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on 28 January 2013
I just wanted to share my experience with anyone thinking about starting on this diet.

I consider myself a yo-yo dieter. Once committed to a diet I do stick to it. The trouble for me arises at Christmas, birthdays and other special occasions. I think to myself, for the next week I will treat myself, it's only Christmas or my birthday once a year right? Wrong.

This is a trigger for me. Once I have fallen off the wagon I am in big trouble and usually put the majority of the weight back on. Kidding myself that I will start again on Monday, but never following through. Only being jolted back into action when I approach my heaviest weight. The trouble is I have been "dieting", trying to control my daily calorie intake, essentially denying myself food. What I really needed was to establish a new relationship with my food. A relationship where there is no proverbial wagon to fall off... This is exactly what the Fast Diet is.

The principle is simple: two days a week you fast, sticking to 500 calories for women or 600 calories for men, and for the other five days you eat what you like. I eat breakfast (toast and two poached eggs) and dinner (fish/chicken with plenty vegetables) on my fast days, and pretty much what I like on feed days. Initially I thought I would be tempted to over eat on feed days - but I found the opposite is true. Once you have had the determination to fast for a day, the next day you feel satisfied with smaller portions. You also don't want to undo all the effort from your fast days and that adds another motivating factor to the mix. I found myself averaging around 1,900 calories on feed days and feeling perfectly well fed.

The first few days of fasting were really tough, but I stuck with it. For me it took about six fasting days before I began to consider it easy to do. I found sipping water throughout the day, around 4-5 litres, really helped keep the hunger at bay during this settling in phase. I cannot drink black coffee or tea, so I added a little milk and tracked that in my daily calorie intake (around 15 cals per cup). I didn't experience any headaches or tiredness and I am able to walk for 1 hour on fast days no problem at all. I don't feel like I am living on the bare minimum amount of energy to stay alive.

I don't consider this method a diet. You can look at your working week and choose what days you are going to fast. I personally always fast on Mondays, and I am flexible with my second fast day depending on what is happening during that particular week. While on the diet I have woken up on what was supposed to be a fast day only to decide that I need to eat something more that 600 calories. On previous diets I would feel terrible about it, triggering a spiral of eating that gets out of control. On this diet all I do is start the fast again the next day. There is no reason to beat yourself up if you slip up on this diet.

So now - the important part, how much have I lost? Well following this diet since the Horizon programme in September I have lost well over two stone, and feel a hell of a lot better inside as well as outside.

Best £3 you will spend this year.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 January 2013
The best review on here is that of Mike C from 31/12/12. So good, in fact, that I haven't bothered to buy the book! Why? Well, I saw the original Horizon, back in August, so I know the how & why of the diet; I'm a perfectly competent cook, so I don't need the recipes; the rest of it is padding to me as much as it is to Mike. Why am I here, then? Well, just in case you need any further persuasion to invest in this, I thought I'd add my two penn'orth, plus I'd like to mention a a few points that I think are particularly worth considering.

I experimented with the diet after the programme was shown, then had a very dissolute December, knowing full well that I was going to go at it full tilt in the New Year. I started on the 2nd, 19 days later, I've dropped 10 lbs with no problems, no loss of energy (I play squash vigorously, and 5-a-side when I can get a game), and no trouble sticking with the plan. So, yes it works. Absolutely.

However, the most important point to emphasise is that this not a weight loss diet. Weight loss is entirely a side effect of the real purpose of the diet, which is to prolong life. It's a milder version of Alternate Day Fasting. This is scientifically unproven as yet, but is said to reduce the chance of developing various cancers, and to help manage a variety of conditions / illnesses wide enough to include diabetes & arthritis. What tends to get the headlines is the fact that on your Fast days, you cut your calories to a quarter of the recommended. What is more significant is reducing your protein intake. This is said to force your body from "growth mode" into "repair mode" where, instead of creating new cells, the body attempts to repair damaged ones. Since cancers are essentially uncontrolled cell growth, it's obvious how this diet could help; equally, repairing damaged cells will presumably help with any number of ailments, aches & pains.

Personally, I'm no fan of calorie counting. The vast majority of people have no idea what a calorie really is or how it's measured. Therefore, my advice is don't fuss too much about the limits. For a man, you're supposed to keep the protein under 35g & the calories to no more than 600. If you stick to the protein limit & bust the calorie limit by a couple of hundred, it's not going to hurt you. It's the protein limit, I think, that is more significant in switching to repair mode. I've been varying between a 4:3 & 5:2 version of the diet, and I've probably hit 8-900 calories on half the Fast days & still shed pounds plenty quick.

Key psychological point: you don't actually feel like you're on a diet. There is no constant struggle to discipline yourself day after day after day. Five days a week, you eat normally; two days you fast. You can do two days consecutively (I was doing Sun & Mon last year), you can split them, it really doesn't matter. But it isn't difficult, on a single day, to adjust your diet, knowing full well you can eat what the heck you like the next!

