What's a stone? It's British for fourteen pounds! (I used that because you're gonna be more cultured and sophisticated this year. Just kidding, the health journalist Michael Mosley who developed this fad is from England so I copied him.)
The trick? Fasting. I know, it sounds obvious right? Bear with me; there's more than meets the eye. The 5/2 Diet includes intermittent fasting, meaning you eat normally for five days of the week, and fast for two days. On the fasting days, you cut your caloric intake by 1/4. Women should consume only 500 calories, and men 600. By following The 5/2 Diet, also known as The Fast Diet, you can lose up to one pound per week. It's only two days- forty-eight hours- of fasting! You can do it!
After going into an annual physical, Mosley was told he was diabetic and his cholesterol levels were too high. As a result, he tried intermittent fasting and eventually developed the 5/2 approach. After just three months, he lost 19 pounds (about a stone!) and his blood levels were back on track (3).
And if that isn't amazing enough, studies have revealed that those who use this approach lose more weight than people who restrict calories daily. So even if you restrict your caloric intake by about 400 calories per day to equal a 3,000 calorie deficiency per week, you still won't lose as much weight (or reap the added benefits) as those doing intermittent fasting who also cut out about 3,000 calories per week. You're also much more likely to stick to this method than daily dieting because you're technically only restricted on two days. That being said, you still have to be mindful of what you are eating on your non fasting days and don't go overboard.
Benefits: Besides toning up and losing those extra lbs. there are many health benefits associated with the 5/2 Diet.
- Increased alertness: Because your body isn't constantly weighed down by food, you'll enjoy being more alert and in-tune with your other senses. Peeerfect! You'll finally be able to pay attention to the professor without constantly checking your Twitter, Facebook, email, Instagram, Pintrest, Wanelo, Snapchat...In addition, people reported feeling more energetic and awake.
- Greater sensitivity to insulin: This is exactly what you want in order to lose weight. Contrary to what most people believe, losing weight is not just up to what you eat- it's about your hormones. According to the Mayo Clinic, "insulin is the hormone that regulates the absorption of sugar or glucose" (1). Basically, you don't want to be insulin resistant or your body will store extra calories as fat and not be able to properly regulate glucose levels in the blood. With more constant blood sugar levels, you will have less hunger pangs.
- Better sleep: Your eating pattern can disrupt your sleep. By fasting, you can essentially reset your body into it's proper sleeping cycle which means better sleep for you. Getting a good night's sleep is also linked to less cravings of high fat and sugary foods. It's a win-win.
- Greater control: Michael Mosley, the creator of the 5/2 Diet, reports on non-fasting days, he experiences greater control over his eating. You're less likely to binge because intermittent fasting makes you more aware of your body and when you're actually hungry.
- Live longer: That's right- this is the secret to youth. There's evidence that less calories, and more nutrients leads to higher life expectancy. This again has something to do with your hormones, in particular a growth hormone called IGF-1, which "triggers repair and recovery at a cellular level." (2)
So what do you think? Will you try it?
Note: There is not enough research backing up the 5/2 Diet to show prolonged effects. If you do decide to try it, consult your physician to avoid any possible side effects.