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5:2 Diet 'Rules' & Variations

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Hi -- I am new to the 5:2, but not new to intermittent fasting. I have been following the principle of 'feast / fast' off and on for almost a year now. My fasts are completely food-free, consisting of nothing but lemon water and lemon green tea. I have to say I really enjoy the fast day and feel great for doing so. I would also like to add that I also follow the 16/8 feeding window, with 16 hours of not eating and then 8 hours to consume my three daily meals. I typically eat at 11am, 3pm and 7pm. I have come across the 5:2 Fast Diet and have decided to up my fasting to 2 days a week, however I am also an extremist and would love to have the weight loss benefit of an added 3rd day of fasting if it is not unhealthy or harmful to my health. I have been reading what I can on this site and see that others are following the 4:3 concept, and yet others are following the 'no food fast' days. Is there anyone out there doing both? I would love to hear from you! How long have you been doing this? What is your practice / routine? What have your results been like? And anything else that you would like to share or believe to be helpful! :) I have ordered the book and it is shipped and en route -- just waiting to receive it! I have everything on the official website as well as watched the Horizon documentary. Please share!!! :) Thank you!
Hi MGM and welcome! :)

I can't add any experience as I'm not doing 4:3 and I cant get by without eating on fast days either, but just wanted to welcome you to the forums. :)
I think if you look at the stats from here that there is very little difference between 4:3 and 5:2. Average weightloss is about 1lb a week. It's been said that this may be because those doing 4:3 reward themselves a little more freely on feed days and so cancel out the benefit from the calorie deficit from an extra fast day.

I'm doing 4:3 and think I'm being careful a bout my feed day calories and have had good weightloss so far. 19lbs in 7 weeks. I do have a lot to lose though.

I have considered going really 'hard core' and not eating at all on fast days to achieve a complete 36 hour fast but I don't think I could maintain that for very long. For me the beauty of this WOE is long term sustainability. I enjoy being able to sit with my family and having a 'normal' meal on fast days. We are all doing this diet and I think this might be one step too far for me and them.
Hi there

Currently the 4:3 method does not appear to be giving any faster weightloss than 5:2 according to the progress tracker stats. We're not sure why and it might not be to do with the three fast days but perhaps greater eating on non-fast days or to the 4:3 people having various factors that result in slower weightloss anyway which caused them to choose 4:3.

There are some potential drawbacks to more frequent fasting and to going 36 hours with no calories. Namely increased cortisol and decreased thyroid hormone, both of which can slow weight loss. Only some people will respond in this way and we don't know who these people will be but it's worth knowing. I would say that if you have any suspicion that you might have thyroid issues you should not do the longer water fasts.

Plus of course as catscratch says, the diet MUST be sustainable for it to have long term success.
Welcome MGM!

I've been playing with the idea of 4:3 for a while. I don't know if I'm losing weight on 5:2. I think I drink too much Guinness on my feast days! I like your idea of eating within an 8 hour window. I have been pigging out all day long today due to nerves.
I'm also new here, hello everybody.

I've been on a 4:3 diet for about 8 months now (I started immediately I saw the Horizon), with no food on fast days. I've lost nearly 60lbs (18->14 stone) over this time.

I went the complete fast route because of my tendency to binge and I doubted my ability to limit myself to a small amount of food. I foresaw a lot of fast days turning into feast days. Cutting food out completely, for me at least, makes the diet much easier to stick to.

