I saw my Aunty recently at my nephew’s birthday party, and she looked fantastic. She told me she was doing the 5:2 diet (Intermittent Fasting Diet) and loving it for the simplicity and consistent results. A workmate of mine is also doing it and dropping a kilo a week. So I thought I would give it a go.
What is the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet?
I found this beginner’s guide from Nerd Fitness really helpful. It seems there are two main schools of thought about IF and how to go about. One is that you basically eat whatever and whenever you want to throughout the day and keep the overall calorie count super low – 500 if possible.
This basically means that instead of spreading your calorie ‘deficit’ (the gap between intake and output) over several days, you get it done in one or two days, allowing you to eat at maintenance level for the rest of the week.
The other school of thought is that you try to eat only within a certain window of time, and stretch out the amount of hours between meals. This, arguably has greater physical benefit, such as increased insulin sensitivity (allowing you to process food more efficiently when you do eat) and increased growth hormone secretion (which helps build muscle mass), both explained at the above link.
I’ve blogged separately about the battle with the last 5 kilos (10 pounds), so thought there was no harm in giving this IF business a go. I’m not going to commit to 5:2, but 6:1 instead.
The rough plan for the next 5 weeks (I think that’s a reasonable period of time to trial something) is 1 fasting day, 1 ‘cheat’ day (F*ck-it-Friday) and 5 days trying to come a few hundred under my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which in my case means eating about 1800-1900 calories per day.
So, *deep breath*, my Intermittent Fasting Diet experience starts…now!
5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet diary
Day 1: Weighed in at 63.5kg this morning (139 pounds). That means I’ve put on about 2.5kg (5 pounds) since the end of November. I’m ok with that. I plan to weigh myself weekly during this IF experiment to see what progress I make. I don’t expect a kilo a week loss, when I’m already so close to ‘goal’, but 2-300gm consistent loss per week would be great.
8.30am – arrive at work, the usual time. Usual routine is to go downstairs to the café for a coffee and either a piece of toast and a couple of boiled eggs, or a ham and cheese croissant depending on what I feel like. I’ll grab my coffee in a minute, but no food.
Someone’s left a cookie on my computer keyboard as part of a promo happening in my workplace – figures. Must. Ignore. That.
My rations for today include two boiled eggs, a carrot, an apple, 100gm of sliced ham, and dinner will be a massive pile of stir-fried veggies. I’ll also have two coffees – one with milk, one without, and I expect copious amounts of tea.
8.42am – hungry, but determined. Hunger is not an emergency!
9am – coffee in hand. I’m going to savour this.
9.55am – still not really hungry. I think the key to success is going to be delaying that first bite of food as much as possible. Then my digestion will kick into gear and I’ll start wanting more food.
10.46am – hungry but kind of enjoying the experience if that makes sense. Feeling strong and empowered J I can do this!
11.15am – starting to get hungry, keep thinking about food. Focus Gen, focus.
11.23am – starting to feel light-headed. Hmmmmm. A little worried now…
11.45am – ate my boiled eggs. Best. Thing. Ever. Feel instantly better and can concentrate on my ‘real’ work for awhile, hopefully. Washing it down with a cup of tea and the tiniest skerrick of milk.
12.57pm – I feel great! Not hungry at all, and very focused and alert. Honestly proud of myself for going a whole morning with barely any food or thinking about it, when I’m usually someone who thinks about food almost constantly.
2.15pm – starting to get a bit demoralised. Was feeling great and went into the work kitchen intending to get my ham out of the fridge. Instead I ate a little triangle ham and cheese sandwich and a 50 cent coin-sized chocolate cookie, for about the same amount of calories I think. But now I just want more. Add to this I’ve just read a blog post by a friend of mine all about how important it is to eat more to weigh less, and I feel my resolve quivering around the edges… Time for another cup of tea I think.
3.42 pm – just finished my carrot sticks. Yum! I feel fine again now – light and energetic. Tummy is rumbling a little, but I certainly don’t feel like I’ve spent any significant time today feeling overly hungry or with low blood sugar.
4.10pm – Now I’m just proper hungry! Thinking about having smoked salmon with steamed veg for dinner instead of just the stir fried veg I was planning to have. That would add about 200 cal to my daily amount, but does that really matter?
4.18pm – just been doing some more reading online about the benefits of IF and the science ‘appears’ to be conclusive regarding how it works to strip body fat, particularly if you throw a training session into the mix during the ‘fasting window’. I’m now really intrigued. Could 16:8 (fasting overnight and skipping breakfast) work for me longer term? Or even better, 18:6?
Hypothetically this would mean eating only two meals a day – At say 1 and 7 o’clock. If I could manage this, this would be a huuuuuge paradigm shift for a woman who, due to blood sugar ‘issues’ (or so I’ve gotten used to telling myself) has grazed constantly pretty much her whole life. It would be so much easier to stay under my calorie goal too, if I were eating two 700-800 cal meals (which is still quite substantial) instead of 3 meals and a dozen snacks. Hmmm…. Thinking!
5pm – time to leave work! Am now thinking I’ll have salmon with vegies for dinner – higher cals than I’d planned but I’m already calling today a win and just have a craving for salmon for some reason.
6.20pm – slight change of plan. Went to a different supermarket to usual on my way home and they didn’t have the salmon I wanted – was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the choice, so just ended up with a can of soup and piece of toast for dinner. Never mind.
11pm – bed time. It’s been hours since dinner and I feel a little bit hungry but not enough to keep me awake. Yay! Success. Will be interesting to see how I feel tomorrow morning. Right now I’m on top of the world and think there’s no reason why I couldn’t do this once a week.
Postscript: Due to taking holidays from work the last two weeks I haven’t yet had the second IF day, but it’s planned for this week. Stay tuned to find out how that goes… 🙂