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Benefits & Side Effects

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I have a lot to lose and am on 45lb loss so far. So imagine my irritation when I found that I had to shift the armpit wrinkles around to be able to shave under my arms.
I really, really, really wish 5:2 had been around when I was much younger and desperately trying to lose weight. I could have avoided so much increase in weight and subsequent saggy skin. Its only going to get worse as the other two thirds comes off.
I have breakfast and dinner when I fast for a total of 500 calories. Except for a few rumblings around lunch time, I honestly feel pretty good. I do find it a little harder to work a long day if it's a fast day. So, I try to get home at a reasonable time on fast days. I've only exercised once on a fast day. I did it after breakfast and still felt fine!
I've been doing 5.2 since June last year, though I have had a couple of breaks from it for various reasons. Although in general I am pleased with this as a WOL (I really don't believe in diets) I echo the comments about feeling cold on fast days. Also, wishing away the evening is a bit of a shame. Generally about 9pm I start wanting the freedom of a non fast day! One of my main coping mechanisms for this has been to make my next day breakfast. On occaision this has been pancake batter (made from oats, banana, egg and milk), but tonight it was Jack Monroe's 'bircher musli' recipe. On the plus side this speeds up my mornings. Anyone else make tommorrow's breakfast on a fast dat?
skippyscuffleton wrote: Following on from the NHS article on IF and their weak list of side effects I think it would be useful to have a thread that lists IF practitioners negative experiences.

Before stating any side effects it’s worth providing a bit of detail on what IF entails for you. As you can see from my profile details on the left I have been IFing since late august last year. I 5:2 and throw in the odd day where I refrain from eating anything between b’fast and dinner. After 10 weeks or so I changed my fast days into pure fasting so ate nothing from b’fast thru till b’fast the next day. On most fast days I manage to get in an hour of road cycling or swimming and exercise regularly on non fast days too.

My list of negative side effects/experiences are:

Feeling cold Not surprisingly the winter has really exacerbated this and I now no longer fast for a full 24hrs on fast days, instead have a couple of bowls of veg soup in the evening to help combat the cold.

Irritable/snappy Experience this sometimes on the evening of a fast day.

Cramp Have experienced this some nights after fasting and exercising. Can remedy by eating a little table salt, if I remember.

Dizziness Have experienced this a few times this side of xmas, when standing up after sitting. I presume it’s linked to low blood pressure.

Decline in enjoyment of exercise Many people say that they have no problem exercising with fasting. Not so for me, I find it noticeably harder, but still doable. Over xmas I ate normally (excessively) for 10 days and noticed a real positive difference in the way I felt when exercising both on longish bike rides and when doing sprints in the pool.

Overcompensate on confectionary on feed days I don’t keep a food diary of what I consume but my feeling is that I over compensate on choc, biscuits, ice cream on feed days. This may also be more noticeable now that we are in the middle of winter, so SAD influence creeps in?

Increased bilirubin count My bilirubin count has always been high, circa 30umol/L. After 10 weeks or so of IF and after fasting for 24 hrs I had a blood test and bilirubin count clocked in at 77umol/L. This has no perceivable effect on my everyday living but I think is an interesting observation.

I hope this all doesn't read as being too negative. I still believe that it's worth continuing with 5:2ing. ;)


It's now roughly 2 years since i started this WOE and I thought it would be worth posting what are my current negative experiences.

I'm happy to say there is only really one downside for me and that is the occasional bout of night time cramp, usually in calves or feet especially after days of long aerobic exercise. I suspect caused by electrolyte imbalance (not enough salt intake) but who knows? I often eat salt on fast days and sometimes drink diluted apple cider vinegar, but still a side effect I could do without.

I would also be interested to have another post fasting blood test to see what my bilirubin count is as 2 yrs ago it was rather high.

