The 2:5 Experiment

Last night, being the tired old gits we are, @nonmonotonix and I settled in for a night of Horizon on the BBC iPlayer whatsit, and watched Dr Michael Mosley’s latest exploration of the human body “Eat, Fast and Live Longer” (so easy to have an ‘eats, shoots and leaves’ misunderstanding there…). It was an interesting programme, and you could find worse ways to spend 60 minutes of your time. Admittedly, it took us longer to watch, because I have to have conversations with people in the screen who can’t hear me (please don’t abuse the word CURE, mister researcher in Somewhere, California).

The show explored various nutritional lifestyles which make claims of: improved health, lower risk of cardiac disease, weight loss, extended lifespan and (what I found most interesting) limited neurodegeneration as we age.

The three ‘diets’ included: CRON (calorie restriction optimal nutrition), ADF (alternate day fasting) and the one that we’re going to try (and I believe Dr Mosley is still doing) 2 days fasting (with limited caloric intake c 400 for me and c 500 for nonmonotonix), 5 days eating.

I personally was least impressed with the CRON lifestyle, not just because I have zero interest in apple peels, but a little digging on the topic revealed that it largely advocates little to no exercice, which goes against substantial research showing good evidence for exercise being rather, um, important. Allow me to share one of my favourite quotes from Sir Liam Donaldson, former Chief Medical Officer, in his 2009 report on the importance of physical activity:

“The potential benefits of physical activity to health are huge. If a medication existed which had a similar effect, it would be regarded as a ‘wonder drug’ or ‘miracle cure’”.

I love that, and I’m a baby pharmacologist!

I also am not keen on extending life expectancy for its own sake. I very much agree with Dr Mosley that the goal should be more about holding on to good health as long as possible and as realistically as possible, because, ageing happens (and DO NOT get me started on the socio-economic implications of an ever ageing society with regards to neurodegenerative disease, I’ve been fasting since I woke up, so I may rip someone’s head off).

ADF didn’t appeal as much, though I honestly have no rational explanation as to why other than my ability to forget what day it is…

What really interested me above everything else was the impact on IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor 1) levels and what that means with regard to disease. Being a person with breast cancer already (and new tumours popping up every few years like a demented game of Whack-a-Mole), I’m curious if I can reverse the effects of my long term illness and/or prevent further cancers and what IGF-1 has to do with that. I also want to fit into my skinny jeans again. Yup, I went there…

So, off we go. We’ve already started TODAY, having only partaken in coffee so far and are planning our ‘meal’ as an early dinner. I’ll be blogging and tweeting along the way (with some fancy charts and statistics too*).

Don’t worry, it won’t all be a boring log of food. As neurodegenerative disease is on of the things that gets me out of bed in the morning (that didn’t quite sound right) I’m going to be examining the evidence and research around fasting and its health benefits, what IGF-1 is/does and breaking down the neuro-whatsits for those of you not schooled that stuff!

Please feel free to comment, ask questions, or even JOIN US (for moral support/comparing notes etc.) it’s FOR SCIENCE :-)

*if anyone out there with access to a swanky blood lab wants to give me a full blood work up so I can be accurate about my IGF-1 levels, I will love you forever

302 thoughts on “The 2:5 Experiment

  1. I have started fasting today, so is it 3 1/2 or 4 days; I am hoping to start eating again on Friday morning. I am having a cup-a-soup every day, and I thought a small juice might be ok, not seen exactly what is allowed. I am thinking about doing the 5/2 diet in the long term, but need more information first.

    1. The scientists discussing the 2/5 and ADF advised 400 – 500 cals on fasting days (can be of anything and at any time, might take some experimenting to find what works best for you). The most important thing in my opinion, is to do something that is realistically sustainable as a lifestyle, not to see fasting as a quick fix. Keep us posted how you go and best of luck!

    2. Can you tell me if the 2 fasting days have to be together – 48 hours in effect or if I can fast on a Tuesday and Thursday for example? I am trying to fit this in with working and I don’t think I can manage 2 days on the trot. If anyone knows, please let me know.

      1. The programme definately implies that the two days are consecutive. You can find it on YouTube (search on “BBC Horizon fast”) if you want to see it again. I have seen other advice saying they should not be consecutive (e.g. the Telegraph site) but they made lots of other mistakes when reporting the programme.
        I’ve been on the 2/5 consecutive for a few weeks now and I’m feeling great. I’m still a bit confused about the protein intake on fast days though…. Anyone got ideas?

          1. I also originally thought it was consecutive days, which I did for two weeks before I realised it was meant to be non-consecutive. This was a great relief, as I found my weight was yo-yoing over the week, with just a pound staying off each time. Last week was my first week of non-consecutive days and it’s been brilliant. I feel much better, I find the fasting days much easier and I’ve even lost weight on my non-fast days – even though I have definitely not been ‘good’ on these days (hormones!). This leads me to another point, which may be of research interest to Schrokit. I have PCOS (which is linked with Insulin resistance) and do not have a regular or normal menstrual cycle (sorry Bob!), however I have had the worst PMT I’ve had in years – which is great! Not much fun, but good that I’ve had ‘normal’ hormones this time. I assume it’s related to the effect on my insulin. I’m definitely a convert to the 5:2!

            1. Where did you find out the fasting days were supposed to be non-consecutive? I’ve been fasting on non-consecutive days but I thought I was bending the rule as consec days wouldn’t fit into my weekly schedule very easily.

              1. When I first watched the programme I assumed it was consecutive (there was a lot to take in!). Then I read the telegraph article, which said non consecutive, so I viewed the programme again. The decision to go 5:2 was made after Dr Moseley spoke about alternate day fasting, which literally is every other day. He felt that didn’t fit in to his lifestyle and that he didn’t to do that to achieve the effects he wanted. So he was going to fast just two days a week. He also mentioned that his two days have been quite scattered throughout the week. Non-consecutive days make sense to me, and work for me, but we’re all different, so I think you have to find what works for you. There are some people on here getting carried away on the minutae but as in everything there is a balance to be had. Try it and tweak it to suit. I hope it works for you, I feel like this is a new beginning!

                1. Yes, whatever regime you opt for and however scrupulous you are in sticking to the calorie count, as long as it’s showing some improvement then that’s good. And there’ll be benefits in the long term I’m sure.

              2. I was also concerned about whether the fasting days should be consecutive or not but it seems to make more sense to have them non-consecutive as to spread the opportunity for cells to regenerate over the week rather than in one 2 day block.. Also, I am having my fasting calories in one mid-day meal rather than spreading them over the whole day, again to increase and concentrate the time my body is on starvation mode. The whole thing is so interesting.

            2. One consideration that I haven’t heard mentioned is the possible yo-yo’ing of blood sugar levels that may create some havoc with insulin production in the body? I wonder this particularly as I seem to get by on sugared tea & coffee on a fast day – which isn’t ideal but works for me. So caffeine and sugar are adding to the detrimental effects on blood sugar levels. Has anyone some relevant information on this please?

        1. There are no prescriptions for what to eat in any of the reduced calorie eating plans aside from CRON. It’s about calories, not content. I’m personally going for maximum fullness and max nutrition in my 500 cals, so maybe go for what is likely to be the most satisfying on fasting days.

  2. Hi, am trying this to lose weight and increase energy. Ate 500 cals last Friday and am fasting today too. on Friday I ate through the day- just not much. Today I’m trying eating all my 500 cals for breakfast – eggs on toast- and seeing how that works. I’m going to eat 2000 cals as normal on other days. Will report back as its really interesting and i hope it improves my mood and energy. Also, having my mid – life check soon so will be able to report on before bloods and hopefully after bloods (will see if I can persuade my surgery).

  3. I am going to give this 2/5 a go to, I have an under active thyroid but am not on any medication and am interested to see if this helps some of my insulin related symptoms. Does anybody know though if it is over all calorie intake or calorie intake minus exercise?

    1. The gist I got from the show and subsequent reading, is the recommended cals are all you should have, regardless of exercise.

      If you’re topping up calories burned, at what point does it become NOT fasting, if that makes sense. Even if not medicated, perhaps best to talk to a dr before undertaking something like this? Don’t forget Dr Mosley had other experts around him when starting this, and I’m checking in with medical professionals as well.

      Again, I’m not expert in this, but with any calorie reduced eating, it would make sense to take care with exercise, especially if you’re new to fasting. When in doubt, talk to a doctor or an evidence based nutritional scientist.

      Anyone else have thoughts/advice around this?

      1. People, and the odd search, seem to be very negative about exercising whilst dieting. I havnt found any real facts about these negative consequenses. Is it ok to exercise with almost no food being eaten in the 3 1/2 day fast? I was thinking about a bike ride tomorrow, or maybe a swim.

    2. Hi, It is important to remember what sort of calories…rice no, potatoes no, wheat and wheat based products big no and absolutely NO soda not even diet soda.. If you put these into your diet after you break fast, then your body will slowly sink into further inactivity and will actively store these calories as fat “just in case you stop eating again”. They will cause a boost in insulin levels which will not only promote fat storage but will make you feel hungry and tired.
      Check out Marks Daily Apple on google, or Gary Taubes. Eating fat isn’t the enemy, Insulin is. Good luck

  4. I would suggest that intermittent fasting is no different from what we would have normally been exposed too during our journey up the evolutionary ladder. As hunter-gatherers there would have undoubtedly been days when food was a little scarce and therefore a natural drop in calorie intake would have occurred. If anyone here is seriously interested in pursuing this line of thought further I’d strongly recommend looking into the Primal Lifestyle. Check out Marks Daily Apple for a complete run down of the diet, exercise and lifestyle choices of going Primal…..some very interesting thought s on cholesterol levels/intake as well..

  5. giving 2/5 a go… started this morning with less than 500 calories today and the same tomorrow… see how it goes

  6. Do you have to eat all the calories in one sitting? Or is it possible to eat 300 calories in the morning and 300 at tea time?

    1. I’m certainly not an expert on this, but my understanding is: doesn’t matter when you eat, what you eat, or how you break the calories down, you just need to stay under 500 – 600 cals (for men) or 400 – 500 (for women). We did all our cals in one go this weekend, but I’m definitely going to experiment with spacing them out next time, especially if I have exercise planned! Good luck with and feel free to keep us posted!

      1. Yes it matters a lot where the calories come from, you need to avoid boosting insulin, so loose the daily bread, potatoes, rice and sugar. And do not drink soda of any sort. Good luck

  7. Can I just checkt that it is 2 days fasting or just one day fast per week? Or is it 2 days fasting in one week and can be 2 days together or one fast day then another later in the week? Thanks

  8. I lift weights at the gym and my main goal is increasing my strength followed by increasing size/ muscle mass
    The 2/5 seems to go in the face of bodybuilding advice which advises consuming many small portions each day & lots more protein, 1g for each pound you way each day (or more)
    On 2/5 will fasting worsen my muscle recovery from weightlifting? It is my understanding that the body is discouraged from muscle building/recovery during starvation

    Gym goer that would love to adopt the 2/5

    1. Hi Mathew, I wondered about that as well. I am going to give the 2/5 a go but just not train on either of the fasting days.
      The other thing that concerns me, though, is that if this diet lowers IGF-1, will it not also lower testosterone levels?

    2. I couldn’t imagine training after a day of fasting or fasting after a training day. I have embarked on modified fasting regime a 6:2 in fact. This seems to “insulate” my workouts from the calorie deficient periods.

  9. I’m also trying the 5/2 fasting. Just wondered though, do the two fast days need to be consecutive for it to be effective?. I don’t want to lose weight, but the other health benefits sound too good to ignore! I started this last week and fasted wednesday and friday wth about 300 cal each day spread throughout the day. I’ve also fasted today.(mon) I’ve been very surprised at how easy it is especially as my job is quite physical.

    1. Dr Mosley did them scattered, if I’m remembering the programme correctly. You will start going into your fat stores after approx 24 hours – reminding myself to do a post on this, as it’s an interesting concept – so the days being apart will still have benefit, from my understating. I’m going to attempt a mix of both, as schedule dictates (realising Sundays are not ideal fasting days for me) so I’ll report my experience. Again, not the expert and YMMV :)

      1. As someone who likes a beer in the evening (typical calories for a pint = 244) this could be a great way to cut down in that department as well. On fast days it’ll have to be water, orange juice or black coffee, which has only 4 calories – not sure if decaff is even less.

  10. I have also started to do this yesterday, decided on Mon & Tues as fasting days. Then 5 days eating which will be more healthy as my normal eating consists of alot of crap food. On the 5/2 do u just add the calories up? What about fat content??
    I noticed on the programe there was no mention on keeping the Sat Fat down? I work in a busty sales office and because the day goes quick it does not seem to bad fasting. Yesterday i ate all the food in one go, then went to the gym in the evening, today i am hungry but i find drinking water ( i add juice to it ) helps!!!
    I think i am going to keep to doing the 2 days fast in one hit but next week will break the calories down through out the day… Breakfast & Lunch
    If anyone has any food suggestions please email me (JENKISTE@AOL.COM) or post on here as im struggling on what to eat, i have gone for microwave meals at the moment,as they are quick and simple!!!!
    I also staying away from the scales until the 5 weeks is up!!!!
    Good Luck :)

    1. Good luck, I’m starting today and will do 2 days fasting. Had porridge, banana and dried apricots for breakfast..

    2. I’m in week 2 of trying this & found my 2 ‘fast’ days dead easy. I haven’t exactly calorie counted, just guessed. I’m trying to stick to things that don’t require lots of thinking & I’m not giving up my cuppas as they are psychologically sustaining & make me feel warm & full!
      2 eggs with diced onion, peppers & tomato cooked in the microwave.
      One of those sandwitch steaks flash sizzled in a pan with a serving of crunchy lettuce.
      tin of tuna & chopped tomato mixed up
      Mug of warm milk with chai tea bag or sprinkle of cinamon
      Banana chopped into a pot of plain live yoghurt

      Plus small handfuls of grapes or other fruit to keep me going.

      1. That sounds like well over the suggested level of calories. To compare, my typical fast day includes one cup of oat square cereal in the morning (200 calories) and a can of Progresso soup in the evening (200-250 calories).

    3. i have done this 2 days fasting 2 days normal eating for a week, just starting my 2nd week today. i have lost 4lbs so far :-) i find it differcult to do as i love my food and wine!! i fast 2 consecative days in a week. first week, day 1 and 2 had terrible headaches, felt dizzy & light headed, but i will stick with it as felt gr8 after 1st 2 days of doing it & lost 4lbs too!! i normally eat fresh friut salad & a yogurt drink(i take for my ibs), for breakfast with lots of water (fizzy is best as it fills you up) then for lunchtime a bowl of low cal soup (under 100cals) more water, evening meal salad with prawns & raw salmon slices & more water, or soup, or 2 stuffed peppers with toms, courgette, aubourgine, mushrooms & poss low fat philly or 1 bacon rasher (depending how good i’ve been with cals during the day!!) finding now 2nd week in it gets easier no headaches, feeling dizzy etc either i am so going to stick with it, as i firmly believe this could be life changing. i like it as you can eat & drink as normal on the other 5 days. stick with it everyone. clare :-)

  11. I am 50, over weight and have diabetes. I watched the program with interest. My wife and I have started this regime, which is a life style change for us, deciding that we should “fast” on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. So far so good, though I am only on my 2nd “fast” day. If this helps to control my diabetes then I am happy to continue. I also participate in the 3 mins exercise per week regime that the same reporter gave us a few months ago. Nothing ventured ( and all that ).

  12. Hi all, look up Calorie Counting on Google and it gives you many programmes to count your calories . Porridge is high and so are banana’s so that would use all your allowance at one sitting. Am starting today and had one egg and 100g of strawberries for breakfast.
    Good luck all

    1. Susan, porridge needn’t be high calorie – it all depends on how you make it. I make mine with approx two thires soy milk and one third water, and on fast days, have it unsweetened. Up till now I’ve had a spoon of honey, but to east the transition from normal to fast mode, I’ve dropped the honey (metaphorically) altogether.

      I did three days together last week. Didn’t manage to quite get below 600 the first two days, but did on the third. From now on it will be just two days together.

      I’ll still go out on my bike, and have an evening walk, as per normal.

      If this works it will be astoundingly good news – for everyone apart from Weight Watchers and diet book sellers.

      1. Yes you are right! I looked up 100g of porridge with water and it was high but of course one doesn’t need all that amount! Half or less is plenty. Thanks. That gives us another option for breakfast, I didn’t like scrambled egg without toast(saving bread to go with the soup at lunchtime)

    2. Hi Susan – porridge is actually an excellent breakfast (maybe with some blueberries thrown on top?) a 40g serving made with water and sweetener is only 142 cals and has the huge advantage of making you feel full and satisfied for ages due to the slow release carbs…..much more comforting than a little egg!!

  13. As a regular gym goer myself (at least 1h/d, 6/7), I am highly sceptical of the notion of eating more than your 500 cal. as long as you burn it off exercising. The way I understood the program, the whole point is to give your liver a break in order to decrease the level of by-products from processing protein. Eating more of it to exercise more (or even worse, for body-building), would send your protein processing system into overdrive and therefore defeat the object totally. I intend to try the 2/5 diet and plan to have my 500 cal. 1 hour before going to the gym and see how I get on. But I suspect body-building (which works by over-stressing muscles via relentless cycles of fibre tearing and repairing) will be a big no no. Far better to go for all sorts of fitness classes which will provide a much healthier mix of cardio and toning – it’s doesn’t have to be Jane Fonda style aerobics, there’s plenty out there for blokes with no coordination, from “boxercise” to “pump-fx” style sessions (which even involve working with weights or elastic bands as well as good old press-ups and planks, but without the extreme of body-building). So I don’t think the diet will be incompatible with exercising to trim down, tone up and reduce body fat, on the contrary. But it won’t allow you to become an Olympic athlete or turn into Hulk…. I guess most of us will be OK with that.

