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1,182 of 1,221 people found the following review helpful
There are many ways to lose weight from counting point to micro-managing carbs. But almost all of them involve eating less calories on a daily basis. The result - you lose weight but let's face it the prospect of eating less every day gets old. And in many cases weight that is shed is quickly put back on.

Enter Dr. Michael Mosley with "The Fast Diet". Dr. Mosley a science researcher, investigated how fasting can result in enormous benefits such as increased longevity, lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol and much more. He presented his findings in the British television BBC special documentary "Horizon: Eat, Fast and Live Longer".

Instead of a pure fast Dr. Mosley found that you could enjoy many benefits from eating a reduced calorie diet just 2 days a week and eating normally the other 5. For women about 500 calories and for men about 600 on the 2 lower calorie days. Based on the documentary thousands of British people tried eating this way and found it to be fast, effective and much easier than a traditional diet.

In the book, "The Fast Diet", Dr. Mosley presents the science behind how and why the diet works. His co-author Mini Spencer shares menu plans and tips to make the plan user friendly. The book also includes color photographs so you get a feel for what a low calorie day looks like. And there are inspirational accounts from people who are using the diet, losing weight and enjoying greater health and renewed vitality.

A typical 500 calorie day on the plan might include a small apple, small mango and small boiled egg (223 calories) for breakfast and a tuna, bean and garlic salad for dinner (267 calories). Or you could spread your calories between lunch and dinner or eat them at one main meal. The plan is very flexible. The days you are not on the plan you eat normally, including high fat foods, without counting calories. You might think that on the feed days people would go crazy but research has shown that people eat only a little more than what they would normally eat. Knowing that you can have pretty much what you like most days of the week makes sticking to the plan so much easier than traditional diets.

Based on the documentary (before the book was released in the U.S.) I decided to try the plan making up simple 500 calorie meals and I was amazed at how much easier it is than traditional dieting. Variations of the plan are easy to do also such as every other day, 4:3 etc. And if you miss a day you simply get back on track the next. On fast days, I like to go as far into the day as possible without eating so I have a cup of espresso in the morning, an egg on sandwich thin with berries around noon, small snack mid-afternoon and a protein with veggies for dinner. It has been surprisingly easy to do. I dropped 5 pounds fast!

The benefits of following 5:2 are huge from what we can see visually i.e. weight loss to what we can't i.e. our bodies inner workings. And best of all many find that it is so much easier to diet just a couple days a week than every day. You really do get used to it. Once you have achieved your desired body weight you can adjust the plan to one day a week if desired or eat a few more calories on the diet days.

Side note - I purchased the Kindle version of the book and the formatting is excellent. The menu plan is hyper-linked to the recipes and the color photos are clear.

Overall if you are struggling with traditional diets and want to improve your health, this book, "The Fast Diet" gets my highest recommendation!
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456 of 471 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2013
I read this book very carefully, since I was VERY skeptical. I had been adhering to the "Eat 5 or 6 small meals" hype so that I could keep my metabolism in fat burning mode. I see now that that's as big a crock as the whole low fat diet scam of the 90s where I ate disgusting Snackwells cookies and other low fat/high sugar processed junk thinking I was doing myself a favor.

But this book completely convinced me that your body doesn't go into the dreaded starvation mode until you have fasted for days or maybe even weeks. Certainly not after one day of low calorie eating. It's just the opposite. A little hunger puts you into fat-burning mode. And I can tell it's working. I've lost 7 of my EXTREMELY stubborn 15 pounds that I've been trying to lose, in just 3 weeks, and it's not just water weight. My measurements are smaller and people are asking me what my secret is! I have more energy on both fast and feast days, and my stamina us up. My exercise instructor said she was amazed at how much stronger I seem lately.