Thanks to all who have posted replies, they all make for interesting reading.
skippyscuffleton wrote: ...
I'm happy to say there is only really one downside for me and that is the occasional bout of night time cramp, usually in calves or feet especially after days of long aerobic exercise. I suspect caused by electrolyte imbalance (not enough salt intake) but who knows? I often eat salt on fast days and sometimes drink diluted apple cider vinegar, but still a side effect I could do without.



Low electrolytes (salt) is one possibility. After a particularly physical day, I've found that careful static stretching in the evening of the exercised muscles does wonders for getting rid of the night time aches and cramps. Everything will usually feel much better with just a few minutes effort.

Also, FWIW, here's relevant text regarding muscle cramps from page 244 of Volek/Phinney's book: "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living":

"So here's the shortcut to ending most nocturnal or post-exercise muscle
cramps. Take 3 slow-release magnesium tablets daily for 20 days. The
proprietary brand-name product is 'Slow-Mag", but there are a number
of equally effective generics at a fraction of the brand-name price (eg.,
Mag-64* or Mag-Delay'). Most people's cramps cease within 2 weeks
of starting 'Slow-Mag", but you should continue to take the full 20-day.
course (60 tabs per bottle at 3 per day lasts 20 days). If the cramps re-
turn, do it again, and then continue taking one tab per day If the cramps
return, take 2 tabs per day Most people can be titrated to remain cramp-
free by this method. Why use a more expensive slow-release magnesium
preparation like Slow-Mag"? Because magnesium oxide preparations like
milk of magnesia cause diarrhea, passing through the small bowel before
they can be effectively absorbed.

WARNING: The only contraindication to oral magnesium supplement
is severe renal failure (e.g., a GFR < 30). If you have any history of kidney
problems or known loss of kidney function check with your doctor before
taking Slow-Mag" or its generic equivalents."

Worth a try either way.
Having just read this thread from start to finish I am feeling very blessed here - not having suffered most of the side effects others have - apart from maybe feeling a bit cold sometimes. I hope everyone perseveres and works out the solutions to their problems :oops:
Hey,
Wondering if anyone is in similar situation. I am new to 5:2 and a mother looking after 2 little toddlers and on 5:2 and I find myself getting irritable with them on fast days. I fast breakfast, lunch and eat 400 cals for dinner plus 3x tea and apple/cup soup in day. It makes me feel sad that I get irritable and can't concentrate on much except getting through to the end of the day. It makes me question doing it as I should be positively interacting with my girls. I am hoping that this will improve with time.... I also think that I seriously get exhausted running around after my twins all day. I have put 'light activity' down on my tracker but wonder if this is a bit off.
On the huge plus side, I have cut down my drinking loads, lost 3lbs straight off, 3 inches off my waist and I am eating and sleeping better generally and otherwise feel great on 'feast' days . Thanks for any input :-)
Viki x wrote: Hey,
Wondering if anyone is in similar situation. I am new to 5:2 and a mother looking after 2 little toddlers and on 5:2 and I find myself getting irritable with them on fast days. I fast breakfast, lunch and eat 400 cals for dinner plus 3x tea and apple/cup soup in day. It makes me feel sad that I get irritable and can't concentrate on much except getting through to the end of the day. It makes me question doing it as I should be positively interacting with my girls. I am hoping that this will improve with time.... Thanks for any input :-)


Hi Viki,

I'm not sure how long you've been doing this, but I think the irritability does reduce with time/fast experience. I still have the occasionally slightly crabbier day, but generally I don't think there's any difference in my mood. I find on a busy day in the office, I don't notice much difference between fast and feed. I do notice sometimes on a slower day, I might take less initiative in starting non-essential tasks and can space out a bit more. I'm trying to just be a bit more disciplined there.
I'd give it a couple months and see if you notice an improvement in the way you feel/behave on fast day.
I agree that there is an adaptation period after which you should feel much better.

