The Lemonade diet, Juice Fast, Macrobiotic, Dukan, Atkins, vegetarian, (deep breath), vegan, raw food, baby food (yes, really), Mediterranean diet, Slim Fast — the ever-growing list goes on and on...
It's easy to get lost in the myriad of talked-about meal plans, when all we really want is a diet that delivers on its promise to fast-track us on our way to our best self.
Enter the 5:2. Also referred to as the fasting diet, the regime said to help the undertaker lose weight fast, all the while promoting better habits, cell repair and even the prevention of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer's disease.
According to the 5:2 diet book, the plan works by restricting calorie intake to just 25 per cent of your daily quota for two out of seven days, and eating as normal for the remaining time.
For the average women, that's 500 calories, while the average man can consume around 600. Fasting two days (either consecutive or non-consecutive) out of the week will cut the calories you'd normally consume by around 3,000 – 3,500 (about 450grams of lost weight).
Yes, in theory, you can still eat pizza and chocolate so as long as you're willing to enter starvation mode for two days in the week. And because you're consuming fewer calories than normal on your fast day, you should be losing weight.
But don't think it's a licence to binge for five days. In the long run, the diet sets out to make the undertaker more aware of their choices, leading them to subconsciously choose the healthier option while training them to savour every bite of every meal.
Intermittent fasting has been thought time and time again to be beneficial for the body.
As well as the aforementioned links to the prevention of heart disease and stroke, fasting has also seen an improvement in blood pressure, cholesterol and a reduced cancer and diabetes risk.
Personal experience can attest that the diet can impact both energy and cognitive alertness. Limiting the foods you'd normally never think twice about can result in the undertaker feeling tired, dizzy and well, a little bit crabby.
This is why being smart about your choices is so incredibly important. Because, in theory, you can eat as much as you like, so long as it fits into the calorie quota.
Eschew large serves of processed carbs and instead opt for generous portions of vegetables and legumes, small servings of lean meats and eggs. Drink plenty of water – black coffee and teas are welcomed (score!).
Also take care in how you cook and prepare your foods. Baking, rather than frying, will cut those extra calories.
Some choose to remain on the regime until reaching their goal weight, while others stay on it for life having found a diet they can maintain. At this point, many switch from 5:2 to 6:1.
Of course, the 5:2 isn't for everybody, with undertakers sometimes saying the calorie restricting can become boring and tiresome.
If this is the case and the dieter wishes to stop, they should consult their healthcare professional to find a different method of weight-loss.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid fasting, as should children, teenagers, the elderly and those with a history of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.
The 5:2 Diet Book also suggests Type 1 and 2 diabetes patients, as well as those suffering chronic conditions, to seek consultation from their trusted GPs before making any changes to their diets.
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