Sarah McGinnis is Get the Gloss' Art Editor. She survived week one of the 5:2 diet, but how about week two?

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So, in my first week as a 5:2 dieter  I managed to lose 2lbs. Two measly freaking pounds. I thought (or maybe just prayed) that it would be more. I’ve been reassured that two pounds a week is a healthy amount to lose and that it’s better to go slowly, as otherwise you’re probably just losing water. Susannah Taylor  also pointed out that if this happened every week for the next four weeks, I will have lost half a stone.

The fast diet  is hard; there’s no other way to explain it. I find myself wanting to give up a lot of the time, but I also don’t want to feel like the inadequate one on a girls’ night out anymore, squeezing into that one dress I can fit into while everyone else has a suitcase full of Topshop to chose from. I want to be able to waltz into Topshop too, and if I don't stick with this it ain’t gonna happen.

The first week saw me fighting my inner rage to gain scraps of food, use pen and paper maths to work out how many calories are in just one Fruit Pastille and have a little cry over how bloody hard this is. More to the point, I have to keep going until I stop bulging out of my stupid jeans. Why can’t I just be like those people who eat all the cream cakes in the bakery and still seem to resemble a washboard?

However, I’ve also realised how often I grab for the cake tin on autopilot mid-afternoon, or pick up a bag of crisps on the way to the train station. The great thing about the 5:2 diet is that there is an invisible barrier between me and food that reminds me to stop and think about whether I am actually hungry or whether it’s just force of habit. It is also helping me to make healthier choices on my non-fast days. Having said that, I can see how easy it is for people to become obsessed by calorie counting and that’s a very fine line that you really should not cross.


Monday 13th January 2014

I had fruit yoghurt in the fridge for breakfast but I wasn’t overly hungry, so I thought I’d have a green tea and hold out until lunchtime. Again, this is where I think this diet is mentally unhealthy - I’m debating whether to eat 60 calories now, or save them in case I’m hungry later. It’s breakfast time, I should probably just eat to set myself up for the day. I don’t in the end, and just have a green tea instead.

Lunch: Couscous, beetroot and feta salad (186 cals) Weight Watchers yoghurt (60 cals)

Coming up with exciting yet filling meals is tricky, but the key is to plan ahead. Get all your ingredients at the weekend and prep each meal for the coming week. You then don’t have to faff around with weighing everything out in the morning rush or when you’re tired after work. This really helped me get going and made it a lot easier to stick to the healthy eating plan.

In the evening I met up with my Dad as he was up in London too and he only goes and whips out a Snickers bar, offering to go halves on the train. ERM, DAD!? Seriously? Are you trying to make me fail? I don’t even like Snickers, but oh God do I want it. I have to try hard not to stomp around and swear at him. When did I turn into a stroppy teenager who wants everything she can't have?! I had picked up some ham in M&S earlier, so had four slices of that instead, as I was feeling a bit sick from not eating. Ham is now a ‘snack’ to me. HAM. Does that make me weird?

Dinner: Homemade vegetable pizza on wholemeal pitta bread and a Weight Watchers brownie bar (262 cals)

I had planned to make a Fast Diet recipe of turkey burgers tonight, but I worked out my calorie count wrong so it would have taken me over. There is nothing worse on a fast day than realising you don’t have enough calories left for a dinner you have been craving all day. It might sound mad, but it’s the truth. Instead I opted for a healthy-style pizza: pitta bread topped with Philadelphia cheese, peppers, onion, tomato with mixed herbs, served with leaves. This was really tasty and I even cooked it for my family who loved it too. A winner all round.

I had a mild panic when I realised I was over by FOUR CALORIES. Is this ok? I don’t know. It strictly says 500 calories and here I am at 504… not cool. It is also not cool that I’m actually worried about this. Its four calories, not 400 - get a grip and go to bed.

Total cals: 504

Tuesday 14th January 2014

Knowing you have a fast day helps you mentally prepare for the day ahead. You know that you can only have 500 calories. You know that it needs to be healthy and not just four cans of Coke. You also know that you have a goal and to reach it you just have to get on with it and be strict with yourself.

Lunch: Weight Watchers tomato soup and two Ryvitas with Philadelphia (184 cals)

I got through the morning with a very busy workload, so I surprisingly lasted until 2pm just on green tea. I treated myself to two Ryvitas for lunch. I’m not sure when I decided that Ryvita, rather than cake makes a good treat. Probably last week when I decided to lose my mind and fast myself stupid as a way to kick-start the week.

