May 9, 2016

Update on 5:2 Diet

Two months ago I started fasting, or more accurately, restricting heavily my calories (600 for the day) every week on Monday and Wednesday — following an article in NYTimes.

Before reading anything more, please read the disclaimer at the bottom of the post.

Back to me. I’m happy to say I’ve lost 3.9kg (~8.6 pounds) since. According to the Happy Scale app:

  • On March I lost a moving average of 2.2 kg.
  • For April, the moving average was of 1.9 kg.

Moving averages are important because the after the two fasting days the weight loss is over-represented. But if you check the moving average, you notice the slight slope.

The slowish weight loss is perfectly fine by me. Since I’m still surprised it’s working at all. Over the last 8 weeks, I’ve travelled two weeks for work and went to Venezuela another two — scenarios where I always gain weight.

Excluding last week, I didn’t add any exercise or activity to my routine, and only on the last three weeks have I been a bit more careful on what I eat on most non-fast days.

What I eat on fast days:

Initially I was skipping breakfast, but the hunger in the afternoon started crossing the threshold of manageable. Lately, I eat two hard boiled eggs on my way to work, and drink my iced cold brew coffee through the morning. You also need to drink lots of water. There science and practice behind this, trust the lab coats on the science, trust me that you need to have a glass of water always next to your keyboard (careful with laptops) to drown the whining in your belly.

Dinner is simple: remember all those horrible diet recipes that you typical see? the sad looking lettuce with celery and a grilled chicken breast plate? yep, that’s it. You can waste a lot of time — As I have done — trying to squeeze the most out of your 600cal, but in the end I’ve found it easier just to embrace the crazy diet day for what it is.

Do you go crazy on non-fast days?

Not really. The first few weeks I actually stayed on a healthy diet mode for the rest of the week. Lately I’ve been choosing a serious cheat day on the weekends. But I’m still trying to loose weight, so pizzas every non-fast day are logically not the most efficient way to go about it. Even if it’s allowed by the diet.

One thing I’ve noticed — specially on weekdays, is that I’m starting to prefer a lighter dinner. I just sleep better.

Is fasting hard?

Yes at the beginning, but you get used to it. And like pushing your body to the limit with exercise, there’s a strange mind/body click that makes you feel like the pain is right somehow.

In addition, the intermittent fasting creates two complementing phenomenons the end up being a sort of virtuous cycle:

  1. The psychology of just for today: When you’re hungry and know you won’t be eating that bowl of pasta you want when you get home, the idea that tomorrow you could eat it, makes the experience much more bearable.

  2. Hunger is an excellent condiment: Not being a salad person, I’ve been surprised how delicious lettuce with celery and a dressing of olive oil and greek yogurt can be.

And then what?

I plan to continue the diet for two more months to see if I hit a wall or if I can get to my perfect weight of 76 kilos. According to the proponents of the diet, once you hit a healthy target weight, you should shift to a maintenance mode and only fast one day a week.


Disclaimer: needless to say that you should ignore anything I write regarding health stuff — and probably about geek stuff too. I’m peeing a lot more on the fasting days, so I’m likely messing my kidneys, or liver, or both. This post is just to document my experiment. It should we seen as a warning of what not to do, and not an endorsement of any kind.


Health experiment Lifehack


Previous post
New Gadget: Canon PIXMA PRO-100 Mother’s day is here, and I can finally talk about the newest arrival in our household: the Canon PIXMA PRO-100. I’ve been following this printer
Next post
Book: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson Aurora is one of those slow burning Sci-Fi novels that never actually explodes into a plot point, but it doesn’t become boring because of it.