Because of my new understanding of how hunger affects the body, on my feast days I don't feel like I have to rush to eat right when I'm hungry. I actually like to wait until I have a nice big appetite. The food tastes better, and since I'm only eating 3 times a day I can really enjoy that bigger meal. It fulfills me much more than those diet-y little meals I was eating before. I think that's why I always used to fall off the healthy wagon. I was never really satisfied. Also, I don't stuff my face the way I would before if I got too hungry. Before if I happened to get really hungry, I'd pig out, thinking that I deserved to really go crazy since I hadn't eaten all day. Now I just see getting good and hungry as natural, and then I eat a reasonable amount.

And all the little tips in the book really helped me figure out how to make the fasting days fly by. The way I do it is that I drink coffee (with a little unsweetened almond milk and Splenda), Good Earth Tea (iced), lemon water, fizzy water and maybe chicken broth through out my busiest mornings. Then I have scrambled eggs with cheese at 1:00. A sweet potato with Greek yogurt and salsa at 4. Then I go to bed early. The tip I like best is just reminding myself I can have whatever I want tomorrow. Sounds trite, but it works like a charm. I always think I'm going to have a burrito or a huge take-out spaghetti and meatballs, but when the next day comes, my appetite is so small I don't feel like eating it. I also feel so light and healthy that it doesn't even sound appealing. Last week I did have a big old Panda Express lunch and this week I had the spaghetti, but when I stepped on the scale the next morning I was lighter than ever!

But for me, the best part is that I'm not on this awful diet roller-coaster. I used to be "good" for about 2 or 3 days and then I'd be "bad" and ruin it. Then I'd feel guilty so I'd eat more to make myself feel better, then I'd be good again, only to ruin it... This is no way to live! My feelings of self-worth should not be dependent upon what I eat! This new approach isn't about being good or bad. It's just eating or not eating. It's easy for me to not eat when I only have to do it for one day. I don't feel like I'm being "good." I just feel like I'm doing something good for my body. And the next day when I indulge- if I even do, I feel like it's all part of my healthy plan. I just know that this is something I can do forever. I actually look forward to the fasting days as a chance to re-boot. I also like to use the hunger pains to remind me to be live a life of compassion for myself and for others. But that's another story...
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2,246 of 2,422 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2013
The 5:2 diet plan is pretty simple, two days a week you keep your calories to a minuscule 500/600 per day and the rest of the week eat normally. The author claims that a) you will lose weight and b) it will dramatically improve your long term health.

Let me address the first part. I have been trying the diet for a couple of weeks and it has been working for me. I am one of those people that has that stubborn last 10-15 pounds to lose and I have made more progress, down about 8 lbs since trying the diet. I find the diet really easy to follow, basically 2 days a week I watch what I eat and keep to the 600 calories. On those days, I drink more coffee and tea then usual to keep myself from eating, but once resigned to a fast day, basically you just have to make it through the day. I pick Mondays because they stink anyhow and one other day. Oddly, once you get used to it, the fasting is really no big deal. I get hungry a couple times a day and it is amazing a cup of green tea and the hunger goes away. While 600 calories is not a lot, it is enough to function, work and workout without any difficulties.

I do truly believe that this plan will work for me long term as I consider it more of a strategy then a diet. (The strategy concept was in the book.) Basically, I need to cut my calories down and was not very good at knocking off 500 calories a day for a week by eating slightly less. So this I think will work for me. (I will circle back in a month with a weight update.)

Moving to the book. I have two issues with the book. The plan is so blazingly simple (which may be part of its appeal) that you really don't need a book. Cut your calories to 500/600 per day twice a week and that is what you do. Once you get your goal weight go to one day a week. If you start gaining weight back go back to 2 days. That is pretty much it, not sure why it takes more than a page or two to explain. Heck I just explained it in 2 sentences. Dieting is not rocket science, people need to eat less and burn more to lose weight. This is one simple strategy for eating less.

My second complaint about the book is that it has all sorts of medical claims. The reality is that the diet is too new and the claims are not supported by hard scientific evidence in my view. The book is full of anecdotal evidence from people who have been on the diet and also from some studies about fasting. Not what I call hard science. I have a lot of trouble believing all the fantastic medical claims that the book put forward. I am not saying that they are not true, but what I am saying is it is too early and there is too little data.

