Podcast 6: your flexible 5:2 diet & how it fits your life

Episode 6 is all about how fantastically flexible 5:2 is: how to enjoy family life, holidays and special occasions – and still stay a healthy weight

Intermittent fasting allows you to enjoy celebrations, family occasions and holidays without guilt, and this podcast offers lots of hints and tips for managing holidays, celebrations, and family meal times. We also discuss whether to talk to family members about fasting. Plus Kate reads another extract from the diary she kept when she embarked on 5:2 – and raves about the power of beetroot. And she shares her thoughts on the diets discussed in the BBC mini-series, What’s the right diet for you? screened in January 2015.

Listen via the site – or subscribe to the whole series on iTunes.

Show Notes, Podcast 6:

 5:2 Know-How: Holidays and Celebrations

  •  Fast when you’re actually travelling so you can eat when you arrive. Aeroplane meals are rarely noted for their taste, so why not fast on the plane, bus or train, and then when you get to your destination, you’re ready to try the local dishes.
  • Eat less before and after your holiday. I switched to 4:3 sometimes for the week before and after a holiday, so that I don’t feel bad about not sticking to 5:2 while I’m away.
  • Self-catering holidays can be the best way to try the regional cuisine and shop like a local. Plus you don’t feel obliged to eat the hotel buffet meals just because you’ve already paid for them.
  • Make a new routine. It’s the lack of routine on holiday that can knock you off course, so decide what suits: maybe miss breakfast or lunch, but then don’t worry about what you eat at your other meals. And if you fancy that ice cream, or pastry, then why not? You’re on holiday!
  • Don’t weigh yourself immediately after a holiday – why make yourself feel bad? I know I usually put on a little weight but with 5:2 it’ll be gone again soon.
  • Hotel or conference buffets are dangerous. Research shows that we generally choose far more than we’d ever eat normally. Focus on salads and soups, eat slowly, and if you do want variety, choose very small portions of each dish.

So family celebrations and holidays don’t have to be difficult … but what about every day life?

 5:2 Know-How: Family Eating

  • If you’re all eating together, many of the meals in The Ultimate 5:2 Diet Book and The 5:2 Good Food Kitchen will appeal to other family members too. You can easily add a few potatoes to meat or fish dishes, or rice and other side dishes to curries. By doing this, your family probably won’t even notice you’re not eating as much as them.
  • If you’re worried about being tempted when you prepare something different for the rest of the family, schedule the dishes that they love and you hate for your Fast Days – that way there’s no danger of their leftovers knocking you off track!
  • You may find that the easiest option is to simply ‘save’ all your calories for your evening meal together, so you can often stick to exactly what they’re having.

To Tell or Not To Tell

We all want to set our children a good example and instill sensible attitudes to eating and food, so you may be concerned about how to explain Fast Days, especially as 5:2 is a relatively new idea. No approach is right for everyone: some of our forum members are very happy telling their older children all about the diet, while others prefer to avoid the subject, by maybe saying that they’ve already eaten.

The choice of language can help; one mum calls Fast Days her ‘cleansing’ days and the Feast Days her ‘nourishing’ days. You can also use 5:2 as a chance to discuss healthier food choices – and the fact that treats are part of a balanced diet. I believe that this plan will help you balance your approach to eating and control your appetite – and that your improved attitude towards food will set a great example to children.

One of the easiest ways to handle adults – partners or grown-up children – is to recruit them to ‘the cause’ too. Once they see the difference in your weight or wellbeing, it should be pretty easy to convert them.

What’s the right diet for you? A Horizon Special

As I explain in the podcast, there are pros and cons to the simpler 5:2 approach versus the more complex approach in the new Horizon Special. Try out the quiz by all means but trust your own instincts too!

Important Note:

This podcast is for information only and is not intended as medical advice, or as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. There are some people who shouldn’t follow this diet: children and teenagers, and pregnant or breast-feeding women. If you take medication have a pre-existing medical condition, including Type 2 diabetes, you should talk to your doctor before making any dietary changes. In addition, anyone with a history of eating disorders should definitely not undertake this without talking to their doctor or specialist.