The FastDay Forum

5:2 Diet 'Rules' & Variations

71 posts Page 1 of 5
The 'rules' are simple, and few!

Wake up on your fast day and consume a maximum of 500 calories (for women) or 600 calories (for men) until you go to bed. Wake up the next day and eat as normal! Do this two non-consecutive days each week.

It doesn't matter how you spend your calories or when you eat them, though it is recommended not to graze/snack and to have them as 1-3 meals. Personally I find I get ravenous once I've started to eat on a fast day, so I'm best saving my calories for a nice big, filling dinner. Others find a breakfast suits them better, or a small meal 3 times a day.

Some of us like to begin our fast after dinner the day before a fast day, though that's not essential, it just increases the amount of time spent without food.

What is the 5:2 fast diet?
I prefer to save my allowance for one "big" evening meal. We are all different and whatever you find is sustainable is the right way to do it!
carorees wrote: I prefer to save my allowance for one "big" evening meal. We are all different and whatever you find is sustainable is the right way to do it!

Yep, me too! I like something to look forward to. :)
But I despair of my husband who keeps all these rules carefully while still having alcohol, chocolate and milky tea on most fast days. He has them instead of food! :roll:
I can only tell tales on him because I don't use my full name on here. :mrgreen:
Sorry if this an obvious question, but should the fast last for 24hrs? I ask because if the fast day starts when you get up until the following breakfast for me that is approximately 35hrs - I stop eating at 9pm weds, fast for Thursday, eat again 8am Friday. However if you have breakfast and then fast for 24 hrs, in theory you can eat normally again the next day at breakfast, or start after lunch and fast until the next days lunch. This enables you to have one proper meal a day. Am I making sense?
Reading the book, Michael and Mimi seem to have a restricted calorie duration of around 36 hours during which they east only the 500/600 cals but in the section on how to do the diet Mimi does suggest that the restricted calories could last for 24 hours only, so 2pm one day to 2pm the next for example.

However, it seems that most people (we should do a poll on this perhaps) do the 36 hour option of eating no more than 500/600 cals between dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 3.

I would suggest that weight loss will be faster doing this than just 24 hours and the other health benefits are likely to be better. However, as mentioned, sustainability is vital so you need to work out what is best for your circumstances!
I'm somewhere in the middle of the 24 and 36 hour category, where I eat right up until bed time the day before a fast (last food, say, 9:00-10:00p.m.) and the 600 calorie limit goes until breakfast (about 7:00-8:00 a.m.) the day after -- so about 32-35 hours or so.

I was wondering if it might be good to take advantage of an unanticipated lack of appetite the morning after a fast (I go to bed quite hungry, wake up not all that hungry) by waiting until late morning or even noon-ish to eat, adding another 2-4 hours to the fasting time.
I often do that, especially after my Friday fast as I like a lie-in on Saturday morning :-)
I'm wondering when I'll get comfortable enough with fasting days to not have a nibble at 10pm before bed the night before. I swear it's fear eating more than anything! It's not a full meal, maybe a slice of toast with a bit of peanut butter. But yes, as my hubby said we "fast" from bedtime through the next day and until breakfast the day after.
Roper wrote: But I despair of my husband who keeps all these rules carefully while still having alcohol, chocolate and milky tea on most fast days. He has them instead of food! :roll:
I can only tell tales on him because I don't use my full name on here. :mrgreen:

Lol, I keep telling my wife its ok for me to have 3 packs of crisps or 1 bottle of wine on a fast day, but she wont believe me :lol:
Well I suppose it is better than not cutting calories at all, but I don't think it is what Dr M had in mind! :lol:
I take the minimum fast time as the normal 24 hour day.

I can eat absolutely anything I like on my feed days.

Excluding holidays I will fast at least 2 days a week.

I expect to be able keep to the above rules (and also will not stress about going 20 to 30 calories over on a fast day) and believe that on this basis the eating plan should be indefinitely sustainable going forward.

I agree it is better to have a longer, up to 36 hour, fast period and eating healthily on feed days is something I do try to do. However the great thing is that not breaking the minimum rules will still deliver good results. Doing more is a bonus, good to do, but not absolutely necessary.

In the past when I have done a diet once I have broken the rules I have usually found it impossible to restart. To me the less restrictive the rules are the better as I am much less likely to break them.

What works for you may of course be different.
Well said, David, sustainability is the key!

The 36 hour/24 hour debate seems to arise from whether or not you take your day to start at midnight or not. In the end the hours with no/very limited calories and the total calorie deficit over the week will determine the weight loss and health benefits achieved. But if you can't keep it up the benefits will not be gained! So, as long as people go in with open eyes (i.e., not expect massive weight loss if they fast from 2pm to 2pm on 500 cals and then have a huge afternoon tea, dinner and late night supper to boot :lol: ) they will get some benefit.

I think you are right about not having too many rules. Sadly, some folks worry (perhaps being used to other diet plans that are very prescriptive) that they are breaking the rules and stress about it. Hopefully, we can reassure anyone who is worried that there is not really any wrong way of doing it, just pass on any tips that we have found to help.
I think it's positive to think about 5:2 as a way of living rather than a diet. You're giving your body a couple of days a week to do repair and restoration work without the bother of processing incoming goods. If you miss a day or miss a week then you just need to pick up the bucket and mop the next week and get back to it.


71 posts Page 1 of 5
Similar Topics
in Fasting today?
7   3628
Last post by One in seven 13 Nov 2020, 15:14
FASTING TODAY - Monday 8 June 2020
in Fasting today?
0   593
Last post by nursebean 08 Jun 2020, 21:02

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


Be healthier. Lose weight. Eat the foods you love, most of the time.

Learn about the 5:2 diet

We've got loads of info about intermittent fasting, written in a way which is easy to understand. Whether you're wondering about side effects or why the scales aren't budging, we've got all you need to know.

Your intermittent fasting questions answered ASK QUESTIONS & GET SUPPORT
Come along to the FastDay Forum, we're a friendly bunch and happy to answer your fasting questions and offer support. Why not join in one of our regular challenges to help you towards your goal weight?

Use our free 5:2 diet tracker FREE 5:2 DIET PROGRESS TRACKER & BLOG
Tracking your diet progress is great for staying motivated. Chart your measurements and keep tabs on your daily calorie needs. You can even create a free blog to journal your 5:2 experience!