Sometimes I feel a bit weak and low on energy on fast days though strangely I'm getting to like the sensation of feeling hungry. I intended to use 4:3 to get into shape and change to 5:2 for maintenance. Now I think I'll probably stick to 4:3 though be a bit more relaxed about skipping, rather than rescheduling, the occasional fast.
Thank you everyone for your welcoming words! I'm going to like it here! :) 'floyd', your scenario interests me and has caught my attention. I started eating clean beginning mid January and have lost 35 lbs to date (it was 40 but the three days of Easter wrecked havoc! Lol!). I do a one day fast a week and am looking forward to upping it to 2 or 3. I would love to do 3, but I don't know if my cravings will get the worst of me or not. I fasted yesterday all day but was craving the whole day. Not hungry, just craving. I tried walking -- it worked for a little bit. I drank lots of water and green tea -- worked for a little bit. So around 6pm I decided to have a heaping tablespoon of natural almond butter to see if that would help. I don't know if it is like you mentioned and any food sends you into a fest frenzy, but the next thing I know I am into the kids Easter chocolate (still wondering if it is wrong for a mom to throw away her 4 year old's Easter chocolate! Lol!) and going to the store for sour creme and onion chips and Tostitos and cheese and salsa dip! And yeah, I ate -- like a savage! Fast days don't usually do that to me! I don't know if it is because it was my second fast this week (I fasted Monday, ate Tuesday, fasted yesterday), or if I may be able to chaulk it up to hormones -- but it was bad! I really believe that I am a sugar addict. Add that to my food intollerances (I can't eat dairy or egg without crazy inflammation). Sometimes it feels like a losing battle! So I figure if I can get a hold of myself on a plan that just avoids food all together (and it is actually good for me!), then that's the way to go! I have about another 40 lbs that I would like to lose and am really hoping to take to this 4:3, since I have always enjoyed my one day fasting.
I can't imagine doing 4:3. Surely one wouldn't be able to keep it up indefinitely unlike 5:2. Wouldn't it just be another diet that failed?
Hi, I`m halfway through my 3rd fast day with just water and black coffee. I find this easier to do than 500 cals. I feel fine so please someone reassure me that this way wont scupper any weight loss!!! :?: Not struggling with it at all and looking forward to a nice weekend with some wine! Thanks for reading :-D
Wow! This is a great thread! I'm doing a fast today and it is so motivating to hear these stories. Yesterday, I binged. I started my day yesterday morning by finishing a box of cookies and from there became a human vacuum cleaner. Hopefully today will put me back on track. If you all can go all day with no food, I certainly can. Here's to all you hard core fasters! [Holding up a mug of black coffee] ... Cheers!
Jem wrote: I can't imagine doing 4:3. Surely one wouldn't be able to keep it up indefinitely unlike 5:2. Wouldn't it just be another diet that failed?


Sorry if I post this twice, but the first time didn't seem to go through (still trying to figure out -- newbie! :wink: ).

I plan on following 4:3, however if I struggle to get the third fast in on any given week I am not going to beat myself up and will be quite happy with 5:2. There is so much success on both (for health AND weight loss) that I am happy to have found this method and will be quite happy with myself for making it through either! :)
Rufus wrote: Wow! This is a great thread! I'm doing a fast today and it is so motivating to hear these stories. Yesterday, I binged. I started my day yesterday morning by finishing a box of cookies and from there became a human vacuum cleaner. Hopefully today will put me back on track. If you all can go all day with no food, I certainly can. Here's to all you hard core fasters! [Holding up a mug of black coffee] ... Cheers!


I think you are going to be my new best friend! :wink:

I am following a regular food day today and will then fast on Friday. I think this is going to be one of those weeks that I get in 2 fasts instead of three! But that's ok too! And I did fast from Tuesday evening at 6pm until Wednesday evening at 6pm, so I guess if I'm looking at the 24 hour window for my fast instead of a full calendar day (which encompasses two nights), then I really did successfully fast yesterday, giving my 3 fasts this week! :wink: I'll take it! ...cheers! (holding up my plain green tea!)
floyd wrote: I'm also new here, hello everybody.

I've been on a 4:3 diet for about 8 months now (I started immediately I saw the Horizon), with no food on fast days. I've lost nearly 60lbs (18->14 stone) over this time.

I went the complete fast route because of my tendency to binge and I doubted my ability to limit myself to a small amount of food. I foresaw a lot of fast days turning into feast days. Cutting food out completely, for me at least, makes the diet much easier to stick to.

Sometimes I feel a bit weak and low on energy on fast days though strangely I'm getting to like the sensation of feeling hungry. I intended to use 4:3 to get into shape and change to 5:2 for maintenance. Now I think I'll probably stick to 4:3 though be a bit more relaxed about skipping, rather than rescheduling, the occasional fast.


Floyd we are so much alike and have plans to follow a similar routine / stucture with the 4:3, complete fast, tendency to binge, relaxed on the occasional fast skip... I look forward to reading your posts and sharing experiences with you. If anyone else is following along a similar path -- please let me know! There is support (and success! :smile: ) in numbers! I need like-minded 'friends' to help keep me on track with this and get me through the tough times! And will hopefully do the same for you! :heart:
Hi, and welcome!

It's interesting that there are so many ways to do intermittent fasting. Right now I'm just keeping it simple. After diet failures of over 40 years, when I first heard about the concept of just two days of 500 cals and the rest eating normally, something immediately clicked for me. I've lost 7.5 lbs. in four weeks, and have no desire to change what I'm doing. If it ain't broken, why fix it? If I stall down the road, I'll tweak what I'm doing in some way, but I'll never stop 5:2! But we all have to find what works for us.

You will love this forum. Everyone is just so friendly.
Unlike you I do eat on fast days, but I am doing 4:3 and I do have a 7-8 hour feeding window. I find the window helps prevent most ( not all! ) binging. I have been doing one form or another of intermittent fasting since June 2012. Have lost weight but don't know how much as I'm a slow loser and avoid the scales. I am happiest on 5:2/4:3 mainly because of the wonderful support system that is this forum. Welcome.
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