The 5: 2 method of intermittent fasting is a greater obstacle for most than the 16: 8 variant. Because on two fasting days a week, only an extremely low amount of calories can be consumed. Our author tried it.
After presenting the 16: 8 diet during my first intermittent fasting self-experiment, I now share my impressions of the 5: 2 method on FITBOOK. Also known as “The Fast Diet,” the nutrition strategy stops or significantly reduces caloric intake two days a week. If you want to try them, you will get a lot of tips and inspirations. Above I present my favorite dishes à la 5: 2.
16: 8 was yesterday, now I begin my self-experiment of intermittent fasting 5: 2
I have been a big fan of 16: 8 intermittent fasting for years as I have learned to appreciate the positive impact it has on my well-being. Of course, I also like the figure-friendly effect. With a few exceptions, I only “have breakfast” around noon or in the early afternoon. Now is the time to take a closer look at the other intermittent fasting methods. First of all, one of the most popular variants, the 5: 2 diet, is in the program for me for the next four weeks.
Also interesting: Intermittent fasting as a self-experiment: »Why I no longer want to do without 16: 8 in my daily life
The 5: 2 diet: Eat normally for 5 days, fast for 2 days
The Fast Diet returns to Dr. Michael Mosley, who developed the nutrition concept in 2013. Unlike the also popular “2-Day Diet,” where you fast two consecutive days a week, Mosley recommends choosing two set days that are separated by days with a “normal” meal plan.
I decided to fast on Monday and Thursday because these days fit perfectly into my weekly schedule. These two days of fasting should not be a zero diet: up to 500 kilocalories are allowed for women. This amount of energy corresponds to about a quarter of the usual caloric amount of an average of 2000 kilocalories basic metabolic rate. Men are allowed to eat a maximum of 600 kilocalories.
Warning: As with any fasting method, it’s not about starving yourself during the fasting phase and then filling your stomach with pizza, burgers and the like during the fasting days. The goal of voluntary abstinence is to give body and mind rest to improve well-being and health. For many, losing a few pounds is the biggest incentive. In addition, the awareness rises not to give in to every little culinary temptation and rather to enjoy their meals more rarely, but with all the senses calm and quiet.
In times when snacks are constantly offered everywhere, fasting senses you to get out the hamster wheel of over-consumption and enjoy it more consciously.
Also of interest: Dr. Satchin Panda: The Effects of Daily Fasting on Fitness
What do I expect from fasting à la 5: 2?
Anyone who has read my first intermittent fasting self-experiment 16: 8 knows that I appreciate daily fasting for a variety of reasons: From A for anti-aging, autophagy and attention to D for detoxification and F for figure-friendly nutrition, intermittent fasting offers many. for me it stands out.
In my current self-experiment, I am very curious to see if I can get along with the “5: 2” as well as with the 16: 8 diet. I guess it will be challenging to eat 500 calories or less two days a week regularly. With therapeutic fasting, I have already experienced several times that the conscious decision to abstain from food makes fasting relatively easy.
But I also know from this experience that it is much easier to completely abstain from eating than to eat small amounts and then quit. In my view, this knowledge, which is also known by other fasting people, has a particularly psychological background, but it also goes back to the fact that during therapeutic fasting the feeling of hunger is eliminated by regular cleansing. And what is the meaning of 5: 2 in terms of weight loss? I confess that I am particularly interested in whether the pointer on my scale moves a little more to the desired weight.
Also interesting: Why is it 16 hours for intermittent fasting? You will never guess why!
how many meals
Because of my usual daily life under the 16: 8 method, my hunger usually occurs only in the early afternoon. Therefore, on the two days of fasting, I want to eat only one meal in the evening. With a maximum of 500 kilocalories, food is clearly limited and roughly corresponds to the average energy content of a meal: a quarter of my normal diet.
In the remaining 5 days, this fasting method allows you to follow your usual eating habits. Therefore, I stay true to my lunch and dinner in the basics. These roughly meet my recommended energy needs – with a salad, a portion of raw food or vegetable soup like breakfast and fruit, frozen yogurt or something similar for dessert.
Self-experiment in 5: 2 interval fasting – my meal plan
My meal plan for the next four weeks is as follows: While I am eating 2 nutritious meals in the second half of the day 5 days a week, I am trying to enjoy one dinner the other 2 days.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday:
- Lunch: Lunch between 12 and 14 pm *
- Lunch: Dinner between 7 pm and 9 pm. *
*especially nutritious thanks to beginners and desserts
Attention: My approach fits perfectly with my daily life. During the five days, everyone should eat what is good for them. Therefore, for example, three meals and a daily snack are possible.
Monday and Thursday:
- One meal: dinner maximum 500 kcal (fasting days)
Tips for the two days of fasting
Anyone who eats a balanced, nutritious and healthy diet on the food days should not pay too much attention to the ingredients of the two fasting days. It is incomprehensible that a colorful mix of nutrient-rich vegetables makes more sense than a small piece of chocolate cake to the 500 kilocalories.The motto is: First and foremost, the natural sense of satiety should be maintained.
Also interesting: Flexi-Carb – with a flexible amount of carbohydrates to achieve your desired weight
High protein and fiber power: To be satisfied enough despite the low calorie intake, I recommend to anyone who would like to try the 5: 2 interval fasting method, try it on themselves, to evoke an extra portion of protein and fiber on their plate.
