If you are thinking of starting 5:2 and haven't yet started, and especially if you are interested in the health benefits, please do consider having your vital statistics measured before you start. The more data you have about your body before you start, the clearer it will be to you later about the progress you have made in improving not only your weight but also your overall health markers.
Some of these measurements you can do yourself, others might be available from your local doctor, a few might be harder or more expensive to obtain.
- Firstly, the ones you can do yourself:
- weight (of course, but you'd be surprised how many don't take a precise measurement at the start - me included )
- height - 5:2 fasting won't change this of course, but it is needed for some other measures including BMI
- waist (easiest is to measure round your tummy button i.e. the narrowest point) - this is arguably even more important than weight because visceral fat is the dangerous stuff - the ratio waist/height (WHtR) should be below 0.5
- hips (usually measure the widest point around your buttocks just above the tops of the thighs) - waist/hips (WHR) is another health indicator: should be below 1 for a man and below 0.8 for a woman
- neck - if you are proud of your bull neck you might want to think twice about fasting...
- thighs - this is more of a vanity measure for the girls, because 'thunder thighs' are not in themselves unhealthy, but you still might like to have the numbers that prove they are going, going, gone...
- photos - maybe having an illustrated record of your present inglorious state might not appeal, but think how happy you will be to compare it with your slighter self in a few months time. If possible have a photo taken that can be repeated later to show your change for the better!
- Next, the ones your local doctor's surgery can do, maybe free in UK:
- body fat percentage (if you have the right type of scales you may be able to measure this yourself) - usually a man should be not over 25% and a woman not over 30%
- blood pressure (again if you have your own monitor you can measure this yourself - under 120/80 is considered good)
- fasting glucose (a measure of overall fitness and a predictor of future health, including risk of developing diabetes)
- triglycerides (a fat in the blood, high levels are associated with increased risk of heart disease)
- HDL and LDL cholesterol [HDL/(HDL+LDL) is a measure of heart disease risk - over 20% is good]
- Lastly, the ones you might have to go elsewhere for, and might cost more - for real enthusiasts only:
- Insulin sensitivity
- Total IGF-1 (aka somatomedin-C)
- Free/Active IGF-1
And you will perform a valuable service here if you let us know too. Many of us are following this way of eating in the hope (and expectation) of better health, but lack our own personal evidence, because we didn't have your foresight. Your figures will help the community here and add to the body of evidence about the health benefits of 5:2 fasting.
So, thank you in advance!
P.S. I'm happy to correct or add to the above list as advised...