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Diary of a 5:2 dieter

January 28th 2014 / Sarah McGinnis / 4 comments


Get the Gloss’ Art Editor Sarah McGinnis kept a diary as she embarked on her first week of the 5:2 diet...

1st January 2014 – New Year thoughts

2014. The year of the new me - the new, thinner, and healthier me. I said it in 2013, and 2012. Actually, I think I’ve said it every year since I began university, but recently I have come to realise that I can’t shovel dozens of cream cakes into my mouth whilst staying a perfect size 10.

It’s safe to say I’m not a green juice kind of girl. Oh no, I’m definitely the double chocolate milkshake girl with extra whipped cream. Oh, and don’t forget the sprinkles. Recently I’ve been struggling to do up my size 12 jeans and the other day I almost broke the zip on my favourite size 12 (should be a size 14) dress, and so I’ve decided that it’s high time I face up to the fact I not only need to diet, but also succeed at it too.

So this January (and for however long it takes to shift the podgy pounds), I am going to attempt the 5.2 diet. For me it sounds more manageable, as I won’t need to restrict myself for the whole week - just 2 days out of 7, you reduce your calorie intake to 500, and eat normally for the other 5 days. It’s a goal that seems easier to achieve for those who want to diet but can’t quite manage the long slog of 7 days, week in week out.

Some people do the fasting days apart from each other, but I have decided to do them two days in a row as I reckon it’ll be easier to get them out the way (plus I’ve heard it helps you lose more weight). Susannah, my boss said, I was nuts and that I’d pass out. I’m not sure if I’m being really clever or just plain stupid...

Week 1

Monday 6th January 2014

Here we go, my first fasting day. It’s 7.30am and I’m on the train with a very heavy bag full of healthy supplies. My thoughts swing between ‘This is going to be a breeze, I’m not even hungry, I won’t think about food all day,’ to ‘You’re a foodie, an emotional eater, a cake obsessive, this is never going to work.’


A smoothie with blueberries, strawberries and almond milk. (81cals)

Smoothies are very filling and the calories are kept to a minimum by using berries and almond milk. I’m in the office at 8.45 am so I sip this slowly and it actually tastes pretty good.

11.00am and I’ve already drunk 2 litres of water, my bladder hates me but my hunger is kept at bay.

12.30pm I’m hungry. It is said that we often confuse hunger with thirst, so instead of eating I make a green tea, which keeps me going for another hour. I figure the later I eat lunch, then the later I’ll get peckish this afternoon.

1.30pm Stir-fried vegetables seasoned with cumin, salt and pepper (125cals), Blackberry soya yoghurt (91cals).

3.30pm I am ready to punch something, or the person I can hear crunching joyfully. I. Need. Food. I cannot physically drink another litre of water without losing the plot. To add to the torture, it’s a colleague’s birthday and chocolate cake is passed round. I say no obviously but it takes A LOT of willpower. Restricting my calories to 500 makes me realise that one slice of cake would be today’s calorific intake in one huge bite. Instead I have a green tea and try to ignore everyone’s crumb-filled faces.

5pm For the past hour all I have thought about is food. I’ve bored the entire office about how much I am going to eat on my first non-fast day right down to the last detail of how I will season the food. I’m surprised our GTG homepage design isn’t covered in images of cake.

5.30pm I leave the office because I need to stop myself from eating, but today of all days I miss the train by a minute and end up browsing M&S. There’s a man filling up his basket with five chocolate donuts. I know because I counted. I have to leave before I tackle him to the ground.

7.30pm There are a bag of fruit pastilles in my car. I actually sit there and work out how much one fruit pastille will be (13 calories in case you are wondering) and I suck it blissfully all the way home - just enough until I can enjoy that final chew. It could be the most satisfying sugar hit of my whole life.

8pm Carrot and coriander soup (75cals) 2 Ryvita crackers (76cals). I make this from scratch - desperate times. It’s actually tasty and surprisingly it fills me up.


9pm I’m sipping on yet another litre of water while my brother is munching on a Mars bar right next to me. I don’t even like them but I find myself wanting to kick it out of his hands and smash it up right in front of him. I go to bed to stop myself killing him.

Today’s total calories: 473

Tuesday 7th January 2014

7am I feel like I have just slept for a week. I don’t know whether it was the 4 litres of water or the early night but I’m feeling refreshed and positive with only today to get through. Yesterday was hardcore, but weirdly I’m not actually craving a gigantic bacon roll like I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, I’d demolish the beast if it was put in front of me, but I feel more positive that I can do this.

9am Weight Watchers Citrus Fruit Yoghurt (60cals)

I thought I’d have a lower calorie breakfast to save on calories (500 calories really doesn’t stretch very far me, so you have to carefully plan every last nibble.) By mid morning though I’m feeling peckish. This was not as wise a choice as yesterday’s smoothie. I manage to hold off until about 1.30pm.

1.30pm 3 Ryvita crackers (114 cals) with 50g of Philadelphia spread (49cals) 1 tomato (16cals) and 25g cucumber (3cals).

