The FastDay Forum

5:2 Diet 'Rules' & Variations

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Hi Everyone, I am a newby, so bear with me. :bugeyes:
I have bought and read the fast diet book as well as a few of the topics on here.
As the author says, on "feast" days you can eat normally, indulge even. Though I guess what is normal to me might be a lot to the next person and not very much at all to another.
Usually, when I am not dieting (which in recent years has been most of the time! Had a baby only 2 and a half yrs ago, also) I will have no or very little breakfast, a light lunch (toast with parma ham OR some pasta dressed with raw olive oil OR bread and tomotoes) dinner is my sin meal. Not only do I often have an aperitif around 7 pm (I live in Italy, it's quite a tradition here) which would be wine and a snack like a "supplì", a ball of rice with melted mozzarella cheese in the middle, fried in bread crumbs (yum)or a small piece of pizza (not fried) and then dinner which can be anything I want (though I rarely well and truly stuff my face, just eat with...ehm.. abandon :razz: ) with more wine.
See, I don't relly think that can be considered "eating normally", but if I take all of it out on my feast days, wouldn't it just become another diet, like hundreds of others? Wouldn't I just "relapse"?
I am sure most of you have had the same problem, cause if we had all been eating like angels we wouldn't have become overweight in the first place.
So how do you do it? Do you just properly indulge once or twice a week? Have you stopped indulging altogether? Do you always indulge on your feast days and still lose weight???
Thanks! Humpty :like:
Eating normally is eating up to your TDEE. You can use the calculator (under the progress tracker) on this site to figure out what it is. (The calculator uses your height and weight and level of activity to figure how many calories you should be eating per day.)

Many here use sparkpeople or myfitnesspal to track the number of calories they eat each day. Most, like me, track them for a few weeks to a couple of months just to get a good idea how many calories are in the foods we eat until we feel we don't need to.

Now, having said that, there are ways to approach this so you don't feel deprived. The one some gravitate to, is fast 2 days, eat around the TDEE (maybe a little below) 3 times a week, and save the weekend for weyhey (aka anything goes)! So, yeah, sometimes I do overeat.

However, I have learned over the course of this WOE how to eat a more balanced diet, lower in carb, a little higher in fat some days (hard to unlearn the fat is bad mantra). I have tried many new foods and recipes and just had fun with food. I learned my downfall was snacking, now almost non-existent. I have learned all kinds of things about food, a lot of them on this forum.

So browse around and have fun. And don't be afraid to ask questions. Someone is almost always online to answer them! :clover:
I think you're right about the fact that most of us didn't know what normal eating is, which is why we got fat.

So there's a bit of education involved, to learn what eating "normally" is supposed to be. I now wear a Fitbit so I have a pretty good idea of what my calories burned in a day are. I fast one day a week to get a 1750 calorie deficit (lose 1/2 pound of fat in 1 day!). For four days a week, I do "16:8" - basically fasting until noon and then eating to a 500 calorie deficit. This is kind of like 4 days of traditional dieting, except that the fast time is doing good things for my health, and eating during only 8 hours means my meals are more luxurious than the same amount of calories spread over 16 hours. Then on the weekends, I live more - I really try to practice eating "normally". On Sundays I hope to find the balance of a 3500 calorie deficit for the week - meaning one pound lost.

I do think the fasting is important though. For one, fasting seems to reset my appetite so that it is easier to be satisfied with "normal" portions. I was definitely eating too much food before! Secondly, fasting gives other health benefits, and my formerly hyperactive thyroid is now completely healthy without medication. It started getting better after I started fasting. :-)
basically, there is nothing magical about 5:2 so that if you fast 2 days a week, you will lose weight no matter what you eat on non-fast days. Calorie deficits still matter, just like in a conventional daily calorie restricted diet.

Having said that, as others have said already, it's important not to feel deprived on this diet--that seems to be one of its important features. So don't go too crazy, but do have treats sometimes.

In my first 9 months or so on this diet, I didn't track calories on non-fast days at all. I kept a diary of what I ate for the first month or so, to try to increase mindfulness. I was fasting 3 days a week, and I lost fairly steadily. Again, as others mentioned, I felt my appetite changed; I felt I couldn't eat as much and made healthier choices. As I got into the healthy BMI range, my weight loss slowed, and I even gained over Christmas, and am struggling to get rid of it. So… I've started tracking calories on MFP, and am surprised how much I go over my new, reduced TDEE (300 cals/day lower since I am now about 50lbs lighter) on non-fast days. It seems my appetite hasn't decreased as much as I thought!
This is an interesting and helpful post for me too, so thanks!
Another question: if you know you're having a big feast, eg dinner dessert and
Drinks, would you recommend fasting all day ( wen though it's obviously a feast day) to justify the (probably days worth) of calories you'll have that night ? Or
Is it better to eat 2/3 meals on feast days and not skip ?X
I am also quite new to this and at the moment I am counting every kcal that passes my lips. I know this defeats the object of 5:2 but I have no concept of eating normally. I either starve or stuff my face.
I do think as well that there's something about fasting which decreases appetite - I know some people don't find that but I have found since I've been doing this WOE I cannot eat the amount of food I used to without feeling uncomfortably full - so much so that I am put off doing it again. So I think that even if you are 'overeating' on non fast days, the fasting eventually reduces your appetite so that you want less of the rubbishy stuff and stodge and you make better choices. Certainly happened for me. Which is why I love it because it really feels like a revelation in my relationship with food - I no longer feel out of control around it (and that's not to say I'm obsessive either) but most of my life I have felt like I could eat and eat and never stop. No more!
Hi tinamacarina, I think many people, including myself will fast if they are going out for dinner. The reality is, despite what we have been told, your appetite does diminuish and you don't end up stuffing yourself anyway.
5:2 has reduced my appetite but also made me more aware of high calorie foods. These days, if I have my usual, once a week, lunch-time take-away rice with Indian curry, I regret it the rest of the afternoon. Which is regrettable as it's my favourite food but I now have to ask them for less rice and probably should throw some out (I haven't done that yet) as the remainder of the day I feel too full. I drink about three litres of water each day.

I don't count calories on my non-fast days as I believe it then becomes too much like an ordinary 7-days a week diet. For example, I just had a meringue pie, made from a package I'd bought pre-diet (again, I should have thrown it out). The calories per person are enormous so I only had a small piece. Six months ago I'd have had at least double the serving. I no longer buy these pre-mixes but I do bake biscuits and cakes and have one biscuit or one slice. No more seconds, unless it's salad or vegetables. I still drink wine five days per week but less tonic (so less gin & tonics).

My weight loss has not been a continuous downward line but I am very pleased with 9+ kg in about five months, getting me to a healthier BMI. Hope this helps.
We're all different. But 5:2 worked for me just by having 2 days of being strict. The other days I left entirely alone, to eat what I wanted and was used to. For me, that was the only way to get through a fast day, by saying to myself "It's only one day, get through this and all restrictions are off." I lost weight more slowly than many people on this forum, but once you're at goal, who cares how long it took?
You could try that, and if you aren't satisfied with the results, then try adding in some restrictions. 2 days when you cut calories and 5 days when you carry on as normal(normal for you) can't hurt compared to 7 days a week of normal, can it? You say that recently you've been dieting most of the time, well to me counting calories would feel like dieting all the time, and who wants to do that? I'd say leave your normal days alone, and as others have said, over time you will eventually find a new normal.

Good luck, and see you in the maintenance club in due course!
kentishlass wrote: I lost weight more slowly than many people on this forum, but once you're at goal, who cares how long it took?


When you put it that way, it's absolutely true! :grin:
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