweight. – I’d had high blood pressure but getting to a BMI of 30 had brought it back to normal.

    LJoyce raises up a good point. While a BMI of 25 or above is unconsidered overweight, it doesn’t necessary mean it is unhealthy. A low BMI can be just as unhealthy as a high BMI. BMI isn’t one size fits all type of thing although that is how we tend to use it. The real goal is to be healthy and happy.

    This post is so interesting! I’m very new to all this but I am very conscious of not setting super low goals because every body is different. I’m so encouraged by your results and I’ll read the other replies with interest

    Lemonstar- well done! Have you worked out your body fat percentage- BMI can fail when someone is muscular as it doesn’t take that into account. There’s some body fat calculators you can use online, so that might be an idea, & they tell you the percentages for being overweight etc. Personally I’d take no notice of your BMI but look at that, & also mentioned on TV last night was the string test (measure your height with a piece of string, cut it, fold it in half & see if you can get it round your wait, i.e. your waist should be half or less than your height to be healthy).
    I set myself a ‘dream’ target as I didn’t think I’d be able to lose much weight, & reached that okay, so have now given myself a new target of 7lbs lower- I still have a lot of body fat though, so need to work on that- I’ve had injuries which have stopped me doing my favourite exercise too. But I do know it’s easy to get a bit obsessed, so need to be wary of that.
    If you’re enjoying 5:2 & are happy with how you are now, then as the others have said, stick to 5:2 to maintain with a few more calories on nonFDs.

    Każdy ma inne ciało, każdy reaguje inaczej. Gratuluję sukcesu i jeśli czujesz się silna i chcesz kontynuować post – zrób to – nie tylko idź o 6: 1
    Myślę, że będziesz wiedział, kiedy nadejdzie odpowiedni moment, aby przestać…

    Everyone has a different body, each reacts differently. Congratulations and I hope that I still want to post – do it – not only go at 6: 1
    I think I can know when the right time will come to stop …

    My goal 5 years ago was to get to 110 [49.8 kg]. Thought I would not be able to diet below that without looking gaunt. Then the weight went down to 108 [48.8 kg] and I liked how I looked. Then it went down to around 107 and I really liked the way I looked and felt in my skin. I have a very small frame and my BMI is around 18.5, body fat = 16% My MD is happy with my current status, despite the fact that my BMI is technically ‘underweight.’ Comparing with what others have written, you can see that target weights are all over the place. it is all up to you. I do know that if I wen’t below 106, it could be dangerously low, so I avoid that.
    Nice job with the weight loss, lemon star.

    Hi everyone, I am 58 years old and I started this diet October 1, 2016.
    I lost 45 pounds in seven months and have kept it off since then.
    I run approximately 25 miles per week and try to do weights training twice per week (I am not always successful with the weights training)
    I felt so good after losing the weight I ran a half marathon and is now thinking about doing a marathon.
    To maintain my weight I now do 6:1 and this has worked for me.
    To anyone who is just starting out on this diet be encouraged it doesn’t get easier but if you persist you will be successful.
    Going from a size 14 to a size 6 has kept me motivated!

    5’11”, turning 60 soon. Initial goal was 170lbs but decided to keep going & settled on 160 in April 2017. Any lower & I look too thin on my face.
    No real issues keeping the weight off as am very active, especially in the summer.

    People may have different opinion on fats, carbs, and everything in between, but everyone agrees that protein is important for health. Eating protein-rich foods helps in building muscle, promoting weight loss and feeling full after eating. It is quite beneficial to eat lots of proteins, but the crux is that you should eat a balanced diet to stay healthy. There are about 43 delicious protein-rich foods you must include in your diet for weight loss.

    Hi Anderson:

    The current high protein fad may lead to many people dying a bit early. Research shows that people that eat high protein diets have a three to four fold increase in cancer and a 75% increase in overall mortality (death) rates. (High protein diets lead to big increases in IGF-1, among other problems).