Really yummy and filling… for about an hour. I then proceed to have three green teas in a row - anything to stop the hunger and stop me thinking about food. I think the key is to have a meal that’s filling – maybe more protein is a good shout for next week as I’ve heard it fills you up more.


2pm That chocolate cake is doing its rounds of the office again, but it’s ok as I’m now feeling a bit sick on litres of water and green tea. It’s not that I want food, it’s more the fact that I can’t have it that’s bothering me. I find myself obsessing over it and talking non-stop about foods I like and don’t like. I feel like an addict weaning myself off the hard stuff, and have to tell myself it’s only food.

5pm I’m feeing a bit sick. I’m hungry and I have no energy. It’s the two hour commute home that I struggle with especially when 50% of your carriage is either gorging on a burger, scoffing a bag of crisps or guzzling cans of Coke. I am sat there with another bloody bottle of Evian. I hate Evian. I now hate it so much I want to throw it hard at the guy opposite me who’s drowning in his share-bag of crunchy cheese balls. I want the cheese balls!

7.30pm I get home to find my brother munching his way through a bag of Chilli Heatwave Doritos. I’d like to think ‘Keep going bro, you’ll be the fat one not me’ but I’ve only had 300 bloody Goddamn calories and I’m not thinking straight. I lean over and sniff his bag of crisps a few times. Yes, sniff. Then once he’s finished I keep his empty bag. Why? I don’t know, self-torture? Another cheeky sniff? Get a grip Sarah. He thinks I need to see someone, I think I do too.

8pm Dinner of carrot and coriander soup (75cals) 2 Ryvita crackers (76cals) 50g Philadelphia spread (49cals).

I can’t quite face being sociable on my fast days as temptation will just get the better of me, so I become that disappointing friend and have another early night.

It’s fair to say that these past two days I have been obsessed with food. Two days of fasting in a row is very tough. Tomorrow I can eat properly again and when I started yesterday I had planned to gorge on whatever food I could get my hands on, but thinking about it now I want eat healthily. What’s the point in me fasting if I’m going to flat out ruin it for 5 days? The 5:2 says you can technically eat what you want on these 5 days, and I won’t restrict what I have as much, I just think I should at least try and make a healthier choice here and there. Well that’s my mind-set right now, we’ll see if it lasts.

Today’s total calories: 442


The rest of the week…


Waking up this morning refreshed and energised, I felt as though I could fast again if I had to. After moaning about being hungry for 2 days no one is more surprised at this than me. I’ve become very aware that my desire for food may actually be a habit and not actual hunger. I realise that I can actually survive without that mid-morning KitKat and I don’t need that afternoon slice of cake.

We have a team breakfast so I go all out and treat myself to a cheeky Eggs Benedict which was AMAZING. I’m sticking to upping my water intake as well, so I passed on the teas and coffee and ordered a still water. I actually struggled to get through it, proving to me once again that I need to listen to my body when it says I’m full.


I had a dinner out so I decided on Pizza Express where I could have a low calorie pizza. This wasn’t great, but it was OK - progress in some ways.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Average. I have yoghurts for breakfast, soup and salads for lunch, but then Friday evening rocked up. I went out for dinner and ordered a burger and fries and managed to sip my way through three cocktails.

On Saturday I had a day out in London where I proceeded to have another burger and fries for lunch and a steak (with a side salad) for dinner. I think perhaps I took the idea of ‘feasting’ to the extreme. Next week I must try and be good, and only increase my calorie intake from 500 back up to 1200ish on the non-fast days as Dr Michael Mosley says.

What this first week has taught me:

  • Drink water and green tea to curb hunger. I wouldn’t survive without it.
  • I have an unhealthy relationship with food and snack out of habit and boredom.
  • I only need three, good quality meals a day.
  • 500 calories makes me an angry person!

Pounds lost: a measly two.

To be continued next week....

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  • Tink Rhonda Lee Mse
  • August 26th 2014

I'm not being funny but calling a 2lbs loss measly is a piss take, I'm counting calories and I've lost 1lb in FIVE WEEKS!! THAT'S measly.

  • El Berwick
  • January 29th 2014

Great read... and I definitely feel your pain! I 'road-tested' the 5:2 last year with mixed experiences (here's my final post: http://www.firstchoice.co.uk/blog/the-52-diet-update-reflection/). Some days I sailed through in a cloud of smugness, on others I wanted to prize Big Macs out of strangers' hands. Stick with it and good luck!

  • Caroline Bailey
  • January 28th 2014

Amazing! I know I have never met you sarah, but I feel I am getting to know you! Your honest diary is fantastic... Such an amusing read. (You may even inspire me to try it!)
I am really looking forward to the next installment!
And remember, I do not know of any other diet where you can eat burger & fries the same week you lose 2lbs... Brilliant.
Lots of luck for this week! x

  • Ann Farr
  • January 28th 2014

Congratulations! So very well done and I'm full of admiration. I think a loss of 2 lbs is great for starters and Dr MM says it gets easier, so good luck. You'll get there and then imagine how good you'll feel. Marvellous.

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