The 5:2 Way Of Eating

A Brief Review Of My First Year Of The 5:2 Way Of Eating

Click here to read what I wrote after one year of eating this way.

An Article Further Explaining The Benefits Of The 5:2 Way Of Eating
Click here to read an article further explaining the health benefits of this way of eating. I found this article after eating in this 5:2 way for over one and a half years. There are important additional health details in this article that are not in the book by Michael Mosley M.D. This article also shows you how to use EFT. I have not used EFT to help me in this way of eating.

Before You Read About The 5:2 Way Of Eating That I Follow
There is another 5:2 way of eating that is specifically designed for women between forty and sixty years old. Everybody can use this way of other way of eating; not just women forty to sixty years old. Click here if you want to read more about this other way of 5:2 eating. The rest of what is written on this page is about the 5:2 way of eating that I'm doing, and that was developed by Michael Mosley, M.D.

Introduction To The 5:2 Way Of Eating That I Follow
I've waited thirty years to find this way of eating – a fusion of regular eating and fasting without fasting. After learning about this way of eating, it seems so simple and yet I didn't think of it.
It will add both longevity and health to everyone who eats this way. This way of eating may become a lifestyle or it may be used periodically to help your body to heal and repair, and for you to lose weight. Grocery stores have made getting food very, very easy. I think we were meant to simplify what we eat from time to time.
Simply said this way of eating is this: For five days of the week you can eat anything and everything that you want to eat. For two non-consecutive days you limit your calories. Men can have 600 calories a day and women can have 500 calories a day.

Why I Began Eating This Way: The Two Main Benefits
For the past year and a half I felt that I was over eating. It wasn't a strong feeling, but it was there. This summer I visited my mom and I had my shirt off a lot; 87 degrees and humid with a natural breeze. I noticed a roundness around my belly that I did not have the previous year. I looked down and said: "This is not me." I left St. Croix wanting to change my waistline but I didn't have any idea how I would do it. Fasting seemed too harsh to me and restricting what I ate every day also seemed too harsh.
I did a lot of fasting for years in the 80's but haven't done any since then. I did that fasting to improve my health and I know that it helped rebuild my body when I was in my 20's. I've wanted to go back to fasting, though I have not done so.
I've eaten very healthy since I was 20 (American food before that). I was vegetarian for twelve or so years. I didn't feel that good when I was a vegetarian so I went back to lighter meats.
The 5:2 way of eating combines the health benefits of fasting without fasting and the freedom to eat whatever I want to eat. I don't want to eat junk food or lots of desserts, so I don't include these foods in eating whatever I want to eat.

Calorie Restriction Has A Vital Positive Effect On Your Health
When you get really sick with a cold or the flu, what does your body do? Your appetite decreases. Why does your appetite decrease? Because your body can put a lot more energy toward healing when you're not eating. Your body goes into this deeper self healing mode every night when you sleep. During sleep you're away from food for hours. This gives your body time to focus on healing.
If you eat a lot, you're sending the signal to your body to build more cells, build more cells. So that is what your body will focus on – building more cells.
When you decrease your eating (sleeping, fasting or calorie restriction) your body can focus on HEALING the cells that are already a part of your body instead of mainly building new cells. As long as you're eating a lot of calories (a usual amount of food) every day, your body's first priority is to build new cells; repairing cells already a part of your body becomes secondary. Give your body food and it converts the food to cells. Don't give your body food and it repairs itself (there is nothing else to do).
As you recover from a cold or the flu, your appetite returns. This signals your body to spend more time building new cells and less time healing your body.
This switch from building new cells to repairing/healing your body is why periodic fasting has been known throughout time to have a very positive effect for your health. But how many people periodically fast? Very few. And, as I wrote, I haven't volunteered to fast since the 80's. So I've been in a build, build, build mode for a long time; long enough to get a roundness around my belly.

The 5:2 Way Of Eating
A couple of months after returning home and after not changing my eating I was watching PBS. A special came on about the 5:2 way of eating. Sooner than five minutes into the program, I was hooked. I had found what I was looking for as my new way of eating.
This way of eating is backed by science and common sense. It was packaged (but not discovered) by Michael Mosley, M.D. He lives in England. He eats like a regular English person and takes no vitamins or supplements at all; ever. So all of the changes he experienced are related to changing his way of eating; without changing the type of food that he ate and without adding in any vitamins or herbs.

