The 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Method is a bigger hurdle for most than the 16:8 option. Because only an extremely low number of calories can be consumed during the two fasting days per week. Our author tried.
After introducing the 16:8 diet during my first independent experiment with intermittent fasting, I am now sharing my impressions of the 5:2 method on FITBOOK. Also known as a “crash diet,” the eating strategy eliminates or significantly reduces calorie intake two days a week. If you want to try them out, you’ll get lots of tips and inspiration. Above, I present my favorite dishes à la 5:2.
16:8 was yesterday, now I’m starting my independent experiment with intermittent fasting 5:2
I’ve been a big fan of 16:8 Intermittent Fasting for years, as I’ve learned to appreciate the positive impact it has on my well-being. Of course, I also like the figure-flattering effect. With few exceptions, I only “eat breakfast” at noon or early afternoon. Now it’s time to take a closer look at other methods of intermittent fasting. First, one of the most popular options, the 5:2 diet, is on my schedule for the next four weeks.
Also interesting: Intermittent fasting as an independent experiment: »Why I no longer want to do without 16:8 in my everyday life
The 5:2 diet: eat normally for 5 days, fast for 2 days
Fast diet goes to the doctor. Michael Mosley, who developed the concept of nutrition in 2013. Unlike the also-popular “2-day diet,” where you fast two consecutive days a week, Mosley recommends choosing two fixed days that are separated by days with a “normal” meal plan.
I decided to fast on Monday and Thursday because these days fit perfectly into my weekly schedule. These two days of fasting do not necessarily have to be a zero diet: women are allowed up to 500 kilocalories. This amount of energy corresponds to about a quarter of the usual number of calories in an average of 2000 kilocalories of basic metabolism. Men are allowed to consume no more than 600 kilocalories.
Note: As with any fasting method, it’s not about fasting during the fasting phase and then stuffing your stomach with pizza, burgers, etc. on meal days. The purpose of voluntarily giving up food is to rest the body and mind in order to improve well-being and health. For many, losing a few pounds is the biggest motivation. In addition, awareness is raised not to give in to every small culinary temptation and rather to enjoy food less often, but with all the senses in peace and quiet.
At a time when snacks are constantly offered everywhere, fasting forces you to get off the wheel of overconsumption and enjoy it more consciously.
Also interesting: Dr. Satchin Panda: Effects of daily fasting on fitness
What do I expect from fasting à la 5:2?
Anyone who read my first solo 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Experiment will know that I value daily fasting for a variety of reasons, from A for anti-aging, autophagy and mindfulness to D for detoxification and F for figure-healthy eating, intermittent fasting offers many highlights for me.
In my current self-experiment, I am very interested to see if I can do as well with the 5:2 diet as I did with the 16:8 diet. I’m guessing it would be difficult to consistently eat 500 calories or less two days a week. With therapeutic fasting, I have already found several times that the conscious decision to abstain from food makes fasting relatively easy.
But I also know from this experience that it is much easier to abstain from food completely than to eat small portions and then stop. From my point of view, this knowledge, which is also known to other fasting people, has, in particular, a psychological basis, but it also boils down to the fact that during therapeutic fasting, the feeling of hunger is eliminated by regular cleansing. And what is the meaning of 5:2 for weight loss? I admit that I am especially interested in seeing if the needle on my scales moves a little more towards my desired weight.
Also interesting: Why 16 hours for intermittent fasting? You’ll never guess why!
how many meals
Due to the normal daily life of the 16:8 method, my hunger usually only occurs in the early afternoon. Therefore, on two days of fasting, I want to eat only once in the evening. With a maximum of 500 kilocalories, food intake is clearly limited and roughly corresponds to the average energy content of food: a quarter of my usual diet.
For the remaining 5 days, this method of fasting allows you to follow your usual diet. So I stay true to my lunch and dinner basics. This is about my recommended energy needs – with a salad, a serving of raw food or vegetable soup as a snack and fruit, frozen yogurt or something similar for dessert.
Explore 5:2 Interval Fasting – My Meal Plan for yourself
My meal plan for the next four weeks is as follows: Although I eat 2 nutritious meals in the afternoon 5 days a week, I try to enjoy one dinner the other 2 days.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday:
- Meals: lunch from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.*
- Meals: dinner from 19:00 to 21:00*
*especially nutritious thanks to snacks and desserts
Note: My approach fits perfectly into my everyday life. For five days, everyone should eat what is good for them. Accordingly, it is possible, for example, to have three meals a day and a daily snack.
Monday and Thursday:
- One meal: dinner maximum 500 kcal (loading days)
Tips for a two-day fast
Anyone who follows a balanced, nutritious and wholesome diet on meal days should not pay too much attention to the ingredients of the two fasting days. It goes without saying that a colorful mix of nutrient-dense vegetables makes more sense than a small piece of chocolate cake à la 500 kilocalories.Motto: First of all, you should support the natural feeling of satiety.
Also interesting: Flexi-Carb – with a flexible amount of carbohydrates to achieve the desired weight
High protein and fiber power: In order to stay full enough despite the low calorie intake, I recommend that anyone who wants to try the 5:2 Interval Fasting method try it out for themselves, and create an extra serving of protein and fiber on their plate.
