Tag Archives: 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 Diet – Shiv’s Journey: Hunger and Handstands


Should you be exercising on the days that you fast?

SOON after my colleagues at work discovered that I was doing a “fast” (eyes rolled every time the word was mentioned), there was an office  sweepstake to guess how long before I fell off the wagon. This was followed by even more incredulity when I said that I actually worked out at the gym for about an hour on both of my fast days (technically referred to as training in a fasted state), in addition to a couple of other days in the week.

Logic dictates that on the days you are fasting, with as little as 500/600 calories consumed, the last thing you want to be doing – or more to the point ought to be doing, is working out at the gym, or going for a run or any other form of exercise. Well, the great thing about intermittent fasting is you do what feels right for you, and if doesn’t feel right for you – you don’t. Admittedly, I too was slightly sceptical about the idea about working out on a day when I was mostly going to be hungry, but like with other things related to IF and the 5:2 programme I thought I would try it, and see how I felt.

For the first couple of weeks I worked out at the gym near my office at lunch-time. The  thinking here was that I would keep myself busy at lunch, and therefore not feel too wretched watching my colleagues eat, or make plans about what they were going to eat, and then after lunch discuss what they did eat! When the lunch-time workout proved more time consuming than I thought, I switched going to the gym to the end of the day, and knew I had hit on a winner.

My little secret, even after all these months of intermittent fasting is that I still sometimes struggle with the last couple of hours in the day with a combination of hunger and boredom before I sit down to eat dinner at 7.30 pm. I found that going to the gym at the end of the day and before dinner did a couple of things for me: one, it gave me something to do; second, and rather miraculously, instead of feeling hungry as I would otherwise at about 5 in the evening, the work out gave me a renewed burst of energy and I felt a lot less hungry even as I sat down to dinner. Result!

On the more general point of exercising, the motivation I got from losing a few lbs. from IF spurred me on to the gym, and I am currently working out between three and four times a week. I could probably do more, but that would be really dull!

Finally, and on an unrelated point, I invested in a rather clever piece of kit, which is a weighing scale that also measures BMI, fat, water and other stuff. Rather unhelpfully, the scales came with the wrong set of instructions, and I am still trying to figure up how to set it up. That said, I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who has recently switched from the scales that only measured weight, to one of these new-fangled scales. Is all this additional information helpful? Has it spurred you on to lose even more weight, or like with lots of other things are you staring down at more information than you know what to do with. Let me know.

Till next time.

Cheers, Shiv

P.S. Did any of you catch the Horizon programme, produced and presented by Michael Moseley (of 5:2 fame) on exercising on Wednesday night on BBC2? Fascinating, as we have come to expect from him. I am very new to the ideas of high intensity training, but if any of you have any thoughts, do send them my way.

© Shiv Taneja 2013



5:2 Diet Recipe Ideas



I’ve searched high and low so that you don’t have to (you’re welcome). There are loads and loads of delicious 5:2 recipe ideas out there. Women are supposed to eat 500 calories or less on a fast day, and men 600 calories or less.

You can of course snack on a handful of 100 calorie things throughout the day, or you can save yourself for one main meal. This post details recipes for meals that are 500 calories or less.

This Thai Carrot Salad recipe over at the BBC Good Food website looks amazing and is only 192 calories per serving!

Their Steamed Fish with Lemon, Ginger & Chilli recipe is just 153 calories per serving.

Love pizza and can’t even resist it on a fast day? Why not try this 316 calorie Smoky Corn and Black Bean Pizza over at Eating Well! Or how about these Turkey and Lettuce Wraps at just 285 calories. Amazing!

This site called Real Simple has created a calendar of 31 under 400 calorie meals – one for every day of the month! My favourite is the Spiced Pork Chops with Red Cabbage and Raisins. Delish!

Health.com also have some great-looking ideas, such as this Maple-Glazed Salmon with Pickled Cucumber.

If you’re in a rush or just aren’t a fan of cooking your grub from fresh, why not try a low-calorie ready meal? Marks & Spencer have a low-calorie range called count on us…™. They’re a selection of ready meals all under 400 calories and less than 3% fat.

The 5:2 Diet: Shiv’s Journey – All Change


Same me, different me

Hello, if you are reading this it means you are already on 5:2, are thinking about it, or have just stumbled on to We Eat Things and are wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, six months ago, I was all of the above, with the “only” difference being I was 30 lbs. heavier than I am today. I am still 46 years old, am still 5’7″, still doing much the same sort of stuff that I was doing in the past – and yet something feels very different.

In future blogs I will share with you some of my experiences of this remarkable period in my life, and how I hope it is going to fundamentally change the way I feel about myself, the control I now have over what I eat, and when, and how I have been able to do things that I just didn’t think I was able to do.

Sounds a little evangelical and with the zeal of a convert? Yes, and you’d be absolutely right, and hopefully for those of you about to start 5:2, or intermittent fasting (IF) more generally, my relatively short experience with 5:2 may echo with your own experiences, or maybe it will not. I am certainly not trying to compete with the mighty Michael Moseley (who got many of us started down this path), but one of the great things about IF is that there are very few rules (there are some basic ones) and the experiences of other guest bloggers on We Eat Things over the past several months (Heather, thanks for reinstating the blog!) was a source of inspiration and ideas for me. Hopefully my experiences will give some of you the impetus to give it a go.

