Diet: The Definition
First, you need to know that the word diet simply means what someone eats. We all have a diet; even my dog has a diet!
However, it’s more often used to refer to a restrictive pattern of eating that someone follows for a short period of time to lose weight. I usually say that “Diets” don’t work because they are a short-term attempt to reach a long-term goal. They rarely get you anywhere close to that goal.
In order to lose weight, and maintain that weight loss, you have to make behavior changes that promote a healthy lifestyle. A lot of the time “diets” don’t aid individuals in learning how to incorporate healthy changes into their daily life, and once they stop following a “diet” they regain the weight.
So, What Is The 5-2 Diet?
In the 5-2 diet, you consume your “normal” amount of calories for 5 days, and then fast for 2. This diet appeals to people who want to eat whatever they want and still lose weight. Aside from not liking any diet that promotes not eating, there are a few things I find fundamentally wrong with this plan:
- It doesn’t teach you how to make more nutritious food choices, it teaches you to get used to hunger pains. Unless you follow the diet indefinitely, you are likely to regain the weight you lost when you begin eating 7 days a week again.
- On fasting days, women are to consume 500 calories and men 600. This isn’t even enough to provide your brain with enough energy to function. Because of this, you will use stored energy, but it won’t just be the fat you want to lose. Your body will also breakdown muscle and turn the protein into glucose to provide energy for the brain. Also…. have you heard of being “Hangry”?? (That’s angry cause you’re so hungry!).
MENTAL NOTE: Stay away from people who are on their 2 fast days!! 😛
- The diet says you can expect 1 pound a week weight loss. This is within the healthy weight loss recommendations many health professionals deem safe. But you can also move towards a healthy weight and get the energy you need for to function by nourishing your body and getting regular for physical activity. Exercise is extremely important for maintaining weight loss, and if you only consume 500 calories a day you will not have enough energy to support physical activity.
The Bottom Line:
Though this diet may be appealing to someone who wants to jump start their weight loss journey, it would be hard to maintain in the long term. The best way to lose weight is to learn how to incorporate healthy choices into your daily life, and to maintain these changes over the long term.
I suggest you keep a record of your normal eating habits. Then start to identify habits that you want to change or revise. Don’t try to do it all at once, just focus on one thing at a time. Like beverages or breakfast.
You might want to enlist the help of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, who has the training and experience to help you in the long term. If you’re local to Winston-Salem, let me know and I can help connect you! If you’re not, try the “find an expert” page of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to locate one in your area.