The 5:2 diet sounds great. You can eat near enough anything you like most of the week so long as you fast for 2 days each week. Your fasting days shouldn’t be back-to-back and should be limited to 500 calories if you’re female, 600 calories if you’re male.
The trouble is that human nature can get in the way and we let ourselves get tempted, even though we know we’ve only got to be “good” for 2 days a week.
The first thing to do is make sure you’ve got your recipes worked out for the two days that you’re going to fast.
Fortunately fast doesn’t mean give up food entirely.
You’ve got an allowance of 500 calories on each fast day if you’re female or a slightly more generous 600 calories if you’re male. Which is a bit sexist but it’s based on our biological needs so there’s not much we can do about that.
Once you’ve got over the initial shock, it’s not too difficult to build up a diet plan that’s at least liveable with for the two days you’ll be fasting.
I find it easiest to skip breakfast entirely – apart from a cup of black coffee or a mug of tea (my preference is fruit tea but green tea or regular tea work just as well, so long as you don’t add sugar or milk).
Keep drinking plenty of fluid – a lot of our hunger symptoms can be diminished or removed entirely with a big drink of water.
Another part of the trick is to cut out empty calories.
That means things like sugar, milk added to hot drinks, alcohol and so on.
Another easy thing to cut down on is fat.
You’ll probably be cooking for yourself anyway rather than relying on takeouts or fast food.
It’s a bit of a culture shock at first but “frying” in water works fairly well and means that you’ve got the calories back that you would have consumed with the oil you’d have used.
A good lunch or evening meal that fits with the 5/2 fasting diet would look like this:
- 100 grams of lean protein – non-oily fish, white meat, lean red meat, one egg
- As much salad as you can eat – but the dressing should be something non-oily such as a 50/50 mix of lemon juice and balsamic vinegar
- Low carb vegetables – spinach, kale, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, onions, cabbage, green beans, courgettes, etc – raw, steamed, baked or “stir fried” in water.
- As much seasoning as you want – this helps fend off the boredom that’s so often associated with diet meals
- An apple or a handful of strawberries or half a grapefruit (pink ones are nice!)
- Black coffee or black tea or fruit/herbal/green tea
Do that twice a day, twice a week and you’ll be well on your way to losing weight without the nastiness of being on a diet for what seems like forever.
If you want to speed up your weight loss, make the other 5 days sensible eating rather than going on a binge to make up for the fasting days.
I’ve found the Hairy Bikers diet books to be tasty, no nonsense, meals that are fairly easy to prepare and filling despite being low on calories.
And one other thing that will help is to use hypnosis to help you stick to your diet.
It will keep your mind focused and help keep you on track, even on those days where it’s so tempting to stray.