Monthly Archives: August 2012

The 5:2 Diet: Ashleigh’s Journey (Week Two)

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 Unlike last week, since Thursday i have actually managed to eat sensibly during my ‘feed’ days. I think keeping a food diary has helped, as it really does stop me from going over 2,000 calories. I even did a bit of back tracking and discovered that during my first week of the 5:2 diet, on 3 out of 5 of my ‘feed’ days i consumed about 2,200 calories. Not good! And, it really made me realize that before i started this diet i was probably consuming that many calories pretty much every day of my life, no wonder my weight was constantly increasing. Anyway, as for this week, well, on my ‘feed’ days I have been averaging a calorie consumption of approximately 1,700 – not bad eh? Even sticking to that alone would help me lose weight.

But, the key to this diet are the ‘fast’ days, which I have also successfully managed to complete this week. However, despite the lack of hangover this Sunday, I actually found the fast more difficult than last week. It probably didn’t help that I had very little food in the flat, so my breakfast consisted of one 95 calorie Nature Valley Bar, which although I enjoyed, it did not really satisfy my breakfast needs.

However, I made up for the boring breakfast with my lovely tea. I used the spiced tomato dal recipe from this article in the Telegraph. At only 248 calories per portion, I served it with some fresh brown bread – thus totaling only 350 calories. I really recommend this recipe for anyone else on the 5:2 diet, I mean, I couldn’t even finish the portion – it was just unbelievably filling, but also very tasty. One problem though; I had this for my tea at 5pm – so early for me, and I had to survive the rest of the night without eating anything. So once again, plenty of fruit tea was consumed before bedtime.

However, there is one thing that never ceases to surprises me about the 5:2 diet – the way that hunger works. I will refer you back to what Michael Mosley said in the Horizon documentary: ‘I was convinced that hunger would build day by day, getting steadily worse…But what I found was that, after the first 24 hours, things got better. I had hunger pangs, but they passed’. This is exactly what I have found as well. The Sunday is always the hardest – I have to constantly remind myself not to eat, and I feel hungry A LOT! But, by the Monday, I awake in the morning with no feeling of hunger! It is a great feeling; it really feels as though I am in control of my body.

Anyway, on the Monday, I had a boring food day again. Just like last week, a day of fruit salad, poached egg, dried fruit and tea. Yeah, not all together! But, I made it to the end of another two ‘Fast’ days, however, I have promised myself that next week, I am going to make ‘Fast’ days exciting – if it is at all possible.

Ashleigh – Guest Blogger

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The 5:2 Diet: Mickey’s Journey (Week 3)

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Feta from Greece

Feta Cheese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the beginning of week 3 and so far so good.  I have lost 3 ½ lbs in the first 3 weeks and I am happy with this as I was in a cycle of loose 4 lb put on 5 lb that had persisted since May this year!

Wednesday 22nd August
I seemed to have a real craving for sugary stuff today and managed to eat my normal daily healthy food, plus 2 milky ways, a serving of Kelly’s Ice cream and a Double Decker.  This is not good. 

I think that I am due for my period, so this might explain the craving.  I was weak-willed and gave into it today, so I am going to be strong and make sure that I try to keep my treats under control.  I don’t want to damage all my good work by indulging in nutritionally empty food.  I was also very lazy last week with exercise and only did one body attack class all week (plus a 45 minute swim in rough seas.)  I did not do any exercise to day, but fully intend to do 3 classes on Thursday.  

Thursday 23rd August
Have started well today with just my coffee and fruit and yogurt and I have got to lunch time without chocolate.  I now need to get through lunch time and into the afternoon.  If I can avoid chocolate at work then maybe I will treat myself at home tonight. 

I am doing a Zumba class, a spin class and a body pump class to night at the gym.  That is a total of 2 ¼ hours of exercise, so that will be good for me and keep my metabolism going.  Lunch time now and I will be having ham, cucumber, tomatoes and feta cheese with Bovril and followed by a banana.

Friday 24th August
Not a good start to today.  I had to visit the docs to discuss blood test results and it seems I am anaemic.  This is probably due to increased periods because of the onset of menopause, but she still wanted me to have a chest X-ray for some reason!!  This is a tad worrying.  I explained about my weight loss and my change to the 5:2 Diet and she did not have any issue with that.  Also I have to take iron tablets (welcome to the world of constipation!!) oh joy.  Let’s just hope this is a temporary issue, because otherwise all my other bloods were fine.  Perhaps I will have to start having raw liver for breakfast (yuck).  