By 4pm I was really hungry, but couldn’t face another bloody green tea. I probably get through eight tea bags per fast day and the novelty of having a healthy tea is wearing very thin. I have gum though. I actually Googled how many calories is lurking in one of my Wrigleys Extras (about 7.5 cals, if you're interested). On a side note, since when do we count half calories?!

Struggling from 5pm onwards is better than last week when I was ready to lash out at my neighbour by 3pm! I did have another Fruit Pastille on the way home, which was just as amazing as it was the first time round, maybe even slightly better as it was a red one.

I did decide to go for a quick swim after work. Dr Michael Mosley says its ok to exercise on your fast days as long as you do what feels comfortable for you. I figured a 30 minute swim was enough. I felt great afterwards - refreshed and energised, despite being utterly starving.

Dinner: Lean turkey breast steak with a fresh leaf and tomato salad (261 cals)

After my swim I had to cancel dinner with friends. Here I am again, the diet obsessed let-down. I was so hungry, it was really tempting to to flush my fast day down the drain and go out to enjoy a huge steak, fries and massive chocolate brownie. Then I realised I would just have to do my fast day again tomorrow instead to make up for it. No chance! What would be the point? I’ve survived almost two days, let’s not waste this! I can just make a dinner date on Friday. Wise choice. I’m getting the hang of this.

I felt wise and proud of myself until I walked through my front door to see my family flopped on the sofas with their leftover Chinese left on the table. Wow, I hate them!

I jest, I don't actually hate them… but don’t shove it in my face, on a fast day of all freaking days! I didn’t cave, and tried my best to enjoy my dinner while wafts of chow mein filled the room. Sabotage is what I think they are trying to do here, plain sabotage. Mum said she was proud of my willpower, which gave me a boost that let me walk past my prawn crackered brother with a little spring in my step.

Total cals: 445 … wait, 458 (damn that Fruit Pastille)

Rest of the week

On Wednesday morning, I was standing on a crowded, hot train and had a blackout moment. I thought I was going to faint but luckily managed to sit down as we pulled into a station. A mixture of overheating, not eating enough and not having a bottle of water to hand is probably to blame.  All I had with me was a Weight Watchers chocolate slice so I ate it at 8.15 in the morning – gross I admit, but necessary.

Limiting yourself to 500 calories, two days in a row can be dangerous and I think its really important for people to consider whether this is a wise choice. Next week I’m going to give two non-consecutive days a try. However, for those doing two in a row I really would advise a hot herbal tea or a hot water and lemon to start the day if you’re missing breakfast, especially if you have a commute ahead.

On Thursday I was good and a little adventurous with my breakfast, and I had a small beetroot, carrot and ginger juice (50 cals) to start the day. A very odd experience having your mouth taste like a mix of beetroot and dirt but it’s ok when you get into it.

Who am I and what have I done with the real me? I haven’t totally lost the plot though - at dinner time I caved and had a Nandos. No no, not a plain chicken and salad. A double chicken wrap with cheese, plus chips AND Coke AND a whole load of mayo. I don’t regret it for a moment, it was such a  treat.

On the whole, I was a lot better than last week. I made healthy choices for lunch and I only had one treat dinner out with a friend (oh and that Nandos). But it was SO GOOD because I hadn’t been chomping at the junk all week. The 5:2 diet is an excellent way to step back and really analyse what you are consuming on a daily basis. As long as  you don’t take it to an unhealthy level, it seems to be a good way to lose a few pounds and move towards a healthier lifestyle. My mum is even giving it a go now, so I have a diet buddy to help motivate me!

P.S. Just ate three chocolate TimTam biscuits as I wrote this. Friday binge-a-thon strikes again. Here’s to Monday!

Weight loss this week: 3lbs (YES!!!)

What this week has taught me:

  • Prep your meals for the week - it really helps you stick to your healthy choices
  • It gets a whole lot easier when you get into it and know what to expect. Stick with it and don’t give up just because you are having a tough day
  • Make sure you start your fast day with a hot water and lemon or a herbal tea just to set you up for the day ahead
  • I don’t think it’ll ever be plain sailing. There will be tough days, but just be positive and think of your end goal
  • Write your weight loss down and stick it on the fridge, or on front of the chocolate cupboard, it really makes you think before you gobble!

To be continued....