Add Your Experience to the 5:2 Blog

The blog has been here almost a year now.

In that time I have published my 5:2 diet progress which has culminated in a pleasing 9-10kgs (19-22 pounds) weight loss documented in a recent post: A Three Month Update.

However, I now realise that the blog here needs more than one mans input if it is to continue to inspire other people to continue with the 5:2 diet. Or maybe even start it.

What it needs is content.

We have a lot of readers, and quite a few comments, but I thought I might open up the blog for others to tell their story too.

So, I have added a new category: Readers Experiences

If you are on the 5:2 diet and you want to share your story, or your thoughts and opinions, it can be published here.

Please send your experiences to fivetwodiet (at) btinternet (dot) com – that looks like this:

Publish your 5:2 experience

 

 

Please put in the email heading “5:2 Diet Blog Submission” or something similar.

All we ask is it be long enough to be considered a short article (take any post here as an example), be grammatically reasonable (you need not be Shakespear – but please no text speak and do use capital letters and paragraphs as required as best you can), and it be original.

Original means it is not published anywhere else or stolen from the internet. Google doesn’t like sites that do that stuff, so please write your own words.

I am happy to edit and format work to a degree – you need not be a wordsmith.

You do not need to use your real name and no personal details will be published.

But if you are doing the 5:2 diet, or have views about it, I want to help you share your experiences with the world. So send me your submissions and you will see them here within twenty four hours.

Many people want to be published on the internet without the hassle of having their own website, if you have something to say about the five-two diet, you can publish here. thumbs

A Three Month Update!

Wow, I can’t believe it has been three months since I made a post and the festive season is almost upon us.

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun? To be fair its less about the fun and more about being busy with work and family for me.

I am very pleased that the blog here has gotten some interest, shares and comments the last few months, and I shall most certainly be continuing with it for those who think I may have fell off the wagon (I didn’t). I am also pleased that some folks have found it to be quite inspiring, and it has spawned a few similar blogs. Its great to get comments, and if you are a reader, please do leave a comment.

I have been at the five-two diet a year in a few weeks. I started out at around 122 kilos, today I am still doing it, but I am still on an extended plateau and hovering between 112-113 kilos. It still represents a 9-10 kilo loss over the year, which for those who think in old money, or are in the US of A, is a loss of 19-22 pounds. Significant perhaps, but I could lose the same again before I am happy. Hopefully 2014 will bring that. I am in no thundering rush.

The fact I have done that whilst still (on non-diet days) quaffing lattes, a little chocolate, plenty of Indian food and lots of wine shows just how good this diet is. I have stuck to the 5:2, perhaps the odd day I have strayed over 40-50 calories, but on the whole I have stuck to it pretty well and it is now a way of life.

For those who read the Why This Blog is Here post, they may recall this bit:

Late last year I went back to the doctors for a full MOT and a check over. This time they decided that my risk of heart attack in the next decade was 21% (above 20% and they medicate), and my cholesterol was now high and they wanted to medicate that too. I decided we would delay any further medication for a few months while I tried to get it down myself. The time had come to make a start.

A couple of weeks ago I went back to the doctors for an overdue review.

Well I spent half the consultation explaining to the nurse what the 5:2 diet was as she had never heard of it. This was prompted by her surprise at my 9kg weight loss. So then we did the blood tests and other stuff. A week later I had the results…….

Blood pressure: Perfect

Cholesterol: Back in the normal zone

Heart attack calculation: Back under 20% – no preventive medication required.

No statins for me! thumbs

So how is it going day to day? 

For those acquainted with my previous posts, you will know I had come to depend on my late evening vegetable stir fry.

Whilst I still have those some days, other days I have developed a different approach. I don’t eat all day except maybe one hard boiled egg. What I do do is drink tea with skimmed milk. You can get away with 50g of milk in a cup of tea, and that only comes out at 19 calories. So take six cups of tea through the day and we are only talking 74 calories. Add a hard boiled egg, we are still at 140 or so. Leaving me 460 to play with.