As far as food goes, it's quite simple. On Fast days, cut your protein down, cut out the standard starchy staples (spuds, pasta, rice, bread). Eat plenty of non-root vegetables, along with some chicken or fish & you're pretty much there. Even if you're not much of a cook, or short on time, it doesn't take much to grab some mixed frozen veg from the freezer (beans, sprouts, casserole veg, broccoli, cauliflower, that sort of thing) & flash it in the microwave. Fresh or frozen, you can always pep things up with herbs, a sprinkling of seeds (fennel, caraway, etc), or a few splashes of soy / oyster / Worcester / Tabasco sauce. Plenty of variety there, so it doesn't get boring either.

Final trick: drink plenty; sip, sip, sip throughout the day. Now, you are allowed black coffee / tea on the diet, but I don't drink either, so I just drink water. The important thing is sip, sip, sip, though. On a fast day, I'm typically drinking 3-4 litres, which gives the system a good flush, as well! But it's not a huge glug followed by nothing for hours. Sipping throught the day keeps the hunger pangs at bay and makes it easy to stick to. And it's only for one day, remember!

For me, the diet isn't much of an adjustment. I don't east fast food or much by way of sweets / dessert, most supermarket ready meals tend to be fairly healthy anyway, and I cook a lot, freezing & re-heating a good deal of it, so there's always plenty of quick food for office days, when I'm out very early & back late. For you, it might be more of a change. If it is, though, you're likely to see even more of a benefit. Being down so many pounds already, I'm dropping the 4:3 version of the diet this week. Once I'm in the shape I want to be in, 5:2 will probably become 6:1, as Michael Mosley has done. But it's an effective diet, an easy one to follow, and one that I will probably follow for the rest of my life. Try it & see for yourself!
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on 5 March 2016
Watched the series so decided to buy the book, best thing I ever did, after reading the book I commenced the "diet" phase and have had excellent results, what Michael states in the book is true, the hunger pains do pass and there are nice selections of herbal teas which surprisingly helps in sticking to the "fast". This is not for those who do not wish to have a life long "cure" to a weight problem and you do change your eating habits, the way you shop and start checking your food properties even closer than ever! Treats are allowed on the non fast days but the book makes the most sense I have read in years. Did take me a good 3 weeks to fully digest the contents of book (excuse the pun) but I felt I needed to read to accept the changes I need to make to my diet, so much so I found myself unconsciously changing my diet before before I actually started. I never weighed myself but knew I was loosing weight as uniform felt looser and this is my drive. From the moment I purchased the book to the end of the first fast - a matter for just over 3 weeks I had lost half a stone. Well worth a go.
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on 10 October 2013
Excellent way to lose weight. Been doing this for 6 weeks and regularly lose 2lb a week. find it easy to do.
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on 17 March 2013
Has a health care professional i found this book very interesting and makes perfect sense to me. In reality the book only takes about 90 mins to read on the science of it all and get the idea which is actually very straight forward. The book contains menu suggestions, other peoples experiences, also recipe ideas for fasting days. I dont weight myself as dont want weight loss to be the focus...but i do feel lighter!
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on 7 March 2016
The theory behind this diet is that within a couple of hours of fasting (no food) the body turns off the fat storing cells, and goes into fat burning mode. I tried fasting, and it was awful. The writer does state problems that could occur (short term) and for me it was really bad headaches. I never suffer from headaches normally, but within a few hours of fasting they were really bad, and prevented me functioning properly. That was enough for me to abandon this. I accept people react differently, but I would not do this again. ***Update. A reviewer suggested I try more water to make the headaches go. I tried again and was successful. Good advice. I am currently drinking 2 litres of water a day, and managing this diet now, Thanks..***
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on 6 April 2013
I am (or was) a typical 43 year old bloke, I like a pint or 6 on a Friday night and the odd bottle of wine in the evening. I love food, travel and socialising. Inevitably this lead to middle age spread, as it has with all my friends of a similar age. 5"11 and 13.5 stone.

So of course I've tried diets, and stick to them quite well in the typical yo-yo fashion, only to end up even bigger 6 months later.

So 7 months ago a friend mentioned he had seen the Horizon TV program and was going on the 5:2 Fasting Diet. He said it was for the health benefits and not to lose weight (think he felt it wasn't a blokey thing to do, to go on a diet). So I watched the program and decided to join him on it.

I changed nothing else in my life, still binge drinking more than I mean to and eating out etc (some things are much harder to change in life, but I'm only human:)

To my surprise I found it very easy to stick to. I had a headache a couple of times on the first few weeks so had my doubts, but after a few months, because you feel so much better, it becomes a joy to be on. Of course there are "fast" days when your tummy rumbles in the evening after you have used your 500/600 calories, but it's not going to kill you and it's only until breakfast next day, which tastes so much better.