In conclusion, I just don't see any point to the book. There are plenty of articles out there on the diet, and getting started is really simple, the book in my view didn't add enough value for me to justify the price and time I spent reading it.
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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2013
This diet is literally one in a million! I can't believe it! I started this diet about a month ago and have lost 15 pounds!! I'm just speechless. I have tried it all. Juicing, low carb diets, strenuous excersises and none of it has worked as good as this has! Every week I'm seeing results. And the funny part is, I don't have to exercise everyday for hours.

Before starting this diet, I used to eat complete JUNK! Since starting this diet I'm very proud to say that I have not eaten ANY fast food! I haven't even craved it, it just makes me sick thinking about eating it. It has really changed me to eat healthy foods on a daily basis and not crave something greasy. I knew this diet was working for me was when I was feeling a bit hungover the day after a night out. Usually I will go grab a greasy burger for the cure, but that day I stayed AWAY and didn't crave it AT ALL.

One tip I want to give for everyone is to do your fasting days on days that you are busy or at work. It will keep your mind off of feeling the need to snack. Also, it really helps to have someone doing this diet with you. It really keeps you motivated that you both are losing weight together. You can make and plan healthy meals together too!

Also, drinking lots of water on your fast days will help keep you feeling full. I have started drinking ONLY water and I'll tell ya it's amazing how your body will change with doing this.

Overall, this is a diet that I plan on sticking with for life.

**UPDATE**
Just stepped onto the scale for the first time in about a week and I've lost 5 more pounds! 20 down! I couldn't believe it! I had to keep stepping onto the scale to make sure it was right! I keep true to my fast days still, no cheating. And I even drink alcohol on the weekends and I'm STILL losing weight! LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS DIET!
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301 of 331 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2013
I have been on this diet since August 2012 and lost over 35 lbs while still enjoying reasonable portions of foods such as pizzas, burritos, or ramen. I was skeptical when I first read about this diet after stumbling across it on the BBC website. Eat only 600 calories a day for two days out of the week? Still, it was time for a change. Despite attempting to eat right every day, continuous grazing on food to supposedly boost my metabolism, and regular gym workouts, I had gained fat until I was at 214 lbs (and I'm 5'8). Plus, a doctor's visit showed me I was suffering from high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

So I decided to give this diet a try for at least a week. Breakfast was scrambled eggs with slices of chicken breast, and then I anxiously waited for dinner. My stomach began rumbling by 12:00 pm, but the hunger subsided after I downed a cup of black coffee. I did feel a bit weak, but keeping busy and more coffee helped me make it to a dinner. This was a revelation - I would not die from a day without food!

Interestingly, the next day I did not feel as hungry as I thought I would be. I then realized this was a plan I could do for the long-term. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app to keep track of calories, and still ate what I wanted on non-fast days, but in reasonable portions. Dr. Michael Mosley advises high protein, low glycemic index foods on fast days, but I took it further and reduced sugars and starches, and boosted my intake of green vegetables even on most non-fasting days. I continued working out when fasting, and noticed that my running stamina improved markedly.

Much of what Dr. Mosley writes in The Fast Diet mirrored my personal experience. For example, hunger does diminish after a few weeks of intermittent fasting. As this book notes, this diet will lead to long-term changes toward food. Well, I looked forward to eating green veggies and avoiding decadent foods on days I could eat normally. I still eat junk food, but only when I am hungry, not bored. Although the Fast Diet focuses on two meals each fasting day, I would eat one large dinner because a single meal was more satisfying than several small ones.

This book also suggests getting support from family and friends. Unfortunately, I did not tell others about my diet because it had not made its way to the U.S. When I first did reveal my fasting, I was bombarded with well-meaning advice on how it was a dangerous fad diet. So instead, I joined a Facebook group of Alternate Day Fasters who were mostly from the UK. This group was so helpful for advice and support.