  14. I cured myself of type 2 diabetes and reduced cholesterol and blood pressure levels to normal in 4 months by diet. I did not fast but restricted alcohol, bread and potatoes and lost about a kilo a month. Porridge made with water for breakfast, soup for lunch and fish for dinner is my recipe while a little of everything is my maxim.

      1. On the programme he said to have up to 500 kcal (f) / 600 kcal (m) a day in one sitting, and ideally fast on consecutive days. Also drinking black tea and water, so no juice allowed outside of the one meal.

        1. I have tablets to take at intervals during the day, so can’t do the 500 cals in one sitting. I’ve stuck rigorously to the 500 cals twice a week, but though I lost a kilo the first week, after three weeks, I’ve lost no more. Am puzzled, but not surprised. My body doesn’t like losing weight and never follows the rules. I’m wondering if three fast days (non-consecutive) during the week might up the ante.

  15. Went down to B&Q for some frame bolts and came back with an estimate of heart-attack of 17% in the next 10 years (thanks to mobile heart unit in the car park…). So now on day 2 of 600 cal/day fast. First day was a bowl of porridge (400) plus two boiled eggs (90 each). Jasmine tea for the rest of the day. Today was bowl of porridge plus 125g each of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. It is a surprisingly large amount of fruit and I felt quite full afterwards – would be keen to know if I can split my calorie intake so that the eggs/fruit can be consumed at lunchtime. Just took the dog for a brisk 30-minute walk and really do not feel desperately hungry.
    The 2/5 fast fits well with the instruction I got from the mobile heart unit who told me to give my liver a rest from the beer 2 days a week… So I intend to keep it up. Need to shave 2st off to get into the green area for BMI – and the all-important 38″ waistline measurement is 6″ away 8^( let’s see if this does it…!

  16. Hey all.
    Just started the 5/2 fast and loving it.
    I have always been a healthy eater and love staying fit at the gym but wanted to improve my actual health, not just fitness for long term preventative benefits-and this seems like the way!
    Been researching loads and the horizon programme was fascinating and what kick started me. Here are afew things covered that people had been posting questions about:
    When exercising, research generally says nothing strenuous on fast days. Save weights for the normal days I would suggest.
    I was worried about losing muscle I had built up but actually it would take many days of fasting for our bodies to use up all the stores of fats,glycols etc before it even started on using muscle. That’s when starvation causes the emaciation of the body.
    The whole point of a fast is to let your body switch from growth to repair by letting it use already stored energy in you body. This is far from starving it, as it was designed to operate in this way.

    I started with eating breakfast as my 1meal to start the day but that soon changed as I didn’t want fasting to get in the way of enjoying impromptu evenings out, or if the boyfriend rustled up a feast after work!
    I have found that a good healthy day of food, ending with a nutritious evening meal at about 7pm makes the next day of fasting easy to do. I just drink water,herbal and green teas throughout the day,then get to enjoy an evening meal around 7pm as normal. This means I can always go out with friends and not have to be a party pooper when everyone else is happily munching away!

    Happy fasting:)

  17. I too was fascinated & motivated by the Horizon programme. I am 62 and was always slender with no weight worries, but have noticed over the past year how the weight has crept up and my waist/hips have gathered fat which I DO NOT like! I have had sciaticia since the winter so have had to cut some of my activity too. I decided to try the 5:2 & was wondering if it should be 2 consecutive days or can they be apart – I think that has been dealt with here. I have done 2 fast days, one last week, the other yesterday. I eat breakfast of stewed rhubarb & apple, (no added sugar) with muesli added and soy milk – no idea of the calories, and that’s it for the day, apart from copious amounts of water and some fruit teas. I was very worried about getting to sleep at night as I hate feeling hungry in bed! However, it hasn’t been too much of a problem. I usually go for an evening walk for about an hour and have managed that without too many hunger pangs – there are wild raspberries to eat along the way! I am really motivated by this idea, from the health point of view as well as my figure so will continue with the 5:2 if it delivers….

    1. Me too Deborah! I’m about the same age as you and in the last year have found fat creeping onto hips. My husband and I are going to start the 5:2 diet but we didn’t watch the programme (Olympic fever took over). Now the programme has disappeared off iplayer and I can only find clips on the website. However, I think we have enough info to go on. I’ll search the internet for ideas of what 600 calories looks like.

  18. My partner and I have just finished wk 1 of the 5/2 fasting with relative success (I’m having vivid daydreams about jelly sweets!). If you’re having a serious crack at this I strongly recommend you count the calories properly though as even the healthy foods have a surprising number of calories – e.g. a glass of semi skimmed milk contains around 200kcal!!!! (obviously depends on the size of your glass).
    As I understood the programme it calls for one food intake a day and you have to struggle through the rest of the day with black tea and/or water, I assumed the hunger and long periods of not eating were the factors that reduced IGF-1 production? I would love to hear from everyone if they agree/disagree and also, importantly, whether Coke Zero (close to zero calories) could be used occasionally as an alternative to black tea?

    1. Coke zero is probably okay. We’re drinking artificially sweetened squash with good results so far (it is only week one though). Schrokit’s probably better at explaining how fake sugar can still confuse your body in certain ways, but for this purpose it’s probably a non issue.

      1. There are some studies that show your brain can be tricked by artificial sweeteners as they trigger a dopamine response, engaging pleasure/reward centres, making you want more (usually more sugar, as that’s what your brain thinks you’re giving it). So, no if you’re consuming something with no calories, you’re not doing anything against the plan on the restricted cal days, but you may be triggering cravings and making fasting harder for yourself.

    1. Which one? I’m going to do a wee transcript (as there isn’t one yet on the BEEB) this week and I’ll dig up any source material, happy to have a look for something specific. I’ve spent part of today reading up on Mattson’s work. Compelling stuff!

  19. I was fascinated by this too and decided to give it a whirl- mainly for health reasons. Yesterday I had porridge made with water & 10 raspberries ( apparently they are 1 cal each!), then a slice of bread with lettuce, cucumber, and 100g prawns for “dinner”. Today was the same breakfast, then a boiled egg on a slice of toast ( no butter) and 2 slices of ham for lunch. I am hungry but it’s not too bad, and doesn’t get worse as the time goes on. I noticed the people who find it easy are the ones who don’t count calories but guess, which might be saying something! If you have an iPhone the calorie counter app is brilliant- everything is there.
    If you don’t have to do the 2 days consecutively I reckon that would be easier- does anyone know the answer to that?

    1. Hi Bev, I use too, even with a gold membership (fancy bells and whistles and all). I posted a few other sites here: that also do tracking, and the Self one allows you search of food with set criteria eg. Max fibre/min sugar (the answer to that one is usually a blackberry!)

      I think tracking is really important, not for obsessing over calories, but for getting a picture of what’s happening and also for nutritional breakdown.

      I’m going to have my fasting days not together next week and see how that goes. I didn’t get the impression there was an advantage to doing consecutive over intermittent or vice versa (though I have seen quite a some research that skews towards intermittent), I will dig a bit more.

      I’ll report how my non-consecutive days go, mainly to see if the weight loss is comparable to the consecutive by taking a net read at the end of each week.

      1. Hi Schokrit, I have fasted, from 7.00pm one day until 7.00pm the next day, twice now with no problems at all – just didn’t feel hungry – normally I snack a lot. Is that cheating do you think as I’m sleeping for around 8hours of my fast. I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t hungry. I’m 70 years old. One problem is that I’m on Warfarin to thin the blood and I don’t know how this will be affected by fasting – guess I’ll find out when my blood tests come back! Suke

  20. I’ve started this week too on the 5:2 regime. Mainly for weightloss but the other health benefits are too beneficial to ignore. If in 5x weeks I’ve lost a stone I’ll be delighted. I’m taking my <600 calories at two sittings, 2xweetabix with milk for breakfast and natural yoghurt & raspberries for lunch. Then green or camomile tea and water for the rest of the day. I dreamt of bacon sandwiches on Monday night – and woke up hungry at 4am which wasn't nice. But it's not been too bad. I want to know what happens after 10xweeks or more – I don't want to look like Posh Spice!

  21. Did day 1 of fasting yesterday. I thought from my reading that teh days should be split – one write upo said ‘no more than 24 hours’. I’ll still try to do hjealthy stuff the rest of the time, but if this works I’ll be well pleased, it can fit into my lifestyle.

    Good luck one and all.

  22. Great . Will follow with interest. I have embarked on this today. (2/5) is ther a rationale for having the 400/500 calories in onr sitting?

  23. Hi Guys
    Apart from calorie restiction I though an important factor was protein restriction. Didnt the Doc say that was vital when it comes to stopping cell division and helping repain the cells, particularly it seems from further reading: Methionine restriction. (theres loads of stuff online about it – but theres an intereting and not too technical document which I’ll cut and past at the end of this if it throws any light on things)
    I’ve done two days so far of restricted calories – sunday a fast day, monday a normal day and today another fast day – so far so good. Its amazing how much food you can eat for your 500 calories – i left it till 6 in the evening so i went 24 hours with nothing to eat on both days. I feel good. Yesterday on my normal day i had half a bottle of wine too!
    Cheers Neil

      1. There is a RDA for protein, can’t remember off the top of my head but will post a link later tonight but on my Fast Days i will make sure i get at least my RDA of protein as Dr Mosley said in the programme that it is NOT recommended to cut out protein, that can be dangerous. I will also try and find out what the RDA is for carbs and fat and will try and base my main meal of these recommendations.

    1. If you’re doing the diet for the weight loss factor *as well as* the health factor then a low protein intake seems important by the looks of things. I can see your link is to a paper which seems to advocate the vegan diet. I do eat a plant based diet myself, and obviously that is not for everyone, but cutting back on meat as well as dairy (which is just liquid protein and IGF-1 to boot) will help, as it is the critical reason why our bodies go into repair mode. I think dairy should be omitted from our diet altogether personally though. It’s not meant for human consumption and yet we are the only mammal that consumes nursing milk (of another animal) in all its forms well into our adult years and I do believe that our addiction to dairy is contributing to the health woes of many westerners and this new research supports that.

      1. In the Radio Times article ‘Eat like this and live to 101’ at the end there are ‘5 Steps to Longevity’ and No.2 is: ‘Cut Protein. Reducing protein has been linked to increased longevity. ……The Government recommends 55 grams a day for adults between 19 and 50,…….average Brit scoffs 85 grams.’

  24. I am very keen to see if the 5/7 fasting days do the trick re lowering bad cholesterol, glucose, and IGF1. Today is my first fasting day and I aim to leave a few days before the 2nd. Would like the support andprogress reports from others

  25. I am going for 2 contiguous days of 600 and 5 normal days; maybe it’s the puritan in me but 24 hours with 600 cals does not seem like much of a fast… Wheat gives me acid reflux so bread was dropped from my diet a while back. My inclination is to avoid anything that comes from a factory so low fat products and artificial sweeteners are not part of my diet either. If you find black tea a bit tart, try green tea. Very fortifying.
    Has anyone else been astonished by how few calories veg and berries contain? If you can lay off the rice and potatoes it is a breeze to get under 600.
    This week I had just one meal each day (breakfast) but it was bigger than I usually have and I think I will try splitting it up: 400 cals of porridge and whole milk for breakfast and 200 cals of vegetables/fruit for lunch. Breakfast like a king, lunch like a lord, etc. Will let you know how I get on.

  26. Even if it doesn’t make me live any longer I save so much time cooking/eating/washing up it feels like I’ve got twice the free time after work :-) I think I’m going to do thjis omg term on my two rest days – they won’t feel like ‘cheating’ any more then.

  27. hello all
    I am years young, obese and a Type 2 diabetic (no medication) so have decided to give the 5:2 a try to help me to lose weight and keep my glucose levels in check and of course to reap the health benefits mentioned in the programme. I have decided to do Tuesdays & Thursdays (this is what Michael Mosely does) and as i also go to Slimming World, i will carry on with my SW Plan on the other 5 days. On my Fast days, I had a boiled egg for breakfast and a slice of wholemeal toast although i might cut the bread out and replace that. I drink green tea and water throughout the day at work and wil save a piece of fruit ie an apple or weighed out portions of fruit ie cherries, strawberries etc and will have this around 3pm – 4pm as that is when i start to really want something and then wait until my evening meal to have the rest of my calories and so far so good. I go to the gym 3 times a week and do walking inbetween but will probably not excercise on my Fast days but i can experiment around that. I do have a holiday coming up in 3 weeks so will see how i get on up until then and will definately re-start it all when i return.

  28. I have started on this and doing 500 calories on consecutive fasting days. Like many people I have found it not so difficult, but also discovered my first regular meal after fasting shouldn’t be too rich as I made the mistake of going for a breakfast fry-up and my stomach didn’t appreciate it! Another thing worth noting is the IGF-1 is high in protein rich foods which includes dairy (it is nursing milk for young, fast growing bodies after all), so I have cut this out altogether and use non-dairy milk like coconut (Kara and Tesco do very good ones) and hazelnut is good for porridge too.

    1. Julia, I like your style, a fry up on the first day that is mint!!!!! I have done my 2 days of fasting, i did go over the 600k mark on both days,, but this has taught me to count properly as i was surprised how much Cals some food contains, Last night i was starving at 6pm but managed to go to the gym and hold off till this morning. Tempted to go on the scales but going to leave it until 4 weeks as im doing this diet for 8 weeks!!!

      1. I haven’t exercised the same day as fasting, except for gentle medium paced walking, and it was fine. I can’t imagine going for a run or the gym on a fasting day, but may give it a go. The great thing about the diet is that it does makes you turn towards fruit and veg as it is the most satisfying with the lowest calories. No fry-up though at the end of the two days this time. Going for a non-dairy coconut yogurt, fruit and muesli!

  29. I originally started off intending to to the 3 1/2 day fast, more as a challange whilst I thought about my future diet. After starving myself for 2 days, a 95 calorie cup-a-soup and about 6 cups of tea per day, I decided to end it after 2 days. I did go on a 5 mile cycle ride, which I felt no unusall effects from. But now its back to normal I dont want to over-eat. The 300 or so calorie per day that I had, does not seem that far away from the 600 per day. I will restrict my intake 2 days, any day mon-fri, and see how it goes.

  30. If the benefits of this include weight loss, does anyone know if there is a ‘stop/maintenance’ point where you have to change the calories you take in, or does your weight just level out at your ‘ideal’??

  31. Regarding protein, would it be best to get ‘protein’ from soya products like quorn, tofu etc as i would like to replace my egg products while on my Fast Days.

  32. Have just started on a slight variation which provides 2 whole 24 hours fasting periods each week. Last meal on Monday evenings followed by black coffee/tea and water until Tuesday at 7.30pm when I eat dinner. I repeat this from Wednesday evening to Thursday evening. The rest of the time I eat normally. The up-side is that there is always dinner every day of the week. The down-side is learning control during the coffee/tea and water periods.

    1. Wow – that is one hell of an interesting article… not sure what it all means, but I’ll be definitely cutting down my amount of carbs and upping my fat intake – makes me think the mighty avocado would be a big benefit to everyone in this respect.. thanks for posting this.. N

      1. I think it’s more complicated than that, and to be honest, I’m skeptical of anything that advocates increasing fat as a replacement for carbs (something like Atkins is neither healthy nor sustainable and that’s a rather famous example of no carb/high fat). More important is the kind of fat you take in (unsaturated v saturated). There’s a lot to be said for a balanced diet, including carbs (i.e. veg) and fibre.

    2. Hi schrokit
      Im only a layman – and slightly confused lol, but I thought the latest research (especially for those with insulin/blood sugar problems) was that hi fat/lo carbs was the best diet, as long as the fat was high fat was mostly poly and monounsaturated fats ie avocadoes/olive oil/nuts etc. Too many carbs upset the sugar/glucose levers in the blood and stimulate insulin, whereas energy from fats doesn’t do so. But maybe I’ve misunderstood – could you – or someone here put me right on this because I’d hate to be doing the wrong thing. In the document above the doctor recommended 30%Protein 20%carbs and 50%Fats, and made a pretty compelling case for that. We’re mostly deficient in health fats in the west such as poly & Mono’s – so it all seemed to make sense to me. Any ideas?
      Im not a weight watcher, Im 56kilos/52yrs old and just interested in this 5:2 diet as a way of increasing overall health and wellbeing.
      Thanks folks N

      1. I’m certainly not qualified to advise anyone re: diets, but I *personally* see red flags with a lot of (not all) low carb dieting because it means veg consumption is being seriously neglected.

        If total carbs “allowed” is only 20% that sounds like it could be cutting veg as well as other carbs. There is a difference between simple and complex carbs, and cutting out or reducing simple carbs (pastas, white rice breads etc.) can make sense, but if overall health is a goal, then check with a doctor or nutritional scientist (in person ideally) if you’re going to take on a diet high in fats and proteins as cholesterol will be an issue. Any online ‘advice’ should be taken with a grain of salt, if for no other reason, your individual health profile is not taken into consideration.

        1. I think people are being a little unfair to Atkins. He stresses the importance of getting carbs from sources such as vegetables and berries. These seem to provide lots of vitamins and minerals without incurring the high carb count of grains and potatoes. I suspect that our bodies just have not caught up with the concept of farming and are more suited to a nomadic, hunter gatherer, sometimes lucky, sometimes not, lifestyle. My first day off fasting was concluded with an 8oz rib of beef and a pineapple panacotta. I suspect that this diet is likely to be 4lb off, 2lb on… But I will be happy with that.

