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Don't yet, I mean... :wink:

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.

  1. 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 :oops: )
    • 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!
  2. 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]
  3. 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
    • IGFBP-3
If you do get some (or all) of these numbers, then after you have followed 5:2 for a period of 3 or 6 months and have them re-measured you should get a warm glow knowing (really knowing, not just feeling) how much healthier you are.

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! :smile:

P.S. I'm happy to correct or add to the above list as advised...
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I had loads of blood tests done last June or July, not long before I started 5:2. I guess I could try to find an excuse to see the doctor and ask if I can get them re-tested!
You are bound to attract a lot of views with this title Dominic :) and your thread contains great information.

I would add to measure each thigh, as well. New 5:2'ers will be amazed how quickly they shrink!
@Moogie: yes, go for it!

@Kelly: thanks for the thanks and for the suggestion, I've added thighs now...
I like the thought that the body of evidence would be the evidence from our bodies...
I wish I had taken the other measurements before starting - I only have weight and parkrun times to judge progress by...

Edit: And one blood test done after a month (7th Mar) - there will be another one soon, hopefully.
Well, I know my height, I weigh meself daily, I do blood tests every 3 months and my mum measures my blood pressure from time to time.
Inch-wise, I trust my clothes!
I'm not very good, am I? ;-)
Good post title :like:

This is the first time that I have ever measured up before starting a new way of eating or exercise programme, other than when I belonged to a private gym and they took all sorts of measurements including back fat (with callipers) - back then I remember being thrilled to see the changes, and this time around after less than two week I'm just as thrilled :grin: I've lost 2" off my waist and 1" off my hips already, and 1/2 off my neck. Never even measured my neck belfr and I know its more of a guy thing, but I'm kind of hoping it will prove a reflection on how my double chin is shrinking, and my fitness pal asked for it LOL.

... Wanders off to measure thunder thighs...
TML13 wrote: Well, I know my height, I weigh meself daily, I do blood tests every 3 months and my mum measures my blood pressure from time to time.
Inch-wise, I trust my clothes!
I'm not very good, am I? ;-)


Better than I am, so far, TML13! :oops: I know my height and weighed myself at the beginning (22 Feb). Measured myself at the start of April and that's it.

Still, I've got a Health Check at work next week for BP, Body Composition, Blood Analysis, Cholesterol etc, so will use those measurements as a baseline.

Not quite the same as doing this before I started, but I'm not so far in that there shouldn't be measurable results.

I hope :pray:
Yep, good title and excellent advice, Dominic. :like:
Wish I'd taken more measurements than I did at the start - I just did weight & waist. I certainly think my bum is smaller now but I didn't record what it was....!
Think I will take some interim measurements this weekend and record from here.
Onwards & downwards. :wink:
basketcase wrote:
TML13 wrote: Well, I know my height, I weigh meself daily, I do blood tests every 3 months and my mum measures my blood pressure from time to time.
Inch-wise, I trust my clothes!
I'm not very good, am I? ;-)


Better than I am, so far, TML13! :oops: I know my height and weighed myself at the beginning (22 Feb). Measured myself at the start of April and that's it.

Still, I've got a Health Check at work next week for BP, Body Composition, Blood Analysis, Cholesterol etc, so will use those measurements as a baseline.

Not quite the same as doing this before I started, but I'm not so far in that there shouldn't be measurable results.

I hope :pray:


I say, if we're healthy and thin during and after 5:2, who cares what happened before? We're new, we're fun, we're better!!!
Pharmacies in the UK offer some of the tests (blood sugar, cholesterol) either for a modest fee or sometimes free as part of a promotion (eg Flora cholesterol tests in Sainsbury's), Asda free diabetes risk assessment etc.
I didn't do any measurements beyond measuring my waist and weight (and even weight was done after my first week of fasting). Part of me regrets not doing what you suggest, Dominic, and Dr. MM suggested doing it in the interview that I heard that kicked all this off for me. But I knew if I didn't jump right into 5:2 I wouldn't ever start.
This is one of the few times I will actually have a full battery of results from before I start. I had blood tests done in March, and did a whole body set of measurements then as well. I didn't have the list from #3 done, but I feel confident that if all else improves those will as well.
Well awesome! Part of the reason I'm starting the 5:2 (today was my first fast day) is because I just had a health issue and because I have PCOS my doctor did have me do a blood panel and I do have some (not all) of those numbers... from yesterday. :) So I can do this...

Only I probably won't check again in three to six months. Because I just don't have a lot of money. But they recommend people with PCOS do a blood panel yearly, so maybe next year and I can share it with you all then!
Great post Dominic! We need to keep bumping it up the new posts chart...

I wish I'd thought to measure my midriff - I mean a bit below my boobs, but higher than my 'waist', because my spare midriff tyre is the most uncomfortable part of me. I measured at the weekend so I have a new starting point for there. I wish I could prove to myself that I've already lost a bit over my first three weeks, even though I think I have! How silly!
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