5:2 Fasting Diet – How To Lose 10 Pounds Fast and Naturally!
There is no shortage of fasting diet and weight loss programs online, so you’re probably wondering if the 5:2 fasting diet works or if it's just another weight loss program that makes a lot of promise but fails to deliver. Let’s separate the facts from the myths and find out what this is really about.
What is 5:2 fasting diet?
5:2 fasting is a weight loss program that relies on intermittent fasting. Developed by journalist and doctor Michael Mosley, it requires you to go on a diet for two days, limiting calorie consumption to 500 to 600 calories a day while eating normally 5 days a week. Strictly speaking, it is better to call this an eating pattern, but most people refer to this as a diet.
The 5:2 Diet basically limits your calorie consumption to 25% of your energy requirements. Even if you don’t fast every day, you’re going to lose weight. We will take a closer look at the benefits later, but when done properly you’ll be more resistant to cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and dementia among others.
How to do the 5:2 diet
The 5:2 diet is as easy as it gets. For 2 days a week, you limit your food and drink consumption to 500 calories a day for women and 600 calories for men. You decide which days of the week to limit your calorie consumption, but there has to be at least one non fasting day sandwiched between them.
An example would be to fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. During these days you can eat 2 to 3 meals (500 or 600 calorie max). For the rest of the week, you can eat as much as you like. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should eat as much as possible: if you can limit your consumption – not necessarily at 600 calories – on non fasting days, that’s even better.
If you want to get the most out of this method, go on a healthy diet. You don’t have to restrict your calorie input on non fasting days, but it’s best to eat sensibly, meaning avoid junk food and fatty foods.
As should be clear by now, the 5:2 diet does not mean not eating for a day. You can still eat for those two days but your calorie consumption will be limited. And there’s nothing wrong with cutting down the number of calories you consume, in fact, it’s healthy.
How and What to Eat on Fasting Days
This fasting diet does not require you to eat anything specific, and you can eat whenever you want on fasting days. If you’re not sure how to proceed here are 2 patterns to follow:
- Eat two large meals a day: Dinner and Lunch
- 3 small meals : Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
You can divide the meals any way you like, just remember to keep the calorie level to 500 or 600. You should eat high protein, high fiber foods that will fill you up while keeping calorie consumption low. Here are some food suggestions:
- Soups are ideal during fasting days as long as they’re low calorie
- Cauliflower Rice
- Lean meat
- Grilled fish
- Baked or boiled eggs
- Natural yogurt
- Plenty of vegetables
- For drinks, water, tea or black coffee will be good
These are just suggestions and you can mix and match them. As long as you’re within the 500 or 600 calorie limit you’ll be fine.
What are the Benefits of the 5:2 Diet?
Intermittent diet provides several benefits. Unlike other calorie restrictive diets, you don’t have to limit your food intake daily. This makes it easier for people to adjust and maintain the program.
The 5:2 Diet also lowers insulin levels and that leads to weight loss. At the same time, it also improves your sensitivity to insulin. While it’s not the first intermittent diet in the market, it is more efficient when it comes to improving resistance to hot flashes, heart arrhythmia, allergies, and asthma.
The 5:2 Diet is a good choice not just for overweight people but also for normal weight individuals. The benefits are more apparent in overweight individuals, but there will be other benefits such as the following (after 12 weeks on the 5:2 Diet):
- Reduces body weight by at least 11 pounds
- Cuts down fat mass by 7.7 pounds minimum without affecting muscle mass
- 40% reduction of leptin, reducing your appetite
- Reduces CRP levels in your body, which is crucial for reducing inflammation in your body
- Makes LDL particles bigger, which is good if you’re trying to lose weight
- 20% reduction of triglycerides
- Other benefits are reduced risk of stroke, lower cholesterol, and sustainable weight loss
These are in addition to the other benefits of losing weight such as flexibility, stronger immune system and reduced risk of heart disease and other diseases related to obesity. The diet also improves blood lipids and makes you more resistant to inflammation.
How to Lose 10 Pounds Fast with the 5:2 Diet
The 5:2 Diet offers a lot of benefits, but most people get into this to lose weight and body fat. The bottom line is, this diet is effective for weight loss when done properly. Even if you’re only fasting two days a week, you still consume fewer calories than before, allowing you to lose weight.
If you’re concerned about losing mass – a no no if you’re into strength training – make up for the fast days by eating regular meals during non fast days. The weight you’re going to lose depends on how long you’re on the diet if you combine it with exercise and so on. However, the following should give you an idea:
- You can lose up to 8% of body fat in a 3 to 24 week period.
- During this same period, your waist circumference gets reduced by up to 7%. Belly fat is one of the most difficult to remove, so this is an indication of how good the 5:2 diet is.
- The 5:2 diet has very little effect when it comes to muscle mass reduction. Compared to regular calorie restrictive diets, muscle mass is not affected.
- The diet works well with strength training and exercise. By combining the diet and exercise you’ll lose more weight.
Can You Exercise While on the 5:2 Diet?
Does the 5:2 diet work with exercise? Yes, it does. In fact, you’re going to lose more weight if you combine workouts with the 5:2 diet. But should you exercise during fast days?
Even if you can, it’s probably not a good idea. Since your calorie intake is limited you won’t b able to replenish your body’s needs. Even if your goal is to lose weight, it might prove too much and could leave you feeling weak.
If you still feel like doing some cardio workouts on fast days, keep it to 20 minutes or so and see how you feel, but in general, exercise should be avoided. Do not perform strength training if you’re into weight training because your body needs extra calories to build up those muscles. Do the workouts on non fast days.
5:2 diet results show that some people experience hunger pangs for the first few days. This is normal. You may also feel a bit weak and that’s normal too. Give yourself a few days and you’ll get used to it. If you’re still having difficulty, it’s all right to have a few light snacks during fast days. However, you should give these up as your body gets used to eating less.
Is the 5:2 Diet for Everyone?
The 5:2 diet is for anyone who wants to lose weight safely. By limiting your consumption to 600 or 500 calories a day, you will lose those unwanted pounds. As long as you’re healthy there is no reason why you cannot do this diet.
If you are taking any medication, pregnant or recovering from an illness or injury, it is not advisable to go on this diet or any diet for that matter. Consult your doctor first before you embark on any special diet like this.
Other people who should avoid this diet are:
- Women with fertility problems
- People who have nutritional problems
- Malnourished individuals
- Those who are sensitive to sudden blood sugar drops
- Women who want to get pregnant
- Underweight individuals
- Nursing women
- People with type 1 diabetes
A few women have experienced changes in their menstrual cycle when they start the 5:2 diet. But this normalizes in a few days.
The 5:2 fasting diet is one of the easiest methods for losing weight. Compared to other weight loss programs it is much easier to follow and improves your metabolism. For weight loss and general health improvement, this program is worth trying.