Karen’s 5:2 diet success story

I met my Husband 4 years ago and ours is the usual story full of contentment, fancy dinners, takeaways and wine. Not to mention that he’s a very good cook so I felt obliged to sample everything; in large quantities! Around the same time I left my employer in London and started to work from home so the commute became mere seconds. Whilst I didn’t miss the rat race it would seem that my body needed the daily 40 minute walk from the train station to the office and back. Over the course of 2 years I slowly added 3 stone to my 5″5′ frame and reached 13st 4Ibs, nudging towards a size 16 which is by fair the biggest I’ve ever been. It made me feel unhappy, unfit and quite frankly undesirable. But it’s hindsight that has made me realise how big I’d got; at the time I knew that my weight had peaked but thought I hid it pretty well. Viewing the photo’s now tells me that I didn’t!

Having followed Weight Watchers many years ago, I knew their diet could work again but really didn’t fancy the struggle of counting points every day and being so restricted.  The problem is that I like food. A lot! So cutting down on portion sizes, long term, just wouldn’t cut it for me. Then my Husband read an article about how Dom Joly had lost weight on the 5:2 diet so that got us interested and we decided to take action. The idea of fasting for just 2 days a week, and otherwise eating as we wished, seemed ideal of course!

I wanted to reach 9st13Ibs before our wedding in August this year so the goal was set with a little less than a year in which to do it. No pressure! But, to be honest, I’ve found it pretty easy. Honestly! Working from home means that there are lots of temptations but the desire to lose weight and improve fitness was stronger than the urge to overeat on fast days.  Knowing I can eat what I want tomorrow gets me through a tough fast day. And having your partner fast on the same days has definitely made life easier (not to mention cheaper!).

I tend to skip breakfast, nibble on a couple of slices of ham throughout the day (some are as little as 8cals per slice) and the reward is a large dinner such as mushroom stroganoff or chicken stir fry with a black bean sauce – it’s amazing how much you can eat if you’re sensible with ingredients. And drink lots of water as that can really fill your tummy for a while and ease cravings. Some 5:2ers also avoid carb’s on a fast day which seems to reduce bloating for a lot of us. Incidentally, a typical feast day during the week would be poached egg on toast with butter and ketchup for breakfast. Lunch is often leftover bubble and squeak, pasta with pesto or baked beans on toast with cheese. And one of Hubby’s legendary meals for dinner; mushroom risotto, sausages and mash with lashings of onion gravy, a hearty roast or homemade chicken kebab with chips. At weekends you can throw in a takeaway, pub lunch and at least 3 bottles of wine!

The weight seemed to take a while to come off at first but once you start getting compliments from friends/family you know it’s working! Some weeks I didn’t lose any physical weight but the mirror, and my ever-baggier clothes, told a different story and other weeks I’d lose 4Ib on the scales. With hindsight I’d have measured myself to monitor the inches that were coming off.

Despite being able to eat as you wish for 5 days per week your eating habits definitely change. You go to bed on a fast day dreaming of the huge breakfast you’ll scoff the next morning but quite often you just don’t fancy it when you wake up. We’ve not been so strict since the wedding and are both starting to feel quite bloated and sick of food so plan to get back on track again immediately.

Today I’m a size 10 and have lost around 3 stone. I wore a fitted dress on our wedding day which I couldn’t have dreamed of doing just a few months beforehand and I feel happy with the way I look; well, as happy as us women can be with our figures!  But I’m now more confident, and slimmer, than I have been in over 8 years!

I’d still like to lose another few Ibs to get to that mystical 9st-something mark but I don’t care how long it takes. So for now 5:2 remains but I’ve heard a wonderful rumour that 6:1 is enough to maintain things once you’re at goal weight so I look forward to reaching that stage! I posted a before/after pic onto a 5:2 group on Facebook which received over 1,350 likes and more than 170 complimentary comments – that’s enough motivation to keep me going!

Top Tip: Cauliflower rice was a revelation for me; there’s a whole host of low calorie recipes based around cauliflower so I’ll be trying those soon. And it’s not worth even attempting a fast with a hangover as the craving for food is just way too high!

In a nutshell, 5:2 has changed my life and my new Husband has a happy, healthy wife. Between us we’ve lost more than 6 stone in less than a year!

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