  33. I managed 2 consecutive days on 500 per day and I have to say it wasn’t easy by the second evening. I slept ok, which was a concern, but I found I was really thirsty, peeing a lot, and woke up this morning feeling quite queasy. I also found today that my tummy was quite delicate and much as I wanted to eat, it caused some discomfort. I didnt feel “normal” until about 4pm. As a result I am going to split my days from now on- I think 2 in a row was too much of a shock to the system! My husband has split his and found it fine, even went to the gym on both fasting days with no problem.
    I am also loving the free evenings, which are usually taken up cooking etc- plus this really makes you appreciate food, and how lucky we are that going hungry is a choice.

  34. I have done my two day fast and did balls up the calories, on the first day I ate 1000 cal and did 800 on the second! Not the best start and by Tues night I was starving! However this morning didn’t feel that hungry and I could eat what I want but didn’t feel like pigging out! It felt like I would of been cheating my self and only ate 1200 call! This diet has really opened my eyes to what I eat and how high some foods are in cal that u just take for granted and stuff down your throat! Doing it for 8 weeks and will weigh in after 4 weeks! Going to stick to Mon & Tues for fasting and spread the calories out through out the day! Next week keep the calories to 600!

  35. I’ve just started the 5/2 fast and took various meausurements on the first day including timing how long I could stand on my non-dominant leg with my eyes closed as a neurological indicator. At 51 I lasted 13 seconds, my partner aged 51 lasted 50 secs, my collegue aged 20 about 8 seconds and my boss, aged 40 so long he got bored but thought he could manage half an hour! Does anyone know what the normal range is at various ages. My boss was astounded that other people can’t do this test easily. I was equally astounded that he can.

  36. I’m now on Day 4 of this experiment [mon & Tues were fasting days] & the weird thing is my normal eating days which before this would consist of pretty much anything have changed! I have turned into a calorie counter! I feel like I can’t treat myself as I will be undoing all the good work! I’m eating 1,500 calories Max a day but don’t feel any more hungry! Any one else felt like this! Clearly to the amazement of everyone I’m a changed man and now drink green tea as well! What’s happening to me???

    1. I do feel like I think about what I eat more, just making a stew now. Although I did start thinking about more wholesome food some weeks ago. But yes, I have now wanted to pig out, or anything. I did a 35 mile cycle today and I was surprised how well I felt.

    2. I know exactly what you mean. My fasting days will be Tues & Thurs and i only started last week and it has definately done something to me too. I used to eat late at night before bedtime but now i can’t do that and feel so proud of myself for resisting. I am a Type 2 diabetic (no medication) and have quite a lot of weight to lose so i am hoping that this will kick start my weight loss. Keep it up, good luck :-)

  37. I have found a mint app on Live It does cost £3 but its well worth it as it has every kind of food on it plus u can enter what weight you want to lose and it gives you your calorie figure per day. You can do it online for free as well.
    If you workout it gives you your calories you burn as well which on fasting days i can actualy be on minus calories or on the other hand i can have more calories say 1100 and then burn 500 to get myself back to 600 but then in my eyes thats cheating. Lost 4lb in week one and on non fasting days im only having 1500 kcal now. It does work and i would not cal this a diet but a way of life….

  38. Does anyone know of an authoritative statement about whether a fast day comprises a waking day (about 36 hours), or 24 hours (e.g., dinner to dinner)?

      1. Dr Moseley does indeed appear to be doing a 36hour fast, though I’ve seen a number of other regimes on the ‘Net that suggest 24h is sufficient, and indeed IIRC the program seemed to suggest that 24h was sufficient. I greatly respect Dr. Moseley, but I remain unconvinced as yet, that the program or article are authoritative. There appear to have been a number of factual errors, or at least first-person interpretations in the program, and a number of ambiguities.

        Much of what I see on the ‘Net about IF is nothing more than opinion, much of that based upon the opinion of others. Some of that appears sound, some is clearly nonsense. This old saw is kind-of appropriate here: “Give me the strength to change the things I can change, the humility to accept the things I cannot change, and the wisdom to tell one from the other”

        We can also see that word ‘Diet’ being interpreted in both its true and colloquial ways in this.

        Sadly I think that doctors, scientists, et al “see what they expect to see” and seem ever more reluctant to ask “could I be wrong about this?”.

        I’ll give a humorous example:
        Birthdays are good for you.
        It’s been demonstrated time and time again that the people who have the most birthdays live the longest.

        1. “”Dr Moseley does indeed appear to be doing a 36hour fast, though I’ve seen a number of other regimes on the ‘Net that suggest 24h is sufficient””

          I felt ok on my first 2 day fast, but this week my stomach has felt a little unsettled, although that has happened before in the school holidays (stress, lol). So I have been thinking what might suit me. Would I be ok to totally fast every monday, and then just totally relax my eating regeme at the weekend? Is this a long term diet, whereby we should all be skinny like the 101 year runner? Is one day of starvation good, but two days better; or is it like a switch, whereby we need two days?

          1. You should watch the program!

            It’s very clear from the programmes that this is a long-term change to eating strategy, not “being on a diet”. It’s primary purpose is not necessarily to lose weight, though anyone presently overweight would probably expect to do so.

            Although I think it wasn’t explicitly stated in the programmes, it’s in the article about the programmes that the two fast days should be non-consecutive. The intention is to keep the stress on the body more modest than the longer fast he did at the start of the programme, and also to make fasting more tolerable, whilst still achieving IGF-1, LDL-cholesterol, etc. reductions where appropriate, and purportedly changes to the body’s cell-repair/replacement processes.

            As Chris de CB said, the 101yo runner, and also some of the other people featured in the programmes were _not_ on a 5:2 eat/fast regime. Some were on _very_ restricted calorie diets, some were of 20day/4day fast/feed, some where on alternate day fasting.

            Dr. Mosley felt that for him, and probably many others, the 5:2 regime was more tolerable than many others, whilst still offering many of the apparent benefits.

            Dr. Mosley’s programme was mostly first-person and omitted to mention that the benefits for women of fasting appear to be, in part at least, different and somewhat less compelling than for men. Allegedly at least, which is rather where I came in.

            Citations would be good.

            1. Thanks for your sensible comments Gordon and I hope it brings some people back down to earth! I believe people are getting too wound up about this basically simple regime. I had my first “fast” day on 9th August, and have done 4 more on non consecutive days, so far. It has shown me that I don’t need as much food as I have been consuming recently and I can run my body efficiently on less calories. I have lost weight, and more importantly, from my point of view, my fat is beginning to diminish. I haven’t found it hard to do the 5:2 but working from home has its disadvantages as I tend to gravitate towards the kitchen and food when I need a break – BUT I am managing to be strong willed and this is another positive – I am actually being more focused and positive about something than I have been for ages – could this be the mental stimulation and sharpness that Michael M spoke about? I also feel less lethargic. As far as I am concerned this is a long-term programme because it is do-able and it makes sense; I have never been a “dieter” as I have been, until recently, relatively slim.

              1. I’ve had similar effects to Deborah – couldn’t believe that I could fast for 24 hours. Only lost 4lbs so far with three fast days – one a week. I’m on prescription drugs so need to watch what happens.

                1. I too am on prescription drugs, for blood pressure and cholesterol, and I’ve had a number of side-effects. It appears that the 5:2 regime _might_ allow me to reduce or even come off of these drugs, which hopefully will also remove or reduce the side-effects.
                  But I’m shortly going on a holiday where I really don’t want any nasty health surprises like unexpectedly low blood pressure, so at this point I’d much rather under-do the regime than overdo it.
                  That’s really the background to my original question. My opinion(!) is that 24h is sufficient to trigger the wanted anatomical responses, based upon one or two statements in the programme, but that’s all it is .. my opinion.

                  1. I’m on warfarin and low thyroid medication, but I did 48 hour fast until lunch today and feel fine. Wait and see what my next result is!! I feel absolutely fine and refreshed – much better than usual and wasn’t terribly hungry. I find drinking quite a few cups of green tea helps alleviate hunger – not all at once of course!

                  2. I am on warfarin and need to be careful of my diet, but so far a day a week for 3 weeks and then two days this last week seems to have made no difference – I can hardly believe it. I’ve only lost 4lbs in weight though! I feel much better and more energised.

            2. It seems a shame that Gordon provides neither evidence nor example of what he regards the failings in Dr Mosley’s account eg first personal interpretation,ambiguity,colloquial use of terms and factual errors in either of his posts

              1. Well, I didn’t because I think what he’s done is mostly excellent. I was primarily urging caution.
                I’m also on slightly shaky ground regarding factual/first-person issue, as I do not have the information myself to confirm or deny. I think they are minor failings of themselves and not particularly worthy of criticism. However…

                Factual/1st-person: Not mentioning that results for women appear differ from those for men fits that category.

                Ambiguity: over durations and intervals, though notes by someone else in the article clarify one of those.

                Colloquial: did not apply to Dr. Mosley, it applied to the extensive misunderstanding and/or misinterpretation of the word ‘Diet’ as in ‘on a diet’.

                My concern is that people take some of these things as gospel, when in truth there appears as yet only modest solid scientific evidence.

                And don’t ignore Dr. M’s own closing statement from here:

                “Current medical opinion is that the benefits of fasting are unproven and until there are more human studies it’s better to eat at least 2000 calories a day. If you really want to fast then you should do it in a proper clinic or under medical supervision, because there are many people, such as pregnant women or diabetics on medication, for whom it could be dangerous.

                I was closely monitored throughout and found the 5:2 surprisingly easy. I will almost certainly continue doing it, albeit less often. Fasting, like eating, is best done in moderation.”

          2. “Is this a long term diet, whereby we should all be skinny like the 101 year runner?”
            My thoughts on this are that the 2 day fast puts you in a different starting place – no longer struggling with health and weight problems. On the 5 days off fasting you can eat more or less to adjust your weight to be optimal for your physique (ecto/meso/endo-morph). The 101 y.o. runner was living on a child’s portion every day, not 2 out of 7.

  39. I started the 5:2 plan last week and am doing consecutive days as I find it easier to plan for. One question, is black coffee a big no no?

      1. A cup of coffee (or, I guess 2-3 expressos) comes in at around 4 Cals. I think tea is around the same. But this is black – add milk to it and the count shoots up to sround 15, or even more if you like it milky. Don’t know if decaff makes a difference.
        I have a black coffee with breakfast: a slice of toast, around 10 g of spread and a small tomato sliced on it. The whole lot comes in at 100 cals. It’s not much, but tasty and fills a corner after 12 hours overnight fast. Throughout the day at work I have water and maybe one cup of coffee. This leaves me with just under 500 cals to pig out on for dinner.
        Last night I had a tuna steak with cucumber and tomato salsa, a few new potatoes and a small glass of wine. Delicious. And I felt like I’d had a feast. With another coffee later on, I finished the day well under the limbo pole at around (by my reckoning) 550Cals.

  40. Second week of 2 consecutive 600s. Did porridge (400) for breakfast then asparagus, carrots, aubergine, courgettes and broccoli for lunch (200) yesterday – 200 cals of veg is a big pile of stuff… BP has gone from 180/97 to 140/80. Seems promising. I will wait until I have lost a stone before getting another cholesterol readout, but if it knocks a chunk off my TC of 6.05 I will be a happy chap.

  41. I notice that no-one has responded to Gordon’s very worthwhile message – surely it is worthy of consideration?

  42. I have started today, I’m planning on doing 2 non consecutive days a week. Today I started with a brunch at around 11 o’clock of tuna and pasta, I am drinking only green tea and water on the fast days. Planning my next fast day for Friday. It’s only been 9 hours but already I’m seeing food everywhere… I will be strong though.

  43. I am planning to try this after watching the program but am confused -how is the body going into ‘repair mode’ if the 500 calories are spread throughout the day? Also has anyone who consulted with a gp had a positive go ahead? I am 34 with no health issues and have a BMI at the top end of normal for my height- but am a little worried by the lack of research. I have never dieted ,but have a mother who has yoyo dieted since her early twenties- ( big fan of atkins quick fix). She is obese now and I really feel the constant dieting has done her no favours.I am amazed by the positive evidence on this blog, but worried that it doesn’t seem balanced .

    1. “how is the body going into ‘repair mode’ …?”

      I thought about this one too Saran. I think that the answer is that if you need 2000 cals to get through 24 hours but you only shovel 500 in, then the body has to find other ways to fill the short-fall. I suspect that it is the glucose deficit, and the metabolising of fat that provides the benefits. But because the science is not clear to me, I am front-ending my meals and only take green tea after 13:00 so that I can experience the slightly hungry feeling in late evening that is supposed to work the magic…LOL

    2. Fasting sufficiently is apparently what switches off IGF-1, and IGF-1 is the chemical (hormone?) that, they asserted, causes the body to create new cells. Reduce IGF-1 and the body apparently switches to repairing cells rather than renewing them, because the former is purportedly more energy efficient. A large part of the premise of the programmes was that this means that, e.g., potentially cancerous cells get repaired, rather than reproducing and becoming cancerous. I presently have little idea if/how that kind mechanism is alleged to reduce heart disease risks, though the various doctors/researchers assert that it does.

      Again, citations would be good. :-/

  44. So frustrating I was told about the programme but tried too late obviously to find it on i-player, or is there a secret to finding these programmes that I don’t know? Would love to see the original piece to be able to make a final decision.

    Before I spout forth (lol) I agree with what some others have said; if you have any existing health problems, particularly diabetes, you must go and see your Doctor before you do anything. They are not always that knowledgeable on nutrition (which might mean that they try to dissuade you from doing it) but my thoughts are that if you have dietary related issues then something is broke so it might be time to fix it and at the end of the day it is your body and your decision. However it is important that they are aware of what you are doing so that they can advise you on adjusting any medication you are taking.

    My opinion, for what it’s worth as a nutritionist and personal trainer, would be that when it comes to the fasting days you go with what works for you and do either consecutive days or split them. It would make sense not to do heavy workouts on your fasting days so that may dictate which days you choose to fast and I would split your intake throughout the day, consuming some calories pre and post workout. My gut feeling is that after a few weeks you will gradually adapt to your fasting days and won’t feel quite as bad.

    A combination of carbs and protein in a meal generally lead to greater satiety (feeling satisfied with what you have eaten) so give your food choices some thought. Fat has significantly more calories per gram than carbs or protein (9 kcals compared to 4kcals and 4kcals respectively) so lower fat foods will give you more bang for your buck! i.e, you will be able to eat a greater quantity of food if it is primarily made up of carbs and protein than fat on your 400 or 500 kcal days. I would also suggest that the people who are not counting calories should as you may be surprised just how many you are consuming (if we were any good at this perhaps we wouldn’t be overweight in the first place; by this I mean the population in general not anyone in particular). I’m assuming the figures were set at these levels for a reason (SO frustrated that I missed the programme to get the full SP Grrrrr).

    Someone earlier posted about cutting out the alcohol on the fast days, due to the calorie content, and if nothing else then this 5/2 lifestyle choice (I don’t like the word diet as it does imply a non permanent solution, although at the end of the day whatever we eat is essentially our ‘diet’) is good for that. Alcohol is basically ethanol which is a toxin to the body and the liver has to deal with the toxins we put into our bodies so 2 ‘dry’ days giving the liver a rest is no bad thing.

    One of the benefits of fasting is to allow the liver to have a rest but it also allows the digestive system to take a break too (this may have been in the programme?) so 2 light days of eating will help the digestive system to take a break and you should find that it will start to work more efficiently and that can lead to needing less food as you get more goodness out of the food you are eating. That said the nutritionist in me would recommend that the food you then choose to put in your body should be of good quality so that you are fuelling yourself properly! As much fresh and natural food and as little processed as possible. Try not to rely on ‘ready meals’ to measure your calorie intake as these meals are pretty devoid of all the good stuff.

    My final suggestion would be to make a huge batch of homemade soup which consists of a little bit of oil to fry off the onions and then a combo of carrots, potatoes and basically anything else you have in your fridge with a bit of spice to give it some kick. Blitz it with a food processor and enjoy. If you weigh the veg before you start you can use one of the apps to work out how many calories is in the whole batch and then divide it per portion. You should find that you can drink quite a bit of this soup throughout the day on your fast days and you are getting plenty of water for hydration to boot.

    I’m probably going to give this a go but I am looking forward to see how people cope with it. Good luck all!

    1. : One of the benefits of fasting is to allow the liver to have a rest but it also allows the digestive system to take a break too

      Oh yes, of course. That’s why LDL-cholesterol and heart-disease risks are reduced. Doh! :-/

      : this may have been in the programme?

      I’m pretty sure it was, though I overlooked the significance.

      It’s in four parts on YouTube. I’m pretty sure Schrokit’s link will sequence through them, though they’re also in a playlist here:

    2. All in one part at:

      Not sure about your potato soup idea – a lot of empty carbs there. Lucinda posted a great link. Worth repeating. Look at
      a couple of quotes –
      “Saturated fat diets are new to mankind. We manufactured a saturated fat diet by feeding animals grains.”
      “I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person, 25 percent to 30 percent of calories from protein, and 60 percent to 65 percent from fat.”
      You just need to get the right fat. Eskimos ate a diet of 99% whale blubber and never had heart problems. But there are not many corn-fed whales out there…

  45. Hi
    I seen the program and was fascinated by it, it seem to offer a reasonably easy way to keep your brain ticking over. I started the 5.2 last week 2 consecutive days i.e. Monday, Tuesday I run 5mile each day, felt a bit rough on the Tuesday but got through it easy enough. This week same again, I actually felt quiet good whilst
    Running thinking I was just burning fat.
    I really think I could stick to this regime, so as for now I am very happy with the way things are going.