Also of interest: 6 plant-based protein sources that provide more protein than eggs
Low in carbohydrates and fat: At the same time, two days of fasting pass more easily if the diet contains few fats and carbohydrates.
- high protein content
- hearty food
- low fat
- relaxation exercises
- high fiber ingredients
- about 3 liters of mineral water plus herbal tea
- Celebrate food in peace
- Green and black tea and coffee in moderation*
*clean, without sugar or milk: supports autophagy (cell cleaning), which is also stimulated by fasting. In addition, it is said that green tea in particular can somewhat reduce the feeling of hunger.
Also wondering: low fat or low carb – which diet is better for weight loss?
The best ingredients for unloading days
Wholesome ingredients like whole grains and legumes are healthy, high in fiber and provide essential amino acids, but they quickly exceed the 500-calorie limit thanks to their carbohydrate content. Therefore, portions should not be too large on unloading days.
Advice: Brown rice, lentils, whole grain pasta, etc. are best paired with low-carb fiber sources such as low-starchy vegetables, salad, tofu, low-fat dairy, and organic protein.
- Salad (e.g. lamb salad or baby spinach)
- Vegetables (such as spinach, cauliflower, chard and broccoli)
- Raw food (radish, celery, cucumber and tomato)
- Organic low-fat quark
- Vegetable broth as a snack*
- organic protein**
- a small to moderate amount of whole grains
- low-fat organic yogurt
- small to moderate amounts of legumes
- organic cheese
- about 1 teaspoon of canola, flax or walnut ***
*home cooking: rich in trace elements
**Egg yolk only in moderate amounts from 1 to 2; use the rest on other days!
***Omega-3 fatty acids: rapeseed oil for frying, linseed oil or walnut oil for salads
Also interesting: Experiment on your own with low carb: “2 weeks (almost) no carbs – I’m in shape, but …
Inspiration for a fasting meal
The following low-carb meals, made with low-fat, high-protein ingredients, are ideal as filling meals on an empty stomach.
Advice: For a better feeling of satiety, I have my cup as a snack decoction on an empty stomach drunk:
- 500 g of vegetable mixture
- 1 red onion
- 1 small bulb of garlic
- 500 ml of water
- a little olive or rapeseed oil
- a little salt
- pepper or chili flakes
- Wash the vegetables, peel them depending on the variety, cut them into small pieces and put them in a pan.
- Also wash the red onion and garlic clove, finely chop them and add to the vegetables with the skin (organic!).
- Pour 500 ml of cold water over the prepared vegetables, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat with the lid closed for about 45 minutes. Microelements pass into the decoction on an empty stomach.
- Strain the clear broth through a kitchen sieve, season with a little oil, salt and pepper or chili flakes and enjoy 1 serving for lunch and dinner.
Appropriate song dishes
- Lamb salad with orange vinaigrette, mozzarella, roasted mushrooms and some whole grain croutons as a topping
- Whole grain bread, raw foods (such as radishes and cucumber) and parsley quark*
- baked tofu with spinach, tomato and millet salad
- Buckwheat risotto with mushrooms or asparagus
- Green asparagus au gratin with parmesan
- Omelet with mushrooms or zucchini and whole grain bread**
- Fried Beijing cabbage with carrots, orange juice, sesame and soy sauce
- a large seasonal salad with a boiled egg or avocado
- Vegetable cream soup (e.g. broccoli) with a whole grain roll**
- Tofu and Vegetable Casserole with Brown Rice
- Lamb salad with bulgur, orange fillet, blueberry dressing and chopped walnuts
- Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce, arugula and parmesan***
- Green asparagus salad with tomatoes, avocado and quinoa
- Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, radish salad and wholemeal bread**
- Gratined white asparagus with couscous and lemon yogurt sauce
*with linseed oil
**4 egg whites, 1 yolk
*** 1/2 zucchini and 1/2 whole-wheat spaghetti
Also interesting: Atkins – how healthy is the classic diet?
My conclusion regarding the independent experiment with intermittent fasting 5:2
My 5:2 Intermittent Fasting experiment on my own was definitely more difficult for me than my usual 16:8 routine. Especially in the beginning, it was difficult for me to go through two days of fasting. As already suspected, it was once again confirmed to me that it is easier to eat nothing at all (for example, medical fasting) than to eat little. While it was normal for me to fast during the day, after dinner I would occasionally have cravings for pizza, pasta, etc.
weight loss: After 4 weeks of the 5 to 2 fast, my scale showed about 5 pounds less. Accordingly, weight loss is slightly higher than with 16 on 8 intermittent fasting. My weight is 1.5-2 kilograms less than when I take a break from intermittent fasting.
Danger: However, in order to make a meaningful assessment of weight development, you should be guided by the rules of a specific nutrition concept for several months.
My resume: With bikini season coming up, I will be fasting 16 to 8 days for 5 days and completely fasting for the remaining 2 days in the following months. This corresponds to a combination of both options. However, I reduce the possible 500 kcal for 5:2 days to zero. But before I get started, I have one more experiment coming up in June!