We have a Bank Holiday weekend approaching which is sure to lead to a few over-indulgences, so perhaps today I ought to try to have a very low and healthy food day (to compensate for the blips at the weekend). Mind you, I am going to do a Rowing Club taster-session on Sunday so that should burn off a few calories.  If I like it I am going to sign up for a six week course, because I am sure that it will be very good for upper body strength and toning (not to mention bloody knackering).

Had a hectic lunchtime; my stress levels were so high when I got back to the office that I ate my lunch, (a scone with jam and a Milky Way) and I’m still looking for something to eat (or someone to kill) – either will do!

Mickey – Guest Blogger

The 5:2 Diet: Ashleigh’s Journey (End of Week One)

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English: A single broken poached egg on 2 piec...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have reached the end of my first ever week on the 5/2 diet, however, in the beginning I made a decision that I would only weigh myself at the end of every week, and this morning it was the moment of truth. Thankfully, to my surprise, I weighed in at 12st 1lb, a whole 3 pounds lighter than this time last week. Therefore, if I continue at this pace I should be perfectly on target to reach my goal. Hurahh!

However, good news aside, I would say that in general this week has been a poor week for my health regime. I felt so positive after my first two fast days, but since then it seems that everything has gone downhill. On the Tuesday morning after my fast days I gorged down a double helping of poached eggs on toast (yes, I do eat a lot of egg – but I enjoy it), and afterwards, felt horrendous! I guess, in a way, this is a good sign, a sign that my stomach can no longer handle such large portions. But, despite this, I continued my week in the same manner, just eating whenever and whatever, as I used to before. 

And to make matters worse, I was away from home this week, resulting in a severe lack of exercise. My two regular exercise classes were forgotten about, as was my daily run. I was not feeling healthier, fitter, or slimmer. Therefore, this weight loss has certainly come as a surprise. 

But I have a theory! Basically, after the fast days I was used to eating very little, I had become accustomed to it. Therefore, although I may feel as though I have been eating badly during my ‘feed’ days, it could perhaps be the case that, I am actually eating less than I used to before the 5:2 diet, but as I am used to eating very little on the fast days, it just feels like I am eating more. Anyway, in order to gauge exactly how much I am eating, and whether or not I am eating more than usual on the ‘feed’ days, I am going to start a food diary. I will simply calculate and record the calories in everything I eat, and hopefully I will find that my calorie consumption is decreasing.

Even though I have only completed 1 week of the 5/2 diet, I feel as though it has changed the way I think about food. Before, I was a strict believer that eating 2000 calories a day was essential for a healthy body. However, I can now see that this belief probably led me to eat more than what is necessary. Now that I have experienced consuming less than 500 calories a day, I see food in a different way. I have learnt that, for me anyway, food had become a habit. Now that I have broken the habit, I feel that I can move forward and learn to consume food in a different way.

Anyway, I am enjoying this diet, and the buzz that completing the two fast days provides. However, it is still only the beginning, and I am sure I have a lot more to learn along the way.

Ashleigh – Guest Blogger

The 5:2 Diet: Juliet’s Journey Continued

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Post holiday blues have really set in now. Mountains of washing have been done and it is time to reflect and report on how we got on with our holiday fast.

We tried to engineer the fast days so we would only have to fast once on holiday. We seem to have more or less succeeded because we have managed 4 fasts in 15 days. We chose to fast the day we hired a boat on the Norfolk Broads, our thinking being it would not be too strenuous and we could drink loads of black tea (we had a cute little galley kitchen on board).

To begin with I was seriously grumpy.  I’m sure much of the challenge of fasting, especially for me, is psychological. I felt like I was being cheated having to fast on holiday. I had my normal fast day breakfast of a small bowl of cereal as did Hubby and to eat on the boat I took both of us one of those tuna salad ready meals in foil. They are quite tasty and are handy if you can’t prepare fresh food (calories are around 250 per portion). I have noticed on fast days that the flavours of food seem intensified. Hunger, as usual, came and went in waves but there were no temptations such as biscuits and crisps. There was plenty of black tea. So much black tea that I flooded the diesel cooker (yes just like you do when you use a manual choke on a car, if you are old enough to remember!).

Once we were off the boat and back in the holiday house I made my usual huge salad for dinner. I had a small portion of smoked mackerel with it and Hubby chose to have some smoked salmon. Unfortunately Hubby also has quite a delicate stomach and within the hour the salmon (which we belatedly realised was dodgy) made a reappearance. He really did fast that day. It took him most of the next day to recover. Both of us have been finding the day after the fast the most difficult but for Hubby this was compounded by the sickness and diarrhoea from the day before.

