The 5:2 diet has been the latest media-driven diet in the last 12 months with diet books in the top 10 best sellers. Is it the solution everyone is looking for? As with many diets some work well for people and others don’t.

Overall the 5:2 diet has been tried by many people I have met over the last few months and most have had positive results. As with many diets people can get bored of them after a while and go back to bad habits

As with all diets for weight loss, the initial weight loss can be quick but it’s sustaining the weight loss which is the hardest bit for many. So in the process of any dietary changes it’s understanding which foods or bad habits you have which result in piling on the weight to be successful at managing your weight long term.

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The 5:2 diet has been very popular as it suggests you can eat what you like 5 days a week

as long as you have only 500kcal (women) and 600kcal (men) on your 2 fast days which are also best split over the week. However it’s still important to be mindful about what you are eating on your regular days, as I do not suggest you work your way through more than 2000kcal plus a day to make up for your fast days.

The key points to address with weight loss/management are eating fresh filling foods balanced with protein and carbohydrates high in fibre at each meal; which take longer to digest balancing the blood sugar and sending messages to your brain that you are full. So if too many processed foods are appearing on your 5 days you need to start cutting down on these to get on top of your weight management.

While on fast days, if you are already skipping breakfast or lunch, you will find it easier to deal with eating 2 meals a day over 3. Ideally, if you wake up starving hungry, then you need to have your first meal at breakfast to help regulate your blood sugar and help you concentrate throughout the morning. Then it’s choosing the right day to fast .

Therefore, not a good day if you are doing a lot of driving , have a client lunch or a 2 hour session in the gym! So, you might find it easier to choose a fast day over a weekend. It just really depends on your life style.

Then it’s deciding what and how much to eat on your fast days. You will be surprised how much you can eat when you combine the right foods. So, to keep it simple lets divide each meal into 250kcal. For men add on a 1/3 more protein to dinner!

5 2 diet plan_02

Here are some 2 day fasting meal ideas. Only choose 2 meals!

Breakfast

– 2 boiled eggs 160kcal plus 40g of wilted spinach (10kcal0 plus 1 piece of fruit 80kcal).

or

– 1 mini omelette (made with 1 egg and cooked in a mini wok) with 5 squirts of 1 cal spray on 1 slice of wholemeal bread (80kcal topped with 40g smoked salmon (70kcal) and 1dsp of horseradish sauce (10kcal).

or

– 150g low fat yoghurt (60kcal plus 1 cup of berries 80kcal plus 1 dsp of seeds 80kcal each and half tsp of agave nectar).

Lunch

– 200g pot of cottage cheese with handful of tomatoes and 2 oatcakes

or

– Soup (200kcal) with 100g chickpeas,spinach, tomato puree, chilli , cinnamon and ginger spices to flavour. Suggest spice drops from http.//www.holylama.com. serve with 1 ryvita.

or

– 125g of tinned tuna in spring water (125kcal) with 1 small baked potato (100kcal) and 40gbag of mixed green leaves with lemon juice to flavour.

Dinner

– 150kcal of turkey (150kcal) plus 1 cup each of broccoli (40cal), green bean or peas (60kcal with a tbsp lemon juice, tsp of chopped mint & dsp of 0% fat plain yoghurt dressing.

– 125g (160kcal) of poached chicken served with 40g (20kcal) wilted spinach and a cup of beans (70kcal).

– 150g (150kcal)cod with ratatoutie made with courgettes, tomatoes & peppers (150kcal).

Drink 2 litres of water spread out over the day which can include herbal teas.

The research suggests drinking tea and coffee as normal over the day but I would suggest drinking no more than 2 to 3 a day as they can upset your blood sugar and deplete energising nutrients such as B vitamins and Vitamin C.

The key points to remember with 5:2

– Don’t go mad on your 5 days of eating. Have your usual treats such as a glass wine. Remember 250kcal in large glass of wine or a pint of beer/lager!

– Always combine modest amounts of protein foods with small portions of carbohydrate at each meal. The protein is the main food group for feeling full, while the carbohydrate helps boost the good mood hormone serotonin essential on any dietary plan!

– Plan your 2 fast days to involve no excessive exercise or drinking alcohol!

– Make sure you have 2 litres of water on your 2 fast days as will help energise and fill you up.

– Only use the 1cal oils on your 2 fat days a dsp oil is 60kcal!

– However, do eat all your good fats on your 5 days ie seeds, nuts and oily fish as they provide the body with essential fats for healthy circulation, supporting the heart, joints and brain. The brain needs 60% good fats to function at its best!

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