About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

5:2 Diet Report No. 3

I thought it was about time I put up another update about my results on the 5:2 diet. It’s quite timely because just did my four-weekly weigh-in yesterday, plus I am currently reading Dr Michael Mosley’s book The Fast Diet, which follows up on the Horizon TV programme which kicked it all off last year.

Before I get into the update, if you want to find out my story so far you could visit these previous posts:
Who Am I Kidding? Of Course I Want to Lose Weight
Diet Disappointment which led on to Thought for the week – Dealing with Disappointment
5:2 Diet Report no. 2
And finally, on the subject of exercise there was this one: Thought for the week – Commitments

So my weigh in yesterday showed that I hadn’t lost any weight in the last month, but for some reason this was not as disappointing as it once was. My scales are far from the most accurate in the world, so I was not sure I really trusted the previous month’s reading which had showed me dropping below 11 stone for the first time in a while. In any case I have lost about half a stone (7lb) since I started on the diet, which must be better than my weight continually creeping up. It is possible that I have hit a new stable weight on this eating plan and that is where it will stay. In the book, Michael Mosley suggests determining a few stats, and I’m finally feeling brave enough to share some with you, so these are my current details:

Height 5′ 6″ = 66″ = 167.6 cm
Weight 11st 1lb = 155lb = 70.3 kg (Annoyingly, this is practically identical to my husband who is 5 inches taller than me, but this is of course not his fault)
Dr Mosley suggests obtainingy your BMI figure at the NHS healthy weight calculator website, which gives mine as 25.03. Looking at the picture this places me just over the border from healthy weight into overweight, but the message that comes up is that I am overweight with a bunch of health risks. I didn’t find that particularly helpful, to be quite frank, as messages of doom and gloom are more likely to send me to the cake tin than to motivate me (I may have this in common with much of the population). I would have preferred a more tailored message saying that a small improvement could bring me into the normal weight range.
It may be grapsing at straws, but Dr M points out that a flaw in BMI is that it does not distinguish between muscle and fat, so those with a lot of muscle will have an artificially high score. Now I’m not pretending to be any kind of body builder, but the callanetics exercise programme I’ve been successfully sticking to at home is intented to build muscle, so that may be a slight alleviating factor.
My waist measurement is 31″. Importantly (according to the book), this is less than half of my height – Yay for me!
Apparently I should also use a set of scales that can tell me my percentage of body fat, but I am not about to invest in expensive bathroom equipment, so I wonder if anyone knows where you can get this tested?
I should also ask my doctor for a bunch of blood tests (and ought to have done this before I started, I guess) but I haven’t and am not going to. What I do have is the personal experience that before I started on the diet my blood sugar regulation was quite rubbish. I would snack continually because if I went more than a couple of hours without eating I would feel faint. I believe this to be a sign of an over-active pancreas, which can be a precursor to developing diabetes (well, that’s my understanding anyway). This symptom has completely gone, so I think I have improved my health in that way, which on its own would be enough to continue with this way of eating.

I am still finding it hard to stick to the low-cal days, though less so when I keep extra-busy. I’m hoping that by reading the book I might find a better way to use my calories to make it easier. So far my low-cal days look like this:
Breakfast – meal replacement shake, 230 cals
Lunch – cup-a-soup, approx 90 cals
Afternoon – small banana, approx 60 cals
Evening – vegetable soup, approx 120-150 cals
In addition to this I have redbush tea and coffee during the day, as I find it is the only way I can keep going, and about half a breakfast biscuit with my last tea of the day. I’m aware this puts me over the recommended 500 calories for a woman, so perhaps I would lose weight if I were able to cut it down further.
This regime has advantages that it is all easy to do and fits in with my working life (I prepare the soups on the weekend and freeze them), but it is proving quite boring and when my sister kindly offerend me soup for lunch the other week I wasn’t entirely grateful!

That’s all I have to offer for now, other than saying I am finding it useful to read the book even though I watched the tv programme it is based on, and I will report back again in a few more months.


Comments on: "5:2 Diet Report No. 3" (6)

  1. […] Update : You can find further diet updates in Diet Report No and Diet Report No 3 […]

  2. […] Pingback: 5:2 Diet Report No. 3 « Anne Orchard, Writer […]

  3. Hi Anne, I’m thinking of doing this diet myself. More for general health than weight loss though. Keep in mind that to lose weight you need to consume less calories than you expend. If you still eat more than your burning over a period of time you won’t lose the weight. The 5/2 diet is supposed to help your body convert fat to energy more efficiently but won’t automatically mean you just lose it. Look at your overall diet and try and ID where you may be consuming extra cals. Keep at it though as it has to become a lifestyle not a “diet”. Cheers Matt from Oz.

  4. Yes, Matt, that’s all very helpful, thank you. I think we all know that the calorie guidelines are only part of the story – some people burn more calories for lots of different reasons. I can cut my calories on my ‘normal’ days, get more exercise, or just stay as I am and not worry about losing weight for the time being. Good luck if you decide to give it a go.

  5. Sarah Kritzberg said:

    Hi Anne,
    Thanks for keeping this blog. I have really been looking for someond to post some fairly long term results for this diet, and there doesn’t seem to be much.
    I wanted to respond to a couple things you said. First, I have never had my body fat tested, but from what I have heard, it might cost more than buying a fancy scale. What I have done in the past is to calculate my body fat, and there are many on-line body fat calculators so you only have to take measurements. Here is a link for one. http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/body-fat-percentage-calculator
    The other thing is that I don’t think the 5:2 diet is the kind of diet that will easily take you below an ideal body weight. From what you have said, you may find that your body fat percentage is actually ideal or close to it, so you don’t really need to lose more weight. Will you stay on the diet for the health benefits alone? I think I will, as I started a month ago and I am feeling much better now.

    • Thanks for the link to the body fat calculator Sarah. It gave me four results, so discounting the very high (76%) and very low (-0.1%) results the answer given seems to be around 30, which is apparently average. I am still not really losing weight, but will continue with the plan for the health reasons. I also feel that if I were to stop, my love for baking (and eating the results) would be my undoing. At least this way I am fairly confident my weight will not go up.

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