Well that's me 6 months since starting the 5:2 regime.

I think it’s fair to say that the rate of weight loss has declined significantly since the quarterly update back in November.

http://boards.fool.co.uk/one-whole-quar ... e#12694306

In November, after 3 moths on the regime at 12st 9 (177lbs)

I think I can put this down to a few things.

1. The weight loss at the beginning of any diet process is always quicker.
2. Christmas. I put ON 3 pounds over the period (despite managing to get a couple of fasts in)
3. Lack of exercise. Apart from walking, I have done little or no exercise. Mainly because it’s flippin' freezing outside.

The Pre 5:2 days....

About 3 years ago I peaked around 15 stone – not super heavy, but enough to make a man in his mid 40’s think seriously about cholesterol, diabetes & heart attacks – the kind of things that you read about, but just didn’t bother you were you were in your invincible 20’s.

In your 40’s though, couch potato-ism is a growing part of life. 100’s channels of rubbish on the telly (apart from the odd episode of Horizon), internet from your armchair and permanently crap weather see to that. Add in food adverts flying at you from every direction and cheap supermarket alcohol and little by little it all leads to eating for the sake of eating and tipping yourself a glass of something fruity just out of pure habit (or boredom)

Consumption creep, that’s what I call it.

In my 20’s the weight never stayed on, but now I’m in my forties it never comes off. The thing is, I liked my food and wine too much to diet, so I tried exercise to try and lose some timber – particularly cycling, which I really enjoy. The problem with that approach is that it takes a LOT of exercise to burn off even the most trivial of snacks. Oh I tried cutting down, but it doesn’t last long - these things never do. Daily cycling through some pretty awful weather did take a bit of blubber off and I managed to get down to around 14 stone, where I had been for over a year.

Then I watched ‘Eat, Fast & Live Longer’ and I reckoned that suited my extremely short periods of willpower. It appealed to me pretty much in the same way as everyone else. It looked do-able.

Vital Statistics

So, some stats since starting the 5:2 on August the 14th 2012

53 = number of fasts/calorie restricted days completed

Starting weight (Start August 2012) = 196 lbs (14st)
Current weight (Today) = 171 lbs (12st 3lbs)
Weight Loss = 25 lbs

BMI (Start August 2012) = 28 (Overweight)
BMI (today) = 24.4 (Normal)

Calories NOT consumed in 6 months of 5:2 = One HUNDRED thousand and 700 (or 40 whole days worth of food – gulp!)

5.25 = inches off the waist

Body Mass Index – Whatever you think of the BMI calculation I think for ordinary proportioned folk it’s a reasonable benchmark. Mine has crept down from 28 to 24.6 over the past 6 months. In other words, I’ve gone from the top end of the ‘Overweight’ section to the top end of the ‘Normal’ section

Belt holes: A far more visual example of the weight loss is my belt. When I started, I was on the last notch and now I’m on the first notch. That’s a difference of 5 and a quarter inches off the waist (see pic). I'm now a tight-ish 32, or a 33. So now 2 x my waist is easily less than my height.

https://twitter.com/Snorvey/status/3023 ... 97/photo/1

Now where is that hole punch, I may well be needing it before too long.....

Shopping bills. Well they’re certainly lower. I hadn’t even thought about it until someone mentioned it elsewhere, but at a rough guesstimate, they’re around 15% lower. A projected amount of 395000 calories of food not eaten per annum (between 2 of us - the wife is (sort of) following the 5:2 as well) would add up to a fair bit of money if you add it up over the year.

Exercise. In the first 3 months to November I was doing 10 mile fast day time trials on a cycle trainer in the garage. My God it was tough, but it probably contributed to the accelerated initial weight loss. That pretty much petered out as the temperature dropped, but I’m get back on the bike this weekend hopefully. Presently, I like to get out for a walk at lunchtimes as I spend most of my days sitting looking at a screen, so it’s pretty much become an essential part of the day. Even without any exercise, it’s extremely encouraging to note that between Christmas and now I’ve continued to lose weight (albeit at a slower rate), so when the finer, more active weather does eventually arrive I’ll be much fitter for it.

tis the season to be merry...tra-la-la-la-la.... Just a quick note about Christmas. A 5:2 regime is difficult to follow over the festive period, so you have to fit it in when you can. I fasted (600 cals) on the 23rd and the 27th of December (the 27th was brilliant after all that gluttony). On the 3rd of January because we were going out for dinner, I did a 10pm through to 7pm ‘liquid only’ fast. Needless to say I had put on 3 pounds by the time I resumed the 5:2 properly on the 7th – purely down to the sheer weight of consumption and inactivity over the festive period.