A few days later and back at home Hubby has recovered and is delighted by the fact that he has lost 6 lbs in two and a half weeks. I however have lost 3 lbs but am equally delighted by that. I have tightened my belt a notch and feel generally a bit more trim. Although the weight loss is of course important, the overall health benefits that we are hoping to achieve are spurring us on.]

Juliet – Guest Blogger

The 5:2 Diet: Pete’s Journey (Week Three Results)

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Mars (chocolate bar)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

20-21 Aug 2012:
My weight is bouncing around like an over-excited toddler on a trampoline. Over the weekend I put 4 pounds back on one day, and lost 5 again the next day, followed by another 1 on the second fast day. I’m at a loss to explain it, other than scales error?

Interestingly, on my fast this week I noticed a parallel between fasting and dealing with anxiety. I’ve suffered with anxiety problems quite a bit over the years and have learnt to ride anxious moments out, don’t give into them and feel the anxiety ebb away on its own accord. The hunger pangs feel exactly the same. One moment you feel overwhelmed and you think a Mars bar seems like a great idea, but then you stop, take a deep breath, make a cup of tea and the feelings plateau and then they quickly pass. By my second day of fasting it was beginning to feel easy. However, I did keep waking in the night, dreaming of food, my empty belly scolding me audibly.

I’ve told my wife what I’m doing now, and she’s quite supportive and curious about it, although for her, recovering from a diagnosis of coeliac disease means she won’t be joining me anytime soon.

22-24 Aug 2012:
Sad to say, I’ve been on a bit of a pig out the last couple of days. I really haven’t enjoyed it. I feel bloated most of the time, my indigestion is running wild and I also feel horribly lethargic. I really miss my fast days. Clearly I need some kind of regulation on my feed days, because I’m just not enjoying letting myself go. Wii Fit confirms I’m up two pounds since my fast day, although some of that is to be expected from simply filling my belly after a fast. Dismissing the negativity for a moment, I’ve still lost a net 7 pounds in 3 weeks. That’s not to be sniffed at!

There’s a big challenge facing me over the next week, as I go on a family visit where, bless them, in the spirit of hospitality, I will be plied with junk food and all manner of salty, fatty ready meals. I’m going to have to be up front and tell them I can hardly eat for two days, and I need proper healthy food in my 600 calories to get me by.

I expect vacant expressions all round, but hope to be surprised…

Pete – Guest Blogger

The 5:2 Diet: Mickey’s Journey (Week Two, Part II)

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English: KitKat chunky. Français : Barre de Ki...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saturday 18th August
I went well over my daily Weight Watchers points today and have had to use the rest of my weekly points to cover the extras. I now only have a few exercise points left (plus my daily points of 28) for Sunday. I had to visit our London office today as electrical work was being done and I had to let them in and shut down the server.  It was an early start so I ended up buying a bacon roll at Victoria station and coming home at lunch time I just had to have chicken teriyaki from Wasabi!!!  I also bought a Kit Kat Duo (only ate one bar). That evening we had barbecue followed by the best ice cream in the world – Kelly’s Honeycomb Crunch – yum. Waddled to bed at 11:00pm feeling stuffed.

Sunday 19th August
Should have gone to the gym, but it was far too hot so we went looking for a new barbecue and a wetsuit.  Didn’t find a barbecue, but got a nice wetsuit, so can now start doing some wild swimming.  Managed to stay well under my calories for today with healthy fruit and yoghurt for breakfast and roast chicken for dinner.  Also, I think that the effort of trying on a wet suit in 32degree heat will have helped lose a few pounds. I did wonder whether I could do a 45 minute aerobics session in it!!  My own personal sauna!  I have a feeling I would pass out though.  Fasting day tomorrow should prove interesting as I am on leave, so no work distraction.  I just hope my husband does not suggest going out for lunch…will my will power hold up??

Monday 20th August
Fast day!  Coffee, yoghurt and half a banana to start (132 calories). I had great difficulty persuading my husband that I was fine.  He even tried to sneak strawberries and grapes onto the plate!!  I went sea swimming this afternoon to test my wetsuit and it was brilliant.  It kept me so warm.  Now I am starving so an OXO cube and cracker with cucumber and 10 g of feta, all for under 80 calories.  This should keep me going until dinner.  Why is it the beach always makes you so hungry?  Yum, dinner time, vegetable curry, 60g of brown basmati rice and a small spoon of yogurt (320 calories).  Total for the day is 530 calories.

