Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The 5:2 fasting regime

So, crunch time. Courtesy of Michael Mosely appearing on an SBS Insight special about diabetes 2, I have finally mustered up the motivation to do something about my drug acquired kilos. I watched and listened as the people in the audience contributed their stories about diabetes 2, and realised that while I'm not even medically pre-diabetic, those unwanted kilos potentially put me at risk, and adding ANOTHER thing to have to deal with is just not to be thought about...

There were various solutions and treatments discussed, but the main thing is to get excess weight off, and KEEP it off. It really does appear to be more of a lifestyle disease than anything else, although it became clear in the discussion that different cultural groups tend to have more or less propensity to acquire it. 

I spent years fighting to keep weight ON, due to a massively over-efficient metabolism. It didn't matter what or how much I ate, I was a tall skinny type lacking curves. I look back on that and yearn for the ease of it, now, and the lack of worry... The combination of the pain levels I sometimes have to deal with courtesy of my RA that restrict my ability to exercise regularly, and side effects from some of the necessary medications have added twenty kilos (at least) to my very fine frame, and diabetes panics aside, that's just too much weight for me to be carrying. Apart from anything else, I can't afford to replace my wardrobe - and as shallow as that might sound, it IS a consideration! One of the subsequent issues for me though is that I don't do well on diets. I'm not used to having to calculate food and calories, it bores me, and I can't maintain what feels like so many restrictions. 

I first discovered the 5:2 fasting plan on a special Michael Mosely made that aired on SBS TV some time ago. He was exploring all sorts of different types of fasting, from the extreme to mild. I'm no stranger to fasting - until I was stuck with drugs that have to be taken with food, I fasted for Yom Kippur (the  Jewish Day of Atonement) every year, which is a 26 hour fast, eating and drinking nothing at all. Fasting for health reasons wouldn't have occurred to me. What struck me about the 5:2 plan is how potentially sustainable it is. 

Basically, for those who don't know, it's based on eating within a normal calorie range (2000 calories for women, 2500 for men) for five days of the week, and cutting that down to a quarter of that allowance for two days a week. So, it's not, as Dragon Dad (who's currently on a 1500 calorie regime for weight loss that makes NO sense to me, particularly as he's training like a maniac) railed at me, 'starving myself', as I'm not NOT eating on the fast days, I'm just cutting right down. So, I can take my meds, and I end up drinking oodles of water - which is good for me, and makes up for not managing to regularly drinking enough water probably! I'm on week four now, and I have to say, I'm finding the fast days much easier than I thought they'd be, and each week they're easier to manage. 

My physio said to me yesterday that I look like I've lost some weight. As we don't own scales - and I don't want a set - I'm relying on how my clothes feel, and I have been aware, this week, that many things do feel less clingy.

For me, the best thing about this regime is that it IS sustainable. I'm not cutting out food groups, I'm not paying for expensive (and questionable) meal substitutes, I don't need a book or program, and I can basically eat what I like within my usual patterns of healthy eating - trimming that down quantity-wise on the fast days. Win win, really! Most of the people I've spoken to who've done it or are still doing it have been really positive, and very encouraging. Even with the limited exercise options that I can manage, I can still expect to slowly and steadily drop these damned unwanted kilos, and that will be excellent! It doesn't interfere with other people either - and come dinner time, Dragon Dad's 300 calorie dinners work just fine for me, because I've had a large skinny coffee and a small snack at breakfast time, so they're about the right size for me too, and we don't have to fuss with separate meals. It's the first time EVER that that's happened when there's been anything approaching a diet in this house!


  1. I love the 5:2 concept. Its the healthiest option out there, as well as you can follow it AND still keep to the diet that works best for you, be it vegan, paleo, low fat, low carb, whatever! And as you say, you don't have to make separate meals, just adjust portion sizes. Good luck, hope it keeps working for you, and keep posting updates!

    1. Hi Chick - thanks for dropping by! I think that's the thing I like most about it. It doesn't require huge change, and that makes it all so much simpler, as well as sustainable.

  2. Since I live in both the world of diabetes and RA, I see many things that people try some work well, some for a short time and a few for the long run. I was reminded as I read your outstanding blog that the best diet is the one that works for and with the individual. I had not heard of this concept but I love the idea.

    I wish you the very best. I bet in a short time you will be ahead percentage wise at least.

    1. I do hope so Rick!! Has 5:2 not made it to the States yet? It's everywhere here - partly via the documentary that aired on one of our local stations, and also because Michael Moseley has become a popular figure here quite rapidly - so much common sense, and so little bullshit - it's nice, in the midst of so many charlatans! It's absolutely worth reading up about, and I have to say, in terms of sticking to something, this is really not hard...