There are loads of diets out there these days, each promising fabulous results and the ability to fix you up with the perfect bikini body/little black dress figure/pre-pregnancy time warp! I’ve had problems with my body image since high school – first with thinking I was too fat at a size 10, then piling on the pounds after becoming a teen parent. As an undergraduate, I struggled with my size and ballooned to the ‘obese’ BMI range, unhappily plodding through my daily routine and getting out of breath at the slightest bit of exercise. After my second child came along, I tried out Slimming World and lost 3.5 stone, finally reaching the ‘healthy’ BMI range, but was unable to sustain this and quickly gained the weight again. Fed up once more, I decided to give the 5:2 a go!
Now before I go into any more detail, I want to make absolutely clear that this blog post is not intended as medical advice for anyone unhappy with their weight. I have read up about the theory of the 5:2, and feel confident following its rules, but I do so at my own risk. If you are unsure about anything related to dieting, or you have any kind of medical condition, consult with a medical professional before starting the diet - it’s not for everyone.
The 5:2 diet works on the basis that two days a week, you only consume 500-600 calories (500 for women, 600 for men) and the rest of the week you eat normally – although, when I say eat normally, this means sticking to the recommended 2000 calories a day for women and 2500 calories a day for men. The temptation is to binge after a fast day, and is a common cause of failure for this diet, but sticking to the plan is key for success! After reading some of the science surrounding the diet, it’s also thought to improve cell repair and help prevent diseases such as dementia, cancer and type 2 diabetes – perfect when I have a family history of the latter!
My friend Laura was the one who originally mentioned the 5:2 to me – she’s been following it for a year and a half and has lost a grand total of five stone! With results like that, I felt that it sounded too good to ignore any longer! She introduced me to a handy app on my phone for counting calories and away I went with my renewed passion for weight loss.
Initially, I thought it would be a chore to constantly ‘calorie count’, but keeping track on my phone made it so easy – especially when the handy barcode scanner has the ability to give me the calorie content of anything with the flash of my camera – my new fav crisps are the Hula Hoop Pufts at only 72 calories per pack! While following Slimming World, I limited my consumption of anything with ‘syns’ (i.e. chocolate, biscuits, crisps) and ate as much as I wanted of the ‘free’ foods (i.e. vegetables, fruit, pasta, rice). This only served in me gorging on anything that was free and loading up my plate with far too many ‘free carbs’. After following the 5:2 for the past three weeks, I now have a much better understanding of portion control and I am eating a much more balanced diet, while still leaving room for occasional treats.
Another added benefit of the 5:2 is that the calorific information of most foods is easily found on the packaging. While many diet groups have their own way of attributing points for different meals, the 5:2 utilises the information we all have access to and allows us to make more informed choices. I now plan my meals much more effectively and still manage to have guilt free nights out with friends, something I struggled to do while on Slimming World.
While out for Laura’s birthday, we were both delighted to learn that Pizza Express served a selection of 600 calorie pizzas – perfect for a wee birthday treat! This also left plenty of room for the bottle of prosecco we also shared (225 calories each), courtesy of a birthday offer she’d been sent earlier in the week!
I’ve rambled on for a bit now, but no diet can really be judged unless you have results. In the three weeks since I started the 5:2, I’ve lost a total of 5 pounds. This doesn’t seem like a huge amount, but for someone who has been struggling with weight loss for the past couple of years, this is a huge step in the right direction. I’ve not particularly limited myself over these past few weeks – except for the fast days, which easily fitted around my schedule – and I have still enjoyed a social life with both friends and work colleagues! Despite my hen party approaching on the horizon, I’m confident I can reach the half stone mark by the end of the month and hopefully reach my goal by Christmas – just in time to put it all on again, haha!Follow my blog with Bloglovin