I have got to the point where I can go to the grocery store on a fast day without it being a problem, even. The biggest problem I encounter now that I am adapted to fasting is boredom. If I don't have a project to work on, the hours can stretch out and it can seem like a million years until dinner. But when I'm busy, I may even forget to eat when dinner time rolls around.

With toddlers, you are always busy, so over time you should find fasting much easier.
Another comment to add: although many people find it easiest to not eat anything through to dinner, I can't manage it, I tend to start feeling very ill. It might just be my body type, or that I do quite a lot of exercise.
As you are probably using lots of energy looking after your little people, you might need more fuel earlier in the day
You lunch time apple might be making you hungrier as well, by spiking your insulin, you might try replacing those calories with protein (like an egg, or a can of tuna)

I tend to eat:
(I wait as long as possible)
around 10-11 am ( whenever I start feeling very bad) 1 egg (75 cals)
around 2-3 pm ( ") 2nd egg (75 cals)
around 3-4pm miso soup with handful of baby spinach leaves (35 cals)
(Do a big run and weights workout to fill time)

around 7:30 250-300 calorie soup with lots of fresh veg/tofu/prawns/other protein (100-150 cals from protein)

before bed: almond milk with stevia cocoa power (50 cals) (if desired, and calories remain)
nznicole wrote: Another comment to add: although many people find it easiest to not eat anything through to dinner, I can't manage it, I tend to start feeling very ill. It might just be my body type, or that I do quite a lot of exercise.
As you are probably using lots of energy looking after your little people, you might need more fuel earlier in the day
You lunch time apple might be making you hungrier as well, by spiking your insulin, you might try replacing those calories with protein (like an egg, or a can of tuna)

I tend to eat:
(I wait as long as possible)
around 10-11 am ( whenever I start feeling very bad) 1 egg (75 cals)
around 2-3 pm ( ") 2nd egg (75 cals)
around 3-4pm miso soup with handful of baby spinach leaves (35 cals)
(Do a big run and weights workout to fill time)

around 7:30 250-300 calorie soup with lots of fresh veg/tofu/prawns/other protein (100-150 cals from protein)

before bed: almond milk with stevia cocoa power (50 cals) (if desired, and calories remain)


I tried the egg thang yesterday and worked well. That, at 1pm with a bit of cottage cheese. (light Aldi brand.. not the thick sickening Dairy farmers one). Never particularly hungry but i do tend to drink too much coffee of fast days. Its a comforting thing, like tea is to some when im at my desk.. I think fast days are easier if one is active in the garden and as i dont really garden for lengthy times till a weekend and cause i dont fast on a weekend, i dont get that benefit.
A few questions and hope am not repeating anything that might have been mentioned further back :

1. Having fasted during the day, I go to bed but seem to spend half the night getting up to go to the loo to wee. I do get some sleep in between, but always tend to wake up much earlier than usual. But its the frequent trips to the loo I am wondering about, does anyone else have this?

2. The day AFTER fasting, I seem to always have a runny tummy after I have eaten. Normal? Maybe I just have a very sensitive system!
I definitely pee a lot more during the day on fast days, but luckily it hasn't disrupted my sleep (I get up maybe once in the night, but sometimes also on non-fast days). As for the sensitive tummy the day after, this definitely happens to me sometimes, though, thankfully maybe only 10-20% of the time.
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Hi
I used a lot of trouble getting to sleep on a fast day. But now I save my 500 cals for a meal before bedtime and find I'm fine. It also means I have a longer fast. I'm combining 16 8 combined with 4 3 (Fast Mon, Wed and Fri and 16 8 the rest of the week).
Hi Viki, I used to fast until dinner time too but now I find that having a small protein filled snack at lunch time really helps with my mood (I get properly hangry on fast days even after two years on 5:2 but it's a running joke in our house now that when I snap I'm just hangry). Carrot sticks with a tablespoon of hummous or cottage cheese is enough to see me through. Well done on your great start :-)
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