Soon, my pants began sagging off my waist and others were asking me if I was losing weight. I went to the doctor in early December and weighed in at 184 lbs, about a 30 lb loss in just four months! And my cholesterol and blood pressure had reduced to reasonable levels. The doctor told me to stop losing weight, since I had more muscle than average, so I could disregard the BMI or height-weight charts. Also my body fat % went down from 25% to 20% so I had lost mostly fat. Since then, I have maintained my weight doing two moderate fasts of 1,200 calories each week.

In the end, how do I evaluate this book? First of all, this diet works! It is easy to stick to long term for all-or-nothing types like me. Instead of reducing calories a little every day, I greatly reduce calories for two days a week, and eat normally on the others. And I love this diet's flexibility - no more going to parties and having to decline food.

As for the cons, similar information and other 5:2 recipes are available online so one does not necessarily have to buy this book. Still The Fast Diet is recommended for those who lack the time to find the information online. Also, one must also avoid the trap of overeating on non-fasting days. While I did have days of indulgence, most of my normal eating days were just that - normal. Please do not take this diet as a license to overeat unhealthily every non-fasting day.

Also, Dr. Mosley's 5:2 has not been the subject of as much research as has been done for Alternate daily fasting, where one fasts every other day. Most research on fasting's benefits was done on mice, not humans. Still, we are rapidly learning more about fasting and several studies have already come out since Mosley's Horizon Documentary, making the information in this book already slightly outdated, (Google Dr. Krista Varady for more details).

In the end, please get your doctor's approval if you decide to try the The Fast Diet. I wish you the best of luck and hope your experience will be as fruitful as mine.

Update (June 17, 2013): One of the mass media criticisms of the Fast Diet is that long-term weight maintenance would be difficult through fasting. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I am at my desired weight and find maintaining my weight so easy! It has now been 10 months since starting this eating plan and I have lost another 10 lbs since I wrote this review (for a total weight loss of around 45 lbs). Occasional fasts have become part of my lifestyle and it is so easy to do one or two fast days a week. And yes, I am still eating the forbidden foods, so I am amazed at how easy it is to maintain this weight!
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2014
As stated in the title of my review, I was skeptical that this diet really worked, but I am very happy to say that it does. I have been fasting 2 days a week for 3 weeks now, and I have lost 7 pounds.

3 weeks ago, I sat down at my computer and googled "New diet plans 2014" to see if there was anything new out there that could help me lose weight. I found this diet as one of the most popular mainly in the UK, but making its way to the States in the last year or so. I've been on every diet imaginable, but always found them too hard to stick to. I would do great for 4 or 5 days then eat something bad, feel like a failure, and blow the whole thing for the rest of the weekend, vowing to start anew Monday. This was my cycle.

Now, all of that has changed. I fast on Mondays and Thursdays and the rest of my days I do not count any calories. The trick is not to binge. Have the food you like, but eat it in moderation. For me, it is a head game. If I know I can't have potato chips for the next 6 months because I'm on a diet, I want a whole bag in one sitting. Now that I know I can have a small portion of chips with my sandwich at lunch time tomorrow, that small portion is wonderfully satisfying. I make healthier choices most of the time, but on the occasion that I want something sweet, I know that I'm not "ruining my diet". The feeling of wanting to binge is completely eliminated following this diet. Have you ever dreaded the start of a diet on Monday and said to yourself, 'well I better eat one last delicious meal because after tomorrow I can't have anything like this for the next few months'? I have. And I will never say that again.

This diet takes very little thought or preparation. It is so easy. It fits into your everyday life. The author of this book realizes that in a perfect world we would all live on fruits, vegetables, and lean meats every day of our lives and never eat another morsel outside of that. But that is simply not realistic. With the Fast Diet, you don't have to go off your diet just because you have a birthday party, a night out with friends, or a Holiday coming up. It works with your schedule. I know that I can do this for the rest of my life.

I have read a lot of reviews that say you don't really have to read the book to follow this diet, and that is technically true, but there is some good scientific information in there, as well as some motivation and details that make you think. It's an easy, quick read so I highly recommend just doing it. I want to read it again just to go over the parts I loved about it.

