Festive fasting: top 3 tips for 5:2ing over the holidays
This will be my fourth festive season doing 5:2 – and I find that by combining celebratory food with the occasional fast, I don’t tend to put on any weight at all – so I can have my Christmas cake (and mince pies, and Lindor truffles, and cheese…), and still fit into that favourite dress on New Year’s Eve!
Here are my top tips for staying on track with 5:2 over the holidays – without feeling you’re missing out in any way.
You can also download these Festive Top 3 Tips from Kate Harrison’s at the5-2dietbook.com to print out and keep handy!
1. Plan fast/limited days in advance. Take a look at your diary for the whole festive period and choose 1-2 days per week for either proper Fast Days OR ones where you restrict to only eating at mealtimes and load up on veg rather than treats. Days when you’re travelling can work well, or days at home between visiting friends and family as you have more control.
2. Be creative: try time-limited approaches like 16:8 (where you only eat between 12 and 8 for example, in an 8-hour ‘window’) as a way to enjoy treats but not graze/treat 24/7.
3. Don’t beat yourself up for Tinsel T.I.T.S.U.P. (Temporary Interruption to Scheme, Un-Planned) Days: Christmas/Winter holidays only happen once a year and the point about 5:2 is it fits in with your life, including celebrations. Focus on making healthy choices but don’t worry if you fancy nuts, extra turkey, that glass of sherry or Bailey’s. You can get back on track when you’re back to normal life, and most of us find any extra weight falls off very quickly in the new year!
I also asked for more tips in the 5:2 Diet Facebook group and have picked three great ones to share:
Simone says: Just before I read this, I stuck some pink “F’s” in the diary for the Christmas and New Year weeks. Another tip from me is to put together a list of all those things that you know will be offered to you over the festive period, but that you might prefer to decline if you know the calories! Mince pie = 200 calories, Christmas Cake = 364 calories for 100g, Christmas pudding = 291 calories for 100g! My total loss since starting: 4 stone 9lbs
Sheila says: My third Christmas as well! I usually do 6:1 these days but have increased that to 5:2 for the three weeks before Xmas and will do that for three weeks in January. That should easily take into account any extra eating.
Alison says: Get out for plenty of walks or arrange days with the family that are exercise based e.g. swimming or paint-balling. Don’t eat things for the sake of it and save your treats for things you really like. I don’t even like mince pies or Xmas cake, but find myself eating it. This year I’ll save my calories for indulgences I really love, like cheese.
PS: if you’re struggling for Christmas presents, my recipe book – THE 5:2 GOOD FOOD KITCHEN – includes 75 new recipes with a wide selection of vegetarian, vegan and demi-veg friendly meals, plus dishes free from dairy, gluten and sugar. How would you like to tuck into Eggs Florentine or Benefit as a Fast Day brunch? A warming Indian Thali or cauliflower cheese-crumb topped soup for lunch? Or a chilli chicken burger or burrito bowl for supper, with raspberry ice or a chocolate truffle as a treat?
Plus lots of extra bonus material including:
- 5:2 Food Heroes: forget over-priced supplements, Kate profiles the natural, inexpensive star ingredients that make you invincible on fast days;
- Inspiring case studies from people who are transforming their lives through intermittent fasting, with amazing changes to their weight, health and confidence;
- Making sense of… healthy eating. Practical advice on making sense of food scares and myths, from the truth about breakfast to the fat vs. carb debate.