    Protein is important to health, but you don’t need very much of it. Current research shows that even body builders only need 10% or less of their dietary intake from protein. The current ‘best’ diet has about 60% of your calories from healthy carbs, 30% from healthy fats and 10% from protein. It does not matter whether the protein is from meat/fish or plants, although getting it all from plants is very hard because of the difficulty in getting enough essential amino acids vitamin B-12.

    So the research does not support your claim that ‘It is quite beneficial to eat lots of proteins’. In fact, over time, it is deadly.

    I agree with NoMoreFatAlli. This is an interesting thread, for sure!

    I learn the most from folks who have been doing this for a while. I don’t agree with everything, we all have to find our own way, but I sure do learn alot. Thank you!

    you have to decide yourself what is your best weight. What weight makes you feel good in your body? Your correct BMI indicates a weight below 80 kg – would it be your goal? But will this 84 kg be such an absolute max?

    Well, I’ve been at my goal weight of 79kg for about 2.5 months now – at, below or around that weight. The strategy that appears to be working for me is to weigh myself most days and if I’m at or above 79kg I have a 5:2 fasting day so I end up doing them randomly and some days I see the result and don’t fancy doing it but I just get on with it and do it anyway and it’s not so bad – always feel good about it the next day. My weight loss graph is in my profile – a link to a jpg image in dropbox. I haven’t been logging my weight on the site although, as I said, I am still weighing myself to see if I need a fasting day. I’m 78.2kg today but I had a 1.5hr/150 length swim yesterday and I made it a fasting day even though I didn’t need to because I’d been out for a a sit down Indian meal at a restaurant last night and, TBH, I still felt – not full – but definitely not hungry – if I’d have eaten breakfast it would have been because of routine so this is an example, I think, of something I’ve learned from 5:2 – not eating if I don’t actually feel hungry – I can ask the question of myself and answer it honestly and act accordingly – “Am I hungry or genuinely in need of food?”. As I decided not to eat breakfast and because I hadn’t had a fasting day for a while (I was away on holiday walking in Scotland for the previous week and we did a lot of walking) and because I was planning on going for a long afternoon swim (because I didn’t manage to find a swimming pool anywhere near me – Scotland seems to have so few) because I hadn’t been swam for a week. I like to swim at least once a week but currently I’m swimming twice a week – 1.5hrs/150 lengths – I would swim longer but I only have 2hrs parking. My shoulder is still not right but I’ve sought advice from the swimming community and been able to change my technique to avoid unduly stressing my shoulder and it’s helped a lot – I am going to attempt my first 200 length swim next time – I used to swim between 200-300 lengths 3 times a week so I am getting back to somewhere near where I was before but I am waiting on a meeting with my consultant to see what, if anything, can be done surgically as any surgery carries risks and I don’t want to jeopardise what I can do ATM. I think the regular swimming can only be helping me maintain my target weight although it’s hard to know what contribution it makes – swimming has changed the muscle distribution I had from when I was a regular runner – the muscle has come off the top of my legs (not so much the calf muscles ATM) and gone on to the top of my body – shoulders, back, chest, not so much the arms AFAICT – so I don’t know if doing a bit more swimming is actually getting rid of fat or adding a bit more muscle – it’s hard to know. The scales that claim to give you a percentage fat value are greatly affected by your levels of hydration so I’m skeptical about their value. I think 5:2 has changed my eating habits so I’m naturally making better decisions about what I eat – I barely eat bread (although I love it – had some nice sunflower & honey bread the other night with some home made lentil soup the other night) so, you see, nothing is extreme or absolute – I can eat bread, I just don’t choose to eat that much on a regular basis any more – I snack on carrots sometimes – one’s I’ve grown in a long trough 1.3m long, 30cm wide and by about 30cm deep, in the back garden – fill it with compost, sprinkle some seeds over, cover with a dusting of compost and keep an eye on them so they don’t dry out – simple – they taste a lot better than supermarket carrots which have a great snap but no actual taste IMHO. 5:2 has changed how I listen for hunger – I’m far more conscious of asking myself if I am actually hungry and I can also feel hunger and decide that I don’t need to respond to it by eating or by eating too much or the wrong things. I’ve also learned that when you satisfy your hunger by eating, that it’s best (or not necessary) to eat so much – it’s easy to continue eating until you feel full enough to stop BUT I’ve found you can eat, certain foods, and stop after only consuming a little and wait a few minutes for the food gets to your stomach and for the hormones to be released that give you that sense of being satisfied with what you ate. I reckon I could loose a few more kg’s and still maintain quite happily but I’m going to stick with 79kg for now – it puts my BMI at the very top of the normal band for my height and I don’t attach much importance to BMI – I used to to vaguely point me towards choosing a healthy target weight. The bottom line is that I feel better in myself for being slimmer although my wife complains that my jeans are all rucked up around my waste because I have to pull my belt tight to keep them up and that my t-shirts are all a bit baggy on me. My wife has taken a long time to get used to me just doing 5:2 fasting days – she really hasn’t liked me doing it as she worries about it becoming obsessive – and I understand it might seem that way as, if you are doing 5:2, you do have to stick at it day in, day out and it’s a long term, life long in fact, commitment – she just hasn’t enjoyed those days when I’m not eating and she has to eat normally on her own (I do all the cooking as always and still cook for her even if I’m not eating the meal I’m cooking for her) but she’ll say “I’m having a glass of wine” or (rarely) a piece of cake or some pudding and she’ll ask me if I want any and I’ll remind her I’m on a 5:2 fasting day – she doesn’t like that we aren’t doing the same things together – TBH – I’m not exactly sure why she doesn’t like it – I’ve never suggested she do it – she looks fine to me and it’s a very personal decision so I never mention to any one that I do it – I would if it came up in conversation – it just never does.