The Only Two Rules In The 5:2 Way Of Eating
The 5:2 way of eating is simple (I didn't say super easy). For five days a week you eat whatever you want to eat.
Rule #1: You have two days a week when you restrict your calorie intake. Your calorie restriction days cannot be two days in a row.
Rule #2: On the calorie restriction day, men can eat 600 calories a day and women can eat 500 calories a day. This is about 25% of the recommended calories for men and women to eat per day. Click here to go to a calorie chart to find out the number of calories recommended for men and women at different ages.
You can eat anything you want and at any time on your two calorie restriction days each week. Dr. Mosley chose to eat about half of his calories at 7:30 am and half at 7:30 pm. He did this on work days so he wouldn't have to think about eating. He drank a lot of black coffee (no calories) and black tea (no calories) throughout the day.
I choose to eat much differently. I rely on egg whites omelettes with some vegetables in them and some raw vegetables. I give the egg yolks to the dogs and the egg shells to the compost bin. When I first started eating this way I wouldn't waste any calories on fruit. Now I have a fruit snack of canteloupe (when in season), oranges or grapefruit before going to bed. It's nice and sweet and filling enough that I don't go to sleep hungry.
On your two calorie restriction days there are no rules on when to eat or what to eat. The rule is to restrict your calories on two non-consecutive days (Rule #1 of 2) to 500 calories if you're a woman and to 600 calories if you're a man (rule #2 of 2). If you want to eat late, you can. If you want to eat six times a day, you can.

Web Links For Dr. Mosley's 5:2 Way Of Eating
Click here to go to Dr. Mosley's website on the 5:2 way of eating.
The book has a very good calorie counter. I use his calorie counter. I enjoyed reading his book. He goes over different ways of eating/fasting, and what he has tried. Since there are only two rules and you know the rules, you do not need to buy his book in order to eat this way. I'm glad I read the book. It helped ground me as I began this way of eating.

Click here to go to Amazon to order his book. This link may change over time. If you put in his name, Michael Mosley, you'll come up with his book. I have copies of this book to lend. Call my office if you're interested in borrowing a copy. I did not buy his cookbook since we eat very differently.

Why Dr. Mosley Changed To The 5:2 Way Of Eating
Dr. Mosley started this way of eating because many of his blood tests indicated that he was on his way (at age 55) to one or more of the following diseases: diabetes, heart disease (including stroke and heart attacks) and cancer. His father died in his early seventies from diabetes; and Dr. Mosley knew from his blood work and from his body fat amount (BMI) that he could also die much younger from diabetes, heart disease or cancer than would be needed. In his book he shows that in three months his diabetes risk (measured by fasting blood glucose) started significantly higher than the recommended range and ended up within the recommended range. His heart disease risk (measured by triglycerides and cholesterol) started with his cholesterol too high and then his cholesterol level was okay after three months of eating in the 5:2 way. His cancer risk (measured by IGF-1) went from the high end of what was recommended to one half of the amount he started with. He ended up with this IGF-1 level near the low number (which is very good) of the recommended range and he started out very close to the high number. These changes in his blood chemistry was done in three months without changing the type of foods that he ate and without taking any supplements.
His BMI and body fat percentage put him in the overweight category (5'11" and 187 lbs. with a 36" waist). At the end of three months he weighed 168 lbs. with a 33" waist. I didn't lose as much weight as he did. I'll list my results later.
The book includes information about fasting, alternate day (every other day) fasting and a three day water fast. Dr. Mosley chose this way of 5:2 eating because it fit better into his social life. It was a doable way for him to have calorie restriction, and it achieved his goals of having healthier blood chemistry and losing weight.