Now, let's get real. The first two weeks of fasting days were hard. I was hungry. Very hungry. I had a constant headache all 4 fasting days the first two weeks, and my 2nd fast day felt like it would never end. But I got through it, and you will too. A lot of reviewers have said it, and I will say it too: it does get easier. My third week of fasting went much better. The headaches were either short or didn't come at all. I am on my 4th week and my 7th fast day today and I am hungry, but it is bearable. Like the author says in the book many times, it is easy to withhold calories from yourself for one day, when you know that tomorrow you can have whatever you want.

I really cannot believe it is working. I'm amazed. Remember that your scale with fluctuate. You will lose weight on the days you fast, then gain some back on your non fast days. That is normal. But you will lose it, just don't give up. When you're stomach is growling, your head is hurting, and you are irritable, think about what you will eat tomorrow. Whether you really end up eating that or not (most of the time you won't) it will help to visualize it.

Buy the book, read it, watch the documentary, put the Fast Diet into practice, and you will see the scale go down, and it won't even feel like you're on a diet.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2013
I am 55 years old and post-menopausal. What this diet seems to do (that others have not) is that through fasting your system seems to be shocked just enough to let the weight loss process actually begin and progress. I have lost about 18 pounds in two months. The fasting was a little bit difficult at first but now I look forward to those days - both physically and mentally. Previous to fasting, and menopause!, it did not seem that I could move my weight more than a couple of pounds and then gain it right back. I just feel so much healthier.
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146 of 166 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2013
I'm one of those people who always has 10lbs to lose, and despite multiple diets over the past few years, I have only managed to gain and regain within the 5lb range (I've tried low carb, low kcal, retro Grapefruit/ 3 day diets, plant based, paleo, VLC, Atkins fat fast... you name it, I've tried it). Some how, I have never been able to stick to any of these diets, because ultimately, I get bored of them and start craving things like BBQ flavored Kettle Chips and Reeses pieces.

For some reason, I managed to GAIN 4lbs during one of the elimination diets (yes, the one on the current NYT list) last month, spending miserable hours trying to ensure that I abstain from soy, gluten, dairy, etc etc etc. Miserable that I broke my weight record by 4lbs after being so "good" on a diet, I randomly looked up the diet books on amazon.co.uk. The Fast Diet came up, and I've never looked back since.

What's amazing about the 5:2 diet is that you are allowed to eat whatever you want for the rest of the week. Now, I am one of those people who, when I'm told I can't eat a specific food group (carbs, sugar, artificial sweeteners, gluten, high GI foods, etc), I actually cannot stop thinking about them. This diet allows me to only watch what I eat for only 2 days a week, which --to me-- feels like a breeze, especially when I tell myself that I can eat whatever I want the next day. (Usually I just try to go to bed earlier so I can wake up early and start eating!!!) I've been repeatedly amazed when I discover that I've LOST weight after a week of cupcakes, fancy restaurant dinners, and the occasional reeses pieces indulgence. The key is really NOT to think about what to eat during the non-fast days. If you try to stick to a low kcal diet, or try to impose another diet during the non-fast days, it probably would not work as much. The whole point of the 5:2 diet is that it allows you a certain degree of freedom for most of the week where you have the flexibility to attend parties, go to business lunches, drink the occassional sugary cocktail, late night BonChon binge, etc.

If you are one of those people with an avid social schedule, this diet would be PERFECT for you. If, on the other hand, you are one of those ppl who needs to be told exactly what to eat and would prefer an extremely structured plan, then something like Ian Smith's Shred would be optimal.

Personally, I love this lifestyle. I normally just do Mondays and Thursdays for my fast days, which are days when I am busy and tend to "grab something" to eat anyways. I still have my weekends, and I can still schedule lunches and dinners and froyo/ burger/ tequila shot meetups with my friends MOST OF THE TIME, which is amazing considering the fact that this would be virtually impossible in any other diet. (Even for diets that allow you a "cheat day" (Choose to Lose, slow carb, etc)-- that's only 1 treat day, right? This diet allows for 5!!!) One you realize there are 5 days in the week in which you can eat anything, you tend to eat normally-- not binge-- which is exactly what happened to me.

