5:2 – what are the odds the diet’ll work for me?

26 Jan

DINNER! DeeeeliciousI have a few motivations to start the 5:2 diet (where you eat what you like for five days, and fast – 500 calories throughout the day – for the other two – explanation much better than mine is here).

Firstly, because I want to shift the stubborn 4lbs lurking around my midriff – I bought a pair of very pleasing fitted trousers (in a dark aubergine, for those interested, not purple, L1 has banned the purchase of any other purple clothes for me) and there is no way that when the current freezing conditions lift I will be able to wear them with anything other than an exceptionally baggy top;

Secondly, because reports say that this diet has additional health benefits, and let’s get real, I’m not getting any younger;

Thirdly, because I love love love my food (a downfall with most diets) but I figure that even I can ‘deprive myself’ for two days a week on the promise that I can eat normally on the other five days – that’s a good ratio, I would argue;

And finally, because M and I are seriously stuck in a rut foodwise, something that came home to be when I referred to a dish as ‘Monday Night Tea’ and he knew exactly what I was talking about. It’s time to be more adventurous, at lunch (with leftovers or something fresh) and at dinnertime.

So, I can’t do it on my ‘home days’, since we eat with the kids. It’s still such a thrill for me to be able to do this during the week that I’m not going to compromise on our cooking and eating together by saying “You can have spaghetti bolognese, but Mummy has to eat coal”.

This means it’s left on work days, when M and I eat separately from the kids. This also makes things easier from another perspective, since a couple of others in the office are doing it and that’s great moral support.

So, two fast days in (I don’t count the previous week when I had exceptionally minor surgery and as a result didn’t eat for two days, but there’s no denying the fact that helped the weight loss progress!), how’s it been?

Better, easier, and more satisfactory than I had imagined, is the honest answer. Banana for breakfast, huge salad and Quorn slices for lunch, teeny slivers of apple as a through-the-day snack, and fish and veg for tea. On Thursday I made a fish stew – just cod, veg, a chili, some haricot beans simmering in tinned tomatoes – which M had with rice; it was absolutely delicious and because of the protein from the fish, much more filling than I had expected. And importantly ticking the ‘I wouldn’t usually have this for tea’ box. I have enjoyed experimenting with salad ingredients: finely slicing a sundried tomato into basic leaves, for instance; and rediscovering capers (best foodstuff ever, probably). The only dark night of the soul I encountered was on the first day, when I craved something sweet after my tuna and veg; I had to leave the room as M ate his yoghurt.

The best thing about it, though, in my view, is the fact that a day is finite. That may sound like a daft and obvious thing to say, but consider this: on most diets, every day is a deprived day, however well marketed and well planned the diet is – and I am a fan of WeightWatchers, which I believe to be effective and fair as a dieting strategy, but you still can’t eat ‘normally’ on any day. On this diet, even if it’s really tough, and you want carbs more than anything ever, you can focus on the fact that soon as you wake up the next day, that toast and that cereal, they’re yours, and even I can live with that, and boy do I love my food.

So let’s see how I do. I have to say that after a week on it I don’t feel as hungry on the days that I’m not fasting, and there is something quite invigorating about the fast itself. I have a friend who I recently learned has been following this eating pattern since August; she looks fantastic and I’m going to focus on that!

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