The Fast Diet… get it?
Nightly happy hours, weekly dinner plans, and celebration filled weekends make it hard to stay on a healthy diet. I can tell you that first hand. Life has been a party, but damn my clothes are definitely feeling tighter and my digestion is completely out of whack.
I have been completely lackadaisical with my workouts and diet. But I’ve decided it is time to get back on track!
I am turning 31 in just a few weeks. Gulp. How is that possible? But not only do I want my body to look good I want it to feel good. Health doesn’t have one look, but it sure has a feeling. And I want to feel health.
During the end of graduate school I started intermittent fasting. And I loved it. I not only was more productive, but ate healthier and of course I lost weight. Yet, 5 days of the week I could eat whatever I pleased and drink wine.
There are many types of intermittent fasting, but I am just going to cover the one I follow: The 5:2.
I can’t remember exactly where I first stumbled upon Michael Mosely’s 5:2 intermittent fasting plan, but I was so intrigued by the physical and mental benefits that I ordered the book and read it immediately.
What is the 5:2 Diet?
It’s pretty simple. 5 days of the week you eat how you would normally. 2 days of the week you eat only 500/600 calories. (The recommendations are 500 for women and 600 for men.) You should have at least one day in between your fasting days. For example, on Tuedays and Thursdays you eat only 500 calories, but Wednesday eat normally.
What do I eat?
I start with skipping breakfast. I am naturally a late night eater and overall breakfast is the easiest for me to skip. But I always have coffee and then more coffee. Coffee is a great appetite suppressant for me. I will even have another one mid-morning around 10 or 11. If I am unusually hungry or need something mid morning I eat a banana: ~100 calories.
For lunch, I have soup because it is easy and filling. I try to always keep a Trader Joe’s vegetable lentil or split pea soup around so it’s easy to take to work and requires no preparation. A cup of soup is 100 to 150 calories. Curious about nutrition labels? Read my post here.
For dinner, I either have the rest of my soup or I make a large salad filled with arugula/spinach/romaine and cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes. Dressing is what makes salads high in calories. So I just squeeze a bunch of lemon juice on top and add salt and pepper. I swear it really is filling especially after minimally eating all day.
If I have extra calories and I am still feeling a little hungry I made a 1/2 cup of air popped popcorn and devour!
- Breakfast: Coffee and more coffee: 0 calories (if anything I put in a minuscule amount of almond milk)
- Mid-morning: Banana (Optional) ~100 calories
- Lunch: Vegetable Lentil soup: ~100 calories
- Dinner: Big delicious salad ~150 calories
- Midday/Pre-workout: Apple ~100 calories
- After dinner: Popcorn 1/2 cup airpopped ~100 calories
- Total: 550 calories
- You can always take out a fruit and eat more soup or add more to your salad!
If you are still thinking, what am I going to eat? Here are a couple more resources via Get the Gloss and Woman Magazine Also, I recommend looking at the website for 5:2, The Fast Diet and reading the book!
What are the benefits?
Yes, the most obvious one is weight-loss. That is likely one of the most motivating factors of starting the 5:2 intermittent fasting.
Yet, there are SO much more:
- Lower level of inflammation
- Reduced fat mass with no change in muscle mass
- Reduced level of insulin
- Increased mental acuity
- Decreased level of leptin- assist with controlling appetite!
How it works
There is a lot of science that explains what fasting does to and for your body. I recommend checking out some of the articles linked above.
But as for the calorie portion. If you limit to 500-600 calories x2/wk it will leave you around a 3,000 calorie deficit leading to 1lb of weight loss per week.
I like to weigh myself the morning of my fast and the day after to see the difference. It is good to do it consistently to see how your body reacts, but it also depends how your relationship with the scale is. I tend to aim for just 2-3 times a week when doing this so I don’t become obsessed!
I track everything in my notes on my phone.
The first couple of weeks can be really challenging. Especially the first day of fasting because your body is used to having constant intake and let’s be real most of us overeat in some way or form during the week. So we are used to excess vs. scarcity.
Stay focused and busy. My most productive days are often fasting days, but don’t feel like you are doing something wrong if you feel a little lethargic. This should dissipate at your body adjusts. Sleep is very important. And you will likely go to bed earlier on fasting days, but that’s okay and it allows your body to regenerate and reconfigure.
And this is not for everyone. So if you have a medical condition, check to make sure it is okay!
There’s No Better Time Than Now,