Fast day 1 over.  One more to go, but at least I am at work tomorrow.  It is definitely far more difficult to fast at home, too many temptations and not enough distractions.  Next week is bank holiday so will have to move my fast day to Tuesday and Wednesday.  I may have to fast this Wednesday (22nd August) to fit it in.

Oh today is so difficult, especially as my husband is eating a large pack of minstrels in front of me!  The urge to give in is quite hard, I just want to rip the bag out of his hands and scoff them all…arghhh!!!

Tuesday 21st August
Today I am going to try and save all my calories for the evening.  Not sure I will be successful.  Have to admit that very early this morning – about 3:30 am I woke up with the munchies and did not have the self control to stop myself getting up and going in search of food.  I ate 3 jaffa cakes, which at 40 cals each is 120 calories.  Will have to take that off tonight’s food.  Not a good thing that I am starting the day in debt, but at least I did not get caught eating the jaffa cakes (each one went in whole, so it could have been embarrassing).

I found I did need something to kick start my day, so yoghurt and coffee, with only 20 ml of milk.  Then I had to have something at lunch time – Miso soup and 4 cherry tomatoes.  So I have 365 calories for tonight.  Still that is not too bad and as my veggie bake is only 88 calories I can either bulk that out with some rice or cous cous or perhaps have a pudding.  Mental note to self, must also remember to take off the 120 calories for early morning jaffa snaffling!

I weighed myself this morning and was very surprised to find that I had dropped from yesterday’s weight of 13 stone 11 lbs to 13 stone 8 lbs.  As tonight is weigh in at Weight Watchers, another weight loss this week would be a real bonus.

Lost 1/2 lb tonight.  Not brilliant, but this is now the third week in a row that I have lost and I am now at the 4 stone 2 1/2 lb mark instead of being stuck on  a lose/put back on cycle.

I definitely feel like I am not bloating out with water and although my weight did fluctuate during the week the trend was down.

Fasting this week was really tough.  I managed to get through to Tuesday evening on 500 calories, but later that night ended up eating a further 150 calories!!!  However I am not sure when the fasting starts and ends.  I last ate properly on Sunday at 6pm and the fasted till Tuesday at 6pm when I had my last fasting meal and in that 48 hour period I stuck to 1000 calories.  The extra food I had on Tuesday was at 9:30 pm so technically was outside the fasting period!  Any ideas anyone?

One further point is that I am fairly certain I am due for a period this week and if so losing 1/2 lb on a period week is a real plus, because normally I put on at least 4 lb on those weeks.  I can’t lay this success at the feet of 5:2, because I am taking Evening Primrose Oil and Menopace and Green Tea Extract.  It could mean that the tablets are doing the biz.

The 5:2 Diet: Juliet’s Journey (Fasting on Holiday!)

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English: fresh fruit salad

So here we are on holiday trying to work out when to attempt a fast day, or indeed whether even to attempt one at all.

Rewind a couple of days: Hubby and I knew it would be a big ask to try and fast whilst on holiday. After all don’t most people enjoy a bit of indulgence when on vacation. We are in this country though, Norfolk to be precise, and we are determined.

As I mentioned before we don’t fast on consecutive days so we decided to cram a couple of days in before the holiday so we could get away with only one fast day while we were away.

We coped quite well with the first of these two days of fasting but I do find it takes until after lunch the following day before I feel back to my normal self. Although I feel really hungry post-fast I don’t seem able to eat huge portions and feel full quite quickly. I also had a bad headache which wouldn’t shift. I have always suffered from headaches if I miss a meal – presumably related to low blood sugar.

Unusually because of the holiday we decided to fast again with only one feed day in between. Although this seemed like a good thing to do both Hubby and I struggled. Both of us had really low energy and felt quite disheartened. I discovered a tuna pasta salad ready meal in a foil tin lurking in the back of the cupboard. Having checked the best before date (aren’t those things generally about 5 or 6 years) Hubby went for it consuming 253 calories in one glorious fell swoop. I can’t tell you how jealous I was, staring as I picked at my half a tiny quiche and salad.

Back to the holiday, we have made a decision. We have indeed indulged (my stomach is really growling and complaining about the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables) and I am quite looking forward to a fast day to reset my clock as it were. We both feel like we are still losing weight but have no scales so will probably get a shock when we get home. 

We have decided to fast on the day we take out a boat so will have no distractions from not eating.

Will let you know how we get on. Wish us luck!

Juliet – Guest Blogger