  46. Chris de CB – quote

    “Eskimos ate a diet of 99% whale blubber and never had heart problems”

    Inuit eat only when hungry, (strangely that was in the first sentence when I googled) they do eat things other than whale blubber, ” Grasses, tubers, roots, stems, berries, fireweed and seaweed”, but I would there diet is mostly fish/animal based.
    I think it seems to be the being hungry that is the most important, but I am new to all this too. I have just done one fast day this week, but I may get back into it next week.

    1. Interesting you say this re: hunger

      The thing I’m finding most is that after the fasting days, I’m more acutely aware of when I’m actually hungry as opposed to eating out of habit, boredom or in place of thirst on non-fast days!

      I certainly don’t see this as a diet per se, more of a how and why to eat. I can see the discussions abut good food v bad food, and I think that somewhat misses the point.

      We really do eat too much as a culture, and if nothing else, intermittent fasting could potentially be a good tool to address that.

      Glad to see so much discussion, I’ve a post on IGF-1 in the oven, as thee seem to be a lot of questions around that.

      1. The inuits do have an enlarged liver, so perhaps a person from the UK eating the same as an inuit may not fair so well. Are the inuits born with a large liver, or is it in response to their diet. We dont know?

        1. It’s worth remembering that that often made statement “we’re all the same under the skin” is not wholly true as our bodies don’t all behave quite the same.
          As an example, western men tend to carry excess fat in and around the belly.
          Western women tend to carry it on the hips and thighs.
          African women tend to carry it on the buttocks.

          Genetics are often very relevant.

        2. I would hazard a guess:- high levels of Vitamin A cause the liver to enlarge and Vitamin A is found in fish oil…

  47. I see a lot of people here are suggesting splitting the fast days – e.g. Bev and Sarah and Schrokit’s survey – so I went back to review Michael’s programme. When sitting on the dock he explains the regime as eating normally for 5 days followed by a 2 day fast. A later comment made while walking the dog was “I managed to fit in 2 fast days a week but they tended to be a bit scattered around” – this is rather more ambiguous but could mean that the contiguous days shifted around in the week. On the other hand the ADF seemed to have good results too. But I am going to stick with 2 contiguous.

    1. The notes at the end of his Telegraph article say ‘non-consecutive’, but they’re not written by Dr. M., rather they’re by a Jennifer Smith (who she?).

      It would be nice to think that newspaper articles are properly researched and factual, but the evidence for that is not exactly compelling :-(

      Dr. M. did describe 5/2 as an easier option that alternate day fasting.
      To me, at least, two consecutive days does not sound easier.

  48. We have been following the 5:2 regime for three weeks and each of us has lost nearly half a stone so the fast/diet seems to work and we have found it relatively easy to keep to. Question is when we reach our target weights, does anyone have any suggestions on how to proceed to stay at the desired weight? Are we likely to plateau if we keep on the regime? Do we need to keep on the regime because of the health benefits? HELP!!!

    1. Exactly what’s been bothering me. I am already the ‘right’ weight, though must have some fat stores that are disappearing, as I’ve lost a couple of pounds and had to put another hole in my belt. I corresponded with a CRON expert because I was worried that Horizon was recommending CR without the ON (optimum nutrition) but he said if someone is overweight that’s not a problem. As my BMI get towards 19 (from 23) I will have to make a decision either to try and eat more on the 5 days or else adopt the full CRON regime. From experience so far it will be an effort to eat an extra 3600 calories spread over 5 days but I will try and up my intake of healthy items. Red wine and dark chocolate might fit the bill !

  49. I dont think that there is a right way to do this ‘diet’, it more of a change of lifestyle. Two days per week or four days per month! I want to lose weight, but I dont want to be skinny; weight training was mentioned? I am going to do two days together, and not be too strict, I dont count calories anyway. Just make sure I dont any high calorie foods.

  50. On the basis that one of Dr Moseley’s previous programmes on eating, not under the Horizon banner, inspired me to lose 3 stones, I thought this was an excellent idea. So for the last 10 days I have tried the alternate days fasting – and have lost 7 pounds. I had crept up a little from the generally stable weight I achieved in November 2010 but have now for the first time in decades dipped firmly below the BMI of 25 at which I appeared to get stuck. Great – eating all my favourite (mostly healthy) foods – just every other day.

  51. Wife and I have been doing this for just over a week now. We started with a single day and then did two non-contiguous days last week. 4th and 5th days will be Monday and Wednesday this week. It seems to be working for me, at least I’ve lost a kilo or two, too early to be sure yet of course. Wife’s progress is less conclusive (though she’s a Dietitian and barely overweight to start with). Anyway, what caused me to post was to answer the question that someone above put, what to do once target weight is reached. I asked my personal dietitian this and she said just increase the fast days intake to, say 50%-60% of the calories you eat on normal non-fast days (so depending how active you are and gender etc anything from 1000-2000 calories). Experiment a bit until your weight remains stable while still eating normally (which means of course, for most of us, overeating at least a bit) on the 5 normal days.

  52. Just entering third week of 5/2 regime. Try and make fast days Mon and Wed for ease of routine. In my 50’s and BMI at 30. I use to calorie count. Don’t find it too hard to keep to the 500-600 limit on fast days and eat normal foods. Just concentrate on calorie control. Drink a lot of no added sugar squash to fill up and black tea with a little honey. Exercise for 90 minutes, three days a week, burning around 700 cals per session. Normal non fast days around 1800 cals intake. Lost around 9 lbs so far but scales say not lost much body fat.
    Interested to know more about the regenerative effects described in the show. DNA repair and neuron regrowth. Comment about ‘kicking the body into repair mode’ was intriguing.

    1. watch the no added sugar stuff, full of addictive chemicals which still spark an insulin response. This is why diet soda is so bad for you…all the fat storing insulin response, non of the flavour. It’s not about calories as much as carbs and sugars and insulin. If you have carbs in your system, your body will go into a protective mode and store fat. Also BMI is very misleading, I am BMI 20 but have body fat of 12%, Usain Bolt is BMI 22.3!
      3 weeks 9lbs…..good sensible sustainable weight loss.
      Excersise excellent but not above 60% max heart rate…walking I trust: (same guy Dr Mosley)
      Normal foods do not include potatoes, rice, pasta or bread we evolved without these “foods” by the way, we can survive ok with them, but operate much better without.

  53. I’ve been doing the 5:7 since i the horizon programme. On the whole i haven’t found it too hard (though a trip to mcdonalds with kids was quite a test…) The problem is , as i dont want to lose weight, staying motivated is getting harder now the novelty has worn off! Help! I have chocolate in the cupboard…

    1. as long as it’s over 75% cocoa, eat it. It’s as much about avoiding carbs and avoiding insulin spikes as well not eating. Avoid starches (potatoes, rice, pasta and definately bread and wheat based products) everything else….go for it, but make sure you are eating fats. Eat fat stay slim and avoid hunger pangs.
      We are designed to run on fats, which is why we store them in times of plenty

      1. Just have to be a wee bit pedantic (especially as my biochem lecturer might be reading…) we’re “designed” (not a word I’d choose, but hey :-D) to run on glucose and dip in to fat stores when we’re out of glucose.

        Our modern lifestyles don’t support the eating of fat that our ancestors’ did. We are far too sedentary. At the end of the day, your body needs energy and to make ATP and it will do that with *any* calories you put in it, if you give it too many calories or any sort, you’ll start to store it.

        I appreciate that many people find merit in low/no/slow carb diets, but A) the fasting diets don’t go preclude content, just amount and B) there’s a lot of misinformation spouted out by people who want to sell books. Caveat emptor and all that.

        However much a high fat high protein diet works in the short term, they are not sustainable long term, and eating healthily needs to be sustainable.

        1. Sorry, we’ll have to disagree. Glycogen may be what we can run on but Fat is the primary energy source which is why we store it as fuel, it is more energy efficient than glycogen. Excess fat (and it’s difficult to eat excess fat as it fills you up quicker) is mainly broken down and excreted..except in the presence of insulin, when just like carbs it is stored as..fat.
          Hunter gatherers don’t spend their days running about, they may move more than a lot of us today, but they do it at a slow pace, no point running around burning energy, if you can’t be certain exactly where or when the next meal is coming your way.
          OK, we have evolved, if you prefer, for hundreds of thousands of years, going from feast to famine as hunter gatherers….fasting or intermittant fasting is all part of that game….if we don’t eat enough carbs to make glycogen fuel, guess what, we can make it from a breakdown of fat via ketosis. (please note this is not acidoketosis)
          We can go for ever on fat, only about an hour on glycogen, which makes gylcogen/glucose a pretty poor energy source, except for extreme excersise ie sprinting, marathon runners run on fat.
          High fat moderate protein, low carb is sustainable and healthy in the long term, it’s the way we evolved. Our current diet is born from agriculture and a need to provide mass cheap calories, the consequences are the current epedemic of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
          I hope your biochem lecturer is reading, you could have a look at krebs cycle…also try the experiment of gorging on fat, pork scratchings, butter and cream are good for this…(sorry to any sensitive souls) then note the smell of your urine an hour or so later…ketones, from broken down and excereted fat.
          I don’t have a book to sell, just happy to share a healthy lifestyle, which in this case also includes intermittant fasting.
          If you want more reading on this subject, look up Gary Taubes, or Hyperlipid. Veiwing; try the Men who made us Fat (BBC) or the Truth about Excersise (BBC Dr Moseley)
          Have fun

          1. The comment about books to sell was not directed at you, it was a general comment on the diet industry and various ‘theories’ that abound, not all based on good science.

            The rest, I’m not addressing in a reply here, because I fundamentally disagree with your interpretation of some basic biochemistry, and that is worthy of a blog post, excellent inspiration :)

            But mostly, I don’t feel the need to engage a somewhat contentious challenge of my education/knowledge, as response my point. Debates I enjoy, but baiting, and straw men, I do not.

        2. I’d understood it was amount not content too. My sole interest in this is the longterm health benefits. I eat whatever i want normally and still do on nonfast days. Ive never been overweight so ive never followed any kind of calorie counting diet before so im on a bit of a steep learning curve. Having lost grandparents both to cancer and altzheimers, my main aim is to do anything i can to avoid either. Surely im not alone in not seeing the primary objective here as weightloss? ( but i did eat some chocolate, mike!!)

          1. and I hope it tasted good, the key is Insulin and Insulin like Growth Hormone-1, (there are also IGH-2, 3 and 4) he covers both in the program. The aim of the fasting is to reduce/control the responses of these hormones thereby triggering celular repair and not as I think he says keeping us in “go go mode”.
            This can also be done by watching the content of the food, carbs/sugars spike insulin
            Re: Long term effects of fasting, we evolved pretty well doing it and that Indian chap seemed pretty good to me, it is our natural state. Eating lots of small snacks and meals all day, is because we are driven towards short acting insulin spiking carbohydrate based “food” and the best way of attempting to control the hunger once the insulin has mopped up the higher levels of blood sugar….is… to eat some more…a pretty nasty cycle, because the excess, not burnt for energy, gets stored as fat.

            Have a look at his other program the Truth about Excersise and you’ll get a clue as to why most “Health Clubs” don’t have a real interest in your health.

            Dr Moseley is challenging the “conventional wisdom”, which is flawed but which we take for gospel, and supported by big pharma and agri industry and isn’t concerned about either your health or nutrition just your money. Where would they both be without type 2 diabetes and “health food” full of carbs sugar or chemical sweetners?
            Fasting is what our ancestors have done for a very long time, reduced calorie input aids longevity and healing and you can add to those benefits, by reducing carbs/sugars and eating fats and proteins.

            Anyway K, signing off here it seems I’m made of straw. It took me 35 years since graduating before I challenged the “conventional wisdom” that trained me and gave me the clues, they were all there staring us in the face, like most though I just couldn’t see them.
            Keep exploring reading and challenging, we don’t need half the food we eat, nor do we need carbs, it is not just about calories in calories out, it is about what they come from too.

            1. Mike, Nil desperandum – I am with you on this. I suspect that most of what is in the supermarkets is there because it is cheap to produce and has a long shelf life. The health implications of eating it are hardly given a thought by producers, wholesalers or retailers. Bags of sugar do not go off at the same rate as a piece of seal blubber and they are much cheaper to produce.

              If it comes from a factory, the chances are it will be bad for you despite the taste; and that includes everything from High Fructose Corn Syrup to Aspartame. I now avoid anything coming out of the USA: potatoes, grain mountains, tobacco, growth hormone filled corn fed beef, genetically modified anything, Big Macs, Hershey bars, etc. etc. It doesn’t seem to do the Americans any good and I have no reason to suspect it will be any better for me…

              The huge margins generated by junk food have given producers an iron grip on politics and the media. The food lobby and food advertising has been used to hide the truth and crush opponents. If our spineless government cannot legislate against these mass poisoners then it will have to be a consumer-led revolution…

              1. Re: processed and packaged foods, I couldn’t agree more.

                The current fashion of tarring all carbs with the same brush, is the thing I find problematic (to be clear, not saying you’re doing that, it’s a general observation).

                I’m just about to put up a post that links to an interesting article about how a calorie is not necessarily a calorie. Processed foods (and yeah, things like the corn lobby in the US, who have a vested interest in selling high fructose syrup to food manufacturers because it’s cheap and makes for easy filler) are very insidious.

                Using raw ingredients and cooking from scratch, however, makes an enormous difference, and helps you control what you’re putting in your body, now your individual metabolism is another matter, but nothing is ever simple :)

              2. Once you start thinking about the economic and political interests of government and multinational food companies, it can all get a bit overwhelming. What can we safely eat then? According to Dr Diana Swchartzbein (, it all comes down to one simple consideration: natural molecules are what our bodies are designed to process. Anything that has been altered at a molecular level does not get totally processed and leaves bad “residues” behind. For example, polyunsaturated fats in their natural (“cis”) state (2 atoms of hydrogen on the same side of the carbon chain) are good for us. They can be found in nuts, seeds, oily fish, soybean, corn, etc. But if they are processed at ultra high temperature (like in the production of corn oil), one of the hydrogens switches to the other side of the carbon double bond and the molecule adopts a “trans” configuration (hence the name trans-fatty acid). Now, the human body “does not have the necessary enzyme to fully metabolize the transfat into energy. When you eat trans-fatty acids, you end up with debris that clogs your cells, contributing to accelerated metabolic aging.”
                So the rule of thumb here is to avoid pre-processed products. Use fresh and natural ingredients, and cook things yourself. Check the labels of anything else and avoid processed fats (like margarine, butter is much better for us), all substitutes (most additives in so called “lo-fat” products), chemicals such as nitrates and sugar-laced products (I discovered today that sugar is the third ingredient in a Tesco tin of mackerel in tomatoe sauce!!!! I will now make my own batches from fresh fish, tomatoes, olive oil and onions, and freeze portions).
                It is also important to be aware that the GI number of an ingredient is not an absolute. For example, a carrot is low GI raw and med/high GI cooked because the cooking process softens the high fiber contents, so that the sugar in a cooked carrot can be absorbed quicker by the body. This means the presence of fiber delays the absorption of carbs. In other words, if you cannot live without your plate of pasta a couple of times a week, you can still reduce its GI (slow down the absorbtion of the carbs it contains) by throwing in lots of vegetables. For example, chop up a couple of sticks of celery, as long as it is only slightly cooked and retains most of its fibrous properties. Similarly, if you cannot live without your bowl of muesli in the morning, only have 2/3 of what you would normally have and add a weetabix or better still some unseweetened bran. The extra fibers will slow down the absorbtion rate and therefore lower the GI that way (a slower release of carbs will mitigate the increase in insulin).

          2. I’m with you, K, 100%. I’m the right weight, body water and body fat spot on, BP just right, cholesteral… cholesteral slightly higher than it should be. Apart from getting it back to where it should be my main aim is to live longer and – most important – enjoy living longer with a healthy body and mind. Isn’t that what the 5/2 is all about? And I didn’t hear mention anything about carbs and insulin in the programme. And I’ve seen it twice.

            1. Ditto all of the above. I watched it twice too. I was so cuaght up by it that i turned straight to +1 at the end of the programme! I only remember insulin being mentioned with regards to the adf with obese patients. Carbs not at all. Need to see it again. I think alot of people are erroniously using this fasting thing as a vindication of their own beliefs re diet. So many words put in dr mosely’s mouth!!

              1. You are not alone in wanting the non-weight loss benefits. That’s why I’m doing it. I don’t particularly want to look thinner though. Having lost 2 lbs so far my wife will soon notice, as I will be below my weight when we met 30 years ago. She will be convinced it’s unhealthy.

                1. My wife thinks the whole thing is a waste of time, but tolerates it. Although I’m the right weight and everything I still have a bit of middle-age spread – I’m sure when that goes she’ll appreciate it a bit more! My mother thinks I’m crazy.

              2. Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 is mentioned throughout but you are quite correct: Insulin itself is not mentioned. Whether the 600 calories should be from carbohydrates, protein or fat is also left hanging in the air – perhaps it is not considered important. However, it would be a sad world if people’s thoughts and opinions could not be aired for debate. I don’t see anyone putting words in Dr Mosely’s mouth…

  54. I am not far away from K, I did want to lose a stone or so; but I dont want to be thin. Which is the long term effect of this diet? I want to be healthy. All this talk of, dont eat this, that is ok – confuses me. Eat 600 cals and then what ever you want the other 5 days. I would like to get into some sort of routing. Getting back to work will help with that next Monday.

    1. Hi Carina, yes, I have type 2 diabetes. I see the 5:2 regime as a much needed change in life style for me. I have over indulged for years and I have brought this medical problem upon myself. My aim is to try and shift some weight and hopefully improve my health. I fast on Tuesdays and Thursdays and my wife has joined me. I have found the fasting days relatively easy and already my scales show that I have dropped some body fat and weight. I am 18 stone and 50 years old with a young family so the incentives are obvious. Let me know if you also start the 5:2 regime as it would be nice to compare progress.

