What is 5:2?
5-2 Diet (or as we call it, a way of life) is a form of Intermittent Fasting and is the simplest diet / way of life ever.
And vegans, vegetarians, celiacs, everyone is invited to the party. It is the most inclusive diet ever. Only a vegetarian knows the pain of getting on an Atkins or a Keto diet, where most of the allowed things are things he or she cannot eat.
I started logging some of my daily foods in my blog when I started this way of life in March 2014.
I worked out with a trainer for the last 3 years before getting on this, and while I gained strength, my weight never budged. Being hypothyroid didn’t help either, or being blessed with the proverbial slow metabolism, even before my thyroid went bust.
When I started this way of life, I saw the scales respond magically. And if you have listened to what I wrote in my first paragraph here you’ll understand why the scales move. So how do I do the 5:2 diet? I have two fast days in a week. Mondays and Thursdays typically. But if something unavoidable comes up on either of these days, I can always move it.
That’s the flexibility it offers and it is important if one has to be on any diet for a long term. I couldn’t be on the plan for a few months in the middle because I was away from home and there were some pressing family circumstances.
But otherwise, it has become second nature. Now I have never fasted a day in my entire life before I got onto 5-2 and yet I do this comfortably. That’s because here fast doesn’t mean you don’t eat anything all day. You get to eat 500 calories (600 for men) in those 24 hours – so that’s 500 cals on Mondays and Thursdays and the other days I don’t count anything. Of course that doesn’t mean I can raid my neighbouring dessert place or eat all-you-can-eat buffets on the remaining five days.
It only means I can eat like a normal human being, without checking MyFitnessPal every time I want to put something in my mouth.
“ONLY 500 cals??? THAT WILL KILL YOU. YOU WILL FAINT. YOU CANNOT GO TO WORK. YOU CANNOT DO ANYTHING. IT WILL SLOW DOWN YOUR METABOLISM”
All of the above is incorrect. And scientifically proven to be incorrect. The first couple of days, people are known to feel week, headachey and what not, but after the 3rd and 4th fast days, most people cruise through.
What do I eat on fast days?
Typically you can drink as many black coffees, green teas, herbal teas as you like. Diet Coke (if you are into those kind of things) is perfectly fine too.
So if you eat a breakfast or lunch for 150 calories and spend 50 calories on sundry teas and coffees with minimal skimmed milk, you still have 300 calories for a dinner and you’ll be surprised as to how much you can actually get in that much.
The small problem here is most Indian foods don’t come labelled properly, especially if you are cooking with fresh produce.
The only way out is to weigh a carrot, a zucchini, an onion, a cucumber, check a reliable calorie providing website for calories in these many grams of the vegetable, and then see how much your dinner is worth.
The few recipes I have logged on my 5-2 blog are painstakingly noted that way, and it is then easy to replicate them again and again. Yes, and you need to drink 2-3 litres of water on these days, which is even tougher for me than the fasting bit.
How does one get by fast days?
I had reached my lowest ever weight and waist size in ages, thanks to 5-2 last year. With the demise of my father, it was tough to stick to it, around those circumstances, and while I continued to fast, I wouldn’t be strict at counting my 500 calories on fast days and the pounds came back.
Also because of weekends, I ended up eating too many wrong foods and doing hardly any physical activity. I got back in all earnest to my beloved 5-2 since March 1st, and two pounds are off already. It is a mantra that never fails, if you are honest to it So I got back to a proper fast day on Tuesday this week and I’m doing it today again this week. I’m typing this post with a one litre bottle of water next to me.