Tesco do some crumbed boiled ham that is only 17 calories a slice, so you can afford to eat two of those with some of your cups of tea.

Really, you get used to not eating. Maybe your brain becomes conditioned……….

Instead of a full meal, I often have what I call a snack in the evening. Here is a circa 300 calorie snack.

5-2 diet 300 calorie snack

This consists of a cup of tea with skimmed milk, a hard boiled egg (with a drop of extra hot chili sauce to liven it up), two cherry tomatoes, and two rounds of thin wholemeal bread with extreme low calorie spread and Marmite. We are covering a range of vitamin and protein bases here. This comes out at around 300 calories and makes a great evening snack/supper so you don’t sleep hungry.

So I have got it down to one meal/snack a day, some cups of tea and a few slices of 17 calorie ham.

I know some slim girls who eat less every day……..

Easy peasy. thumbs

Hard to catch up after falling off the wagon!

Well, it was not actually a case of falling off the wagon.

I was away on a short holiday and the travel days fell on my fast days.

Additionally, not much of a holiday if I am weighing food and asking calorie counts in restaurants is it? So I decided to have a short time off. Probably two weeks total.

I came back, resumed my fasting, and found my self a rather worrying 116 point something kilos. I was 112 point something kilos before I left, so almost four kilos had piled on.

I have resumed as normal since coming back, so are maybe two or three weeks in again, and two of those extra kilos have already gone. Today, I am 114 point something kilos.

So I think it will be a few weeks until I am back in the 112 kilo area where I was. *sigh*

The odd thing though is my shape hasn’t changed any. My clothes are still big, I am still on the last notch of my belt. I guess it builds up again in visceral fat first?

Diet wise, I have been sticking with my vegetable stir fry, a couple of eggs, and any surplus taken up with 13 calorie slices of wafer thin ham and tea. That seems easy so I simply keep repeating it.

I have also upped my water intake.

Progress is now down to a snails pace generally though. I think the body adapts as I said before.

My wife is still doing the diet, not because she needs to, but for the health benefits. Her weight has stopped dead at 53kgs, which is a weight she looks good at.

One of my diet days is Monday. Monday is also my busiest day. I had a funny event this last Monday though.

I skipped my usual morning coffee and just had a mid morning tea with an egg. However, an hour later, I was heavily fatigued, couldn’t concentrate, was irritable and had a headache. Really, I couldn’t get home fast enough to relax.

Once at home, I flaked out for two hours on the sofa – exhausted. I am not one for nodding off on the sofa (not unless the open fire is roaring anyway). I wasn’t sickening with anything, I was right as rain the next morning after a breakfast heavy on vitamins.

In hindsight, all I could put it down to is that I was so busy, and had to do so much thinking and multi-tasking, and as the brain uses many calories, I simply hadn’t fed it enough to be going on with, and what I felt was symptomatic of that.

Anyone one who has had a similar episode, do chime in.

 

What plateaux was that then?

Regular readers will know that for the last few posts I have been bitching that I had hit a plateaux with the 5:2 diet.

It seems to have lasted months and months.

I was pretty narked about it as everyone else is reporting great success and nobody talks about this bit when the body says no.

At first I was going great guns and then suddenly my body put the brakes on. After losing eight kilos (over seventeen pounds to those of you who think in those), my body just said “no more” and came to a grinding halt.

I changed my intake on diet days to include more protein as suggested by one reader.

For a few weeks nothing happened.

Then I at last dropped another measly 700 grams. Nothing in itself but it finally broke the cycle of 114.7 kilos that I could never get below – I had finally hit the 114kg dead. I celebrated on here that the plateaux was broken, but alas, a week later, I was right back up there again in the 115-116kg bracket.

Out of curiosity, or maybe habit, a couple of days ago (on a non-diet day I might add) I got up in the morning and hopped on the scales.