      1. hello Glenn, nice to ‘talk’ to someone like me who has T2 diabetes. I am 50 years young :-) and i weigh 14st and am only 5′ 1″ so petite and obese. Although diabetes is hereditary on my mother’s side, i often wonder whether i could have kept it at bay for a bit longer had i got my bum into gear and not become obese due to overeating over the years. Anyway, i cannot change the past but i have started the 5:2 last week but unfortunately i am off the States next week on holiday and will have to re-start this Plan when i return. I need to do this for weight loss (and the added health benefits are a bonus). Today is my Fast Day and i too will do them on Tues & Thurs. So far today i have eaten a yoghurt and a small banana which amounts to 122 cals so far, i also take a multi vitamin on my Fast Days just for added security on the nutrients. Last week, i had my yoghurt and raspberries for breakfast and then went all day fasting until my main meal in the evening but today i was not hungry for breakfast so i had my yoghurt and banana around 1pm – do you think this is still OK? as i have broken the Fast by eating at lunchtime. How do you do yours? the same question applies to others doing this. I must admit i am a little confused as to how many hours is classed as ‘Fasting’ ie 8 hours, 16 hours etc and does this have to be continuous or a break inbetween? if anyone can enlighten me on this that would be very helpful for me. I do not take medication for my diabetes, it is just diet/excercise controlled which i think at this moment in time, is probably a lot easier for me to do but would be interested to know if there are any diabetics out there still doing this on medication and/or insulin and how they are coping with it. I am so pleased that i watched the programme and decided to embark on this as i feel it makes sense, it gives our bodies a rest from eating and digesting food which sounds a good thing to me. I tested my Fasting Blood Glucose this morning on waking and it was 7.2 and tested 2 hours after eating my yoghurt and banana and tested at 5.0 so i am happy with that. I’l probably test later before and after my evening meal. Happy Fasting!

  55. I have done 4 fast days so far and have lost 2kg. I have been doing them nonconsecutively and trying to stay away from too many carbs when I break the fast. I’ve also taken up ‘running’ which mostly consists of 1 min intervals walking/jogging. I dont know if its the excercise or the fasting or both but the weightloss is nice and I FEEL so much better. I feel more awake and sharper and I’ve really grown to appreciate food too.

  56. Hi all
    Found the Horizon program quite an eyeopener and resolved to try the ADF of way doing the fasting but wondering if that is the right one after reading above that fat stores only start to be used after 24hrs?. I`ve been having a single lunchtime cupasoup on the fast day plus mint tea as and when I fancy one and anything I want on the other days. Not sure how and when you start feeling the benefits and my blood pressure wasn`t very high to start with but its dropped nicely. Its not the weight loss thing with me more being able to keep the marbles where they should be ;-)

  57. This is a very interesting site which I’ve only just found having started my own version of the 2:5 about ten days ago. It is very encouraging to see what is being achieved. I fast on Monday and Tuesday with Monday being a complete fast (just water) and Tuesday having a small amount of food but again lots of water. I’ve found this easier than trying to take on a small amount of calories and getting my taste buds going which makes the willpower issue even more of a problem for me than not eating. That’s just me I suppose! I’ve found that I’m so much more alert on my fasting days and enjoy myself more. I’ve also found that the taste of everything when I resume a normal diet on Wednesday is magnificent and fresh with me not needing to eat as much to satisfy myself. I’ve also found that because I fast totally on Monday I can control any craving on normal diet days and don’t just eat rubbish because I feel hungry. I’ve lost weight which is great but I’ve also found that my blood pressure is way down too which, whilst it was not at aroblem level, is reassuring. Will be keeping this up til I can my target weight and then may adjust it to make the fasting days a little more sociable.

  58. i would like to know how people are doing their Fast Days and how and what you eat with your 500/600 calories? at the moment my Fast days are done by eating breakfast like a yoghurt with a piece of fruit and then i just drink green tea and water and have my main meal in the evening so i fast from breakfast until evening meal which is a 10 hour fast – would you say I am doing this correctly? I will be going on holiday on Mon for 2 weeks so will have to wait until i get back to start again but i am finding it easy and hope to lose weight and control my blood sugar levels better (I am a Type 2 diabetic) and add this to my lifestyle change incorporating it with excercise and healthy eating.

    1. I don’t calorie count, on Tuesday I had a slice of toast in the morning and a chicken salad at around 6pm, and a few cups of tea and some some juice. I fear that I might have gone over the 600 cals on that day, but I was doing a long cycle ride and otherwise the food might have ended up in the bin. Some people are saying that there blood indicators are better, I do have a fingertip pulse oximeter allowing me to monitor blood oxygen levels and pulse levels. But can I get blood tests done, (I don’t mind paying a reasonable amount), perhaps via an online lab?

    2. Personally, I find it easier to spread my 600 cals throughout the day. I had already reduced my evening meals over the past couple of years (it doesn’t make any sense to fill up with energy before going to sleep for 7/8 hours and I expect the modern way of piling on cereal carbs in the morning, snacking for lunch and pigging out at tea time plays a big part in the obesity crisis). So, as an example this is what I had yesterday:
      Morning: 1 small coffee, 2 Brazil nuts and twenty minutes later 1 large tomato, total cals around 80
      11ish: 1 apple, tot cals now around 130
      Lunch 1 small portion of lean pork approx 150 cals + lots of broccoli, around 50 cals + 1 small orange, 40 cals, 1 small coffee tot 370ish
      Mid afternoon 1 apple, 50 cals, tot 420
      Evening 1 drained tin sardine on a piece of rye Ryvita (62 + 34), tot cals approx 520ish
      1 grapefruit, around 65 cals tot for the day around 585
      + plenty to drink throughout the day, I usually make one or two pots of herbal or green tea, rotating flavours, mint, mango and lychee, pineapple and grapefruit, cranberry, lemon and ginger, etc….
      Voila. Hope this helps.

      1. I started with the idea of grazing throughout the day but decided then to have a light breakfast then a meal in the evening. But watching the programme again and the way I read it the idea is to basically push your body into a corner by not eating for a good stretch – “energy restriction” – it’s then that the brain begins growing new brain cells. For this reason I’ve started fasting for around 22 hours, from one evening through to the next, having just the one meal.
        In order to conform with my circumstances I fast on non-consecutive days. If I had to start on consecutive fasting it would be tough. I think I’d go back to grazing!

    3. Because I’m not doing consecutive days I try to make each fast day count by not eating from around 9.00 or 10.00 in the evening, going through to about 7.00 ot 8.00 the following evening when I have a meal.
      In between I have water and 2-3 cups of black coffee or fruit tea. I did start by having a glass of wine with the meal but have started having a fresh fruit drink, giving me 2 alcohol-free days a week..

  59. Im on my 3rd week of this diet (even though i dont call it diet) On fasting days i have not always kept to 600 cals sometimes a 1000 sometimes 800 it depends on what im eating. I always do Mondays & Tuesdays as i hate Mondays so im miserable anyway so starving myself just adds to it!!! I have lost around 7lb (im 16stone). Interesting i have done other diets and lost more weight in this time but with this i feel more in control and a hell of alot better in myself. My BP which was 140/120 is now 120/80. Also by using the site & app i have restricted myself to 1200 cals per day everyday, (to lose 4lb per week)
    First week i felt hungry all the time as i normaly eat way over the 2,500 mark but now my body is used to just having 1200 cals a day spread over 3 meals and snacks in between. One day a week i have a reward day where those 1200kcal will be say sausage n batter n chips whic his 750cal and say a bottle of magners. All other times i eat very healthy which i never used to. I have as my Wife will say become obsessvie with Calorie counting… however after 2 weeks she has now brought into this life changing experience and is using the app herself and has lost 1/2 stone as well in 2 weeks by watching her calorie intake. For me this has been a kick start into changing my eating habits, i will still fast on Mon & Tues and like this Tuesday i did only have 500cal but even if i keep to 1200 a day 7 days a week i will see the rewards. When i get down to around 14 stone i will then put the Calorie in take back up but until then its 1200 cal per day!!!!

  60. It seems that I have inadvertently used this method to lose weight over the years! Over the last few months on most days I have dropped my calorie intake to around 600kcals but not denying myself an occasional evening of wine and snacks. I have lost 15lbs in weight! I don’t generally feel hungry. I maintain my energy levels with oatcakes and if I feel a sugar crash snack on a few sultanas especially when at work in a busy AE Dept.

  61. I’ve completed 3 weeks so far. With only 10 pounds to lose, I’m not expecting huge weightloss by eating 5:2, but have somehow managed to lose 4 pounds which I’m pleased with. I exercise heavily (half marathon training runs most weekends), so I’m eating about 1800-2000 calories on feed days and 500 on fast days. I also exercise on fast days, but nothing too strenuous otherwise I end up light headed by the afternoon.

    I have found that my need for carbs has increased – I fast on consecutive days (Monday and Tuesday) and every Wednesday I do a 75 minute Bootcamp session. Perhaps my body is needing more carbs? Not sure – but this coming week 4, I shall try and keep them to a minimum and see how this feels.

    I am enjoying the way I’m feeling on 5:2 though. Much brighter and happier within myself. I log every single morsal of food using MFP – online food diary, MyFitnessPal. Works for me.

  62. My husband and I were fascinated by the program and decided to adopt the 5:2 lifestyle to try and stay healthier for longer. We are both quite health conscious and not over weight and quite fit taking regular exercise, we both cycle and I do very aerobic exercise classes ( body attack and body combat) even though i am 53 My husband is 63. I have a very busy and demanding job where I work a 12 hour shift without a break on a regular basis ( yes – it’s the NHS!) so have found the fasting on work days quite manageable. I tend to have a small bowl of high fibre cereal for breakfast and then stick to vegetable juices during the day -beetroot juice and also V8 with lots of water and herbal teas. My husband normally has a small meal too as he has more calories according to the program – 400 cal for women, 600 for men and he has a very active job too.. I have been surprised at how much easier it has been than we thought, and how well we fell. As other bloggers have noted I love the freedom from the kitchen, though I sometimes have to feed the rest of the family, and am amazed how much too much food we were eating before. I have really enjoyed the food that I do eat and have a feeling of control over my eating that I am sure could be a bit addictive! I really think that this is a much healthier lifestyle, and we plan to continue even when we go on our tour around Italy. This blog has been very informative, and has helped to keep us going in the early stages when we wondered if we were mad! Thanks.

  63. Thanks for all the posts, they have all been very interesting and informative. I am starting 5:2 on Monday and will fast on Mondays and Thursdays by eating one meal at lunchtime. I have been following Micheal Mosleys 3 min exercise plan since he recommended it on a previous Horizon programme and have been doing it at least 5 days a week. It is so easy to follow as it only takes about 6 minutes (with warm ups etc) to do on an exercise bike. You can’t make any excuses for not keeping up with this exercise regime as it is so easy. I have noticed a real improvement in my ability to do a quick sprint with my heart rate and breathing (I am 53 year old female, 5’9 69kg) I enjoy these Horizon programmes and am looking forward to the health and weight benefits of 5:2.

  64. I started this programme with my husband a day or so after the programme first aired. It’s been pretty easy to stick to, and I’ve found it’s made me much more mindful of what I eat on the non fasting days. Happy to say I’ve lost 11lbs in weight, though as someone with fibromyalgia and high cholesterol (6.8 when on 40mg pravastatin, 8.5 without!) I am more interested in the anti-inflammatory and cholesterol-reducing potential. I’d had a regular cholesterol check just before I started 5/2, and I mentioned the programme to my GP when I was called back for the results just after starting 5/2. She has agreed to retest me after around 6 weeks on the programme, so I can see if I get a positive effect over a similar time frame to Michael Mosley. I’m a 54 yr old female, weight currently 166 lbs, 5’5″ in height, BMI 27.8 – but with a shockingly high percentage body fat of 38.5% – but seeing as it was over 40% at the start of 5/2, I’m already very gratified by the reduction. Please keep posting updates, as I’m really interested to see how everyone else is fairing

  65. My fasting days are Mon/Tues, I find it easier to get them out of the way, leaving the rest of the day free for normall stuff. I do find that on the non-fasting days that I eat healthier, but I cant/dont want to eat enough, getting hungrey. I would love to have some sort of blood test done to check my health, I dont mind paying as long as its not too much. I did have a health check at the doctors done a few months ago, perhaps I can find out the exact test results.

  66. At a spry 63 I find that two days (also Mon/Tues) suit me best – the trouble is I think my body decides to shut down on the second day and I get very sleepy mid-afternoon despite attempts to stay awake by walking the dog… Hunger is not really a problem – at 16st I have enough abdominal fat to keep me going for a month – the big problem is that I feel my fast needs rewarding by a bit of a blow-out on Wednesday. As a result, my weight is only reducing very slowly (1lb a week). The upside of this, I suppose, is that I will not end up with yards of spare (and somewhat aging) skin. Targets are: weight – 16 to 14st, total cholesterol 6 to 5 (although my TC/HDL is a reasonable 3.7 thanks to a daily dose of cod liver oil), BP 180/97 to 120/70 (already well under way at 140/80). I have been given a chit for another blood test – FLIP and fasting glucose – but I will wait until I get to 15st first. Not sure how to go about getting a test for IGF-1. It doesn’t seem to be on the normal clinical biochemistry chit – although there is a box for “other tests” – maybe I could scrawl it in and see what happens…

  67. Week 4 and the weight loss has stopped and my weight is going up 1lb then down 1lb. Not sure if its a good thing to weigh in everyday. On my first 3 weeks of fasting i have come in around 800 cals cant believe how much some foods contain!! i am holiday this week and have been cycling 10miles every morning and sticking to 1200 cals a day but no weight loss. Trying to fast whilst not at work is impossible as my mind is free to think about food where at work i dont get time to take a ……………!! I have been 16stone before and have lost a stone in 4 weeks by cutting everything out so not sure where this challenge will take me! Maybe where i hve failed before is by losing weight to quick then smacking it all back on! I have learned to control my calorie intake now and do not eat half as much crap as i used to do. Maybe my weight wont drop but hopefully my BMI will and my fat in weight which is around 5 1/2 stone.??? Anyone else finding the weight is not coming off as quickly as they want to???????????????

    1. Could be lots of reasons. Daily weighing will always show up things like food in transit, water retention from a salty meal or a take away or a processed meal, or just body weirdness. It’s far better to weigh weekly or ideally, monthly.

      Are you using an online weightloss site to count the calories you’re eating throughout the weeks?

      1. Yeah i use the live strong website! im chuffed with the progress but perhaps i am expecting to much to soon compared to the other diets i have done. . dont think i will ever go back to my old ways which is a good thing as now i track everything!

  68. Michael Mosley is not a doctor and does not have a doctorate degree – his correct title is Mr. It’s misleading to introduce him as Dr on a health related subject.

    1. My understanding was that he holds a medical degree (MD) in medical psychology/psychiatry and he does use Dr. as a title, but I will double check that. Thanks.

      1. The title ‘Doctor’ need not even imply medicine.

        I’ve known many doctors in my time in my professional capacity, which is in electronics and related engineering. They’re all doctors because they have PhDs .. in physics, electronics engineering, computer sciences, mathematics, etc.

        Medical ‘Doctors’ usually have only a BA/MD.

        I never really understood how that works.

        1. Indeed, PhD is the original and more correct use of doctor (and I believe technically, everyone, regardless of discipline was a “doctor of philosophy” with the specialisation being secondary) as short for doctorate.

          The point being, MDs do frequently use the title Dr as well (perhaps more so in the states than here). The question would be re: Mosley did he qualify as an MD or simply study medicine but not through to the ultimate qualification.

  69. To get from the 70kg I was at 30 to the 87 or so kilos I was until recently (about 10.5st to about 13.2st) has taken an average weight gain of 770 grams a year, per week that works out at about 15 grams. Put another way, an average of about 1 and a bit spoonfulls too much sugar everyweek for 22 years. Weight fluctuates from day to day and week to week depending on, well, many factors, but over a period of time your average intake/energy spend will see you either gain or lose weight.

    If using the 2/5 eating regime enables you to lose, lets say, 100g a week – that’s little enough that it will likely be swallowed by normal week to week and daily fluctutations. That’s to say that it will probably be a month or two before your weight loss becomes clear and certain. Nevertheless, for me, losing even as little as 100g a week will lose me the 17kg I have put on in 22 years in about 3 years.

    I seem to be losing about 1kg a week at the moment. I am completing my third week of the 2/5 today and will weigh myself tomorrow morning.

    I have dieted before, starting at about 84kg then, and got down to about 78kg before my willpower gave out (it took about three months – it wasn’t a crash diet – wifes a Dietitian remember – with a Phd too….). This is why I am hopeful with this 2/5 way of eating (I am reluctant to call it a diet too). I think I can sustain it, whereas dieting and calorie counting everyday of your life, well for me at least, just becomes too tiresome.

    1. FWIW, my brother reckons we put on about an extra pound or two every Christmas, when we tend to pig out, but never lose it.
      Everything else is just natural fluctuations.
      It tends to add up surprisingly well for many people.
      Perhaps we should just behave at Christmas :-)

  70. Oops, my mistake. Calories do not translate 1:1 into grams lost or gained, but, roughly, every 70 Cals too much will make about 10g fat. So, my estimate above should be about 105 calories too much every week for 22 years, that’s about 9 teaspoons of sugar too much every week then.

    Actually, for a man, the 2/5 diet should lose you about 500g a week. 2 days at 600 cals will forgo roughly 3600 Cals a week (1800×2). So, 3600/70×10 gives 514 grams. Given our (and certainly my) tendency overeat a little on the normal days a weight loss of 100-400 grams a week seems a reasonable expectation.

