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The 5-2 Diet Explained - A Lifestyle Change to Live Longer and Live Healthier

Updated on April 22, 2013

On the 5:2 Diet I can eat cake 5 days a week and still lose weight, live longer and be healthier - what are you waiting for?!

Are you like some of my friends who either can't cook or just plain don't want to spend hours in the kitchen? I love nothing more than to be messing around in my kitchen, I relax by reading cookery books (sad but true) and I love finding new food to try and cook with. The consequence of this is I put on quite a lot of weight, I've always thought 'show me a skinny cook and I'll show you someone that isn't a good cook', but since I discovered the 5:2 Diet I have lost over 3 stone and my weight has stabilised no matter what I decide to eat when I'm not on my fasting days.

I found this life-changing diet on the Horizon television program "Eat, Fast and Live Longer" shown in the UK featuring Michael Mosley, British Journalist and TV Presenter. Mr. Mosley is about the same age as me and had noticed that the pounds had been creeping up on him over the years and he was also worried about his overall health. He was examining the ancient concept of Fasting and had the ambitious goal of finding a way to live longer, stay younger and lose weight.

Obviously we would all like to achieve these goals but the work that normally goes into achieving these idyllic goals is something I never manage to sustain. Sure I get all excited about an exercise regime or a particular diet that is going to cure all my problems, I'm going to get thin, I'm going to be healthier, my body is going to be perfect for going to the beach and showing off - but does it work? Yes, for a short while and then I go back to my old ways of grabbing a couple of those lovely chocolate chip cookies that I baked with my daughter, or running out of time because of family duties and grabbing a takeaway on the way home, well we have to treat ourselves don't we? And then we enter that hideous phase of yo-yo dieting, lose weight fast, fall off the diet, feel guilty about eating what we know we shouldn't have, eat because we feel guilty, eat fast because then no-one will notice we're doing it (yeah right), eat fast because then we have less time to feel guilty about eating it in the first place, and then pile back on all the pounds we worked and strived so hard to lose, and even worse we sometimes gain more pounds as a result of the process.

You can view read more about Mosley's research which is all over the internet nowadays so I'm not going to waste your time outlining it here, basically he tried a number of different approaches to the world of fasting and this is the one that worked for him - not only did it work for him it worked for me. I know there are people out there that it won't work for but I have yet to find anyone so far and I have convinced a number of friends to try it and it's working for them, so why not give it a try?

It is incredibly easy and I have outlined the main principles below:

  • It's called 5:2 because there are seven days in the week.
  • 5 days are feeding days - yeehaw!
  • 2 days are fasting days - stop, don't go anywhere, it doesn't mean you don't eat!

The Good News

With the 5:2 diet you can eat whatever you like 5 days a week - let me clarify that - 5 days a week you can eat whatever you like - did you get that? Again?


The Bad News

On the 2 fasting days your calories are restricted to 500 calories if you are a woman, or 600 calories if you are a man. It gets better, you don't run these 2 days consecutively, you split them up, whichever days are best for you and you can move them around so it's not always the same day every week, it is highly flexible, because so is your life, it has to be, we're people not robots.

Now some people split their calories into two meals, breakfast and dinner, for me that's not fasting, for me that's dieting and there's nothing I like more than a main meal in the evening, BUT this is it, it's entirely up to you how you want to create your fasting days. On my fasting days I drink black coffee, and drink herbal or green tea until it is time for my indulgent reward of a 500 calorie meal in the evening.

This meal is always something that I really, really want to eat, it's my reward for being so good all day so I plan it, but it's the only planning around food I do all week, because 5 days a week I can eat ANYTHING I want to.

And I have to say that's one of the things that keeps me going on my fasting days, because I know tomorrow I can eat anything ........ anything! It makes me relax around food, there is no more guilt for eating whipped cream and meringues, or for that extra bowl of cereal late at night, or those warm from the oven chocolate chip cookies (you can find the recipes right here on HubPages under my profile at the top. I am not a slave to what I want to eat and what I should have it is a relaxing approach to food, no more I shouldn't, I even got up the other day on one of my fasting days and thought - no food till later, how nice to worry about food. That for me was a first.

When I first started doing this I thought it was going to be tough, I think if the fasting days were consecutive then it probably would be, but they're not and it isn't, it's much easier than I thought. The flexibility really works for me, if I fall off the bandwagon and my friend calls me up to go for a coffee or lunch and those cakes in the display case are calling my name, hell I have one, because I can always fast tomorrow.

One of my friends doesn't do a lot of cooking and her excuse was that she didn't count calories and that she wouldn't know how to put together an evening meal that was 500 calories - so I solved that problem for her, I have started putting together very quick, easy to prepare 5:2 Diet Recipes which are available on this Hub and I will start to list them below as and when I cook them, photograph and eat them - I hope you'll have a look and try them out too. I would also love to hear your recipes that you've discovered so send me anything you think I should include and I will do my best to post those too.

And there's more good news - research shows there are two important, very important benefits from the 5:2 Diet:

  • Reduced Cholesterol
  • and a delay in diseases of the mind - if you were liable to get Dementia at 70 it pushes it by up to 30 years

Does the 5:2 Diet work?? For me? Yes.

For my lovely friends that are doing it too? Absolutely.

Hopefully it will work for you too, I really can't see why it wouldn't.


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    • Eileen Goodall profile imageAUTHOR

      Eileen Goodall 

      5 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

      ............ info? LOL - my pleasure! Have to report that I have been doing this for a few months now, eat what I like, as much as I like, whenever I like, except on my fasting days and my weight never goes up - I also feel much happier, less bloated and my memory is amazingly good - happy days!

    • PaisleeGal profile image

      Pat Materna 

      5 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Interesting .. I've never heard of this before .. may have to give it a try. Thanks for the

    • Matthew Ryczko profile image

      Matthew Ryczko 

      5 years ago from Ohio

      Very interesting, Eileen :) I know that caloric confusion- or staggering the level of calories you take in from day to day- helps keep your body from adjusting to a set level of calories and can make your metabolism more efficient. This sounds like an easy way to accomplish that. Thank you for the information.


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