I kinda blinked and looked again.

I moved the scales to another point on the floor in case of a false reading and hopped on again.

The same. Yup – it was true: 112.7kgs!  thumbs

At last! The plateaux is broken properly!

I started this diet sometime in late January, and now is early July, so around five months I have been at it.

My total weight loss now is ten kilos (give or take 200 grams). Which is twenty two pounds! Or put another way for the fellow Brits, over one and a half stones. 

That’s ten bags of sugar!

So what caused the change?

I have ruminated on this, and come up with a conclusion that only seems to apply to me.

My wife was born overseas. Her folks still live there. So once a year she goes out there for a few weeks with our daughter to visit them.

She has been gone a week or so. During that time I have had to arrange my own evening meals. For sure, she left me some of her creations stuffed across our two freezers so I wouldn’t fade away in her absence. But some nights I have just had very modest meals the last week or so.

Whatever I fancied from the freezer mostly, because like most men, I have no time or inclination to start cooking for one. So bachelor mode on……. 

One Hollands pie and a few mini vegetable spring rolls for example.

Tonight is a few vegetable spring rolls and a falafel or two. And maybe a bottle of wine……

The UK is basking in sunny temperatures in the late twenties at the moment, and usually we get ten or fifteen degrees and rain most of the year. I find that hotter weather suppresses the appetite. So maybe that has helped the last week or so?

Not that I eat a great deal generally any more.

I expect the diet change brought on by an absent wife, the higher protein recent changes on diet days and the suppressed appetite due to warmer weather has combined to make my body kick back into weight loss mode.

So lets see if it continues and hope I am not back next week bitching about being 117 again.

The 5:2 Diet Plateaux is Back!

I suppose I was a little bit premature to think the plateaux was over.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been back up to 114.7 on average, up to nearly 117 and back down again.

Breaking the 114 barrier has proved elusive.

Maybe my scales are faulty? I am going to weigh myself somewhere else just to check……

I have been sticking with the higher protein though, having my morning coffee, three hard boiled eggs through the day and some tea and my usual vegetable stir fry at night.

Actually, I am getting quite into hard boiled eggs and started researching eggs (things you do when you are hungry).

I did learn something interesting about eggs though from a site I read recently:

Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre of the University of Louisiana compared two groups of overweight subjects. One group ate two eggs for breakfast, and the other had a bagel. Both meals were similar in weight, and had the same number of calories.

After eight weeks, the egg group lost 65% more weight, lost 34% more from their waistlines, had a 61% greater reduction in BMI, and reported higher energy levels than their high-carb counterparts!

Isn’t that interesting?

It brought to mind Charles Saatchi, the husband of Nigella Lawson the TV chef.

Charles Saatchi ate only eggs  -  three for breakfast, three for lunch and three for supper.

His wife Nigella Lawson described the 65-year-old’s regimen as a ‘completely mad eggs, eggs and more eggs diet’  -  but it had the desired effect: he’s shed an impressive four stone in nine months.

Here is something else I found:

Meanwhile, a study from Harvard University showed that people eating one or more eggs a day were at no more risk of cardiovascular disease than non-egg eaters.

In fact, in his most recent study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition this summer, Dr Griffin showed that two eggs a day might help people cut cholesterol levels, not raise them.

He gave overweight, but otherwise healthy volunteers, two eggs a day for 12 weeks; they also followed a reduced calorie diet prescribed by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

A control group followed the same BHF diet but cut out eggs altogether. Both groups experienced a drop in the average level of blood cholesterol and also lost between 7-9lb in weight.

‘Eggs make a nutritional contribution to a healthy, calorie-restricted diet,’ says Griffin.

I am not going to do the Saatchi diet, but I think I am going to include more eggs in my 5:2 diet regime.

Any other suggestions welcome that might explain how I have lost over a stone on the 5:2 diet and then just stopped dead for months.

The Plateaux is Finally Broken!

