Learn About Fast Diet
The fast diet, also known as 5:2 diet (also written as 5/2 diet), involves severe calorie restriction for two non-consecutive days a week and normal eating the other five days. Basically, it’s five days of normal eating, with little thought to calorie control and a slice of pie for pudding if that’s what you want. Then, on the other two days, you just eat a quarter of your recommended daily calorie quota. That works out at 500 calories for women and 600 for men.
The aim of fast diet is weight loss, disease prevention and optimal health. Some people who tried fast diet out claim that they have lost weight – especially fat- and reduced their risk of a host of chronic diseases.
How does the Fast Diet work?
The reason why fast diet is also referred to as the 5:2 diet is because of its eating pattern – you eat normally for five days of the week and cut your calories to about 25 percent of normal intake on two nonconsecutive days of the week. Men consume just 600 calories on their two weekly fast days, while women are limited to 500 calories. Not surprisingly, those calories must be spent wisely on fast days, or you could blow half of them on a flavored latte. The diet authors suggest choosing high-protein foods, such as skinless chicken, nuts and legumes to curb hunger. You’ll also eat strawberries, carrots and other foods with low glycemic loads, meaning they’re less likely than others to affect blood sugar and insulin levels.
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Fast Diet Rules
- Aim for 500 calories on a Fast Day. Men get 600. Don’t be too particular, but, for simplicity and efficacy, do try to stick to these parameters.
- You can do your Fast Days back to back, or split them. Splitting them – for example, fasting on a Monday and a Thursday – seems to suit most people, allowing a couple of days recovery between fasts.
- Aim for a long-ish ‘Fasting Window’ between episodes of eating. A 7am breakfast and a 7pm supper seem to work well for most people.
- Stick to plants and proteins.
- Avoid fast-release carbs and refined sugars. And meringues.
- Drink plenty of water.
- If you must snack, snack smart: an apple or some carrot sticks and hummus should take the edge off.
- Keep busy. If time flies, it will be tomorrow all the sooner.
- Fast with friends – a little moral support when you’re hitting hunger gaps can be worth its weight in Chocolate Hobnobs.
- Choose a day when fasting will be feasible; work out your 5:2 calendar according to your social commitments.
- It’s fine to exercise on a Fast Day, as long as it feels good to you…and you stay hydrated.
- Don’t fast if you are under 18, pregnant, diabetic or ill. Consult your doctor first if you have any concerns.
- Expect an occasional plateau. Like stocks and shares, your weight may go up as well as down. Don’t panic, stick with it and give it at least six weeks. Look at the trajectory of your weight, not the number on the scales on any given day.
- Once you’ve achieved your target weight, progress to a modified 6:1 format to maintain that ideal. You can always stop and start in response to your own body: the Fast Diet is inherently flexible and user-friendly. If you fluff on any given day and succumb to temptation, fret not, move on.
- And, no, you can’t have pud. Not today. Tomorrow, of course, is another matter entirely.
Are there any side effects from fast diet?
Little is known about possible side effects as no systematic attempt has been made to study this issue. Anecdotal reports of effects include:
- difficulties sleeping
- bad breath (a known problem with low carbohydrate diets)
- daytime sleepiness
However, more research would be needed to confirm these side effects and their severity.
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Compared to other types of weight loss programs the evidence base of the safety and effectiveness of the 5:2 diet is limited.
If you are considering it then you should first talk to your GP to see if it is suitable for you. Not everyone can safely fast.
Other methods of weight loss include:
- eating a healthy balanced diet with at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (consult dietitian)
- taking regular exercise (watch workout videos)
- drinking alcohol in moderation
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