My 5:2 Diet and Healthy Resolutions for the New Year:
There’s something cathartic about sharing your diet and fitness resolutions. A feeling of ‘I’ve written it down and shared it, so now I’m going to take it seriously’. In 2013 I set myself a weight loss target following the 5:2 diet, which I managed to achieve with just weeks to spare! And, despite Christmas feasting I’m still there, on my target weight give or take a kilo. I’ve adapted and cooked countless 5:2 diet recipes, I’ve enjoyed sharing them and I’ve really enjoyed the sense of community of those following the 5:2 diet. While there’s a commercial element to almost all diets these days, I believe the 5:2 diet is unique in being predominantly community led. Many of us love it because it DOESNT depend on paying out money to turn up to a club (online or in real life), because it doesn’t involve buying special foods or completely changing the way we eat and because it DOES allow us to eat normally on five days of the week.
I went on a fitness boot camp, something I’d never dreamt of doing before starting the blog. And, you know what, while I can’t say I loved every minute I DID enjoy it and the results really were excellent. For me the two most significant things I took away from boot camp were a better understanding of sensible eating for weight loss and a real insight into how exercise can be fun. It might not have felt like it all the time, but our PT on the boot camp really managed to make a whole week of intensive exercise into something that wasn’t boring or routine. Every session was different and for the most part every activity was tailored to each individual. As I’ve mentioned before, the food was excellent. Now, our initial reaction was that the portions were too small. I think we’d all expected ‘healthy’ food, but I don’t think I was alone in initially thinking the small portions would leave me feeling hungry. They didn’t. Each meal was carefully balanced – even the snacks had a high protein content and the carbohydrate element was low GI (think sweet potato instead of normal, home made granola or oat base muesli instead of cornflakes etc) – everything was low fat, lactose and gluten free.
Now, I’m leaving 2013 lighter (by 10kg) than this time last year and hopefully rather fitter too. I’m planning how to lose a little more weight and how to improve my overall fitness in 2014. The 5:2 Diet is definitely still on my agenda – I’m using it (and a few variations) to maintain and hopefully lose a little more weight and I see it as a lifestyle choice for the future. I’m planning to revisit some of the recipes I made for the 5:2 diet last year and to experiment a bit with some more dishes. That’s particularly for summer when I’d prefer to have a salad for lunch rather than a bowl of soup (even though I DO love my 5:2 diet recipe soups). If I think I’m losing more weight than I need to (unlikely!) then, like some of my friends, I’ll switch to 6:1 – just fasting on one day of the week. And I’m also planning on trying out what is called 16:8 – where you eat during an eight hour window of the day (whatever you want within reason), but fast for the rest of the time. If that allows me to maintain my weight I might just see if I can eat that way all the time. I don’t think it should be too hard to (say) not eat until 1pm and then stop eating at 8pm each evening.
What about the fitness part? Well I’m thinking of joining a rambling group. I was suprised to find that there are a lot of London walking groups who meet up to explore London and the surrounding countryside. I’ve quit the gym and I don’t see myself going back, but I may just try PayasyouGym, an innovative site that has day membership deals set up with a whole host of gyms and health clubs nationwide. For me, that seems a more logical option than paying £70 or more a month for something that sometimes I never used at all. I HAVE invested in a cross trainer, which sits right by my bed – and I’m planning on buying some hand weights. Using some of the tips I picked up on the bootcamp I believe I’ll be able to put together a routine which doesn’t get too boring. And, having the cross trainer looking at me when I get up in the morning is a pretty good way to get motivated.
2013 has been a success for me. But I couldn’t have got there on my own. I’m very grateful to the lovely people at Revival Bootcamp for all their support. And, if you are planning to try the 5:2 diet in 2014, or are already following it, I’d strongly recommend joining one or more of the Facebook Groups. I know Kate Harrison is thrilled that the 5:2 diet group she started now has more than 15,000 members(!). I’m there, I love the camaraderie and the support everyone gives to new members. And I’m in a couple of other groups too (let me know if you want more links!). While I am personally not interested in joining a paying slimming group, these are free, there’s no obligation to be there at any particular time and there’s a lot of help there in the form of information, tips, ideas on what to eat (from ready meals through to recipes) and some very motivational success stories.
Meanwhile, just to give you all a head start – here are my personal favourite 5:2 diet recipes from 2013.
Low Calorie Clams Vognole – a very quick 5:2 diet recipe that you could serve up at any dinner party.
Mushroom Goulash – a vegetarian 5:2 diet recipe that is good enough to eat every day of the week.
Cauliflower Rice with Spicy Prawns – trying out cauliflower rice – an excellent low calorie, low carb replacement for white rice for the 5:2 diet
Chilli Beef Stir Fry – a simple stir fry for the 5:2 diet
Here’s wishing everyone a fantastic year ahead. May 2014 bring you all the happiness and joy you deserve.