After many years of battling with my weight and even blogging in September last year about being on a diet, I decided to try something new.
I was skeptical at first, when my wife suggested that we look into intermittent fasting – known as the 5:2 diet. It looked too complicated, just a fad or a phase. After all there is no substitute for just eating less calories and making yourself feel miserable is there?
There are a few videos online about how it works and how the doctor who ‘invented’ the 5:2 diet came across it. After watching them and doing a little bit of digging it seems that there is a way of loosing weight and still eating pretty much what you want, and what you start to crave when you are on a ‘normal’ calorie counting diet. I say normal, but diets are not normal, eating sensibly and having smaller portions is normal, eating like a child who is growing and needs all the calories they can get to develop is not.
My wife wanted to give this a try so I thought why not, it can’t hurt can it? But what is it?
The basic premise of the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet is this. You eat ‘normally’ for 5 days and ‘fast’ for 2. Fasting means you can only eat 500 calories in the day, eating normally as i have already suggested means eating sensibly but doesn’t mean you have to diet or miss out on some of your favorite foods, even if these include chocolate, pizza and take away curry.
I try to follow these simple rules:
On a fast day:- No or very few carbs
– Try to eat 2 or 3 portions of fruit and veg
– Don’t eat breakfast, fast as long as you can maybe as long as 16 or 17 hours since your last meal (this is also known as 16:8 where you fast for 16 hours and eat within the other 8 hours)
On a normal or non-fast day
– Eat normally
– Try to get at least 4 portions of fruit and veg per day
– Don’t deprive yourself of anything
As I have already said I eat pizza, take away curry and rice, chocolate and bread (both white and brown). I also drink alcohol in the form of lager or Guinness. I can do this on the non-fast days and it means that I don’t crave any of these foods, something that I used to do all the time when I was on my last diet.
The other thing I do more of now is exercise, in the from of riding my mountain bike or more recently on my exercise bike as the weather isn’t great. You can read about my cycling exploits on my other blog all the gear no idea, a blog I write about my rides and the pictures I take whilst I am out. This isn’t part of my weight loss program and was something I started before Intermittent Fasting, but it is something that I enjoy and find much easier now that I am a lot fitter and healthier.
So does it work?
Without a shadow of a doubt I can say a resounding yes, it does work. In a little over 10 weeks I have lost 18lbs, I am lighter than I have been since I came out of hospital over 6 years ago and I am also lighter than I was when I got married nearly 15 years ago.
Not only that, my shape has changed. I wear clothes that I haven’t been able to in years and am also in danger of having to put a new hole in my belt, having gone from the first to the third hole and being well on the way to having to use the fourth – totally unheard of!
This isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle. I will continue to fast intermittently for as long as I am happy to do so, going from 5:2 to 6:1 when I reach my final goal of loosing 36lbs. I’m halfway there and even with Christmas approaching I think I will get there early next year to be the lightest I have been since I was at school.
You can read about the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet here