The 5:2 Diet: Real life accounts

Recently we talked about the 5:2 Diet and the principles behind the popular new eating trend. The diet first attracted attention in 2012, and has since gained a global following. The main goal behind the 5:2 diet is to eat a normal, healthy diet for five days of the week, while the other two (consecutive or non-consecutive) are 'fasting' days - or days where you are limited to 500-600 calories.

Two WYZA readers have now shared their experiences in following the 5:2 diet - from what they found beneficial, to whether they lost weight and felt healthier, and what aspects they found the hardest. 

Wesley Chow, 54

Wesley is an avid lover of food and cooking. He took up the 5:2 diet because it united two aims; healthier living and the ability to sustain a passion for mealtimes.

  • Why did you start the 5:2 diet?
    I started the diet after watching a programme by Dr Mosley for the BBC. Essentially what he presented was that there are many benefits from fasting. This includes weight loss, lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

  • What do you perceive as the benefits?
    Dr Mosley’s 5:2 diet is based on the premise that our ancestors had days that they did not eat as they could not find food and that our body had adapted to this feast and famine regime. In the 3 weeks of doing the diet I have proudly lost 2 kg.

  • What are the negatives? 
    The 5:2 diet does not mean you don’t eat on the fasting days but you must restrict your calories to 500 to 600 per day and only eat twice a day to ensure that there is a lengthy period between your first and last meal of the day. I am on my 4th week of the diet but it wasn’t as easy to start “cold turkey” – I had to ease into it.

  • Would you recommend the diet to others? 
    Yes I do recommend the diet. Getting into a routine with which day is your restricted days helps, but if you are committed to a social event you can always change your days.

  • Do you have any advice for those thinking about starting the diet?
    I think you should know yourself and whether you are capable to start at 500 to 600 calories from 1st day of the diet. Knowing that you may get headaches if you don’t get your coffee hit means you may need to have a long black in the morning. I think each person needs to find what works for them.

Silvana Payne, 66

Silvana has been juggling dieting and weight loss for 20 years. The 5:2 diet was something that easily slotted into her lifestyle and weekly routine.

  • Why did you start the 5:2 diet?
    Since I had surgery for breast cancer, the doctor suggested that I should lose some weight. I have tried lots of different diets in the past but have always put the weight back on as I found that they were not sustainable. With the 5-2 diet I can still enjoy the things I like to eat and control my weight. I have found since being on this diet that I have been more alert, have more energy and I’m more aware of what I eat, therefore making more sensible choices. I’m not sure how much weight I have lost precisely but my clothes are feeling loose on me and that’s a good enough sign for me!

  • What do you perceive as the benefits?
    The benefits are that I can see myself on this type of diet for the rest of my life. For me, fasting 2 non-consecutive days per week is very manageable. When you have lost the desired weight instead of fasting 2 days per week, you cut down to 1 fasting day a week and can eat normally the other 6 days of the week.

  • What are the negatives? 
    The negative is that it’s not easy, you do get hungry and 500 calories is not much to have.

  • Would you recommend the diet to others? 
    Yes I would recommend the diet and I have to friends and family as I think it’s a sustainable regime.

  • Do you have any advice for those thinking about starting the diet?
    I think the best advice is to always remember that you can have what ever you want the following day. However, I have found that the following day I don’t want the chocolate or the crisps that I so desired the day before.