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The 5:2 Diet Update – Reflection

So, 2 and a half months later… has the hunger been worth it? 

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This will be my last 5:2 diet update. Sadface. Yes, you… you’re meant to be making a sadface. I’m kidding, I can’t imagine you’re too attached. So, final update. The season finale, if you will. And – in the style of Carrie Bradshaw – I couldn’t help but wonder, ‘Has it all been worth it?’. Since I like making lists, I thought what better way to draw conclusions from my foray into fasting. So, here we go…

Highs

1) I lost weight. Surely that’s the whole point of the exercise. So, it’s very much a ‘high’. Christmas bloat is long gone, clothes aren’t as snug, and I’ve stopped having to try on the next size up, just so I can have a bit more ‘room’. Win win.

2) This eating plan, diet, whatever you want to call it, is totally sustainable. I’ve tried every diet known to (wo)man – Atkins (that lasted a day after I felt a bit faint, probably at the thought of no more visits to Prezzo), Weight Watchers (I was never very good at maths, and there was far too much counting involved), eating less in general (God wouldn’t have invented Quavers, if he didn’t want me to eat them), and even the soup diet (I ended up with a cupboardful of Heinz and a newfound hatred of Liz Hurley). But eating whatever you want – this doesn’t mean Maccy D’s for every meal, folks – for 5 days means the 2 days when you’re confined to 500 calories is bearable. I’m not saying it’s fun. But with a decent portion of willpower, you can do it.

3) My fridge is filled with eat-as-much-as-you-ruddy-well-like veg. After initially laughing in the sprouting face of broccoli, I’ve realised there is something to be said for all this healthy hoopla. Kale, spinach, sweet potato… they all convene in the ‘veg drawer’ (previously known to my husband as the ‘beer drawer’). And my thicker hair and clearer skin are thanking me for it.

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4) I found out that TV’s silver fox, Philip Schofield, now follows this plan. In Pip I trust.

Lows

1) I lost 7lbs, not the 10lbs I was aiming for. My competitive nature has a severely bruised ego. And I don’t miraculously transform into a Victoria’s Secret model when I don a bikini. Pretty disappointed with this one, not gonna lie. That being said, though, I know if I press on with the weight loss, wearing a two-piece in front of other real-life people this summer won’t be such a terrifying prospect.

2) Working in an office that has a designated ‘goodie table’ in my direct line of sight is not ideal. It houses more home-made cakes and muffins than a W.I. bake sale. I may not have the sweetest of teeth, per se, but being subjected to a constant stream of colleagues blissfully tucking into the latest fresh-out-the-oven banana bread is just cruel. And the new harvest always seems to appear on fast days. Without fail.  

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3) I haven’t, and won’t, lie to you. This diet will make you hungry. There will be times you’ll get home from a fasting day at the carb-laden office, spot the Chinese takeaway menu on your fridge, and every fibre in your being will scream at you to forget this ridiculous diet and order a ‘Set Menu C for two’. For one. But in those dark moments, just remember you can wake up the next morning, have 2 rounds of peanut butter on white toast and a builder’s tea with heaps of sugar, and the world will be a happy place again.  

4) That team pub lunch. ‘Nuff said.

Need-to-knows

1) Ask Force a friend, family member or your partner to do this regime with you. Having a diet buddy is essential. Trust me. They’ll be your support in times of need (read: fasting days), and, quite frankly, no one else will want to hear you spout incessantly about the calorific values of a skinny latte.      

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2) I know I’ve bleated on about the fact that the 5:2 diet helps you lose weight. But, that’s not its only purpose. Merely a fortunate by-product. If you watched Dr Michael Mosley’s Horizon documentary, you’ll remember the benefits of intermittent fasting also include a longer life, and reduced blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. Which, let’s face it, shouldn’t be sniffed at.

3) Now the world is jumping on the fasting bandwagon, it makes sticking to the allotted calories so much easier. 5:2 recipe ideas, 200-calories-or-less food options, and Two Day Diet resources are everywhere. Whack ‘5:2’ into Google and get clued up.  

4) Obviously cutting back on the calories helps you achieve a trimmer waistline, but don’t forget the age-old trick of actually getting off your backside and raising your heart rate. Works wonders. Throw yourself into some exercise and you’ll find you’re too busy moaning about your achy limbs to worry about the bird-sized portions you’re tucking into.

So, has it all been worth it?

Yes. Without a doubt. And here’s your proof: I’m going to carry on with it. What other eating plan lets you indulge in a weekend of after-work drinks on Friday, a 3-course dinner on Saturday, and a Sunday roast with trimmings and dessert, without even a hint of guilt? And don’t start waving your Weight Watchers books at me – points don’t mean prizes, as far as I’m concerned. If you have willpower, a partner-in-crime and a tolerance for veg, it’s honestly the easiest and most effective diet you’ll ever try. And when I say ‘try’, I mean ‘stick to’. What’s surprised me the most is that sometimes, I *whisper* actually look forward to fasting days. It’s like my body gets a bit of a re-boot.

But look… I don’t want to preach. If you’re after a bit more body confidence with swimsuit season just around the corner, give it a go and see if it works for you. If it does, then I like to think I had a part in it. And if it doesn’t, blame Dr Mosley.

 

How have you got on with the 5:2 diet? We’d love to hear your stories! 

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