My Experience and The Results So Far
I started at 174 lbs and 5'10". I didn't have any blood work done and I didn't measure my BMI or waist. After 12 weeks (this is the three month mark that Dr. Mosley used) I weighed 163 (11 pounds less). And after 18 weeks I weighed 158 (16 pounds less). My initial target weight is 155 pounds; which is 19 pounds less than when I started. After 18 weeks I kept the same weight for four weeks (at 158 pounds); and then I lost two more pounds after week 22. I've heard that you may plateau for a short time as you get closer and closer to your ideal body weight. Up to week 18 my weight loss was close to a pound a week, though not absolutely consistent every week. As I get closer to my ideal weight, the rate has slowed though my weight is still becoming less. The cleansing effect of having two calorie restriction days continues each week. I did weigh in at 155 pounds during my 24th week. This is 19 pounds in weight loss and represents my beginning weight goal. I want to emphasize that I have no concern of how many calories that I eat on my regular eating days -- I eat what I want to eat. This weight loss is all about the two calorie restriction days only.
This update is at the beginning of my 35th week. My weight has been at 150 pounds for the last two weeks. This is less than the weight I want to have. Why do I continue with this 5:2 way of eatring if I'm under my weight? My body still feels like it wants the cleansing effects of two calorie restriction days a week. My plan is to let my body tell me when to go to 6:1 (six days of regular eating and one day of calorie restriction). Or I may choose to increase my calorie restriction days to 1000 calories (from the 600 that is recommended) so that I don't continue to lose weight and continue to have some health benefits of calorie restriction.
There have been rough patches in these 35 weeks. Just getting used to having less calories was challenging and uncomfortable. When I was at 158 pounds for four straight weeks I thought that maybe that was as far as this way of eating would get me (and I was only three pounds from my initial goal!). Then I dropped to 155 pounds fairly quickly, and stayed there for another four weeks. Was that as much as this way of eating would take me in losing weight? No. I stayed within a half a pound of 155 for five weeks. Then the weight started to come down again. In the next five weeks I dropped four pounds. And I've been stable at 150 for two weeks.
I didn't get blood tests before I began this way of eating, so I don't have any markers of my blood to say that I'm healthier. I did have a pink square of skin cancer near the end of my nose for eight years. I noticed it; even though many people did not. (You know how that is.) About six weeks ago, I saw that it was no longer there. I didn't get the skin cancer frozen or treated because it wasn't that big and it wasn't increasing in size. The pink square patch of skin cancer was there everyday for eight years, and now it's not there. This little itty bitty area of skin is the only objective sign that I have that there is really some good healing happening.
I feel clearer overall; especially the day after a calorie restriction day. I really enjoy foods. Overall I'm eating less on my regular eating days. I had more emotionally unpleasant days in the first twenty weeks of this way of eating. I wasn't able to comfort myself with food two days a week and my body was eating more of itself to live (my body was eating fat to get through the day). And it's reasonable that when my body is eating itself to live, it should tell me that something is very uncomfortable. In these later weeks, when I'm not losing as much weight, this gnawing and complaining from my body is less (usually much less).
There is still some apprehension on the night before a calorie restriction day. I just can't do what I want to do the next day (in relation to eating). Oh poor me. And there is also the goodness of knowing that I'm doing something that I want to do to be healthier. And the day after the calorie restriction day is great in two ways: I'm clearer and sharper, and I get to eat whatever I want to eat! The next paragraph will bring you to the beginning of my two non-consecutive calorie restriction days a week way of eating.
As I re-read the next paragraph, my complaining (which was real) seems almost foolish. I'm complaining about feeling hungry for part of one day and restricting what I eat for a day; and yet it is estimated that one in eight people do not get enough food to eat every day. Here is my experience of my first two days of restricting my calories.
The first day of restricting calories was the hardest. I was bitchy and complaining almost the whole day (even though there was no one else around). I would ask: Why do I have to do this? Why can't I just eat what I want to? I'm hungry and this doesn't feel good.
I ate a lot of broccoli and asparagus and some egg whites. I wasn't going to waste any of my calories on fruit. The second calorie restriction day was a little easier, though there still was a lot of bitching and complaining. In the morning of the second day I really had resistance to restricting my calories. I complained loudly to myself and did it anyway.
After the second day, I've done very little bitching. I can grumble for a couple of hours. This is probably when my body is really going into my fat reserves to get food. This makes sense to me, so I breathe through these brief grumbling times knowing that they will pass. And I know that tomorrow I can eat anything I want to eat. (Click here to read about full breathing; how and why I breathe this way).
The day after a calorie restriction day I have more energy and more clarity. I've chosen to have my calorie restriction days on light days of work; not on my long days at the office. Dr. Mosley chose exactly the opposite.
So what happens when I get total permission after a calorie restriction day to eat whatever foods I want to? I eat a bit less than I have usually been eating. Yes, the amount of my eating, I think, has gone down a bit (not a lot) on my regular eating days. Because of eating so much less two days a week, I can eat less than the usual amount on my regular eating days and feel full. Before I started eating this way, my thoughts projected the idea that the next day I would be overeating. That has not happened.
I also enjoy my food a hell of a lot more on the regular eating days. No guilt because I'm eating the same healthy foods as I have been eating and I'm eating as much as I want to. I also appreciate the variety of all of the good foods that I eat on a regular eating day. There is nothing like taking something away (the variety and the amount of food) in order to appreciate it so much more when it returns.
It does take will power to eat this way. I am geared to this way of eating. The weight watchers way of having a certain amount of points each day is incredibly sensible and effective ..... and it would drive me nuts. I want to eat certain foods in certain amounts at times. I'm not saying it's good that I want to do this, but weight watchers would drive me crazy. For many people the weight watcher way of eating works great for them.
Lately this is how my eating has been on the calorie restriction days. I don't eat in the morning on a calorie restriction day. This is not hard for me. Dr. Mosley chose to have half of his calories at 7:30 am. Find what will work for you.
I've been putting off my first meal to later and later in the day. At first, the first meal would be at about noon. Now it can be 4 pm. I have two meals and then a fruit snack before sleep. My two meals are the same. The could be too boring for others, but, so far, it's working for me. The base of the meal is five egg whites (which is usually about 85 calories). I first brown some vegetables (about 55 calories) before adding in the egg whites. I also eat some raw vegetables (20 - 25 calories; this is only a little bit). I have this same meal twice. I season the egg whites with salt (no calories) and pepper (no calories). I use a pan spray made of canola oil or olive oil or coconut oil. Don't ask me how the pan spray people do it, but they say there are no calories. Every pan spray can says this. So I write it down as no calories. I find that egg whites are a great, low calorie source of protein for me. Prior to eating in this calorie restriction way, I had no eggs in my refrigerator.
The fruit snack before going to bed has been cantaloupe or oranges or grapefruit. This can be 110 calories (some cantaloupe), 150 calories (3 medium size oranges) or 160 calories (2 medium size grapefruits).
After my first two calorie restriction days, I've been under 500 calories per day; even though I can have 600 calories. I don't know why I'm doing this and I may not continue, though it's been about four months of 500 calories a day. This is enough for me. I'm not trying to cut out 100 calories to lose more weight because I can eat 100 calories on a regular eating day and think nothing of it.