7 months in and I've lost just short of 2 stone. The weight loss has slowed to a almost a stop which is a relief as I was going to have to alter the diet some how as I had reached my target weight and didn't want to get too skinny (a nice problem to have). My resting heart rate has dropped considerably which is probably why the weight loss has almost stopped (my metabolism seems to have slowed). I don't get out of breath and I'm much fitter.

I can't see myself ever coming off this diet as my relationship with food is at an all time high. No guilty feeling when you have enjoyed a nice meal. Everything just tastes so much better. You know how towards the end of Christmas or Easter you just stop enjoying food because your so fed up of binging, well reverse that feeling and times it by 10. Even Bran Flakes after a fasting day tastes good. Even beer tastes better :)

There have been some poor reviews of this diet, but I think they just miss the point. The government and doctors are very good at telling us what we should be doing, but we already know what we should be doing, we just can't stick to it. We are genetically programmed to eat food when it's available. Years of natural selection have meant "survival of the fattest" during times of famine. It's not our fault, but to me this way of eating is how our bodies are designed to live. We were never designed to graze continuously very palatable and calorie dense food that is available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Well that's my rant over, to the book. It's £4 and I enjoyed reading it, it filled in some gaps. It's written by the guy who started it all for me and not one of the copy cat books. Good science in it. Buy it.

Just one more thing. Thank you Dr. Mosley. You have improved my life, and probably my life expectancy. I've two teenage daughters and I'm sure they will appreciate having me around in good health for longer. I've started walking now as I can now get up the hills, so if I see you on one of your walks, and it's not a fast day, I'll buy you a pint :)

UPDATE...2016
Well it's 2016. Am I still on the 5:2? Well actually, yes, I am. What other diet could you stick to for years that would actually bring health benefits? Some weeks I don't love 5:2 as much as I did in the beginning and the novelty has certainly worn off, but I'm still a great advocate of the 5:2 and I'm so glad I found it. I can't even say for certain that I would still be alive had those stones of fat still been round my waste, who can say.

Half a stone has snuck back on over the past couple of years but that still leaves me 2 stone lighter than I was when I bought the book 4 years ago. My fat friends (sorry) say to me "you still doing that daft 5:2 thing?", all having lost a few stone themselves on other diets only to put them back on again. I miss out 5:2 the odd week now such as holidays, Christmas etc, and I'm not always as strict on the 600 calories as I was in the beginning, hence the extra few pounds I guess, but I'm still happy with my weight which is well within the healthy range.

I hope my review makes you buy this book as it is life changing. Those friends that I have been able to convince certainly think so and look great for it. I'm convinced that I will be updating this review again with a similar comment in a few years time. Thanks again Michael Mosley.

Sean (Marske-by-the-Sea)
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on 12 May 2013
Easy to read
Easy to remember
Easy to put into practice
Easy to lose weight
Easy to adopt as a life syle.
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on 20 March 2013
I watched the Horizon program some time after it was broadcast as I had recorded it. I bought the book on Amazon and had started reading it. It also gave me a nudge to have my blood pressure and cholesterol checked and I found out to my astonishment and horror that my cholesterol (bad) was higher than it had ever been despite eating healthily, everything low fat, loads of veg. and fruit, seeds and some nuts. I just couldn't understand it and I can't even now. I am 5'9" tall and although I did put some weight on in my later years(I am 66), I never thought myself as overweight to start going on a diet. The results of my tests gave me the impetus to start on the 2/5 regime and if loss of weight is part of the positive result, then all the better. I tend to stick to nearly the same menus each time and thoroughly enjoy it. I love my porridge and the blueberries or other fruit gives it some freshness. (I have noticed though that the calories given for blueberries don't add up. In the recipe it says: 145g = 37kcal but in the table it says 100g= 60kcal. In the scheme of things I don't think it matters too much but if you are really calorie counting it does.)I also love the variety of vegetables I am using, cooked to a soft crunch. Sometimes I can't finish what's on the plate despite sticking near enough to 500kcal a day. I need to go back for tests in early may and I hope the results will be positive. My clothes are certainly telling me that it is working on the weight score ( had to haul up my jeans in the supermarket despite wearing a belt). Looking forward to carrying on, had my porridge this morning and will have a delicious vegetable stir fry tonight with perhaps some fish. Will be back in May. Regards to all
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on 12 March 2013
Saw the Horizon programme last year, tried fasting for two days a week for a couple of months, then went abroad for several months of eating and drinking and forgetting about any regime at all. When I came back to what passes for normality round here I decided to do it again and buy the book as a prompt - on Kindle so I'll have it to refer to easily. It really is simple to do, I don't actually feel hungry even though my method is to not eat anything at all until I have a bowl of soup or a salad in the evening. This diet gives you lots of options, you suit yourself and it doesn't matter if you are doing it to lose weight (slowly) or just to be healthier - a bit of both for me. 500 calories on fasting days for a woman (600 for men), twice a week, then eat normally the other 5 days. Very do-able.
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