So where shall we start? While the now seminal Horizon programme on BBC was what got me interested in the idea of giving the 5:2 a go, what really got me off the blocks was some research I read on conquering your fear about fasting. One piece of research (more details can be found here – http://www.precisionnutrition.com/intermittent-fasting) suggests that before starting any version of IF, you need to try fasting for a 24 hour period, just to get the hang of the experience of what it is like to feel hunger; let’s face it, going hungry for long periods of time isn’t fun, and not something many of us have experienced in our everyday lives. Also be sure, fasting is not for everyone and doing a trail fast is a great way to decide if this is something that is for you – or not.

So I did it. I came home one Friday evening in the dog days of summer last year, and decided on the spur of the moment that the next day was going to be my trial fast day. I had dinner at about 8 pm, went to bed per usual, and spent a lot of the following day watching the Olympics on telly (a very pleasant distraction, as many will testify to). During the day, I pretty much did all the things I would do on a Saturday (walk the dog etc), with one exception: I didn’t eat anything. Sure, I drank lots of water, lots of green tea, and some black coffee but not a morsel of food passed my very surprised lips till 8 pm on Saturday, and what an astonishing 24 hours it was!

Sure I felt hungry, but I learnt that hunger comes in waves rather than building incessantly. I learnt that hunger is more about dealing with it in your head than in your stomach, and most of all I realised that at the end of 24 hours I wasn’t going to pass out, or worse, die! In fact, I felt rather good, and better still dinner that night Saturday night tasted the best ever. Yet, best of all the confidence I now had in my ability to start on IF was remarkably strong.

In future iterations of this blog, I will talk about why exercising on the fast days is a real bonus for me, why weighing yourself incessantly is not a good idea (but when to, if you must!), how I learnt to count calories from not knowing the difference between proteins and carbohydrates (really, no exaggeration!), and anything else you would like to chat about. As I said above, this blog is about my experiences. I hope you will share yours with me, and we can get something of a conversation started to our collective benefit.

Finally, I don’t want you all think of me as some miserable git who is all about weight loss and nothing else, so if you happen to be in the Holborn area in London, pop into the Holborn Whippet, my local boozer near work – they really have some fabulous beers on tap and not a shabby selection of wines either. Slightly further afield, having just returned from a business trip to Switzerland, I cannot recommend the Le Relais de l’Entrecote in Geneva highly enough. No bookings, no menus, just the best steaks in the business – and best of all you get two helpings, which I exactly what the doctor  ordered after you have been on 5:2 – because you can afford to!

Till next time.


Shiv – Guest Blogger

© Shiv Taneja

So, how are you all getting on?



It’s been a while since I have wanted to write about the 5:2 Diet. I never intended this site to be diet-based, but it’s still drawing in hundreds of visitors every day. I have to accept what my audience wants!

I just wondered how everyone is getting on with the 5:2 diet? How long have you been on the diet and how successful has it been for you? Did Christmas hinder your efforts?

Also, I am once again recruiting a guest blogger to share their personal dieting story (5:2 only, please). This time I will focus on just one dieter to keep it simple.

Email me at HEC527@live.co.uk with a paragraph about why you’d like to write for this blog for the foreseeable future and I will choose an appropriate volunteer  by Friday 25th January.

I require a writer for one or two posts per week and preferably someone with good grammar so I don’t have to do too much editing.

I look forward to your submissions!

Thanks for reading,

We Eat Things

The 5:2 Diet: Mickey’s Journey – The Final Post


Well it has been an interesting 6 or 7 weeks and I have learnt much about myself. I know that I cannot fast when I am at home on holiday!  The temptation is just too much.  I also learnt that I should never go downstairs during the night on a fast day.  I just end up munching on something from the fridge or cupboard, deluding myself with the view that it is between the fasts!!!! 

Those were the negatives.  The positives were that in reality with a little will power and spending the day at work (or occupied fully) sticking to the 500 is relatively easy and the hunger is not overpowering.

What I will take from this experience is a permanent method of how to live my life and win the battle of the calories.  I see the 5:2 plan as a way of life that can be worked in with my current Weight Watchers regime and when I move onto maintenance which I hope to achieve sometime next year then this will also dovetail in with the 5:2 plan nicely. 

I think that the trial ran for me at a particularly difficult time work-wise and home life-wise, as I was extremely busy at work and had to do several visits to our other offices, some involving hotel stays and the end then coincided with my main holiday.  Having said that I managed through that time to lose half a stone, but whilst on 3 weeks holiday and a busy weekend away for work only put back on 3 ½ lbs even though I did no exercise and relaxed my eating habits dramatically.  Had I not attempted to keep to the fast days as I did I think that I would have been looking at the best part of a stone put on!  Indeed last Christmas I only missed 1 Weight Watchers weigh-in over Christmas so only let myself go for a week and I put on 3 lb.  This time round I missed 5 weigh-ins, so 3 ½ lb for that length of time is amazing really.