Also interesting: 6 plant-based protein sources that provide more protein than eggs
Low carbohydrate and low fat: At the same time, the two days of fasting work more easily if the diet is low in fat and carbohydrates.
- high protein
- to fill food
- low GRAS level
- relaxing exercises
- high fiber ingredients
- about 3 liters of mineral water plus herbal tea
- Celebrate meals in peace
- Green and black tea and coffee in moderation *
* clean, without sugar or milk: Supports autophagy (cell cleansing), which is also stimulated by fasting. In addition, especially green tea is said to be able to slightly reduce the feeling of hunger.
Also interesting: Low Fat vs. Low Carbohydrate – Which Diet is Better to Lose Weight?
The best ingredients for fasting days
Healthy ingredients like whole grain products and legumes are healthy, rich in fiber and also provide essential amino acids, but because of the carbohydrates they quickly exceed the 500 kilocalorie limit. Therefore, the portions should not be too large on the fasting days.
Tip: Brown rice, lentils, whole grain pasta and the like are best combined with low carb sources of fiber such as low starchy vegetables, salad, tofu, low fat dairy products and organic protein.
- Salad (eg lamb lettuce or baby spinach)
- Vegetables (eg spinach, cauliflower, thistle and broccoli)
- Raw Food (radishes, celery, cucumber and tomato)
- Organic low fat quark
- Vegetable broth as a beginner *
- organic protein **
- small to moderate amounts of whole grains
- low fat organic yogurt
- small to moderate amounts of vegetables
- organic cottage cheese
- approx. 1 tablespoon rapeseed, flax or walnut oil ***
* home cooked: rich in micronutrients
** Egg yolk only in moderate amounts from 1 to 2; use the rest on the other days!
*** Omega-3 fatty acids: rapeseed oil for frying, flaxseed oil or walnut oil for salads
Also interesting: Low Carbohydrate Experiment: “2 weeks (almost) without carbs – I’m capable, but …
Inspiration about Lent meal
The following low-carb meals made from low-fat and high-protein ingredients are ideal for filling fasting meals.
Tip: For a better sense of satiety I have my cup as a starter fasting broth drunk:
- 500 g vegetable mixture
- 1 red onion
- 1 small bulb of garlic
- 500 ml of water
- a drop of olive or canola oil
- some salt
- pepper or chili pepper
- Rinse the vegetables, clean according to the variety, cut into small pieces and put in a saucepan.
- Also wash the red onion and the garlic clove, cut them roughly and add them to the vegetables with their skins (organic!).
- Pour 500 ml of cold water over the prepared vegetables, boil and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes with the lid closed. The micronutrients enter the fasting broth.
- Sprinkle the clear broth over a kitchen sieve, season with a little oil, salt and pepper or chili peppers and enjoy 1 serving for lunch and dinner.
Appropriate fasting meals
- Lamb lettuce with orange vinegar, mozzarella, fried mushrooms and some whole wheat croutons as a topping.
- Whole bread, raw food (eg radishes and cucumber) and parsley quark *
- baked tofu with spinach, tomato salad and millet
- Polygon risotto with mushrooms or asparagus
- Green asparagus au gratin with parmesan
- Omelette with mushrooms or pumpkin and whole bread **
- Fried Chinese cabbage with carrots, orange juice, sesame and soy sauce
- a large seasonal salad with boiled egg or avocado
- Vegetable soup (eg broccoli) with whole flour **
- Tofu and vegetable pan with brown rice
- Lamb lettuce with bulgur, orange fillets, myrtle dressing and chopped walnuts
- Pumpkin noodles with tomato sauce, rocket and parmesan ***
- Green asparagus salad with tomatoes, avocado and quinoa
- Whipped eggs with mushrooms, radish salad and whole wheat bread **
- Grated white asparagus with couscous and lemon yogurt
* with linseed oil
** 4 egg whites, 1 egg yolk
*** ½ pumpkin and ½ whole spaghetti each
Also interesting: Atkins – how healthy is the classic diet?
My conclusion about the self-experiment of intermittent fasting 5: 2
My self-experiment in intermittent fasting with the 5: 2 method was certainly more difficult for me than my familiar daily life with the 16: 8 method. Especially at the beginning it was a challenge for me to get through the two days of fasting. As already suspected, it is again confirmed to me that it is easier to eat nothing (e.g. therapeutic fasting) than to eat little. Although it was good for me to fast during the day, after dinner I sometimes got cravings for pizza, pasta and the like.
weight loss: At the end of the 4 weeks of fasting 5 to 2, my scale showed about 5 pounds less. Therefore, the weight loss is slightly higher than with 16 to 8 intermittent fasting. My weight is between 1.5 and 2 kilograms less than when I take a break from intermittent fasting.
Danger: To make a meaningful assessment of weight development, however, one should orient oneself to the rules of a specific nutritional concept for a few months.
My summary: Due to the upcoming bikini season, I will be fasting 16 to 8 days for 5 days and full fast for the remaining 2 days in the coming months. This corresponds to a mixture of both variants. However I reduce the possible 500 kilocalories from the 5: 2 days to zero calories. But before I start, I have another self-experiment in June!