The 5:2 Diet – Another Fad?

Well due to surgery and then getting an infection I have now been restricted to the sofa for coming up two weeks   – apart from being bored, and missing being active I have gained 3 lbs. Not a big deal, but if this continues for much longer my currently healthy BMI will become an unhealthy one – again not a big deal, unless like me you are Insulin Resistant and suffer from Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome where the slightest weight gain can have a profound impact on your body and the necessity to increase your medications – so having weighed myself this morning and knowing that my weight was creeping back up my mind turned to ‘dieting’.

Now I have tried many a diet, some like the South Beach and Atkins being way to restrictive for me,  The Dukan Diet, again too faffy and faddy. The only one I have ever had real success with was the original Weight Watchers Points System, however, I felt restricted with that too as I was always on a diet and always thinking about food, and the things that I couldn’t have were always on my mind. Through exercise and everything in moderation I have managed to lose weight and to keep it off, if I have a day of overeating I compensate by having a ‘spa’ day the day after, where I will really limit my calorie intake to a yoghurt, an apple, a banana and water. For my recent operation, I wanted to lose a few extra pounds and basically starved myself for a week before my pre-op and for the first time in a very long time I registered as a normal BMI – OK right on the limit of being overweight, but still normal and I want to keep a normal BMI and get into the middle of the range so need to lose around a stone – it will be better for my general health and fitness and may mean I can get off some of the medications I take.

So, with diet on my mind the Daily Mail splash headline “Free Inside – Your Brilliant Diary Planner for the 2-day Diet”. “Clinically proven to help you lose weight” caught my eye. A friend had recently told me about the 5:2 Diet Book by Kate Harrison (available on Amazon) and I had got as far as searching for 250 calorie recipes, brunch and supper, as more often than not I don’t eat until 11am and then not again until supper time with the boys, and had bookmarked a few – so seeing this in the Daily Mail, and thinking that a few newspapers would be cheaper than the book, I decided to take a closer look.

I skimmed over the main article, “The Two Day Diet Could have saved me from Breast Cancer’ by Jenni Murray with key statements jumping out at me  especially “proven to balance hormones”, “proven to reduce insulin resistance”  as these are symptoms of PCOS that I have to deal with on a daily basis and have to take medication for. Feeling a little bit excited, sad I know, I immediately dived into the accompanying booklet (which is a couple of pages of blurb, an essentials shopping list and 8 week personal planner) to read more, and found the following claims:

  • The pounds are clinically proven to come off – and stay off
  • You need never go hungry
  • From cancer to diabetes this diet is designed by doctors to reduce your risk off disease.

All great things in themselves, but I have read this before with diets and then found out that the diet itself is so restrictive there is no way in the world I, as an undisciplined foodie, would ever manage to make them a life change, so they became a ‘fad’ for me, and in truth I did not even manage some of them for a week. I had to cut out way to many if not all of my ‘in moderation’ foods and treats and then being undisciplined would binge on them, breaking my diet, and ending up as a yo-yo dieter – not great for your body or your self-esteem.

So why could this one be different for me? Well it works on the principle that you eat normally for 5 days and then have 2 diet days and as I already do regular ‘spa days’ I know that I can survive on a limited calorie intake for at least one day, so why not two, and if I actually sit down and work it out I can find some filling recipes that will be 500 calories per day and healthier than a yoghurt, banana and apple. The following also mean that I am more likely to stick to it.

  • On your diet days you can eat Pesto and Mayonnaise
  • You can have up to seven units of alcohol a week (not on diet days)
  • You can still enjoy Tea and Coffee
  • Extensive list of food you can enjoy on diet days
  • You can eat Camembert and mozzarella on your diet days
  • You can eat chocolate (not on diet days)
  • Diet drinks and sugar free squash are allowed

Yeah, my favourite 3 C’s are allowed – Coffee, Chocolate and Cheese, and I find that mayonnaise with a few herbs can cheer up a boring salad (chicken breast, lettuce, and home made ranch dressing is one of my normal day favourites).

So for the next week I will (if I remember) pick up a copy of the Daily Mail for the related articles and recipes, and the book itself will be out on the 14th February – available on Amazon –  I am not sure yet  if I will buy it as the principles of the diet seem quite simple and I would only want it for  the recipes and there are a wealth of them available on Google just search 5:2 Recipes. I may change my mind and buy it after reading the news articles though, or if I forget to buy the paper.

So my next step is to ‘plan ahead’,  I am still under medical supervision so cannot start a diet plan just yet, so this will give me some time to do some research, check out recipes and come up with a realistic ‘diet day’ meal plan that will keep me full and will also be suitable for  DH and Little C.

If /when I try this diet I plan on using the personal planner  from the paper to keep a log  of diet and non-diet day foods and any weight loss, and  I will share the results, recipes I use, and any other useful information I pick up along the way here on my blog.

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