    Incidentally, I am of course interested in all the other benefits that the 2/5 regime may bring (repair mode, better or maintained mental function, resistance to disease etc) – however, the proxy for all of them is weight loss – I certainly can’t measure any of the other parameters at home.

  71. Weighed in this morning. I seem to have lost about 600g this week. That’s fine. I can eat what I like for 5 days now.

  72. I have been on holiday for 2 weeks so am fascinated to read all the recent blogs and discussions. I too was unaware that women may be affected differently. Can anyone provide any detail about that?
    I also wonder what to do when you do not want to lose more weight. I would think its better to increase intake on the non fast days than the fast days, but that is purely my own logic.
    I would also like more info if anyone knows where to get blood tests done for Igf etc.
    Well done everyone, and great news for those with health issues who are seeing an improvement.
    Ps I have to say I do feel really hungry on fast days, but maybe this improves with practice, or maybe I should drink more green tea?!

    1. I have been drinking around 6 cups of green tea on fast days (with a teasp. honey in) and find that I don’t feel hungry at all. I fast completely apart from the honey. I thought it would be difficult but the green tea seems to satisfy me. I’ve done a two day fast this way last week, having done several one day fasts and that was easy as well. On a normal eating day I find it harder to stop eating!!

      1. Hi Susan, Just wanted to check that u only have Green Tea on a fast day and u do them one day after and another??? My fast days are normaly Monday & Tuesday but i find once i start eating i get hungry but like u i hve found green tea to stop the hunger cravings so wondering if i could do this, but also two days on a trott. Cheers Steve

        1. Hi Steve, I began by only fasting one day at a time but twice a week and then last time I did two consecutive days. I find green tea does something and I don’t miss food even on a two day fast, whereas on a normal eating day I feel hungry even after I’ve eaten!! Mad, isn’t it?

    2. I am about to start week 5 of 5:2 – I’m a female in training for my third marathon this year and a 70k ultra next year. I’m thinking of writing a blog to give fellow females an idea of how it’s affecting the female body, what I’m eating on feast and fast days and how it’s affecting my training.

      1. Well done Caz, I”ve only ever braved a 10K :-) Would love to read the blog. I’m just now working on a post about why (generally) men and women seem to lose weight at different speeds, so might be something relevant in there for your training! All the best. S

    3. The men/women weight loss differences is a post I’m working on as I type, great minds and all.

      Re: the not losing more weight, we’ve been discussing that as well, neither Mr S or I have loads of weight to lose (more for vanity sake as much as optimal health in addition to the other benefits around cancer, ageing etc.). I’m planning on asking Dr Mosley, as the last time I chatted with him on twitter he was saying he wasn’t keen to lose much more. I would gather (and this is just a guess from what I know about fasting/glucose and starvation triggers) that taking the fasting day calorie content up to say 700 might help from weight coming off too much. I’ll dig up proper papers on this, but general understanding about caloric intake v weight loss, is that to lose weight, you need to drop your regular caloric intake by approx 30%. So to maintain, you’d want to take that up, but not go back to what your intake was when gaining. Apparently, it only takes an extra 100 cals a day from what your body needs maintain nutritional homeostasis to gain weight/go towards obesity, so it’s a finely tuned balance in that sense.

      Re: Hunger, see my latests post, porridge goes a long way towards not feeling hungry, but YMMV :-)

      1. That’s interesting. 700 Cals would be a holiday. As my main aim, apart from living longer, of course, was to reduce my cholesterol – I’m OK in all the otehr departments – I’d been wondering about what happens when I hit my target. I’d considered, so-as not to lose more weight if the 5:2 could become a 6:1.

        1. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and it’s something I’m going to run by my nutrition lecturers today, since maintaining is a more realistic long term goal after initial loss etc.

          I’m wondering if it’s about an aggregate cal intake over a 7 day period, or if it’s amount of time fasting, if that makes sense. It may be that this is a criteria for our Uni wide experiment.

          I’m on the case, hope to have some useful answers soon!

          1. Hi Schrokit,

            I’d be very interested in their answers and particularly on the basis upon which they give their answers.

            The main reason I say that is that I personally doubt that there is, as yet, that much real data about the benefits and risks of IF. And I say that as someone who is convinced enough about the _apparent_ benefits to be doing a 5:2 regime, and also as someone who has always subscribed to the view that “dieting makes you fat”.
            It seems pretty convincing that an over-abundance of rich foods is causing us problems, particularly obesity, visceral fats and diabetes, possibly arthritis, LDL cholesterol, heart disease, cancers. It seems to me (opinion!) that IF is a strategy to address that over-abundance that should fit well with our hunter-gatherer bodies and metabolism, so should be beneficial.
            We should not forget, though, that 20k years ago, hunter gatherers did not normally live longer than us, and that one of the arguments why we evolved into a high-intelligence creature is likely that we found a way (cooking) to better extract calories from food.
            I should say that personally I tend to largely ignore “life expectancy” figures from the past, and indeed from many modern countries, as they are inevitably skewed by high infant mortality. Additionally we in the modern west also have, at present at least, much better treatment of diseases.

            1. I totally agree 2:5 (or 5:2 I’m not fussy) is indeed a strategy, nicely put, and other health benefits would be a cherry on top. We’re hoping to get enough subjects in our Uni study to start to pick out some patterns, and see results on a larger scale. One Horizon programme definitely does not a solid theory make :)

              I’ve got some more research to read through before my next post, but I hope it will be illuminating, and interesting, if nothing else!

            2. Also agree on taking life expectancy and looking at what our ancestors did with a grain of salt. From the few anthropologists I know, the jury is still out on what were talking about when we refer to our ancestors etc. So many conflicting studies and nascent understanding there.

              Not my area at all, so I’ll stick to my data collecting & physiology for now :)

          2. One thing to consider of course is the cell repair/rebuild aspect of the fasting period. Would one day a week fast compromise this? The original idea proposed was a literal alternate day fast, ie. 3.5 days a week. Mosley’s decision to adopt the 5:2 sounded like it was a compromise he felt he could manage. I wouldn’t like to think I was watering down the longer term benefits.

            1. The original observation was about reduced calorific intake, then a four-day fast which wants repeating after around six non-fasting weeks, then alternate day fasting and finally 5:2.
              The understanding I had was that the researchers on ADF believed that is was reasonable to widen the gaps between fasts without losing the apparent benefits. However, my feeling on this is that it has yet to be researched in any real depth or breadth.
              The blood tests on Dr. Mosley suggested it was working OK for him as IGF-1, etc., stayed low. Whether or not that shows that the cell repair aspect would also apply is another matter. Lowered IGF-1 was said to imply that, but whether or not it’s proven is quite another matter.

              I’m minded of the early research on alcohol consumption that suggested people who drank no alcohol were more likely to die that those who drank moderately, only later to realise that they had not thought to exclude people from the research who had been told on medical grounds to stop drinking now, or die soon.

              The study of long-term affects normally (always?) relies on statistical analysis of the data collected, but the data has to be appropriate. I have two examples that I love, of statistics at work… :-)

              Birthdays are good for you. It’s been statistically proven that the people who have the most birthdays live the longest.

              It has been statistically demonstrated that hangovers are caused by the curry.

              1. “Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what I see’!”
                “You might just as well say,” added the March Hare, “that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!”
                “You might just as well say,” added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, “that ‘I breathe when I sleep’ is the same thing as ‘I sleep when I breathe’!”
                (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 7)

                1. :-)
                  Your extract from Alice is an excellent explanation.

                  It disturbed me that having posted both of those I started to worry that perhaps I should explicitly say that they are both joke examples and as far as I know(!) nobody has been so silly as to actually do those analyses.

  73. 4 days fasting completed in 2 week period = 7lb of weight loss. Not finding the fasting days a massive chore and will be speaking to my Dr tomorrow re the diabetes and whether this is a safe regime ( for someone with type 2 diabetes ) to follow.

  74. I have just finished my fifth week of the 5:2 and lost 9.6lb so far, although only 1lb in the last two weeks. I am very strictly sticking to 500 calories on my fast days and I have found that as the weeks have progressed my feast day calories have dropped as well. In conjunction with this i have started what is (for me at least) a heavy fitness programme.

    I just wondered if anyone else was experiencing a slow down on the weight loss front, I know that I am converting fat to muscle, thanks to the scales I have. I am starting to think that I am not eating enough on my feast days though which is a strange position to be in….

    1. My hypothesis is that the weight loss will slow as you approach your ideal weight. IMHO no one who is eating five days of solid nourishment a week could become skeletal… Just a guess at this stage, but it would be interesting to know if anyone who has been on 5:2 has experienced excessive weight loss.

      1. I think plateauing is very possible, and it’s likely a YMMV as no two metabolisms are alike. Might also be as one loses it’s necessary to keep decreasing intake. Again lots of variability in there!

  75. Im now on Week 5 doing this life changing diet/plan.1st week i lost 4lb,(i guess my body reacted to the change) 2nd & 3rd week (1lb perweek) 4th week i lost 3lb. Still with me??? Total of 9lbs which i am chuffed with as this 4 week cycle has included nights out, takeways currys etc, one night i racked up 3000cal just in Strongbow alone and the kebab at 3am pushed me over the 4000cal mark but hey what a night!! Thats the best thing with this plan, you can still have a life as well!!! Sure if i had not had the meals out and drank the cider i may have lost more but i would of been miserable, whats the point of being on a diet and being unhappy!!! With the website i use for tracking my calories i reckon by Xmas i could be at all time of low of around 13 stone!!! (Im 15s 11.5lbs now)!!!!
    I am still fasting Monday & Tuesdays but i am doing at least an hour of exercise 6 days per week, from cycling, swimming, walking, gentle jogging , even sex can burn of the calories though i have to find something to do with the other 55min!!! :)

  76. Does anyone else experience a headache after fasting? I fast Monday and Tuesday – and on Wednesday morning I have a mild hangover… (Which is rich – considering that the previous two days are alcohol-free…!) It could be due to dehydration I suppose – but I think it may be more to do with hypoglycaemia.

    1. yes, i had a hangovertype headache too. thought it was dehydration at firs but even if i drink plenty i still get it. i have noticed that it is decreasing week by week though. maybe just my body adjusting.

    2. Just a thought, which may be totally irrelevant. Could it be caffeine related?
      If you’ve changed tea/coffee/cola/etc. pattern significantly it can cause headaches, and it’s not always a cause that comes to mind, particularly if the cause is a reduction of caffeine.
      I don’t know if/how food might affect the absorption of caffeine.

      1. Don’t think it’s caffeine. My caffeine intake on fast and non-fast days is unchanged. The only difference is I don’t have milk with my coffee. I sometimes get a headache in the afternoon on fast days and take a paracetamol – please don’t somebody tell me they’re loaded with calories!

        1. Depends on coating, some tablets will have sugar, often from lactose, or another starch. Likely not a lot of calories (or even enough to worry about), but even less likely to be a worrisome amount of sugar if uncoated.

        2. I am in my 5th week and am doing Mon/Wed as my fast days. I have lost 7lbs and 2 inches off my waist. so am a happy bunny. I don’t get headaches and wonder if my routine of eating either porridge or a bowl of muesli with stewed fruit for breakfast on fast days helps? It is slow-release food isn’t it? In fact on Wednesday this week I made the muesli/fruit mix last until lunch time as I found that I didn’t want to eat it all at breakfast! This 5:2 is really making me think about what I eat and how much I don’t need! I have never, ever counted calories but now I do read ingredients’ lists more closely to check – e.g how many calories in a single oatcake & that sort of thing. Fasting also seems to be helping my digestive tract which could be a bit unpredictable with a sort of IBS from time to time. I believe I can make this part of my life now, but like others who have commented on it, when I reach what I think is an ideal weight, what will I do? Only yesterday someone asked me if I was ok? I apparently looked tired (I didn’t think I did but I had got up very early to attend a business exhibition) and then they said my face was thinner, which I suppose it is; being 62 years young, weight does seem to go from the face first which is a bit of a nuisance as I am by no means chubby round round the chops……just the waist & hips!

          1. My understanding of this, from Dr. Mosley’s programme and writing is that the purpose of the 5:2 plan is to get our bodies to function in a different mode .. to stop being permanently, as he put it, “in go! go! mode” and to switch to a more “circumspect” mode, where during the fast days the body switches from laying down fat to consuming some of the fat it previously laid down; To switch from always making new cells to a kind of “make do and mend” attitude to the cells it already has.

            Those changes were expected to result in some weight loss in people who are carrying more fat than optimal.

            As far as I remember, Dr. M. never said this was a weight-loss plan. I think that has been said by others and rather pick-a-backs onto Dr. M’s views.

            My guess(!) is that body fat and hence weight will tend to level out at a point that is reasonably sensibly healthy, because the IF reduces our propensity to over-eat. Likely is that, if necessary, we will compensate on our feeding days to maintain an appropriate amount of fat.
            But then I repeat that that’s just my guess. I don’t know that, and I think as yet neither does anyone else, for sure.

            It’s been said repeatedly “as yet there are too few human studies”.
            We are our own Guinea pigs.

            1. I am very happy to be a guinea pig! If anyone is going to study this academically/seriously, I would be willing to be a contributor, although I have no idea what my cholesterol levels etc were before I started. I just measured the chubby bits of me and weighed myself. I do feel less lethargic and the thought that my cells are being allowed to work how they want without undue pressure makes me feel very positive. I am also drinking a lot more water which can only be good for me, and may be another reason for not suffering from headaches. Yes Gordon, I do think that our bodies may adjust in time and our weight will level out, and possibly we will eat just enough on our no-fast days to maintain it – I certainly have less of an appetite now and am eating smaller portions.I am finding the journey very interesting because it seems so sensible and, although I don’t actually broadcast what I am doing, I have found others amongst my friends & acquaintances who are also 5:2’ing and they are people who wouldn’t normally diet as such.

            2. agree completely. I never set out to lose ny weight, and although I’m generally down by a couple of lb after fasting it reappears by the end of a couple of feed days. so overall my weight is stable.

          2. I’m 63 and, like you, have an ongoing thing with IBS. I also think it’s improved some since starting the diet. I’m eating pretty much the same things but obviously less per week and less alcohol. At 10 st 5 oz I’m not actually overweight but I have got some middle-age spread. So far I haven’t lost anything off my face but I’m certainly going to have to have another hole put in my belt. Again, I put this down to a drop in alcohol units per week.

            1. I have been fasting since the programme was shown: began with one day a week for two weeks and since then two consecutive days. I have lost over a stone since I started. (I did need to lose weight as I’d got to about 12 stone, now I’m 10st.11lbs). I drink about 5-6 mugs of green tea with honey in while awake and was not eating anything on the one day a week programme. I believe the green tea stops me feeling hungry. On the two day consecutive fast I eat about 10 mixed nuts each morning. Normally I love food but I have not missed eating on the fast days and I put this down to the green tea. I am 70 years old and on warfarin but feel so much more alive and energetic this last week – 10 days and I put this down to the diet. My brains also seem to be working a lot better and my memory is improving. Also the sense of achievement in sticking to the diet is very rewarding.

              1. It seems to be working wonders for you. Apart from the green tea + honey and the few nuts do you eat anything else? I say this because the honey must come in at around 30 cals per cup, plus the nuts would take you up to around half way to your allowed intake. Apart from a couple of black coffees – no sugar – during the day I indulge in the evening with a meal up to my 600 cal allowance. My wife thinks I should spread the load throughout the day, which sounds like what you may be doing.

                1. Hi Kenny, no I don’t take anything else during the day except green tea and honey and the 8-10 nuts. I have lost over a stone since I started and feel great both mentally and physically. Mentally because I didn’t know I had that much determination, and hopefully the free radicals are being mopped up improving my health. Good luck with your endeavour too.

                2. Hi Kenny, don’t think I answered your queries about how much I eat during the day. I have about 5 cups green tea plus one spoonful of honey, plus about 10-12 mixed nuts for breakfast and nothing else. I don’t count calories as I’m not sure how to!!
                  I’m still doing this two days a week and am still losing weight quite well – I did need to as I was way overweight. However, I’m down to 10and half stone now compared to 12 stone at the beginning. When I began I only drank tea + honey and nothing else, but now I’ve added in the nuts or sometimes an orange and a pear instead depending on how I feel. I am much more alert and feel more alive and have much more energy now – it’s great. I’m continuing with it.

                  1. That’s quite a meagre repast compared to my menu. I’ve started to have an item of fruit for breakfast. Have a couple of drinks during the day – black coffee or (new for me, since reading your post) green tea. Then in the evening a small meal, usually fish, which is quite low on calories, with salad or a few veg. After the stress of work I need something to look forward to! But all this comes under the 600 cal allowance.

    3. I fast on tue and thur and have a slight headache. I’m getting really bad cramps in my legs on those nights too- wondering whether this is a sign of a problem? Anyone else have any thoughts?

  77. Hi Saran, try taking a multivitamin tablet in the mornings – also include a banana on your fasting days – vitamin Bs of one sort or another and a bit of potassium can help reduce the tendency to cramps.

