Weight Loss NHS

My previous post

Thank you to everyone who responded to my previous post on 'Taking the misery out of the weight loss process' which I posted a couple of days ago.

The majority of people who responded recommended the 5:2 diet to me and asked if I knew about it. I have always been aware of this diet but I have never thought about trying it. But hey, I've tried almost everything else so I'm willing to give it a go and the fact that a significant amount of people on this website recommend it is quite motivational.

Before trying this diet, I have risen a few questions to myself and I wondered if anyone on here could answer them using their own experiences or knowledge. Such as:

Do you have to exercise regularly in order for this diet to work or would it depend on how much you eat on non fasting days? If you do exercise, is it easier to exercise on non fasting days or fasting days?

Also the diet states that on non-fasting days, you can eat 'normally' - I would imagine that if I ate what I normally eat on these days, it would probably make up for the fasting days by itself or maybe add an even bigger total to my weekly calorie intake causing weight gain anyway! So I would imagine it really means that you can eat normally but not in the excessive amounts that you usually eat - as mentioned before, I have a problem with portion sizes! I was thinking maybe on non-fasting days eating what I want but making sure the total calorie intake is equal to a recommended daily intake e.g. 2500 for me as I am male. Any advice or experiences shared with me would be appreciated.

I will give this a go


8 Replies

If you are considering it then you should first talk to your GP to see if it is suitable for you. Not everyone can fast safely. You will not see results over night. Maybe it will take 6 weeks + likely to be of benefit if you are strict to the plan. Some claim they have side effects...some don't. Make sure you're ready for this as this is not a short term goal. Be sure to take vitamins & supplements to give your body the essential nutrients as you go along this diet. Good Luck George!


It's only fasting on two non-consecutive days a week such as Monday and Thursday, not fasting every day, so problematic side-effects are exceedingly rare.

1 like


I know that 5:2 would not suit me although I know it does a lot of people. I lost weight and kept it off by following the 12 week plan. My problem was portion sizes too so I got in the habit of weighing rice, pasta etc and am now content with the smaller portions. Using smaller plates helps!

I think the 'normal' on the 5:2 is your recommended calorie intake. Hopefully Gingernut will respond, she knows about 5:2. (you could do a search for her posts.) Whatever you decide good luck with your journey, it makes so much difference to everything being fitter.


Here I am - I've been away on holiday in Greece and have found it hard to keep up on here!

Between watching the inspirational Horizon programme bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b... in August 2012 and Kate Harrison bringing out her book amazon.co.uk/Feast-Weight-B... in the November I wasn't sure what to do but I did realise that I ought to watch portion sizes - so I switched to eating from smaller plates and stopped nibbling after my evening meal.

Did you watch the little video

I posted which gives the basics?

Regarding exercise, no, you don't have to exercise to lose on the diet, but by January I'd lost two stone and felt marvellous, and I read about the NHS Couch to 5K running programme nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/... so, aged 63, off I went! I always run on my fasting days as I feel lighter and more energetic - and it keeps me away from the kitchen!

Regarding what to eat on non-fasting days, try not to eat more than your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) thefastdiet.co.uk/how-many-... but you will actually find that your appetite reduces and the hearty breakfast you look forward to when you're on a fasting day, isn't nearly as appealing when you wake up!

Men find the 5:2 diet particularly effective and (grrrr) always lose weight quicker than us gals with our hormones!

Do start by watching the Horizon programme - if you're outside the UK then I can give you another link.

If you have any other questions please send me a message as those go directly to my email.

Best wishes



Hello again George. With regards to portion size...I too have had a problem with that and snacking, albeit only fruit and yogurt. What the 5:2 does for me is that it seems to reduce my appetite on "normal days", hence portion control is no longer a problem. Also I fill up with veg rather that carbs.

Hope this helps you to decide.


Any healthy eating plan is going to require discipline and real will to lose the weight. No diet will do it for you. If you are talking about the 3-1-2-1 diet in Dolvett Quinces's book, your two free days are still calorie restricted. Exercise is critical in that diet as well. Some great exercises outlined in the book but, you still have to do them. This National Health plan is one of the best that I have encountered. Quite a shock when you see that oatcake that you would love in the afternoon is loaded with calories. I don't feel deprived on this plan at all and if I do, a little cheat now and then does not blow the whole thing.


Hi georgeSY,

Whatever weight loss regime you intend to use, I would always say to you that if you have any underlying medical issues then check with your GP/Nurse as to how they might impinge upon your weight loss efforts and vice versa.

The main benefit of increased exercise / physical activity - it doesn't necessarily have to be sporty or gym-based - is that it brings about changes in your endocrine system and different levels of certain hormones are secreted. In particular, hormones that impact upon such bodily functions as fat storage, fat burning, feelings of hunger and feelings of satiation. So increased exercise / activity will aid your weight loss efforts.

Any weight loss programme requires you to eat moderately, so an awareness of portion-size will become necessary and also to eat sensibly, so an awareness of what your food contains will also become necessary. And that's part of a weight loss regime. The re-training / the learning curve, or if you like the 'taking control of what / how much you eat'.

Whether you apply the main focus of that to two days in a week or all seven is up to you, but long term weight loss, as opposed to losing weight and putting it all back on again a few months later, is really a matter of ditching the 'bad' eating habits which caused you to become overweight in the first place.

As others have said, even on the 5:2 type of regime, it seems that as you start to make changes, even for just two days a week, then your tastes and you penchant for huge portions is inclined to change.

At one level that doesn't surprise me. I was brought up in a family where two spoons of sugar in tea was the norm. One day I decided to ditch the sugar - I think driven by the idea it was bad for my teeth. Only a couple of days later my sister accidentally forgot and put sugar in my tea and it tasted absolutely disgustingly sweet. And that was only a couple of days after having ditched the sugar.


Loads of good advice already given. I have just a little to add. i think that gym/exercise should be thought of differently from dieting/new eating patterns. The exercise is for both health and fitness, to imrove cardiovascular function, to improve flexibility and, I hope, add to physical strength. When people work out calories used in exercise there is a temptation to eat them - you know, cancel them out. This is seductive but makes little sense as it slows weight loss. Also the calorie counters on equipment are not necessarily accurate. Most importantly, people forget that we use energy (calories) just to stay alive so whatever the calorie useage is within exercise we would have had to have used some to keep breathing/walking/shopping/chewing or whtever else. So eating the calories expended is likely to be overeating.

In terms of eatling, one of the men at the class that I go to was asked how he kept on losing well - usually four or five poinds a week. He said that when he is thinking of eating something that he knows is no so good for the healthy eating programme that he is on just syas to himself, 'Are you serious about losing weight or not?' it was a throwaway line but it has helped me loads of times.

This is the life that we have - we can kid ourselves about our intent or just get serious - and yes, there will be times when things seem to go backwards and times when they seem irretrieveable - but that's how it goes. Getting back on track is hard but necessary as we recalibrate our lives, priorieis and intentions.

So good luck and try to give yourself the best chance of getting where you'd like to be and expect it to take time (with many pats on the back at each stage).


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