Asthma Ah….the other great 5:2 success. I’ve had asthma since before I went to primary school – that’s over forty years ago. Now the condition was definitely worse as a child, but less so as an adult, however here I am basically on the same treatment that I’ve been on for decades – i.e. a little blue Ventolin inhaler (taken along with 2 other daily preventative treatments. Since from about month 2 of the 5:2 I have stopped taking one of the preventative treatments entirely and the other I have halved the daily dose.

The traditional blue inhaler

In my opinion, blue inhalers are habit forming and also a great comfort blanket. Sometime the mere realization that you’ve forgotten the thing brings a tightness in the chest, so breaking the habit of the puffer can be difficult. Occasionally, I take a puff in advance of doing something, whether I need it or not and sometimes I take a puff for the hell of it.

The 5:2 regime has changed all that. At first, I didn’t realize that I had reduced my usage until after I renewed my prescription late last Autumn – it was that subtle. Of the 2 ‘blues’ supplied at that time no.1 is about to run out, so I changed it for a new one on February the 1s and I’m now doing a proper ‘endurance’ test (i.e. no unnecessary ‘comfort’ puffs). I also have an annual visit to the asthma clinic due soon, so we’ll see what they say then. The bottom line is that I have reduced usage by at LEAST 95% and I could probably eliminate it entirely with a bit is discipline.

Pre FAST Preparation

You really need the right mental approach for a fast day. Do that and it’s really quite easy.

After all, it’s only a day. Surely you can manage ONE day you pussy? It’s not even a whole day without any food whatsoever – you still get fresh fruit, vegetables, water, coffee AND a blimmin’ hot chocolate before bedtime! There are literally millions of folk on the planet who have to survive on a daily basis on a lot less than you have to on one fast day.

One day. C'mon, this really is not a problem. Say it again. THIS is NOT a PROBLEM.

Most of my fast days are Mondays and Thursdays. I like Mondays the best because I always over consume at the weekend. I like Thursdays because it fits in with what I do and it prepares me in advance of the weekend.

The Night before…

I do find it makes the fast day a lot easier if you have a bit of a snack attack around 10 ish the night before a fast. Plain ordinary Cheddar Cheese and biscuits - something like Riveta ‘Thins’ (or similar) or a couple of Weetabix & semi skimmed makes it quite easy for me to fast through to midday the next day.

The FAST Day

What I need…..

Vitamin D Ok, Vit D isn’t a food and I don’t know if this does actually suppress appetite but some reports say it does. I’m taking it anyway because Scotland doesn’t see much sun for…well….ever. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but I really don’t feel hungry for quite a way into the day if I take a couple of Vit D tablets first thing in the morning.

Aspirin Fasting can give you the odd ache and pain during the day. I find a taking couple of aspirin works wonders.

The 600 calories….

Different people have different approaches to a fast day. I’ve tried most of them and I’ve settled on the full fast (liquid only) from 10.30pm ish the previous night to at least 12.30pm on the fast day with only a black coffee or 2 and tap water in the morning.

At lunchtime I have an apple. Apples are great. I’ve read some research that suggests that the way in which apples break down in your stomach gives you a feeling of fullness for longer. Whether that’s true or not, I dunno. It seems to work for me though and they’re good for you. I then walk down to M&S (minus 200 cals for the walk!) to pick up my evening meal. The walk, apart from anything, takes my mind of eating and gives me some fresh air and a change of scenery.

I know some do, but I really can’t be bothered with extensive food preparation on a fast day, but I do want something flavoursome and filling. M&S are way out in front here with their pre prepared meals and it’s worth the extra quid or two when you only have 250 calories to play with. M&S also do the calorie counting for you, so you can't really go wrong with your count for the day.

