The 5:2 diet is a great introduction to intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting simply means you pick periods of your week to stop eating.
One of the simplest, and most pain-free examples is the 5:2 diet. The idea is that 2 days a week you only eat a very small amount, just enough to stave off hunger. You can eat at any time the rest of the week.
For example the average, moderately-active person needs around 2250 calories a day. On the two fasting days this would be restricted to around 575. For example: skip breakfast, have a normal lunch, and half portions for dinner.
Just this change has two major effects on the body:
- Even if you over-compensate the next day your calorie count will still decrease overall
- You’re training your body to feel hungry, which readjusts how much and how often you feel you need to eat
There are also wider health benefits, such as improved insulin response, and improved cognition.
As with any diet they suggest making sure you’re still getting all the nutrients you need with plenty of fruit and vegetables, but the flexibility of the diet is the key.
Having a diet that you commit to long-term is going to have a much bigger impact than a short-term diet that you stop once you hit your goal weight. If you can stick with the 5:2 diet you should lose weight consistently until your body reaches a new normal weight.
Dr Mosley’s book ‘The FastDiet’ goes into the full details and gives some great recipes for low-calorie, filling food.