For what seems like about two months, my weight resolutely refused to budge below 114.7kgs.

It even occasionally crept up to 116 something.

Despite sticking to the programme, it seemed my body had gotten fed up of shrinking, and decided to protest.

After soliciting suggestions from the readers here, Beata, gave this advice in the comments section:

I’m no nutritionist but I would guess that instead of lasting through the day on sugar and caffeine you would be better off eating lean protein and a few vegetables.

The aim in fasting is for your body to burn the fat on your body. You are supposed to be making it easier for your body to burn the fat that you have stored by not eating.

Eating protein kick starts your metabolism and then it should start burning the fat you have.

But if you are providing your body with sugar which is easy glucose to burn than it will just burn that it won’t work on your fat.

Try fasting and accepting the hunger, eating some raw carrots and an egg or a bit of meat and some broccoli or something rather than dampening down your hunger with coffee and tea.

Avoid carbs on your fasting days as that is easily transferred to glucose by your body. Honey is better than plain sugar but it is still glucose.

I went back and read that comment a few times.

Beata was right, I was limping through the day using the calories from honey I add to tea and coffee, I was having a little bread and not starting the day with any protein.

So yesterday, I thought I would make some small changes.

I had 1/2 a tsp of “half spoon” sugar in my morning coffee (8 calories). But I had a boiled egg for breakfast (protein @75 calories).

In the afternoon I had another hard boiled egg, and a couple of slices of boiled ham @ 23 calories each (more protein).

The tea I had through the day was without sweetening of any kind.

I had my usual vegetable stir fry in the evening, followed by a couple more slices of ham to bring me up to my 600 calorie daily allowance.

This morning I climbed on the scales, 114.00 kgsthumbs

That means I had passed the 114.7 sticking point that has blighted me for ages.

Now, was it the slightly altered calorie sources that spurred my metabolism to kick start into weight loss again?

Or is 600 calories 600 calories however you consume them?

Or is the 700 grams a red herring and I’ll be back to 116 next week?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

I am optimistic about breaking into the 113′s next week and hopeful the plateaux I have been bitching about is over…………

 

Still Riding the Plateau and Getting Concerned.

As the title suggests, I am still riding the plateau.

I must confess to being a little confused now. Anyone that has experience, do please chime in with your thoughts.

It has been a couple of weeks since the last update.

I have stuck to the diet religiously. Actually, most days I have managed to end the day in the 575 calorie region. First I’ll explain how………

Regular readers will know I got hooked on chicken stir frys. The amount of chicken to go in there was dependent on how many calories I had left in the day.

Well, I found a lower calorie way! Ditch the chicken altogether. A meat free day! It doesn’t seem to do vegetablists [as Clarkson calls them] any harm, so why not give it a shot?

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the Tesco mushroom stir fry……….

5-2 diet stir fry

Here are the maths. (Or, here  is the math as our friends over the pond might say). 

A “serving” is 33 calories. However, a “serving” is a silly 100g, and the pack size is 280g. So the actual serving size is 33 x 2.8 = 92.4 calories.

5ml of olive oil is about 41 cals. A couple of green chillies to spice it up another 25, 10 ml soy sauce 12 calories, a bit of added garlic at say another 10 cals…….

We are looking at a total of a mere 181 calories for a rather yummy veggie stir fry. Add a cup of tea to wash it down with a smidgen of honey and 50mls skimmed milk, and that only adds another 24 calories or so. This is a sensible sized meal for just 205 calories! thumbs

That leaves me almost 400 calories to use during the day. Which I do mostly with tea and coffee with milk and a smidgen of honey. I drink only tea and coffee all day, perhaps have a very small something late afternoon and one of these maybe 8-9pm in the evening. Cool huh? I have been finishing my days in the 570-585 range often.

But still no noticeable progress in weeks. wtf

So what’s going wrong?

