I started the 5:2 diet on 24 Oct 2012. Since then I’ve been pretty consistent in fasting two days a week, each week, with some breaks.
A key point to note is that most weeks I fast on consecutive days, rather than alternating. This works for me, but if I were to alternate, I can see a good pattern would be to fast on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I treat fast days as the whole of that day, from midnight to midnight. I mention this because I’ve heard that some people use different timings. What I gain from 5:2 is a mindset that says – it’s Wednesday and I’m fasting. This makes it psychologically easier to avoid the high-calorie snacks that are a feature of my normal days. At the end of a fast day I find I sleep very soundly and wake up refreshed and ready to start the new day. Furthermore the night’s sleep has ‘washed the slate clean’ in the sense that I’m fine to continue fasting if it’s day two, and that I don’t feel the need to ‘pig out’ if it’s a normal day.
In some weeks it’s more sensible to fast on non-consecutive days: I have no difficulty with this.
I started off with Wednesday/Thursday as my fast days. Over time I noticed something pretty obvious, namely that my weight peaked at weekends, with Monday mornings often showing a particular spike. So I switched my fast days to Monday/Tuesday reasoning that this was a good way to start the week, and to counteract the effects of the weekend.
I continued like this for a few weeks and months, eventually coming to the conclusion that this made for an unnecessarily harsh transition between the weekend and the working week. So I shifted to Tuesday/Wednesday, which remains my current pattern. In this way Monday acts as a more natural counterbalance to the weekend: my eating habits on work days are much more disciplined than when I’m at home.