Just after Christmas, I had a good look at myself in the mirror and I wasn’t that pleased with what I saw. I’d very much donned my ‘winter coat’ and was carrying around a good stone more than I should be. Enough was enough; the belly had to go.
All through January I lived by the Antidiet, allegedly coined by The Londoner, and I gave up Diet Coke. No fizzy drinks worked, and I happily shed 10lbs without really trying that hard (don’t hate me, it was all easy on, easy off weight, caused by boozing and Cadbury Roses at Christmas). But then that thing happened that dieters dread.
The Weight Loss Plateau of Doom.
There I was, stuck somewhere in hell between Chub City and Tummy Town, and the weight was not shifting. So, I abandoned the Antidiet (which I now think is a fairly toshy, anyway, and I am seriously doubting the integrity of it’s creator: no one who eats burgers and chicken wings is that skinny, I don’t care what kind of metabolism you have. Just no.)
I chatted with my Ma, who has been raving about the 5:2 diet for ages now. She’s lost, and kept off, some weight and she looks fantastic. If you don’t know what the 5:2 diet is, read on…
- The 5:2 diet is a form of intermittent fasting, which has soared in popularity after a programme about it was aired on the BBC in late summer 2012.
- You eat normally (but healthily) 5 days of the week, and restrict your calorie intake to 500 cals (for women) or 600 cals (for men) on the other 2 days. So, approximately a quarter of the guideline amount of calories.
- You can still eat what you like most of the time. You just have to be more vigilant about how much, ie: you shouldn’t overeat on feast days.
- The fasting days are not necessarily consecutive. It’s as simple as that.
Look at it this way, the 5:2 diet means you only have to think about calorie restriction for 8 days a month, and so far, it’s worked for me. I’m terrible at taking measurements but I lost 3lbs since I started. Which for 2 days a week of dieting, I am pleased with.
500 calories is pretty restrictive, but you’d be amazed at how much food you can eek out of it, especially if you like green veggies, which I do, and are prepared to cook from scratch, which I am. Though if you’re not up for getting busy in the kitchen, there are calorie-counted ready meals that will take all the work out of meal planning.
If you are doing the 5:2 diet, or thinking about it, here are a couple of meal ideas:
Vegetable soup, made with 1 tin of tomatoes, 1 stick of celery, 1 onion, a big handful of spinach, 1 carrot, 1 stock cube of your choice, made up with 500mls water + 1 refill of the tomato can with water. Chop the vegetables and simmer until cooked in the stock. Blend and tuck in. This amount makes 4 servings and comes in at under 100 calories per serving.
A poached egg served on a bed of steamed kale, seasoned with salt and pepper. Approximately 90 calories, and it’s surprisingly really nice. It’s not a poached egg sandwich on fresh, hot, buttery toast, smothered in hollandaise sauce, but its never going to be on a fasting day.
Tzatziki made with 3 tablespoons of 1% fat yoghurt, grated cucumber and garlic, served in a baby gem lettuce leaf, with roast chicken breast and carrot sticks. 149 calories.
I’ll be posting more fasting-friendly recipes as I make them up, so keep your eyes peeled!
Are you doing the 5:2 diet? How are you finding it? Any recipe ideas?
Nutrition information from livestrong.com