In 2013, dieters everywhere were sent into a frenzy of fasting as the 5:2 diet, otherwise known as the Fast Diet, took the world of slimming by storm with its promise to rid you of 1-2lbs a week.
Well ladies, this year it's back, and with a new 6-week approach designed to give you a summertime boost. You could lose 2lbs a week!
The intermittent fasting diet craze was started by Dr Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, who discovered that changing the way we eat throughout the week could have a dramatic effect on weight loss.
Summer's on its way, but if you're anything like us then the bikini diet you were so sure you would have started by now seems to get pushed back week after week (after week). And we all know that there's no dieting incentive quite like the horror of thinking about bikini season.
That's why co-creator of the original 5:2 Diet Mimi Spencer has come up with a fast 6-week way to get you on the 5:2 road to summer slimming success.
The rules were simple:
1. Eat normally for five days a week. For the other two days, consume a quarter of your normal calorie intake - around 500 calories for women or 600 calories for men
2. Not running your fasting days back to back seemed to work better
3. Although most choose to divide their 500 calories on fasting days between breakfast and dinner with a fast in-between, you can skip breakfast for a bigger evening meal
By sticking to these simple intermittent fasting rules, dieters can lose 1-2lb a week.
So what's the Fast Beach Diet?
The Fast Beach Diet is all about boosting the diet process at a time of year you need it the most. And we can't think of a better time than just before you're about to hit the beach! The best thing? The diet programme is designed to take six weeks, so by starting it now you'll be bikini-ready in time for your holiday.
You may choose to extend the diet for longer than six weeks, but Mimi Spencer warns that it should be no longer than 2 months. 'Afterwards, you should return to the classic Fast Diet rules, without undue concern for calories on a non-Fast Day.'
How is the Fast Beach Diet different to the original 5:2 then?
The success of the new diet is all based around your own mindset. Whilst
the 5:2 was about finding a diet that would fit into your lifestyle and therefore be easier to stick to, you need to think of the Fast Beach Diet as a 'jump-start', or 'reboot'.
By committing to a strict six-week programme, knowing that you can return to familiar 5:2 principles afterwards, you'll have that extra encouragement to succeed.
This stricter approach to the 5:2 is carried out in three ways:
1. Tightening up on Fast Days
Try going 4:3
Accelerate your Fast Diet by adding a third fasting day each week for the six weeks (Alternate Day Fasting). Accoridng to Mimi, on ADF the weight lost is almost entirely fat.
Extend your fasting window
On the original 5:2, it's recommended that you have breakfast at 7am then
dinner 12 hours later. However, if you cut out breakfast and fast from
dinner the previous night to dinner on the Fast Day, you could lose more
weight. Try this on one of your Fast Days a week.
Be strict with calories
It's easy to get lazy when it comes to working out calorie content. But try to be more strict at measuring and counting. Our goodtoknow diet club will help you to find out calories for lots of foods.
2. Toughening up on non-Fast Days
Watch what you eat
The original 5:2 says to 'eat well' for five days and diet for two, but now it's time to get tougher on what you eat on non-Fast Days.
- Cut out all alcohol for six weeks
- Cut out refined carbohydrates (cake, crumpets, white bread)
- Cook more at home so you know what's going in your meals
- Limit treats, especially those high in fats and sugar
- Try a Mediterranean diet
- Eat more raw foods
- Include more fish and less meat in your meals
- Eat soup to fill you up
- No fizzy drinks (including diet drinks)
- Limit fruit juice (it contains a lot of sugar)
- Try drinking your coffee black, without sugar
- Get at least eight hours of sleep a night
3. Tuning in on any day
Part of the Fast Beach Diet is encouraging yourself to be even more mindful
of what you're eating for more of the time than you would have on the
original 5:2 diet.
- Don't eat on autopilot. Turn off the tv, put your phone down and consider what you're eating
- Slow down while you eat. Make eating an event, sit down and enjoy
- Be mindful of how much you're putting on your plate. Do you really need that much?
- Keep a food diary. By logging what you eat you'll be more aware of how much you're consuming every day!
- And lastly... add exercise!
If I've never tried the 5:2, can I try the Fast Beach Diet?
Absolutely. Creator Mimi Spencer says to think of the Fast Beach Diet as a 'boot camp for the 5:2'. 'It is a condensed, modified programme of greater intensity with the aim of helping you achieve a reasonable target weight in a six-week period'.
Getting started? Here's your 5:2 checklist
- Ideally, use a scale that measures weight and body-fat percentage, as you'll want to see if body-fat levels fall too
- Choose a weight target that seems reasonable
- Weigh yourself twice a week (first thing in the morning, preferably the day after a fast)
- It doesn't matter which days you choose to fast (but try to aim for a pattern)
- Stay hydrated, make sure you drink plenty of water
- Stop snacks altogether. The process is much easier if you ban them entirely, as all calories count on Fast Days.
- Try to stick the Fast Day mantra: 'Mostly plants and protein'
- Go for 'good protein' - steamed white fish, eggs, prawns, tofu and plant protein from nuts, seeds and pulses
- It doesn't matter when you eat your 500 cals, but smaller meals throughout
the day may be less effective for weight-loss than saving them up for
What can I eat?
When it comes to deciding what to eat on your fast days, things can get a little complicated. That's why we've tried to keep things sinple, as well as tasty, with our 5:2 fast day meal plans. We've put together a whole host of meals so you can pick and choose what you fancy while sticking to your fast day calories!
Your Fast Beach Diet sample meal plan:
Breakfast: Sultanas, Greek yogurt and almonds (94 calories)
Lunch: Crushed new potatoes and shoots (170 calories)
Dinner: Chinese vegetable chow mein (170 calories)
Snack: two satsumas (42 calories) - Click the pic for hundreds of low-cal snacks!
Buy the Fast Beach Diet from Amazon (£4.89), where you'll find lots more information on following the diet and your own day-by-day planner.
Where to next?
-Lose weight in just two weeks with one of these diet plans
-10 easy steps to giving up sugar (for good)