Friday, 27 September 2013

How to Lose Weight and Improve Your Health with the 5:2 Diet

Also referred to as “Intermittent Fasting”, the 5:2 Diet is becoming ever more popular with people who not just want to lose weight, but want to improve their health as well.

I don’t like to use the word “diet” because that word usually suggests a short-term fix, whereby you diet for a short time, lose a bit of weight, and then carry on as you did before (with the obvious result of putting the weight back on!).  The 5:2 Diet should be looked on as more of a healthy lifestyle change.

The idea behind the 5:2 Diet is simple: eat normally for 5 days a week and then for the other 2 days a week, you cut down your calorie intake to 500 calories (kcal) per day for women or 600 (kcal) for men.  (Normal daily guidelines are 2000 calories [kcal] for women or 2500 [kcal] for men.)  You can decide how and when throughout the day you have those calories – some people prefer to spread the calories in small meals through the day or some people have it all for breakfast to keep them going through the day, whilst others prefer to wait until the end of the day to have something to look forward to.  It’s your choice!

You don’t necessarily have to do 2 consecutive days a week, again it’s your choice.  Some people prefer to make their 2 days straddle the weekend, so a Friday and a Monday, which makes it easier to be more social on your precious time off at weekends with family and friends.  Find a routine that works for you.

The 5:2 Diet was first introduced by Dr Michael Mosley, a medical journalist.  Scientific trials have shown that not only can you lose weight, but it could also help to lower your risk of a range of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.  Cutting your calorie intake for 2 days a week is said to encourage your body to go into repair mode (repairing damaged cells) as opposed to growth mode.

Whilst there are other versions of the 5:2 Diet, such as Alternate Day Fasting, this one seems less severe and easy to follow.  Many people have reported that it is easy to stick to this diet and that you soon get used to eating less calories for 2 days a week, knowing that you can have whatever you want (within reason!) for the rest of the week. 

NB:  It is advisable to consult your doctor/health care professional before embarking on any weight loss plan.

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