    I have come to the conclusion that the headache is hypoglycaemia. On the second day of fasting my body sort of shuts down and mimics the metabolism of a three-toed sloth (apart from the urge to hang upside-down in a tree of course). I think it is having a struggle getting into the ketosis thing…

  78. I’m now on week 6, and just over 14lbs lighter. After doing 2 consecutive days, I started to struggle a bit, mainly with feeling light-headed and irritable on the second day, so have now separated them out. Having read The Alternate Day Diet by James B Johnson MD since starting the 5:2, this did also seem to make physiological sense, seeing as I wish to lose weight as well as tackle my primary issues of high cholesterol and inflammatory conditions. On my fast days, I eat my normal breakfast bowl of porridge made with water/little skimmed milk with berries, but make that my main meal, at around 3pm. In addition, I eat 2 pieces of fruit and maybe a low fat yoghurt. I’ve completely cut out diet coke (I used to drink several cans a day) and have one or two cups of coffee with skimmed milk, otherwise black tea. I feel a fair bit more energetic and I am not needing to top up my regular diclofenac – both big plusses for someone with fibromyalgia. I’ve also found I do not need to use my inhaler for asthma as much.
    Mindfulness around eating has really revealed to me how adversely I react to wheat. I plan to stick to the 5:2 indefinitely, and am looking forward to seeing the results of my repeat cholesterol tests, due in the next couple of weeks.

  79. Hi Shrokit, you mentioned in your intro that you have breast cancer and one of the primary reasons you are interested in the 5:2 lifestyle is trying out the effect of reducing IGF1 on your health. Unfortunately I cannot offer you any blood tests! But I am also interested in this aspect because I help to run a little holistic cancer support charity in South Wales and anything that might help people’s natural healing mechanisms kick in, I am very interested in. My husband & I are also doing the 5:2, I would never recommend something like this to our clients without having tried it first and also being careful about their current state of health, medications and checking it with their doctor etc.etc. So I would be glad to hear how you are getting on and what your view is on what it is like to do this as a person with cancer.

  80. I am now on Week 7 and after 6 weeks i have gone from 16s 8lb to 15s 7lb. I also lost 9lb of body fat and took 3% of my BMI. My resting pulse at the start of this was 76 and its now 44 so a massive improvement all round! Im still sticking to 1200 cals per day and Mon & Tues i drop down to 600-700cal. If i want extra cals i make sure i do the exercise to allow for this!! If im honest its been quite easy as i have still lived and enjoyed my food i have just restricted what i have ate, and now i cant ever see me going back to my old ways. Like other “Diets” that give you a quick fix i find this a life changing challenge and i aim to go right up till Dec 14th with it which will be 18 weeks then. One thing for sure is i could have not done it with out tracking my calories and i use http://WWW.LIVESTRONG.COM to do this. Think the best thing about all of this was when the Horizon programe came on i was eating a Large Dominos Pizza with Wedges. Not had one since!!!!!

    1. If it were me, I think I might be a bit concerned about a pulse rate quite that low.

      My pulse rate has always been pretty low as I used to be super fit (until I was 44 and was injured). My normal pulse rate just before I started 5:2 was around 60bpm, sometimes just a touch under, since 5:2 it’s dropped a bit, but I haven’t seen it drop below 52bpm. At a recent check, the doctor was initially alarmed that it was at 56bpm until I explained my background, whereupon he calmed down.
      OK, I’m now 60, 15 stone and no longer particularly fit, which would raise it from years ago.

      It may be worth getting some medical advice to be sure.

      1. I wouldnt call my former self super-fit, but others might, I now train less but I am still regarded as a fitness freak. Just like being over weight is classed as normal, so too is high pulse and blood pressure due to lack of exercise. My lowest recorded pulse, just before bedtime, is around 48; but various things make my normal resting pulse 50+.

      1. Congratulations on your very impressive stats but you seem to be taking things to extremes. For a man, 1200 calories for 5 days and 600-700 calories for 2 days seems to be a very strict diet rather than a lifestyle change. I thought the idea was to eat normally for 5 days and fast for 2 days. If its working for you well done but be careful you don’t get too obsessed with calories.

        1. Hi Shulay, I don’t intend to stay on 1200cal per day for ever its just until I reach my target weight! On non fasting days I tend to eat around 2,200 cals but 6 nights a week I train and burn 1000cals so it drops me to 1200 per day! I have become obsessed with calorie counting and for someone like me its a good thing! It makes me think before I put something in my mouth!
          Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

  81. Just finished sixth and a half week of the 2/5 (I started, back in August, with a single fast day in the first week ). I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks as I had a blip last week when my weight appeared to go up, however my weight this morning confirms the downward trajectory. Three weeks ago 83.4kg (I weigh myself the morning after the second fast day), last week, 83.6kg, this week 82.0kg. I am not aware of having consciously varied the “strategy” so this must be natural fluctuation due to, well, due to whatever, as referred to in earlier posts (mine and others). Total weight loss since I started is now about 5.5kg.

    Incidentally, regarding Steve’s net 1200 cal on feed days (I think, like others, it wasn’t clear to me that this was a net intake that he calculated after the effect of exercise) and then 600 cals on fast days. Using the formula I presented in an earlier post (not originated by me I hasten to add, but extracted from my wife’s general dietetic knowledge and then converted, by me, into a crude rule of thumb) gives, more or less, his overall weight loss.

    To demonstrate, 6 weeks foregoing 1,200 calories for 5 days and 1,800 calories for 2 days. So over 6 weeks that’s 57,600 calories forgone (6x(1200×5+1800×2). Then 57,600 / 7 (just divide by 7, gives an estimate of weight loss in kilos) thats a weight loss of 8.23kg.

    As Steve thinks in imperial (I don’t have, any feel for imperial measures anymore I even think of my height in centimetres, oh, except fuel I still think in MPG – I just can’t get a feel for litres per 100km, but I digress) that works out at about 18lb or 1st and 4lbs. Steve’s loss seems to have been 15lbs (1st 1lb) so, given the odd curry night for which Steve seems to have a penchant, that seems to work out.

    Steve at over 15.5 st is still quite big, however, some people are actually big – I mean, if I were nearly 16 stone ( 102kg) I would be fairly obese, or perhaps have become a serious body builder as muscle is much heavier than fat. This is to be related to my weight when I was 30 and neither fat nor fit, of 70kg. I’m 179cm tall.

    Can you give us these comparative’s Steve? What did you weigh before you became overweight? How tall are you?

    I will be going to the doctors soon to review my medication (I have familial hypercholesterolaemia and so am on a statin) and will ask for as many measures as I can to be taken at bloods (though I doubt he’ll agree to test IGF-1 as wife tells me that’s expensive).

    1. Wow thanks for that formula its nice to know im there or abouts. Im 5ft 10 and i started this challenge at 16s 7lb and my heaviset just a couple of weeks before was 16s 12lb. Since putting my results on here a few people mentioned that 1200 kals may be to low for 5 days a weeks so i went back on to to check my settings and it seems i selected the wrong activity level for my target weight loss. As of 1st October i am now on 1467 per day so i have an extra 267 to play with :). I mentioned my Pulse was now being recorded at 44 and a few people mentioned that was good and others maybe to low so when in the doctors on Friday i asked him to check it for me and it came in at 46 and the Doctor said its because i have been running for 10 years and even though my weight has gone up and down like a yo yo in the last 3years (16s 12 JAN 2010) (14S 4LB NOV 2011) it is very good. I went home at the weekend and asked my Dad about it and at 67 he to still records a pulse of 45 and he has always been a runner as well!!! However since posting my results two weeks ago i have had every illness going so i think i may have put weight back on and have not fasted while feeling ill but hopefully this week i can get back on track!! Not ate loads but not felt like doing any exercise so when i weigh in tom i expect a few pounds on!! Really appreciate everyones comments and advice its nice not to feel alone when trying something new!! Why pay £5 at slimming world when you can come on here!!! ( Whoops can see a admin charge coming now) :)

  82. Oh, yes, the wife is doing this too. However she was never overweight to begin with. She’s 155cm and weighs around 48kg – which is fine – and she knows that (she’s a Dietitian remember). However she doesn’t seem to be losing much if any weight at all. Perhaps this is evidence that once you have reached a healthy weight that your weight does stabilises on the 5/2. Having said that I seem to be better at sticking to the strategy than she is (as, obviously, the need is less pressing for her) and perhaps her lapses are just enough to keep her weight stable.

  83. oh, small arithmetic inaccuracy to clear up, 57,600 / 7 gives an answer in grams not kg. To convert that to kg you divide by 1,000, or you could just divide 57,600 by 7000 to get 8.23. Apologies if obvious to some but may not be to all.

  84. I thought other people might be interested in the results of my latest cholesterol test, after following the 5:2 regime for around 2 months now (starting a couple of days after first transmission of the Horizon programme on UK TV).
    I have familial high cholesterol, which has been as high as 9.2 untreated, 8.5 on 20mgs pravastatin, and just before starting the 5:2, tested 6.8 on 40mgs pravastatin each day. I’m very pleased to say my retest this week – offered by my GP to specifically assess the effects of the regime – has come in at 5.8! My GP is impressed, and has advised me to continue.
    I’ve now lost a total of 16.6lbs in weight, have an improvement in my fibromyalgia symptoms (judged from a minimal need to top up my regular pain relief since starting the 5:2), have an improvement in my asthma (judged from reduced use of my inhaler), and have better energy levels and am able to exercise a bit more, again.
    I believe the effects are more than might just accrue to weight loss & increased exercise alone as, a few years back when I was much more active (pre-fibromyalgia) and was first found to have high cholesterol, I tried 4 months on a strict low fat/low cholesterol diet, lost a similar amount of weight over that longer period, but my cholesterol reduced by only 0.3.

  85. I am very impressed by all the positive feedback, but myself I have not found it so easy. i do my fast days on mondays and wednesdays, and also suffer from the headache everyone describes, not to mention the halitosis!! Sorry, I didnt want to be the first to mention this, and easily sorted with regular brushing! I also feel tired on those days, unlike other peoples’ reports of increased energy.
    I havent lost any weight overall, although am usually 3-4 lbs lighter on thursdays,its back up by monday. Mind you, I dont have more than a couple of pounds to lose, so its not an issue, but shows that i must be eating more the other days- i definitely do feel more hungry those days. Amazing really, the body’s powers of homeostasis! Having tried all the possible variations, i am finding it best to split my calories to a 200 cal brunch, then a 300 calorie dinner. i find I then go to bed early, mainly because I feel more tired than usual.
    Has anyone heard whether the American study of alternate day fasting that was featured in Moseley’s program has been published yet? I thought it was sometime soon.

    1. I suppose it’s like any regime or treatment programme, Bev – it’s not going to suit everyone, whether it works or not. I don’t know of any new study published, but I have also read the Dr Johnson book on Alternate Day Fasting, since starting the 5:2. From memory – I’d love to check, but I bought the kindle edition, and now can’t find my kindle! – I think the fast days are not so stringent on that regime, maybe because you have more of them per week. I remember there was some sort of formula for assessing what an individual’s calorie intake should be on fasting days. I’m wondering if that might suit you better? Here’s the amazon link .
      I must admit, I haven’t suffered any headaches – apart from the first week when I decided to really cut down on Diet Coke, too. As for bad breath, it’s possibly lucky my husband’s following the 5:2 as well (6lbs lost over the 8 weeks or so). We have both now decided to split the fast days, as we were feeling tired on the second day, and I was a bit of a cow to live with! Yes, and earlier nights on fast days do help with any late night snack cravings.
      Good luck. Beverley.

      1. Hi Beverley, I’m just wondering if you and others are drinking enough during the fast days. I may be luck but I haven’t suffered headaches, but I do drink around 4-5 cups of green tea plus a spoonful of honey in and probably around the same amount of water. I think this may help me not to have headaches. I’m also doing a 48hours fast a week now with no problems and have lost well over a stone in weight. Hope this helps you. Sue

        1. Hi Susan. I’m Beverley without the headaches, it’s Bev who has them – confusing, I know :) Yes, I drink loads on both fasting and non-fasting days – on fast days, mostly black tea, water, or water with a dash of PLJ. I think you’re right, hydration is really important, and a drink can satisfy the mouth-craving that might otherwise be met with a bite to eat.
          It’s good to read how other people are engaging with the regime, and finding out what works for them. Thanks :)

        2. Well the headaches seem to have stopped happening now – plus I seem to have lost 10lb somewhere – so looks like the ketosis has finally got into gear but it did take a few weeks. Just need to conquer the urge to nod off in the afternoon.
          I also recalled that you could only eat as much as you like on the Alternate Day Fasting programme, so I am attempting to eat sensibly on the other 5. Basically, limiting the carbs to a bowl of porridge in the morning, no sugar and try to stay away from the fridge – although it is quite tempting to just cut off a little piece of cheese…

  86. Thanks Beverley, Susan and Chris- you could be right about not drinking enough, i will try more water and green tea! Yersterday i had porridge at 12:00 noon( schrokits recipe with peanut butter- didnt sound that appealing, but despite me getting the spice mix wrong – i added cinnamon and cayenne pepper instead of ginger!- it was very nice and filling) ate a prawn supper followed by a bedtime biscuit. The day wenr much better than usual. This might be because i came in at just under 600 cals- i figured that I am the size of an average man (5′ 10″) so maybe i should go for the man sized days allowance. Although i havent gone mad on the other days, i work from home, and with a 500g slab of Hotel du Chocolat in the fridge ( a present!) it didnt last long. I am not fussed about weight loss with a normal BMI , so maybe this is the perfect regime i.e you lose weight if you need to but not if you dont.
    Thanks for the link – i will check out the alternate day regime- that might suit me more.
    Ps what is PLJ?

    1. PLJ – probably stands for Pure Lemon Juice? They also do a lime version. It’s usually hidden amongst all the squashes and cordials at the supermarket :)

    1. Sian – check out Michael’s statement 48 mins 35 secs into the program. 5 days normal eating followed by 2 days fasting.

    2. That is mentioned in the article you refer, but not in the programme (have watched repeatedly and transcribed it, not one ever says you must NOT (your emphasis) do two consecutive days). Just like no one says what to eat on non-fast days, this is a very poorly understood application of fasting with regards to medical implications. Not to mention the current research is scant and varied. Unless you have proper evidence of why this is, please refrain from prescriptive declarative statements about how to fast. Again I will emphasise, NOTHING on my blog, written by me, constitutes advice, if you have serious concerns about your health, please see a medical professional.

  87. I wanted to let people know, if they’re thinking of doing this that my God does it work!!! I watched the show on iPlayer the same week it aired and started the next day. Since then I have fasted (not entirely consistently with regard to regular days & I’ve had to cheat a bit around holiday dates) 2 days each calendar week. I usually do Tuesday and Thursday as they are the easiest to fit into my week and the days when I have the least physical requirements to be active. It took me a while to figure out what I could eat and I started out the first few weeks over-eating by up to 100 calories (what can I say, I heard 600 calories and thought it applied to me but it don’t ‘cos I’m a girlie). I think I’m probably still cheating a bit (strictly speaking) as I’m not counting the celery and cucumber slices I chomp through when I’m hungry before lunch.
    However, even with that and the fact that (although I’m more aware of what my calorie intake is and keep it between 2000-2500 when I have full control) I have also had 2 holiday weeks during this time, during which I didn’t police myself at all and I’m not turning down cake whenever it’s offered either (other than fast-days obviously). This all being said, in the past 8 weeks I’ve lost 14lb.
    Now this may not sound miraculous to anyone else but I have NEVER lost this much weight before in my life. My mum was always dragging me on diets with her and not one ever worked for me, I’ve been the same weight and dress size (give or take 2lb or so) since I was 18 and I’m now in my mid-30s, no matter how ‘good’ I have ever been with my diet or how much exercise I do I’ve just never shifted more than a pound or 2 at a time. And I also have never looked as big as I weigh, if that makes sense?? I’m seriously in 6ft3 rugby player league, as far as weight’s concerned but I’m just a pretty average 5ft4, 14-16 dress size woman with a pretty good fitness level, so the rediculous weight has always seemed so unfair. Anyway, 8 weeks in and 14lb down and no-one has gone “Oh my god – where are you disappearing to?” so hopefully it’s all that nasty (not obvious) fat around my heart etc. that’s being eaten away by this first. That’s fine by me, I don’t care that much about looking or feeling slimmer (I’m well used to being my size) I just want to get rid of that insidious ‘hidden’ fat/weight and be healthier for longer.

    Good luck to everyone else.

  88. Sorry not into abbreviations. What do YMMV and IMHO mean. All the blogs are very interesting but please spare a thought for people who use whole words! Started the 5:2 in August and both of us have sustainably lost 6 – 7lbs and we have also experienced light headedness on day 3 but nothing that some food doesn’t put right. We intend to keep up the 5:2 but found it difficult when on a very busy recent holiday

    1. I find the following site good for acronyms, mnemonics and the like that I don’t recognise (or don’t recognise in the intended context):

      The two you mention here predate mobile text-speak by a few years.
      Some few go back far further than you might expect. Some to 19th century telegraph shorthand, some back to 18th century naval flag messages.

      73 (1857, or thereabouts :-)

    2. lesliemay – I’m not a fan of txt abreviations used in a non-mobile phone environment either. “IMHO” is definitely “In My Humble Opinion”, “IMO” is also used, when the person isn’t feeling that humble about their opinion. I think from the context of the post that “YMMV” stands for “Your Mileage May Vary” – presumably a repurposed motoring acronym.