Now here is a parallel situation to consider: I have been doing this since late January and its mid May now. My weight loss has been over a stone but has levelled off recently.

My wife also did this with me from the start (call it moral support). Now, she didn’t really need to lose much weight, she was a UK size 8 (American 4-6) to start with, but she wanted to trim a kilo or two (as girls do), and nudge a 6 again. More so, to also enjoy the 5:2 health benefits. Since January, she has dropped almost 2 kilos to my 7+. She is also losing nothing recently (she has an aspirations of another kilo or so). And she mostly eats what I call rabbit food on non diet days anyway.

So, is this all relative to original size and constitution I wonder? Does your body simply stop when it feels it has had enough? Or does it simply plateau for longer?

I am still hovering at around 115kg dead. Some days it goes down to 114.7, some days almost to 116. 115.1 seems to be the average in recent weeks.

I am sticking religiously to the 5:2, I am not pigging out on non diet days. Yet I haven’t lost anything of note in weeks.

Now that is confusing.

I am considering adding a third day in the week in order that the weight loss I had gotten used to continues.

Anyone with any thoughts or opinions on any of  that, please use the comment box below.

 

5:2 Diet Positive & Negative Side Effects.

One of the things I said I would do is a post about side effects.

The removal of a wisdom tooth yesterday leaves me resting at home today, so its as good a time as any.

To be honest, I have found the side effects to be minimal. But there are some, and maybe worth a mention.

Let’s get the negative side effects out of the way first. 

Feeling cold: Its a funny thing, I was always the bloke in a t-shirt in the snow. Not any more. On fast days I am often found shivering and putting another layer on while everyone else is walking around in t-shirts. I guess I have less padding now than I did, but I have attributed it to blood pressure. I have blood pressure tablets prescribed when I was heavier, and fasting lowers blood pressure, so I generally refrain from taking my tablet now on fast days and that helps.

Irritability: Those around me claim I am more irritable than usual on fast days. To be fair, I don’t suffer fools gladly at the best of times, but as more than one person has mentioned it, it must be true.

Toileting: I wont go into graphic detail, but I am normally more on time than the speaking clock. This diet does tend to slow you down a bit and upset your natural rhythm in that regard. I suppose its logical it would do that as your bowels are used to a set amount of food travelling through them. Suddenly, two days a week there is next to nothing. Increasing your fibre intake on non fast days seems to help though. Swap the bacon sandwich the next morning for some Weetabix and do yourself even more good.

Headaches: On fast days, I find I can get a headache, especially late in the afternoon and evening. Nothing a couple of Paracetamol doesn’t cure, but pretty predictable by now. I suspected it was a bit of dehydration and drinking more water seems to help.

Memory and concentration: The long term effect of the 5:2 is said to improve mental function, and overall I do feel sharper. But on fast days, I do find myself getting a tad absent minded. The brain needs calories though, and again, it seems logical that if it gets fewer than usual, it wont be operating at optimum capacity.

Breath: I have also found that one needs to use mouthwash slightly more often on fast days.

Getting to sleep: I find on fast days that it can be hard to get to sleep. I have overcome this by eating as late as possible so I don’t go to bed hungry.

Clothes: I have expensive taste in clothes. The cost of eventually changing my entire wardrobe is a daunting task that will have to be approached slowly.

So overall, the negative side effects are pretty minimal and far outweighed by the benefits.

Lets take a look at some positive side effects – apart from the weight loss. 

Mental agility: Although at face value, this seems to contradict the memory and concentration comment above; it doesn’t. Overall, I feel that I have more of my marbles than I had before. Just a slight edge if you will. My critical thinking and problem solving seems to have become a little sharper.

Taste buds: I have noticed, especially the morning after a fast, that everything seems to taste wonderful. Brown toast with butter and Marmite with a cup of coffee tasted like God himself made it!  I almost started making dramatic exclamations in French with my eyes closed. But didn’t. 