I've found out that this diet does not need much effort to stick to, since I am only paying attention 2 days/ week, instead of being super stressed out 24/ 7, thinking about what to eat next/ what to buy from grocery/ what I cannot eat. This allows me to stick to this diet during an important project. In the past, I would always gain weight during stressful periods, since I usually would not have the time to watch what I eat. This completely changed with the Fast Diet.

One tip would be to bulk up on the veggies. One big bag of frozen broccoli is only 120kcals, and you can eat that with a steamed/ grilled chicken breast (140 kcals) and make it a quite filling dinner. The book contains quite a lot of recipes for the fast days as well, although I haven't really tried them since I've been too lazy to measure out everything. For on-the-go meals (for times when I am too lazy to cook), I tend to gravitate towards Vega One Bars, Journey Bars, fruits, and boiled eggs. (2 boiled eggs + 1 apple= about 250 kcals)

Now, the results! Without much effort at all -- and in the midst of completing a huge, stressful, binge-inducing project -- I lost 7lbs in one month! That didn't feel like a diet at all! Simply amazing.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2014
I have never been overweight. I'm one of those women who is semi-conscious of weight, but still likes to eat, so I could get rather "puffy" but always stopped myself short when I began to feel too big. I know a lot of people like me are out there, so this review is for you.

The lowest I could ever get my BMI was 21.5, and that was my ultimate low, seen only in the summer after a long hiking trip or after a successful period of calorie restriction. I have a small frame, so I still looked doughy at that weight. I thought I should try to get below that BMI of 21.5, but was convinced for years that it was impossible. I started fasting mainly to get a head start on losing my Christmas weight at the beginning of 2013. My weight normally doesn't budge downward until May, but I started March 1, 2013 weighing 142 and by May 15, I weighed 134 (BMI of around 20). It may seem like a small loss, but I hadn't seen 140 on my scales in, like 8 years. Since then, I have kept to fasting two days per week, and have never gone above 134. In fact, I dipped down to 127 for a period, but mainly held it at 130 until the holidays.

I feel like the past year has been like a psychological detox for me. I am as precise as I can be about the 500 calories on fast days, but on feed days, I do not "watch it" at all. And I do overeat, or else I would keep losing on the 5:2, but it's nothing to beat myself up about because I am happy with how I look now.

For the first time in a long time, I did not have "lose weight" as one of my new years resolutions for 2014! Instead I am focused on eating healthier food on my feed days because I do think I got a little malnourished eating junk food on feed days (because I could!!). I also think it may have helped my memory, I am a student and am a lot more efficient at memorizing things now, although that may be because I have been doing it longer now.

Try it! It might work for you! And if it doesn't try something else--we are all different.
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73 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2013
I bought THE FAST DIET: LOSE WEIGHT, STAY HEALTHY, AND LIVE LONGER..., by Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, for my Kindle after seeing a report about it on my local news channel (I haven't seen the documentary on this diet, also by the authors, but it's sounds interesting).

That was about 9-weeks ago and so far I've lost 10-pounds. I'm not obese, just overweight and looking to lose about 20-pounds, and so that's why I wanted to try out this diet. I quit smoking about 5-6 years ago and gained about 30-pounds after that and it's been tough trying to lose that excess weight, even though I exercise, because I love to eat.

Anyway, the book is well written, easy to read, and contains case studies and research into various diets that include some form of fasting. The authors experiment on themselves and come up with a plan that seems to work, actually be doable, and that's what they pass along to the reader.

The book also has recipes and guidelines and what to expect when you begin.

Really the plan is VERY SIMPLE: you simply fast on two non-consecutive days a week, not really fasting just eating 600 calories or less for men; 500 or less for women on those "fast" days, and eat whatever you like on the non-fast days. That's it.

So technically you don't have to read this book to get started, and you can find recipes online for meals that are 500/600 calories, but by doing so you kind of cheat yourself out of the wealth of information that the authors supply in the book and why they arrive at 5:2 being the most successful plan of attack.

