I was a late arrival at the Five Two fasting diet party. It was only when I stumbled across an article in a newspaper that I took the time to find out a bit more and quickly realised that this could be a regime that would work for me. For those who don’t know, the 5:2 involves fasting for two days each week and eating normally on the other days. The fast days are not entirely without food since women are allowed 500 calories on those two days while men have 600 calories to play with. The book suggests that the calories be split between breakfast and dinner and that there should be a break between the two fasting days.
What I like about the 5/2 diet is that it seems easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle. It appealed to me because I instantly realised that reducing my calorie intake to 500 on two days of every week would result in weight loss without having to think about food too much.
I had already been following the general idea of the fast diet for three weeks before I purchased the book so I was curious to see what I might have been missing. I bought the Kindle edition which cost under $4 so it didn’t set me back much more than a magazine would have done. It is a fairly short book and did not add a great deal to what I already knew. The concept of the diet is simple and doesn’t need much explanation. In the first part of the book, Michael Mosley explains the thinking behind the diet and suggests that intermittent fasters experience not just a reduction in weight and bad cholesterol but an increase in energy and a heightened sense of emotional well being. Then Mimi Spencer provides some recipe suggestions for meals that you an enjoy on your 500/600 calorie days. The last section is calorie table for common foods.
The book does give a couple of practical tips of which the two that resonate most strongly with me are:
- Tell people that you are doing the 5:2 diet — it motivates you to stick with it
- Prepare your meals in advance for the fasting days so that you will not be tempted to exceed the allocated calories
What I like most about the Fast Diet idea is that it is not so much a diet as a way of life. It is flexible enough to be easily adjusted because you can shift your fast day on a day if something crops up like a family occasion or a work dinner that you have to attend. And because you can get back on track within a day or two it’s easy to stay with the strategy. Also, eating normally on your non-fasting days means you don’t feel like you are constantly counting calories and being deprived of the foods you love.
It is a long time since I have felt motivated about a diet and for that alone, I am grateful to Mosley and Spencer.
The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer is published by Atria Books. ISBN-10: 1476734941; ISBN-13: 978-1476734941.