The opposite sex: My wife seems rather pleased with my new and improving shape, and its human nature to enjoy attention from the opposite sex generally. I have never been an ugly bloke, and have always enjoyed the attention of women. When I was larger, I seemed to become invisible, as you might expect. Having dropped over a stone to date, it became apparent that women notice me once more. Which as any bloke will agree with, is always pretty cool.

Confidence: I have never been short on confidence, but a little more never does any harm. The three positive side effects mentioned above, together with the weight loss leaves one feeling more confident. And who doesn’t enjoy feeling like a million dollars?

As ever, your comments and thoughts are welcome using the comment box below.

Another period of stagnation.

As the title suggests, I appear to have entered another period of stagnation.

Or rather, variable weights from day to day swinging up to a kilo each way.

I was 115.7kgs on the last reported weighing. That has been up to 116.5 and down to 114.7.

I haven’t weighed my self the last week, I was hoping to pleasantly surprise myself next week.

From my experience to date, I know that weight loss is not a continual downward slope. I posted before this little picture:

weight loss graph

 

I think that accurately sums up the way this diet works.

You lose some, then its as if your body says to itself, “Hang on, what’s happening here? Lets get some weight on…….”

When it realises that no harm has been done, it lets go and you lose some more.

Despite the fact that my progress – on the scales at least – has been glacial in recent weeks compared to what I am used to, the visual evidence is more compelling.

My body shape is certainly changing. My stomach, which before looked like I was trying to smuggle a beach ball through customs, whilst not yet flat, is markedly reduced.

My facial features are more defined, my aches and pains are fading, I have pretty much run out of notches on my belt, and some of my jeans have already gone in the bin. I am wearing shirts again that I haven’t worn in about four years, but was saving ‘just in case’ I lost some weight sometime. Its all positive!

In terms of diet, I have been sticking to the evening chicken stir fry, with little other than coffee and tea throughout the day. Its probably time to try some variety in that department again.

Its pleasing to see the blog gather some more readers, and traffic and comments are both improving. Indeed, a fellow called Bobby in the US has also been inspired to do a similar blog, so anyone who is interested in this subject might want to check it out: http://bobdaviswsuv.wordpress.com/

If you have a comment or any thoughts, or just even want to stop by and say hello, you are most welcome. Comments don’t appear immediately to stop our Chinese friends peppering each post with invitations to try their fake pharmaceuticals in order to ‘give her more pleasure’ or whatever.

More Progress!

OK, I have lost count of my days now.

A mixture of being busy at work and knowing my weight is dropping overall. Call it complacency if you will.

I have even stopped religiously weighing myself, because I know it will be less overall, and if its more, it will be less the next fast day. The trend is down……..

Much of the day-by-day weight thing is how much you have drank/eaten and whether you have toileted or not.

This diet can upset your natural toilet rhythm a little, so if you were a morning person – for example – you may now be evening or even next day.

I weighed myself last fast day and I was 115.7, which is a whopping 7.5 kilos lost – which in British weights is over a stone.

Now I know this works, I need not be as manic about daily entries and updates. I plan to update here now once every ten days or so.

So what is working?

Half Spoon sugar cuts the calories in my morning coffee in half (before it was honey). Doesn’t taste yakky like most sweeteners, and what I gained I can make up with tea with milk.

Chicken stir fry is my friend at the moment. 100g of skinless, boneless chicken breast is 116 cals (I am on 250g). 5 mls of oil is 40 cals. Soy sauce is 5 cals per 5ml. Chillies are about 10 cals for two.

What I am doing is a milky (100 ml @ 37 cals of skimmed) coffee in the morning. One or two lemon teas through the day. Maybe one cup of tea late afternoon, and as big a stir fry as I can manage with what I have left as late in the evening as I can.

One evening meal is taking the bulk of my calories. And I find that works.

Normal stuff and the odd pizza and bottle of wine on other days, and the weight is still falling off slowly but surely.

What a truly magical diet this is……..