What this really boils down to, and why it works, is simple math: by doing the 5:2 diet you're cutting out almost 4,000 calories a week for men (based upon Recommended Daily/dietary Allowance of 2,500 calories). You will lose weight by doing so.

Another reason why it works it because you don't overeat on the normal eating days. I thought I was going to be ravenous the next day after a fast, but I wasn't. In fact, I just ate as I normally would. Another interesting phenomenon was that I thought I would be starving on those fast days but that wasn't the case at all, either. I just eat one-protein source (meat or fish) and lots of vegetables (broccoli or spinach or both) and maybe a salad. I might add in a protein shake if I'm still a little hungry, but that's it. Sometimes the protein shake would put me over the 600-calorie mark, but even still, I'm cutting out over 1,000 for that day, which is good.

The 5:2 diet is totally customizable and you don't have to stick with it to the letter like other diet plans, which is why I believe is another reason it works. I've skipped several fast days because of plans that would make controlling calorie intake impossible and just continued on the following week, so it's not a big deal to miss a fast day when life happens to curtail it.

I've seen newspaper reports that say how dangerous this diet is etc., and that people should stick with a normal diet blah-blah-blah, but if we could do that we wouldn't be overweight in the first place. However, this doesn't mean that you should throw out all commonsense when it comes to your dietary habits on normal days. You should still eat or strive to eat more vegetables and fruit on the days when you don't fast. This diet just makes it possible to cut calories without doing that every-single day, which can burn you out. And once you get down to your goal weight, you may cut back the fasting days to just once a week. Very do-able.

I haven't tried any of the recipes that are in the book, for some reason I can't follow a recipe for one small meal because I feel like if I'm going to go through the trouble of preparing it that meal better last for more than just one sitting, but they look pretty tasty.

Here's some tips that helped me get started:

* Plan Meals In Advance (for your fasting days) *
Believe me you don't want to be figuring out what to eat when you've gone from morning to night with just 90-calories in your stomach. And eating out, unless you know for a fact how many calories are in the meal, isn't a good idea since you can't control how many calories you're consuming.

* Know Your Body *
This was very important because I'm normally a very light breakfast eater, having no appetite the mornings, so I always eat just one Yoplait light (90-calories) for breakfast. When I started the 5:2 diet, I started getting or actually feeling light-headed before lunch, which is silly because I didn't do anything out of the ordinary on that day, so it was psychological. But you've got to know that before-hand otherwise you'd think it was really because of fasting.

* Add An Egg To Your Meal *
This tip was given to me by another reviewer who read the book before me (thanks, Lee) and eggs, either soft or hard boiled, really fill you up.

* Get A Calorie App *
I use both Calorie Counter (by Fat Secret) and My Fitness Pal, which are both available for free and work either for Android and iPhone OS (operating systems), and these apps help tremendously with keeping track of caloric intake. I think they work better than using a scale.

* Green and/or Black Tea *
Have these tea bags on hand because they're great to drink on fast days because the warmth is comforting and they fill you up.

Also, don't worry about your body going into starvation mode and holding onto every little calorie you eat because you aren't fasting for prolonged periods of time.

I also recommend choosing your fasting days on the days when you have very little physical activity, at least in the beginning, until you find out how your body reacts to the drop in calories. I don't exercise on those days, although I feel that I can now, but I don't want to over do it.

You'll also notice that your weight will go down dramatically after the fasting days, but tends to normalize after a few days of regular eating, so if you're going to record your weight and keep score, go by the number you get after eating normally. You can weigh yourself after the second fast day, but just know that your weight will go back up during that same week, giving the illusion that you're actually gaining weight (because that initial number is inaccurate and some of it is water weight that is lost), so it can be disheartening to see the scale going back up. A better barometer is how your clothes are fitting, but if you go by the other number you'll see that you'll be losing a pound a week or so.

IF you have a physically demanding job that requires a lot of physical exertion, but then you'd probably be in good physical shape already, I wouldn't advise doing the fast on those days.

This diet is NOT recommended for diabetics or people with eating disorders or young adults under the age of 18.
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