The Things I Love About The 5:2 Way Of Eating
First, this way of eating can significantly decrease your IGF-1 level (which stands for Insulin-like Growth Factor 1). You'll read about this later. This is the number one reason I love this way of eating so much.
Second is that all of my blood chemistry is probably going to significantly improve.
Third, I get the benefits of fasting without ever fasting. My body goes much more into repair mode two times a week when I eat this way.
If you eat this way, you will be having 25% of the recommended amount of calories twice a week. (If you're overweight then you're most likely eating more than the recommended amount of calories per day.) So 25% of the calories for two days a week means that you're getting 75% (or more) less calories two days a week. 75% less calories two days a week equals 150% less calories for the two days of calorie restriction. This is the same as having no calories for 1½ days of every seven days.
Fourth, I lose weight.
Fifth, once I get to the weight I want, I can go to 6:1 if my weight stays stable. Or alternate between 6:1 and 5:2 as needed to maintain my weight. At 6:1 I will be getting less of the fasting effects. Though this fluctuating between 6:1 and 5:2 (as my weight indicates) may be enough to keep my blood chemistry in a very healthy range. So 5:2 will not need to be done for the rest of my life. Dr. Mosley wrote in his book that he needed to go to 6:1 eating otherwise he would start to be underweight. He said he knew he'd miss some health benefits from not having the second day of restricted calories, but he wanted to keep a certain body weight.

The Only Two Items You Need Have To Eat This Way
A Calorie Counting Chart
You need a calorie counting chart. The chart in his book is very good. I like using grams instead of ounces. 100 grams is 3 ½ ounces. It's easy to divide into 100. But how many calories would there be in a food that weighs 4 5/8 ounces? His chart, so far, has listed all of the foods that I need to know. Click here for a series of online calorie charts that you'll need to print out. I don't like these charts as much because the weight is in ounces and a small amount of the numbers vary from Dr. Mosley's chart.
A Scale To Weigh Your Food
I like this scale very much. You can pay less for other scales. There are two good things about this scale. The first is that it has a zero point. You can put a plate or a bowl on it and zero out the scale. So if the plate weighs 11 3/8 ounces, you can zero it out. Now there is zero on the scale and then you can weigh your food. The second good thing is that it has a pull away screen so you can put a big plate on it and still read the numbers. Click here to see the OXO scale that I bought from Amazon. You can spend less money on a scale if you want to.

