How to Do the 5.2 Diet
The 5:2 diet is one the most successful diets in the United Kingdom and America lately thanks to its high effectiveness and it being so easy to follow.
What is the 5:2 diet, then? It consists of eating whatever you want - as long as it's relatively healthy - for 5 days of the week within recommended calorific values, which are usually 2000 kcal for women and kcal 2500 for men. The other 2 days are for semi-fasting, consuming only 500 kcal for women and 600 kcal for men.
At oneHOWTO we want you to be familiar with this dietary method, which is why we'll explain how to do the 5.2 diet, which has caused a revolution in the world of slimming plans, and go over some example day plans.
What is the 5.2 diet?
The 5:2 diet consists on eating normally for 5 days a week and then doing 2 days of semi-fasting. These two semi-fasting days should not be consecutive to one another.
An example of a week whilst on the 5.2 diet would be:
- Monday: semi-fasting (500 kcal for women, 600 kcal for men)
- Tuesday: eat as normal (2000 kcal for women, 2500 kcal for men)
- Wednesday: eat as normal
- Thursday: semi-fasting
- Friday: eat as normal
- Saturday: eat as normal
- Sunday: eat as normal
This distribution of calories during the week makes your weekly calorific intake reduce with you barely noticing, as you can eat with normality 5 days of the week. However, it is recommended that during the "normal" days people eat in a balanced way. You don't need to abandon carbohydrates, but you should still watch your portions.
Remember that the "normal" calorie amount for men and women in fact depends on your age, your metabolism and lifestyle. For instance, a physically active young woman will need more calories than an older, sedentary man.
During the semi-fasting days of the 5:2 diet you should take many liquids to keep the body well-hydrated and thus promote the elimination of toxins. The 500 calories or so that you can eat during the fasting days in the 5.2 diet can be distributed as you like as long as you do not go over that amount: this is the fundamental rule in order to ensure that the diet works.
You should bear in mind that when doing the 5.2 diet you will see how initially your body will lose weight quickly during the first weeks, but then the weight loss will become slower and gradual. Do not despair: although it will be slow, you will lower your weight and the results will be more permanent.
The fundamental rules of the 5.2 diet
To achieve success with the 5:2 diet it is imperative that you follow its basic rules; otherwise the desired effect will not be achieved and you will not actually lose weight.
- The first rule of the 5:2 diet is to not eat more than the number of calories recommended on fasting days. Women can eat 500 kcal and men 600 kcal.
- During the normal days, eat whatever you want without going over 2000 daily calories (which is the amount recommended by experts). Here we explain how many calories you should eat according to your age.
- During semi-fasting days, choose vegetables and proteins rather than carbohydrates and sugars because they satiate more and supply more nutrients to the body. If you are looking for ideas, here you can find gluten-free recipes under 200 calories.
- During semi-fasting days it is imperative that you drink at least 2 litres of water to eliminate toxins and maintain your body well-hydrated.
- During semi-fasting days you must avoid eating refined sugars; if you choose to eat carbohydrates, eat those that are of slow absorption such as those made with whole wheat flour. This way, you will get more fiber and energy over the whole day.
- Although you can eat anything you want during normal days, it is recommended that you don't overeat and still follow a healthy lifestyle and habits. In other words, eat as in normal circumstances, with balanced foods and suitable quantities. If you want a piece of chocolate, you can eat it without any type of remorse.
Advice for fasting days
To ensure you have no doubts about what to do on fasting days, here are some clarifications so that you know how to do the 5.2 diet successfully.
- On semi-fasting days, you can eat what you like without going over 500 kcal. If that day you want to spend all your calories eating a whole burger you can do it, but keep in mind that you will be unable to eat anything else on that day. By the way, here you can discover what is the healthiest burger.
- To avoid feeling starved during the fasting days is to distribute the calories over the day in three rations: breakfast, lunch and dinner. In this way, you will handle the fasting more smoothly without feeling hungry.
- During the semi-fasting days it is recommended to avoid eating foods containing added sugar such as fruit juices: sugar increases blood glucose, which makes your body demand even more sugar.
- Plan your fasting around days when you are busy. This way it will be easier to ignore that you are fasting and you will make the day pass without being very hungry.
- During the days of fasting you can drink infusions and teas to appease hunger. Indeed, it is recommended that you drink as much liquid as you want during these days to reduce the feeling of hunger and get good results from the 5:2 diet.
Advantages of the 5:2 diet
- One of the main advantages of the 5:2 diet is that you can eat all sorts of food and even give yourself treats as you lose weight. On normal days you can consume your favorite dishes without feeling guilty about it.
- With the 5:2 diet you lose weight gradually, without harming the health of your body. There is no knock-on effect with this diet because the intake of calories is the same as if you were following a hypocaloric diet; the trick lies simply in that there are two days when you eat less.
- Fasting is good for your health as it reduces levels of IGF-1 hormone, which plays a part in the risk of diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer's or even cancer.
- With the 5:2 diet you lose accumulated surplus body weight. This is the main reason why you'll lose weight faster during the first weeks. After this period, it will be more difficult to reduce kilograms. The weight loss, then, is progressive.
Disadvantages of the 5:2 diet
- The 5:2 diet also has disadvantages, as the method can lead to unhealthy eating habits and related eating disorders. Therefore, it is essential to take on board the fundamental rules that diet promotes, including a balanced diet on normal days. Calories are important, but obsessing over them will be harmful in the long run.
- During the fasting days, people have less energy and, therefore, experience fatigue, weariness, tiredness or ill humor.
- There are some side effects that you have to take into account before starting the diet: you can suffer constipation, insomnia, back ache, bad breath and drowsiness.
- The studies that support the theory that the fasting is good for health have not been scientifically verified. Therefore the benefits of fasting are still hypothetical.
Examples of fasting in the 5:2 diet
So you can have a clearer idea regarding how to do the 5.2 diet, here at OneHowTo we'll give some examples of fasting days that will help you plan your weeks and fulfill your objectives.
Semi-fasting diet 1:
- Breakfast: 1 banana
- Lunch: Mushrooms on a slice of whole wheat toast
- Dinner: 1 grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables
Semi-fasting diet 2:
- Breakfast: 1 low fat yogurt with 2 diced apricots
- Lunch: Vegetable soup
- Dinner: Tuna salad
Semi-fasting diet 3:
- Breakfast: Coffee or tea (without sugar)
- Lunch: Spinach omelette
- Dinner: Grilled salmon fillet with broccoli
Here you can learn what are the most fattening foods.
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