    For a 178cm tall guy the health weight range (from an NHS chart here:-
    ) is roughly 60-80kg – so 79kg just scrapes in – I can’t imagine being anywhere near 60kg! But I reckon I could live happily at, say, 75kg – maybe I’ll have a think about that if I can continue to maintain at 79kg for a few more months – maybe start after xmas. I do wonder, if I wasn’t able to continue swimming twice a week, if that would make maintaining harder – I really can’t tell.

    Congrats on the weight loss, lemonstar! Like others have mentioned, you are the best judge of your goal weight. I’m 69, started 5:2 about a year and a half ago. I’m 165cm tall and my goal weight was 59kg. I reached that after about 7 months and have been doing 5:2 maintenance since the beginning of the year. For me, the goal was being able to fit into size 4 jeans (US sizes). It took me about 7 months to lose the weight on two 500 calorie FD per week. In maintenance I’ve continued the two FD, but eat a little more on NFD. I’ve always counted calories on FD and never counted on NFD.

    Regarding your wife thinking 5:2 is obsessive, it’s only obsessive 2 days per week. The rest of the time you can eat and drink whatever you want. (Within reason.) That’s what I love about it. If there’s a holiday or get-together on one of my FDs, I just move the FD to a different day. But most of the time I can plan around my Monday and Thursday FDs. So simple!

    I agree with simcoeluv on the protein. I think most people eat way more than they need and study after study has shown that lower levels are healthier. A good whole food diet with variety can provide plenty of protein. A B12 tablet daily can insure enough of that vitamin. My husband’s doctor recommended 1,000 mcg per day. He also said that a plant based diet is healthier for heart and cardiovascular health, and acid reflux and gave him 2 pages of recommendations for books and websites on plant based and vegan diets. I was shocked. This is a mainstream doctor that my husband has been going to for some time. I’ve never had a doctor recommend anything other than statin drugs for cholesterol or acid reflux.

    My strategy of doing a 5:2 fasting day if I’m at or over my target of 79kg seems to be working. Actually, sometimes if I’m just under and feel up to it I also do it just to keep the habit up. Some of the eating habits I adopted on my 5:2 fasting days – eating a boiled egg, an apple, carrots and celery – are things I do a couple of times a week except I can indulge in more mayo with the egg and plenty of houmous with the carrots & celery. I also eat a baked cod & veg dish (y+r pepper, courgette, red onion, small tomatoes, black olives, herbs) as part of our regular cycle of meals. I’ve been maintaining my target now for about 4 months and not finding it too difficult at all. My chart is linked in my profile. hth

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