IGF-1: The Cancer Marker and Other Blood Tests
I was hooked on this 5:2 way of eating because eating this way can significantly decrease your IGF-1 level (which stands for insulin growth factor 1). IGF-1 is a hormone and it has been linked to helping cancer cells grow. This hormone promotes growth. The higher your IGF-1, the more your body wants to keep building more and more new cells. The lower your IGF-1, the less your body wants to keep building more and more new cells.
Dr. Mosley significantly decreased his IGF-1 in three months of eating this way; without changing the types of food he ate and without adding any supplements. His IGF-1 started out on the very high end of what is acceptable. In three months, his number was one half of where he started; which is very close to the low end of what you would want. This is not a big scientific study, though I immediately got the message – calorie restriction or fasting can decrease your IGF-1 and can decrease your chances of getting cancer.
So I was hooked. This way of eating has the science behind it of how you will be healthier, has the goodness of fasting without fasting (you have two non consecutive calorie restriction days) and you get to eat whatever you want five days a week.
You probably feel, like me, that what we eat and how much we eat over the many decades of life can be a major reason that disease and poor health happens in so many people as they get older.
The following are two links about IGF-1 and cancer. I recommend watching the 3 minute video in the first link. The Harvard study from 1999 is interesting.Click here to go to the 3 minute video done in 2012 on the connection between IGF-1 and cancer.
Click here to read the Harvard study from 1999 about IGF-1. Their study involved thousands of people. The following are a few sentences from the study: "When IGF-1 is added to dishes of cells growing in the laboratory, the cells flourish like flowers blooming in spring. In children, the hormone stimulates bone growth and development of organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys. But in older people, rapidly proliferating cells increase the opportunity for genetic mutations that may lead to cancer. And once cancer cells begin to form, IGF-1 will promote their growth as well as that of normal cells. ..... Levels of IGF-1 drop when people eat less. Animal studies show that decreases in food intake lessen tumor growth and increase life span."

No Body/Protein Wasting By Eating In This Way
One of the negative results of fasting (water fasting more than one day) is that the body will start using more vital tissue than fat to keep working. The body may take minerals from the bones or protein from the muscles.
With restricted calorie days being non-consecutive, the possibility of taking vital elements from the body does not exist.

Less Can Be More
If you're taking a lot of supplements, you may think of going in another direction for your health. You may think of going less instead of more. A lot of supplements means that you think your body needs a lot of help beyond what you eat in order to be healthy. This may be true, and taking the supplements may be very good for you.
For the last two years I've had a strong impulse to drink essiac tea (the next paragraph will tell you about essiac tea); and thanks to my neighbor I've been drinking the tea almost daily for two years. Since I've been eating in this 5:2 way my desire for essiac tea has diminished greatly. I don't think it's just coincidence. I think my body was craving it because there was more of a need. And now that I've been better repairing my body for months (by this 5:2 way of eating) my body is not craving the tea. I continue to drink it because the herbs are very healthful and the combination of herbs has a long and very good history. If you are taking a lot of supplements, you may consider that less (the 5:2 way of eating) may be more healthful for your body than taking a handful of supplements. The next paragraph will inform you about essiac tea.
Essiac tea is taken to help prevent cancer. It's been around for decades. Essiac tea has a good history to it. Click here to find out where I think is a very good source for essiac tea (you'll have to scroll down on the page to find essiac tea). I trust the company for quality and their price is as low as it gets. Click here to find out how to prepare the essiac tea; right from the originaters of the formula. If you buy the tea from them, it costs quite a bit more. Click here to go to the results of a google search on how to make essiac tea. And lastly, if you want to combine the herbs yourself, click here to find the definitive recipe for essiac tea.

I looked up how many calories are in a quart of carrot juice. One website said 378 calories and another website said 394 calories. So juice fasting can add up to a lot of calories in one day, though it takes less energy to digest juice than food. So a person who juice fasts can be having as many, or more, calories per day than this way of eating.
I love gnawing feelings. Not so much during the feeling, but definitely when the answer comes and the gnawing stops. I've had the gnawing feeling that even though I was eating healthy there was something else that I needed to do about my eating in order to be healthy in the future. My belly showed me I needed to start eating less calories. I feel better at this lighter weight. There are some days I actually look forward to the simplicity of the calorie restriction day.
I love that I found a way to eat that is more healthy and that I have calorie restriction without fasting. I've known calorie restriction is an incredibly healthy way to live. And now I again get to do it after a long pause of stopping fasting in the 80's.

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