Normally, I pick up around 250-300 cals worth of dinner in a variety of combinations. Cabbage Medley with baby potatoes and little carrots come in at around 250cals and is very filling, tasty and microwavable in a few minutes. M&S do a great range of little packets of vegetables that take only a minute in the microwave for only around 25 calories each. I also love their vegetarian mushroom bake (280 cals),

When I get in from work I have another apple straightaway. I find this allows me to ‘kick the hunger can down the road’ for another hour or two.

Around 7-ish I have my main meal (250 cals) and at around 9 I have some broccoli or asparagus spears, zapped in the microwave and lightly salted. I’ve found this snack such a tasty alternative to, say Monster Munch, that I’ve started eating it outwith fast days too.

Around 10 I have a low cal hot choc with a packet of diet crisps. My treat for the day. If I don’t have crisps I might have a boiled egg (very filling). You just don’t want to go to sleep starving of hunger.

Other Fine Fast Day Filling Fayre

Weetabix. 2 Weetabix and a small splash of semi skimmed is 190 calories. Weetabix is another brilliant filler upper and occasionally I’ve eaten it on a fast day as a replacement for some of the above. I’ve also eaten it on the night before a fast day too. Very effective.

Water. Not much to say about the ol’ H2O except drink it. I’ve found there’s loads of it in the tap - for free!

The whole point is, that on a fast day, the food is basic and filling.


It can be difficult to get to sleep at the end of a fast day. I think maybe I drank too much water and black coffee because I nearly always have to get up to go to the loo in the middle of the night. Saying that, I’ve always felt quite refreshed in the morning post fast day, regardless of the fitfulness of the sleep. I’ve reduced the liquid intake after 7pm and the issue and the sleep has improved markedly.

Other things...

Keep busy. Do something. Do NOT sit there and think about how hungry you are. Go for a walk. If you must eat, bung a small pack of M&S veg into the microwave and nibble on that. 20 cals of veg goes a very long way.

Some folk feel the cold more. I’d say that’s a fair point. Cold feet sometime bother me, particularly when sitting watching the telly. I scoffed when the missus bought me one of these from Lidl…

http://lidl.co.uk/static_content/lidl_u ... 3_01_b.jpg

….but now I think it’s the greatest thing ever. Just remember to hide it if your mates come round or you’ll be subject to ‘grandad’ joke for the rest of your natural.

The next day: None of the expected wallowing in a sea of triple cheese Maccy D’s and McFlurries.

A few bits of dried fruit (apricots or apple) when I get up in the morning then a couple of weetabix return me pretty much to normal. Typically I have an apple for lunch and a ‘normal’ dinner that night.

Alcohol In common with much of Britain, alcohol, particularly wine, is a growing part of my everyday life. It’s sooo cheap and tasty and I really ‘need’ a glass to wind down (I don’t really, I’ve just convinced myself I do). In my early days of 5:2 ing, I did actually give food up to fit in a small glass of wine at the end of the day. I’ve given that up now – I’d rather have useful calories by way of some veg. So now I have 2 days a week of abstinence and because of that abstinence my unit count is now below that which is the recommended maximum for the week.

The next day after that…and after that…

Where to go from here? Well, I’m sticking with the 5:2 for the foreseeable future and beyond. Originally, I thought I’d like to go on a 5:1+1 (the +1 being a 8 or 900 calorie day but still with no alcohol), but now the 5:2 is such an integral part of my weekly routine, I think I'd really miss it if I stopped now.

For non fast days, things have changed too. We have bought smaller dinner plates and smaller (125ml) wine glasses and this seems to kid the mind into thinking your getting a great big helping when in reality your consuming about a third less than you were previously.

In conclusion

As Dr M said at the end of 'Eat, Fast and Live Longer'......I feel great. One client whom I hadn't seen for nearly a year said the difference was 'remarkable' – and he had no idea I was on any kind of diet. Many others have commented positively.

….And yet it doesn't feel as if I've been on a diet.

Quite remarkable.