Day 1 of my 5:2 diet means fasting with a 600-calorie target.
I’d already decided fast days would be work days – there are fewer opportunities to ‘graze’ on snacks, and I’m already pretty disciplined about not snacking too much. On office days I bring 4 bananas – as a conscious alternative to crisps and chocolate. But on a 600-calorie day, even those bananas will have to go.
And fast days would be those when I commute to London: I’m out of the house for longer, and the potentially most difficult time – the evening – is minimised.
I’m not aware of hard and fast rules as to how the 600 calories are best spread, but I thought I’d try three 200-calorie meals. I also planned to cut out my many cups of (milky) tea and coffee – mainly out of habit – and switch to a herbal-type tea, without milk.
Breakfast – 195 calories
- Boiled egg – 88
- Apple (100g) – 47
- Low fat yoghurt (50g) – 30
- V8 juice (30ml) – 30
Although small this was actually a pretty good breakfast: tasty, nutritious, and leaving me naturally full.
No problem waiting through to lunch as I’d set my expectations.
Lunch – 186 calories
- Sardines – 148
- Tomatoes/celery/carrot/pepper – 38
Sardines are convenient but it’s been a long while since I last had them, and they haven’t really stood the test of time ! My salad was successful and appealing – I eat plenty of this kind of thing anyway. Tomatoes, celery and peppers are all very low in calories.
I also took sustenance from camomile tea – not bad at all. This made for a caffeine-free day, which is probably a good thing every now and then. For most of the day I was not aware of the lack of caffeine having an effect on alertness.
I was certainly conscious of food, but – for most of the day anyway – I didn’t feel hungry, nor did I crave particular foods. As the day wore on, though, I had a small headache, became a little light-headed, and felt low physically.
Although I’d done quite a bit of research into calories, I know very little about calorie restriction, so wasn’t expecting physical effects – my prime concern being that it could have been mentally tough. I had absolutely no problem watching my colleagues tucking into their lunches, snacking on chocolate, or enjoying their coffee !
Late afternoon – apple (100g) – 47 calories
Dinner – 231 calories
- Small tin reduced sugar baked beans – 140
- Small slice of toast – 91
I’d promised myself a small portion of beans on toast. There was a frozen sliced (wholewheat) loaf in the freezer, and I was really shocked to discover that a small slice accounted for 91 calories ! Although this took me over my 200-calorie target my mindset was such that I was jolly well going to enjoy my mini feast regardless !
Total calories: 659