As I have mentioned in some previous blog posts I follow the 5:2 diet. This means that for 2 days of the week I just consume 500 calories (600 for a man) and then rest of the time I eat "normally"….by normally I mean around 2000 calories a day (2400 for men). When I originally started this diet, I didn't lose anything but that was because I thought you could literally eat what you want on the "normal" days and so was going food crazy - this is not the case, if you consume a lot more that your recommended amount, this diet won't have the correct effect.
The diet is based on intermittent fasting which not only helps you lose weight but also allows you to enjoy a wide range of health benefits such as improvements in your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity.
The weight loss is slow, around a pound or two a week, however it is consistent. I have been doing it since January and it is the only diet I have ever stuck to properly…..and I have been dieting for nearly 25 years!!!
Right - the days of 500/600 calories aren't easy but actually they are not too bad. I keep myself going by thinking of what I can eat the next day….chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! The funny thing is the next day you feel so good, you don't want to stuff yourself with sugar. I am having a "2" day today and I am dreaming of eating my Millionaire Shortbread for breakfast but I know I won't….I will probably have an apple.
The one thing that is hard on a "2" day is adding variety to your meal plan and also I don't want my daughter to know that I am cutting my calories so I try to eat as normal as possible. I eat a lot of soup, eggs, salads, fish, fruit and stir fry. Then I add potatoes or pasta or something to Arabella and Pascal's meals. If you are happy to eat ready made food, supermarkets do a wide range of meals for 300 calories but I prefer to make everything as fresh as possible.
Here are some of my regular meals for a 500/600 calorie day:
1. 60g smoked salmon, 2 large eggs scrambled with a dash of skimmed milk, salt and pepper and a few chives. Fry Light (one calorie spray) is my secret weapon - it prevents me ever having to use oil. Total calories = 270 calories
2. 120g salmon fillet with 150g broccoli and 10ml soy sauce. I bake the salmon and broccoli in the oven at 180 C for 15 minutes and add a squeeze of lemon to the fish. Total calories = 288 calories.
3. 130g fresh tuna and 160g broccoli. We sprayed the tuna with some Fry Light and then put it on the barbecue for a couple of minutes each side and roasted the broccoli as before. Total calories = 239 calories.
4. 600g New Covent Garden wild mushroom soup. I eat the whole carton and it is very filling. Total calories = 162 calories.
5. 280g mixed mushroom stir fry with a packet of Slim Pasta spaghetti and 15ml soy sauce. The Slim Pasta is from Whole Foods or Holland and Barrett - it is a poor substitute for noodles or spaghetti but it is only 40 calories so does come in useful! Once again I used Fry Light for my wok. Total Calories = 210 calories.
6. I love a salad - here I have added 75g of roasted garlic and parsley prawns, 70g of lambs lettuce & rocket, 5 cherry tomatoes, 20g reduced fat feta cheese and 30ml of pizza express house dressing. Total calories = 266 calories.
7. A ham omelette made with 2 medium eggs and a few slices of wafer thin ham and of course….Fry Light. Plus some cucumber on the side. Total calories = 195 calories.
I always save my meal for the evening so I can eat with my family. For the rest of the day I will have a coffee with skimmed milk when I wake up (12 calories) and then I will snack on fruit such as a pink lady apple (47 calories), a nectarine (43 calories), a plum (25 calories). I also adore the miso soup sachets which are only 18 calories and every night I have a chocolate highlights drink which is just 40 calories….my treat! Celery and cucumber are good to eat as well as they are low cal and I drink a lot of water and herbal tea.
I will add more meals as I go on - I haven't weighed myself for a while so I can't tell you exactly how successful this diet has actually been but my clothes are fitting better and I feel good. It is strange but I even look forward to my "2" days as I have a tendency to over eat at times and it keeps me on the straight and narrow.
Right now back to dreaming of sugar!!