Summer Weight Loss and the 5:2 Diet

June seems to have got off to its usual wet start! However, Summer is now clearly on the horizon and thoughts are starting to turn to the summer holidays. Working as a nutritional therapist, this then, is the time of year when most of my clients want to look at an effective way of losing weight and supplements which will support that. Therefore, in my next few blog posts I will be looking at what I believe to be some of the best diets to support weight loss and the supplements which may offer some additional support.

I should start off by saying that in my opinion ‘fad’ diets and ‘quick fixes’ should be avoided at all costs. They are unlikely to help you set realistic goals or be something that you can maintain long term. Also, very often they can cause your metabolism to slow down due to a huge calorie restriction – this will in turn result in you piling the pounds back on again when you return to normal eating.

This does not mean however that all diets are a waste of time. One of the diets I advocate to a lot my clients is the 5:2 diet (also known as the ‘fast diet’). This is because this plan, when followed correctly can help you lose weight effectively. Also, the weight loss effects are easy to maintain. This is a diet with a vast amount of supporting research showing that when followed correctly it can actually improve your health, your metabolism and your blood sugar levels – a win on all fronts.

The basic idea behind the 5:2 diet is that for 5 days of the week you eat normally (one of the reasons why this diet is easy to maintain). For these 5 days, you should not worry about or count your calories. The other 2 days of the week however you do restrict your calories massively – for women you should eat only 500 calories a day and for men 600.

It is these 2 days that are key to the diet’s success – by reducing the calories so drastically for 2 days a week you cut your weekly calorie intake by at least 3000 – resulting in a 1-2-pound weight loss each week – a sensible and achievable goal.

There are a few important points to stick to, to ensure you get the best results from this diet:

  1. You must not have the two days consecutively – leave at least a day’s gap between your low calorie or ‘fasting’ days. Many people choose to restrict on a Monday and a Thursday – after the weekend and before the weekend – leaving you free to enjoy a nice weekend! 
  2. You must stick to the calorie guidelines – that means that Women need to have 500 calories – as near as possible – not more and not less!
  3. Once you have started a low-calorie day – stick with it! Do not change your mind halfway through and decide to do it tomorrow!
  4. Do NOT restrict your calories on the 5 days! This does not mean that you can’t eat healthily, just that you should not be counting calories or feeling deprived on those days. This is an important part of how the diet works. Firstly, it prevents any slowdown in your metabolism – keeping you burning those calories at a healthy rate even on your low-calorie days. Secondly, it prevents you from feeling demoralised or deprived – which in turn, helps you to successfully stick to the regime.

I have supported several clients through this diet, with great results – one lady even continued to follow the regime whilst on a cruise and was delighted to have returned having lost weight rather than gaining as she usually would! For more information on this diet you can have a look at the website set up by Dr Michael Moseley

Look out for my blog post which will look at Glucomannan – the supplement which can help you through those low-calorie days – helping you to achieve success on the 5:2 diet.

Written By Jenny Logan DNMed. (Jenny is a Nutritional Therapist who has worked with clients in Health Foods Stores and Private Clinics for over 20 years.)

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