Saturday, 26 January 2013

Trying a "fast" day on the 5:2 diet

After having written about the 5:2 diet (which you can read here), I was somewhat intrigued, so decided to try out one of the "fast" days - AKA you're only allowed to eat 500 calories. I wrote this on the evening of trying it out:

"It’s the end of my first fast day, and I’m feeling jolly pleased with myself. And also somewhat peckish but that’s by the by. I did cheat a little bit to be fair: I went over the limit by a clementine and a few drinks (I disregarded the calories in my tea and squash) so probably had more like 600 calories really, but that’s still a hell of a lot less than usual!

The majority of today was actually a lot easier than I’d anticipated. Here’s how I went about it…

I was lucky in that I could lie in today, so I decided to do exactly that – after all, you can’t be tempted to eat if you’re asleep, am I right? So I got up at 11am, and had a cup of tea and a glass of water. At 12.30, I had a bowl of natural yoghurt with blueberries and frozen raspberries (around 100 calories), but to be honest I wasn’t even that hungry then.

I went out to do some errands as I knew a bit of fresh air and movement would help. Bought an eight-pack of Diet Pepsi and four 1 litre bottles of sparkling water to help get me through my fast days. Drank a whole bottle of said water. At 4.30, I effectively had lunch: a bowl of Heinz tomato soup and some Velvet Crunch crisps (about 200 calories). My friend offered me a doughnut, and I actually managed to resist. Get in.

The rest of the afternoon was OK – I was drinking LOADS to stop myself eating, but by the time it got to around 6.30pm, my tummy was starting to tell me it wanted food, despite my only having “lunch” two hours earlier. I’d only calculated for one more mini meal of the day, so I knew I had to try and hold out a bit longer. More tea and a Pepsi to tide me over. Before long, my rumbling stomach was too much to bear, so I had dinner: half a tin of baked beans and some broccoli (about 200 calories). The only problem was it had barely made me feel any less empty. Hmph.

I usually have various bits of pudding in the evening a few hours before bed, and by tonight I just couldn’t help myself but have a clementine. Wild, I know. Cup of decaf tea too.

Right now it’s 11pm and I’m hungry. Boo. Quite frankly I just want to go to bed and wake up and it be morning so I can eat. I also feel like I’m surely going to want to eat loads tomorrow which will defeat the point of today. Must try not to.

However, overall today was not that bad. In fact, it was fine until the evening. It’s made me consider whether maybe I don’t actually need anywhere near as much food as I usually consume. The majority of the day wasn’t challenging because I was hungry, but just because I wanted to eat. And that’s the problem: I just like food.

I’m not looking forward to another day like this to be honest, but I suppose now’s the worst point."

Then I went to bed. However, at about 1.30am I was still awake, and struggling to get to sleep because I felt uncomfortably hungry. What did I do? Got up and ate some shortbread. Good one, Rachel. So yes, I failed at even one fast day. 

A few days later, I thought I'd have another go. However, I was unsuccessful yet again: a banana and some blueberries were breakfast, but when I came out of a two hour lecture at 12.45 my hunger was horrible. It's always embarrassing being the one with the rumbling stomach in a lecture, and I had a meeting to go to next - there was only one solution: a pain au chocolat from the Co-op.

So yes, I gave up. But hey, I gave it a try, and it was more out of interest than any real desire to lose weight or change my life. I have serious respect for people who actually manage to follow this. If you do, how are you finding it? If you're contemplating it, has my experience put you off or helped?


  1. It's really not wise to follow a diet based purely on calories. It's one of the ways many of us become trapped in disordered eating, especially with the guilt that comes with eating maybe 100 calories more than you said you would. I write this as a person who developed an eating disorder in a similar way which led to incredibly unhealthy thoughts, and reading this (I love your blog) troubles me. I say this because I care, so please be careful and just eat a balanced diet to stay healthy. Health is more important than weight or dress size.

    1. Hello anonymous.
      Don't worry, I definitely do not follow a calorie-controlled diet at all! I only tried this out for like a day because I was interested to see what it would actually be like after writing an article about it, that's all.
      Thank you for saying you like my blog though - and as you can probably see, I eat far too much cake to worry about counting calories!
      Well done getting over your eating disorder!


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