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5:2 Diet 'Rules' & Variations

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Which meals do you usually have on a fast day?

Breakfast, lunch and evening meal
Breakfast and evening meal
Breakfast and lunch
Lunch and evening meal
Evening meal only
Lunch only
Breakfast only
No meals
No Snacks
Total votes : 987

It's frustrating that we know so little. The theory suggests that longer is better but theories have been wrong. In the end it is what works best for you is best because, if you can't sustain the way of life, the theory is irrelevant.

More and more people are finding that 18-24 hours works best for them anyway...
Just evening meal and coffee all day.
Yesterday was my 9th day of 5-2 fasting. Am I doing it right since I am loosing only less than half a pound per fast day.I know it is still a loss.
On feast days I consume 1200+/-100 cals.I have a meal at 7pm on the evening before a fast and during the fast day have 5 cups of tea with skimmed milk totalling 50 calories and one sachet of miso soup until 7pm. At 7pm I have a meal of about 500 calories. I do find it easy not to consume food on fast days. However, I have a lot of weight to loose and would like to speed up the weight loss. I do intensive Yoga for one hour twice a week.
IS there anyone out there on the forum who has speeded up the weight loss or am I not doing it right?
Hi Dharako

1lb a week (i.e. half a pound per fast day) is the average weight loss of all the people tracking progress on the progress tracker (have a look yourself!), so you are doing just fine.

I have to say though that if 1200 cals on feast days represents your TDEE you should only be having 300 on a fast day. I would be amazed if 1200 is really your TDEE, especially if you are exercising, so I think you should eat more on a feast day. At 1200 you are likely to be slowing your metabolism and that will slow the weight loss. It is recommended not to go down below 1200 on a calorie restricted diet and on feast days you are not supposed to be restricting. You are only meant to be dieting two days a week not 7!

There are links to TDEE calculators in the FAQ (link to FAQ in my signature below). Work out yours and then make sure to eat to within about 20% of TDEE (+ or -) on feast days and a quarter of that on fast days.
I started on a fruit breakfast, a low cal soup lunch and a 300 ish cal dinner, mainly I think because I was afraid of committing to not having anything in the morning.
After 7 fasts I know I don;t need to eat in the morning and have my soup around 14.00, then dinner.
The only snack I have is a cup of Chicken Bovril (14 cals) late morning and a cup of low cal hot chocolate at bedtime

Sian :)
I'm new to this but my instinct is that any food makes me want more, so I've done 2 fast days so far, both with evening meal only & (as long as I drink water every time I'm peckish, which can't be bad!) and so far it's not been too difficult
I'm brand new, with only one fast day under my belt, so to speak, so I can't say what I usually do. My plan, however, is to have lunch and dinner on fast days until I feel that I've settled in, and then switch to all calories at dinner.
I started by having 3 meals & snack now down to 2 & snack lunch (weight watchers soup) snack yesterday I had melon & chicken bites about 5 as I had metafit! Then 2 poached eggs when I came home with a slice of toast! :-)
find the longer I leave to eat the easier it is! plan to take salad in summer but for now the soup is very filling! :-) x
3 fast days now and I find it easier to have nothing until my evening meal. I drink lots of black tea and water.
I would say that most of the time I do evening meal only, but about one third of the time I go for a soup (a120 cals ish) for lunch - all depends on what I'm doing and how I feel.

Interesting to see how it breaks down :) - nice one Caroline!
I've been doing this for about 3 weeks now, and not really seen any weight loss. On fast days I use about 200 cal throughout the day on milk for coffee and tea which I find makes the fast very bearable and then have a 200 cal meal of veg curry in the evening. I'm wondering if the milk in tea and coffee are stopping the fasting - I would find the diet really hard without this though! Any thoughts on this? Thanks
It's more likely the non fast days I would think. Although the milk is not ideal, add long as you are counting its calories it should not make much difference. I would check your TDEE (link in FAQ) and tot up your feed day cals and see what kind of calorie reduction you are achieving. This gives you an idea of how much weight you should be losing (a deficit of 3500 cals is needed to lose a pound of fat, roughly).
There is no doubt I eat with gusto on the feed days! However, I understood that was the point; eat what you like on the feed days. I thought in trials that the group that ate high sugar/fat showed similar losses to those who ate more healthily and moderately on the feed days.
Well yes, but the trials were of alternate day fasting so that creates a much bigger calorie reduction in that the subjects would have to eaten 175% of their normal daily calorie requirement on feed days in order to compensate for the fast days. Because we are only fasting twice a week, it is much easier to end up compensating for the fast days. If you do the maths assuming you are an average woman and your daily calorie requirement is 2000 cals (i.e., 14000 per week), then the reduction in calories over the week on 5:2 is 3000 cals, so if you were to eat 2600 cals on feed days instead of 2000 you will cancel the fast day reduction out and not lose weight. So, you can eat what you like but not necessarily as much as you like!

Most people find that the appetite reduction they get from fasting means that they don't overeat at least on the first feed day after a fast anyway. It can take a while for this appetite reduction to kick in though. It took me a long while to work out that the stomach discomfort I was feeling on the first feed day was due to overeating :roll:. The problem was that my brain was used to seeing a certain portion size for breakfast and so I was putting the same amount as before into my breakfast bowl and then wondering why my stomach hurt! Now I reduce my breakfast by about a third and all is comfortable.

However, having said all that, the natural day to day variation in weight that you can get anyway is pretty big so that you could appear not to have lost any weight over the 3 weeks when in fact there is an underlying fat loss that is not showing on the scales. Remember the average loss per week is only 1lb so even if you have lost 3lb, your scale weight can vary by more than this daily anyway.

So here are some things you can do:
1) measure your waist (and other bits too if you like) and see if there is any change there
2) work out your TDEE (links in the FAQ) to find out what your feed day cals should probably look like
3) make a rough calculation of your feed day cals and see if there is a big difference from the TDEE calculation and if so try to cut down a bit on feed days
4) wait another 3 weeks and see where you are then.
Thanks very much - great information. :-)
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