  89. I was inspired after seeing the Horizon program as my husband was prescribed medication for high blood pressure after hitting a BP of 180 +. At 52 and 15 st, 6’1′ with blood pressure problems in family. He didn’t believe that he could or should lose the extra weight as he doesn’t look overweight and has a healthy diet. (No smoking, an occasional beer and lots of fruit and veg). His medication upset his system so much, we were relieved to find there was another way. I joined him on the diet for support but at 47, 5’5′ and 8st 9lbs with BP of 118, I didn’t know what was going to happen. 5 weeks later and the results are fascinating. My husband is now 14st with a BP of 130 and it’s still decreasing. My stats haven’t changed at all. It seems that if you are at your ideal weight then that’s where you stay. My husband plans to continue until he has bottomed out which we expect to happen at 13st 7lbs. Our diet routine is reduced calorie intact on Mondays and Thursdays. Breakfast: 1/2 apple 2 spoons plain yoghurt, lunch: tuna salad tsp dressing 2 Ryvita, dinner: vegetable curry/stew or salmon and salad or veg. Any snacking consists of 1/2 apple, cucumber, carrot. As I was new to any form of dieting – always been the same size and weight since age 13, I checked out the calories in everything we eat with a Collins Gem Calorie Counter book and weighed it all. It’s important to note that 500 – 600 calories is for the average person ! Check out the Harris-Benedict Equation for your Basic Metabolic Rate and reduce your calorie intake to 25 %. Other findings: I suffered headaches when we started out on consecutive days with one meal and soon disappeared when I changed our routine to the above. Having completed a detox week to balance my bodies alkaline/acid levels, I believe this helped with hunger pangs as I no longer crave carbohydrates to stop acidy feeling in stomach which was caused by eating carbohydrates – vicious circle. Check out Amanda Hamilton and LifeDetox. Good luck everyone – it’s worth the effort.

  90. I have been watching your blog for a month or so, I also saw the program and was inspired that “I could actually do that!” I have been following it for probably about 4 weeks, originally doing 2 non-consecutive fast days a week. I had cut out my “between meals snacking” for some 2 months before I began 2/5 method. I had never counted calories, and would not have known what one looked like until I installed My Fitness Pal on my blackberry. I used this for a couple of weeks to get the idea what 600 caleries looked like, I also counted what I was eating on my feeding days – still avoiding snacking. I found it unusual to ever get to 2000, let alone 2500 on a given day. I was, I guess, 15 stone (our scales were old and since have been replaced), Since replacing them I’ve hovered aroung 200lbs (14st 4lbs) for a few weeks. This last week I decided to change to 3 fast days and 4 feeding days, as I seem to remember that there was no research mentioned in the program to back up 2/5, just the suggestion that Mosely would find that more doable. It strikes me that 3/4 is nearer to the Alternate Day Fasting which certainly was researched and found fruitful. As with many of the other contributers it is not the weight solely that is attractive about this but the repair mode, and if that works when your fasting then the more you can do the better – it seems to me. I am on medication for high blood pressure (150 over 90) and up until I have gone to 3/4 there has not been any significant change. I’m interested to see if 3/4 helps more!

  91. Just finished another week, #nine, I think. Anyway weight loss continues another 400g this week. So, down to 80.6kg which is now within the healthy BMI range for my height, but only just. I think I will feel happy when I get to 75kg or so, which at this rate should come up by Christmas. Not bad, given that it probably took 15 years to put on this weight (see my earlier posts – I actually started from 70kg or so, about 10.5 st), that it will take, I hope, 5 months to permanently and sustainably lose it. No, it’s, well, brilliant, fantastic.

    Total weight loss is now 6.8kg which is just over a stone. Still feel happy to continue with the strategy, I can remember from previous attempts to diet that I would by this stage have been losing willpower and getting bored with the constant calorie counting. Two days a week I can manage though. Will go to GP next week to have tests and see if any of my other parameters have improved.

  92. My husband and I are in week 8 after seeing the program and being inspired, and have just come back from 3 weeks touring mostly in Italy, and have managed to maintain it on holiday. We find low cal soups and vegetable juices work for us. I am usually jealous of his extra 200 cals allowance! I don’t seem to get headaches which I attribute to a high fluid intake, but my problem is my shift pattern. I work shifts either 12 hour days or nights. When on a day shift, I fast from the evening before to the following morning-31-32 hours. When I am on night shift, If I fast the same hours, I have 2 x 12 hour shifts in that time scale which is very challenging to maintain, but since I sometimes work days and nights in the same week, I find it difficult to do anything else. If I just transpose the hours, and don’t eat from when I go to bed in the morning, till I get up to go to work the following day, I find that my eating day is curtailed then when I swop back to days, and I and I am not eating enough, especially as I do a lot of exercise. I don’t really need to lose any weight, and lost nearly 12lbs last month, though the cantuccini helped put some back on in Italy! Anybody else have the same problem with shifts?

    My husband and I both feel so much better for this new lifestyle though, and i suppose that it will just become habit as our old way of eating did. I do find the blog informative and supporting so thanks every body! My husband has a strong family history of heart disease and although he didn’t have any symptoms at all, he feels so much fitter since we started the regieme.

  93. I’d like to mention another possible health benefit. I’ve just had my annual asthma check (I use a preventative steroid inhaler morning and night, which keeps my asthma per se well-controlled). Despite having a bit of chestiness from a cold, my lung capacity was quite a bit better than predicted this time, when it usually comes out around the predicted level.
    I’m inclined to attribute this to the effects of 5:2, on the basis of the study reported in Dr Johnson’s book Alternate Day Fasting, which also looked at asthmatic patients and found an improvement over time with intermittent fasting.

  94. After reading some of the comments here, I embarked on the 5:2 diet thinking that the fasting days are to be consecutive. Being a good researcher, I went to the Telegraph article by the man himself, and it says that the fast days are NOT to be consecutive. Dr Mosley fasts on a Tuesday and Thursday… Hope this helps others embarking on the plan :)

    1. Sorry… My bad, I piped in and commented without reading latter comments. Please feel free to delete my post :)

  95. Back on the 25th Sept i posted my 6 week results on here and Andoo235 did a quality formula based on this. Im now on week 10 and i have not lost any more weight and neither have i gained but have kept up the normal exercise regime and been good on the food with the odd night out!! I also metioned i had a resting pulse of 47 which i got checked out at the doctors. They ensured me because i have always been active in the last 10 years (mainly running 3 times a week) i am in good condition. However whilst at the doctors they decided to give me a full mot test and my blood tests came back with good cohlestral good sugars etc but it seems i have a under activethyroid, now im new to this and even had to ask the Doctor where the Thyroid was. She explained that i have a slow Metabolism. She asked alot of questions about my exercise regime and my eating then asked how much i weighed, I told her i was 15.7lb and had lost a stone on this programme. She said it will be harder for me to lose weight so no diet will make any difference but i had to keep up the exercise and the healthy living or i could gain weight. Interesting when i dont exercise which is very rare i do smack the weight back on ( a week in a caravan and i put on 1/2 stone) She said i am very healthy even at 15.7lb but really i should be around 12.7lb in weight and the underactive thyroid has prevented the weight loss. She did say reducing calories was not a bad thing as long as the calories i was eating were good ones but adviced caution on the 600 per day on the fasting days. My fasting days have never been spot on anyway always under 1000cal at least. Does anybody else have a under active thyroid who is doing this programe as well??? Im not on any tablets yet as i have to have further tests but i am a bit gutted as the results i posted back on the 25th Sept could of been different?? Will still continue to Calorie Count as i think its a good thing to do as it makes you more aware of what is in the food you eat… Any thoughts comments would be great… Thank you……

    1. I take 125mcgs daily for an underactive thyroid. It will be hard to lose weight while you have hypothyroidism, but once you take the right level of thyroxine for you (it can be a bit trial and error) I think you’ll lose weight. I’ve lost around 18lbs since starting the 5:2, and you’re a lot more physically active than I am. Good luck!

  96. Hi again, I thought a brief update on how things have gone on my variation on 2:5, which is in fact 3:4. As mentioned in my earlier post, my weight loss had seemed to stall around 200lbs, and my blood pressure was generally on 150 over 90. I had been on the 2:5 regime for a few weeks, but it resolutley stuck for a couple of weeks. Since upping it to 3:4, which I’ve been doing for a couple more weeks my scales are reading 191lbs and – just as interestingly for me BP is 140 over 80 generally.

    I had reasoned that since the Alternate Day Fasting had been researched, and was apparently working well, surely 3:4 is nearer to that. My understanding from the Michael Mosely program, and article was that 2:5 was suggested to him as something that could fit better into his lifestyle, and that he’d find more easy to complete, but (by inference) ADF was the method which had the albeit slender research backing. Am I right about this? Perhaps this 2:5 experiment blog is not the place for my devience?

  97. A quick update from me as I have hit a milestone. In 9xweeks I have lost a stone, so pleased with that. I’ve stopped snoring – which is a good thing and all my trousers now fit properly again. My wife is also 5:2 ing and please take this as anecdotal evidence; she has just had a workplace blood glucose test that was very healthily low. Cholesterol was also on the low side. As someone who has previously tested on the higher side of healthy I can only assume that 5:2 has been a good thing. PS I am doing consecutive days – she has split them.

  98. hi everyone, this is my first reply. i have been doing the 5/2 for 3 months now. fasting every monday and tuesday. lost stone and half in weight, bmi gone down significantly. feel awake and alert on fasting days. eat relatively what i like on eating days, although dont always feel that hungry on wednesday morning. i do crave things on the fasting days, thinking i can have them on non fasting day, but again when it comes to eating days, i dont crave them anymore. strange for me. i find the fasting days easy, just have to think of all the fat being burned away. lovely, and all the other benefits are so positive for future health. i feel great for the first time in a long while

  99. Not sure what week I am on but its been about 8 I think. Had a holiday to the US and ate what I liked for 2 weeks because we had the Disney Dining Plan and having paid… get my drift. Anyway, put on 6lb whilst away but shed it in 10 days which seemed awfully quick. I am over eating on my days when I am not fasting but lack of self regulation was why I was fat in the first place.

    That said, I flit between a low of 17st 2 and a high of 17st 9 – up and down but the trend is definitely down and the scales show that I have lost body fat. I am determined to keep this thing going. Cholesterol levels are down 3 points and blood pressure also good after it had been a little high. My DR happy that this will positively impact on the diabetes and didn’t have any problem with me fasting. I hope to keep up this new lifestyle,

  100. I’ve been doing 5:2 diet (Mon and Tue) for two months and lost about 11lbs – wife has lost less (not sure why). I find the fast days ok now (breakfast – cereal; lunch – apple/banana; tea – soup plus 2 crispbread and a yoghurt). Wed I eat a little more, though I find I soon fill up. Other days I’ve been uncareful about food and had lots of nice big meals as well as usual intake. Makes a small difference to how much I lose each week.
    However, biggest change is in my fitness, gone from jogging for 40 mins to being able to run for 80 mins on just one run a week, whereas before I made very little improvement week to week – I wonder if this is down to the recovery stage during the fast as well as the weight loss?

  101. I’ve been on the 5:2 for 3 months and lost about 20lbs I fast on Monday & Thursday usually – I have porridge for breakfast, Miso soup for lunch and then for dinner have a filling soup & fruit. I eat quite healthily the rest of the time although I eat what I want. I haven’t felt this healthy for years -,I have so much more energy than I had before I started this diet.

  102. Maybe it’s because my metabolism is now 64 years old, but in the last 16 weeks I have shed just 16 lbs. But for me it is a big milestone. I have to admit that it is sometimes tough… The family is scoffing Pheasant Indiana and I have a plate of roasted vegetables – but you just buckle down and get on with it. Next week I will pop along and get my bloods done – will keep you informed…

    @schrokit: hope all is going well…

  103. Not posted for while now. Latest weigh-in was 76.4kg so that’s 11kg down from my peak on 14th August (that’s about 24 and 1/2 pounds – approaching 2 stones (is that 14 lbs in a stone or is that oz’s in a lb – metric is so much easier….). Went to doc’s a few weeks back and then for blood tests, all cholesterol parameters are now comfortably within the healthy areas (bad ones have gone down good ones up). My BMI is also now decisively within the healthy range although still toward the top end (around the 70th decile of the healthy range for my age/height). Other measures have improved too, liver function, though that may be due to unit counting my alcohol intake which I have also been doing.

    I remain happy to go on with the regime (I’m sure I would have given up on a traditional diet regime by now). The rate of weight loss has now slowed, but continues, which is fine, As I say that extra 16kgs took 22 years to acquire and I’ve already lost 11 of them in 4 months, if the rate of loss slows now, even to 100g (about 3 1/2oz) a week i will still lose the remaining 5 kg by this time next year (to get back to my weight in my mid-twenties, which was around 71kg).

    On another note I have noticed that the Horizon programme, “Eat, Fast and Live Longer” has disappeared from youtube – which may be fair enough, however it is not available on iplayer or via the Beebs website either. Seems small minded of the Beeb to me.

  104. I saw this programme on a Virgin flight last week. I am going to watch it again tomorrow on my return journey to the UK.
    I have fasted for 3 days now out of 8. Lost about 3 lbs. it’s not that difficult to do. I will get my bloods checked when I get back so I have a benchmark to go by.
    Whether it is beneficial in health benefits is not that important to me as it just seems a very easy way to lose weight.
    One thing that Dr Mosley did not mention is the beneficial effect that weight loss has on joint pains and arthritis which becomes very important as you get older.

  105. As others are updating I thought I would too! I started on the 5:2 on 10th August, so I tend to do a monthly weigh & measure. As at 10th Dec I had lost just over a stone (my scales are ancient & therefore not too accurate); I have lost 4 ins off my waist, 3 inches off my hips and 2 ins off each thigh. I don’t know about blood levels of this and that as I don’t have to have checks. This regime is part of my life now – it is easy to work around social engagements – normally I fast on Mon/Wed but will change days if I need to. It has proved to me that a lot of my eating has been out of habit or boredom (I work at home) and I am better at controlling this. I am delighted that I can wear jeans now that have been too tight for a year or 2. I am not sure I am bursting out of my skin with extra energy, but some digestive problems seem to have cleared up – which I suppose means that my system is delighted to have 2 days rest out of 7! At the moment I will continue to fast on 2 days, but I don’t need to lose much more weight so may go to the maintenance version of a one day fast per week – we’ll see. I am delighted with my results, and it has been painless and easy. Thank you Michael Mosley!

    1. Hi Deborah, congratulations on your success. Have you managed this by the two days being non-consecutive and what type of meals did you have on your fast days?

      1. Hi Joanne
        I do non-consecutive days – as I said in my post – Mon & Wed usually.
        For breakfast I have either 50g of porridge made with water and then some semi-skimmed milk with it, or 50g muesli ( I use Sainsbury Swiss-style) with some stewed fruit – I think that eating slow release foods like these help keep hunger pangs at bay. Lunch I can ignore, but if I am starving I have a mug of Bovril or a couple of plain oatcakes. My evening meal is usually home-made soup & then I might have some grapes or other fruit. That’s it really. I do sometimes look up a low calorie menu and cook it, but I’m quite happy with my soups, and I have to admit that I don’t really count the calories in them that strictly! The joy is that I don’t have the rolls of fat on my upper torso any longer. I wasn’t hugely overweight – I’m 5ft 8″ & weighed just over 10st 7lbs when I began, so am now just below 9st 7lbs. I’m 63 by the way. It has become a way of life and is easy to do.

  106. Hi All,
    I have been fasting on 2 consecutive days a week since 8th August 2012.
    During that time I have monitored my weight loss and my blood pressure daily (I take meds for high blood pressure). Blood pressure at the beginning was typically 135/80 and in the last couple of weeks more like 126/70.

    When I started, I was 16st 7llbs (231llbs) and this morning, after 2 days fasting I was 13st 12llbs (194llbs). A loss of 37llbs or 2st 9llbs. I am really pleased and feel good. I’ll probably put back on around 3llbs in the nest 5 days and typically lose 5llbs on the next 2 day fast.

    On fast bays I usually drink several cups of instant coffee with semi-skimmed milk and about 6pm eat a microwaveable ready meal from one of the supermarket chains (the ones that contain some vegetables) that claims to contain between 3 and 400 calories. Maybe not ideal but it works for me.

  107. Hi, I’ve been following 5:2 since last August, with breaks for holidays and Christmas. At the start I was at my WW goal weight through healthy eating. My interest in 5:2 was related to the brain health aspect and I was happy to remain at the same weight. Initially I lost a few pounds but since then I have put on about 8 lb. I have no problem with the consecutive fasting days but on the other days I have started binging! Am I the only person to have this problem?

    1. Hi, no, I’m in the same boat. All had been going swimingly well but I have found that my hunger levels ( read GREED ) has gone into overdrive on the non fasting days. In a week, my weight can fluctuate 5-6 pounds, which is a pain. I know that its not the fault of the regime and I need to get my head and stomach around this blip. I had been doing really well. Also, I think I may be eating more than 600 calories on my fast days so really, no surprise that I am having a few problems. That’s why I am fat I guess….

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  109. Started this diet 2 weeks ago and lost 4lbs already, well impressed. I don’t expect to lose this much every week but I’ve got to admit its a great start. Because I have limited calories only 2 days a week I think I’ll be able to stick at this one. My problem with other diets has always been the unsociable element where you can’t eat or drink certain things when you are in company. Feel really well so far so hopefully this will become a regular way of life :-)

  110. Had a break and started again 3 weeks ago- have lost 2kg in 3 wks. Have found easiest to just delay eating as long as possible and then eat all 500 in the evening, otherwise I don’t sleep well. Need to drink plenty and if I get really hungry and can’t wait a low cal cup a soup in the afternoon keeps me going. I do feel a lot hungrier on the other days, and this is where I went wrong before. This time I seem to be doing better by eating a low carb diet all week- definitely don’t seem to get the hunger pangs as much. You HAVE TO weigh everything and count carbs on the 2days though, it’s very easy to underestimate what you are eating if you guess. I don’t think there is any way of doing this without feeling hungry – that’s the whole point surely? If your are not hungry then the hormone changes won’t kick in. I just try telling myself the hunger is a sign its working and my mutations and brain decay are all being fixed!

  111. Have discovered a useful upside to IF. Breakfast in Newark 06:00 EST 600cals. Flight to Heathrow dep: 09:00 arr: 20:00 GMT – just water all day. Head down at 22:30. No jet-lag…!

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