What I need to do to carry on is to become much more focussed on my twin goals, which are to shift the final 2 ½ stone and dramatically improve my health.  I need to increase my will power and really stick rigidly to the 500 cal limits on fast days.  One thing that is going to help is that my husband has decided to join me in fasting on a Monday and after the New Year is going to extend it to two days.  This will help me to be much stricter with myself as I will not just be letting myself down. 

Good luck to everyone who tries this regime, don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up sometimes, because to be honest even if you only achieve 700 or 800 calories on day you are still doing some good and building good habits takes time and patience.  One colleague limits what he eats at work to the bare minimum (less than 100 calories) and then allows himself to pretty much eat normally at home in the evening.  Whilst this may not follow the plan rigidly and may not achieve the reduction of the damaging growth hormone, it will contribute to lowering his overall calorie intake for the week. 

Thank you to everyone who has read my posts.  I enjoyed writing them and sharing them with you.

Mickey – Guest Blogger

The 5:2 Diet: Juliet’s Journey – The Conclusion


English: Checking the blood pressure by using ...

This is going to be my last post on this site and I must say it has been great fun and really helpful to write. Rarely, if not ever, have I focussed so intently on what I eat and indeed what Hubby eats.

Speaking of Hubby he had some great news following a recent blood test. His bad cholesterol was reduced and his good cholesterol was significantly increased in comparison with his last test. His blood pressure was lower and other markers such as kidney function were improved. All in all the nurse was really impressed and put most of the improvements down to Hubby’s new regime.

During the last seven and a half weeks on the 5:2 diet there have been quite a few challenges. These have included deciding whether to fast on holiday, dealing with headaches and hunger, irritability and what on earth was low calorie enough to eat on a fast day.

For Hubby and I the 5:2 diet has undoubtedly resulted in significant weight loss; me 9 lbs, Hubby 16 lbs. Alongside this Hubby has proof of increased health benefits and we have both begun to look at what and how we eat in a new light. Food tastes better, we both appreciate our treats more, and can now eat in moderation without scoffing until we are far too full. We generally have more energy and the fasting days get easier each time. We are both committed to continuing and are therefore faced with one last important dilemma – what do we do at Christmas?

Juliet – Guest Blogger

The 5:2 Diet: Ashleigh’s Journey – Back Again!

Tortilla chips

Tortilla chips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wow, I really have been quiet for quite a while now. But, it is with good reason.

Last time is wrote I stated that from now on I would be doing two consecutive fast days as they were what worked best for me. However, since then a lot has changed and I am embarrassed and saddened to say that for the past 10 days I have done no fast days what so ever, yes, none! However, I have not given up, but sometimes, it is just the case that there are other things in life that need focusing on.

Basically, after my last article I officially started my new job, and was thrown into the deep end, being left in charge and working 60 hours within 5 days. I tried to fast during this time, but I just found it physically and mentally impossible. During a 12 hour shift spent serving wonderful food to literally hundreds of customers, I just couldn’t not eat. On one occasion I thought I was going to manage the fast, I had made it past 5 o’clock with only having had poached egg on toast. However, I still had another 7 hours of work left, and by 8pm, I just couldn’t hack it any longer. The hunger was making me unable to focus, and I need focus in my job. So, I had to eat. And I made the decision, that whilst working 12 hour shifts I should never fast. Despite this, I was not disheartened, I planned my next two shifts for my days off, the Sunday and Monday.

But, Sunday was my cousins birthday, and a food feast was in order for the whole family, including me. I felt it would be rude and inconsiderate to eat nothing, when so much work had been put in to preparing such wonderful food for everyone. So I ate.

Then come Monday, I was determined to succeed. And, for the whole day I did, however, by the evening, I had my friends over, watching movies and chatting, and the tortilla chips and dip came out, and I just couldn’t resist.

And then, back to work on the Tuesday, working more 12 hour shifts, and with Freshers Week at the same time, fast days were just an impossibility. Therefore, it is safe to say that the past 10 days have been a failure for me and the 5:2 diet.

But, today is the start of the new uni term and an end to 60 hours of waitressing a week. Phew! I’m not saying that I don’t work hard at uni or anything, but, reading a book requires significantly less calories than waitressing. Therefore, today is the re-start of my journey on the 5:2 diet. I haven’t weighed myself in a few weeks, so I have no idea what this starting point is (i do not own a set of scales, and as a student, grudge paying at the gym to use any – therefore, my trip to the family home on Thursday will be my first weigh in for weeks). However, I can confirm that today and Tuesday will be my fast days this week, and this time round, I am really going for it. I will have my gym sessions, and I will eat well on ‘feed’ days. I am more determined than ever.

However, on an unfortunate note, I do now realise that it will be impossible for me to meet my original goal on time. If everything had gone to plan, by this time next week I would have been weighing in at 11st 4lbs, and considering that on my last article I was 11st 12lbs, I think it is highly unlikely that after 10 days of no 5:2 diet I will have lost any weight. But, on Thursday we will know the truth. So until then, I will work hard with the diet, and we will just have to wait and see what happens.

Ashleigh – Guest Blogger