My quest to be Fit (and Fab!) by Fifty continues. In a little over a year I will be celebrating my half-century on the planet and my aim is to look and feel the best I can.
No fitness plan would be complete without a diet and this year the diet I’m attempting is The 2-Day Diet.
What is The 2-Day Diet?
While it may sound similar to other 5:2 diets, where you eat normally for five days of the week and diet for two, The 2-Day Diet doesn’t involve any fasting, calorie counting or skipping meals. Hooray! After my unpleasant and short-lived attempt at the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting diet popularised by Dr Michael Mosley, I knew that I never wanted to try fasting again.
Devised by Dr Michelle Harvie and Professor Tony Howell of the Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Centre in Manchester, The 2-Day Diet is a high protein, low carb diet. Low in calories, yet nutritionally balanced, it involves eating absolutely no starch on the two diet days and monitoring your portions. On the remaining five days you follow a healthy Mediterranean diet, i.e. fresh fish, lean meat, fresh vegetables and fruit, wholegrains, nuts, olive oil.
Health Benefits of The 2-Day Diet
Apart from weight loss, The 2-Day Diet also has numerous proven health benefits associated with it including:
- Reduced insulin and levels of other hormones and inflammation in the body known to cause cancer, heart disease and diabetes
- Lower blood pressure
- Anti-ageing effects
- Improved well-being, mood and energy levels.
Tips for Following The 2-Day Diet
I am often loathe to try diets as the sense of deprivation, hunger and low energy that often accompany them makes me feel depressed. But what I love about The 2-Day Diet is that I’ve never felt hungry.
The best way to prepare for a diet is to read the book beforehand, compile a proper grocery shopping list and make sure you have all the ingredients in the house before you begin. Trying out new recipes and eating different foods at the beginning of the diet is fun.
It’s best to the do the two restricted diet days consecutively, so I’ve taken to following it on Monday and Tuesday of each week. That way it feels like a good way to undo any weekend excesses and gear up for a week of healthy eating. It also reduces your appetite for the next few days.
Once you get used to counting the number of portions allowed for each major food group each day and what a single serving is equal to, it’s simple to change eating habits and adopt the diet as part of your lifestyle. I found filling in the Portions Tracker worksheet very helpful in the first few weeks.
A Typical 2-Day Diet Menu
A typical restricted day on the diet will consist of:
Breakfast – two soft boiled eggs on a bed of spinach or asparagus. To that could be added a couple of slices of wafer-thin ham or smoked salmon.
Snacks – 2 handfuls of raspberries with 3 heaped tablespoons of plain low-fat yoghurt and a dessertspoon of flaked almonds or cucumber crudités with a tablespoon of low-fat houmous.
Lunch – Tuna salad, with salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions and half an avocado. Dressing of Dijon mustard, lemon juice and olive oil.
Dinner – Baked salmon fillet with steamed green beans, broccoli and kale, seasoned with tamari and olive oil.
During the day I also drink loads of water and tea with milk and have herbal tea with dinner.
I’ve kept the menu as simple as possible and it really doesn’t involve much cooking and preparation at all, but there are some wonderful recipes in the books, The 2-Day Diet and The 2-Day Diet cookbook.
On the unrestricted days I love oatmeal porridge for breakfast and can’t resist baked beans on toast with a bit of low-fat grated cheese for lunch on one of the days. But usually the greatest difference is that I may include oatcakes in my snacks or with lunch and enjoy an extra portion of fruit.
How have I Done?
I started The 2-Day Diet back in January when the excesses of the festive period were making themselves visible on my belly and face in particular. At the time my weight was 72kg or 11.3 stone. My goal was to get down to 10 stone within the first 3 months and 9½ stone within 6 months.
So, has the weight melted away? Have I shed the extra 2 stone I’ve been lugging around with me for the past 9 years? If only!
After a wonderful start where I lost one kilogram a week for the first two weeks and got down to exactly 11 stone (70kg) I have since plateaued. For the past 5 weeks I’ve been stuck at 11 stone.
Where have I gone Wrong?
It’s time to be honest. Here’s where I could do better:
- I may have been too generous with my dinner helpings, so smaller portions from now on.
- When I injured myself running I did very little exercise for a couple of weeks as my leg hurt and I needed to rest it. Regular exercise helps speed up the weight loss.
- On the weekends in particular I am partial to a glass of wine or two (but who’s counting?)
Personal Benefits of Following The 2-Day Diet
Despite not losing as much weight as I would have liked to by now, I have noticed other benefits to being on The 2-Day Diet.
- My appetite is smaller. I feel full much quicker than I used to so am less likely to overeat (although clearly it still happens which is why my weight has plateaued).
- I hardly ever have food cravings. I can watch my partner eat chocolate after dinner and not crave any myself. Although, if I am feeling a bit stressed, I do crave a glass of wine.
- The high protein content of the diet means I feel fuller for longer so some days I don’t feel the need to snack or only have one snack instead of two.
- My face is thinner.
- People have been telling me I look incredibly well.
- My trousers are looser.
- My stomach feels less bloated.
- I feel more energetic and positive.
Although my experience of The 2-Day Diet has not been the success story I would have liked it to be, I’m not about to give up. Rather than being a fad diet, it feels more like an eating plan I can continue with for years to come and continue reaping the benefits. So, I’m sticking with it. Surely, I can’t plateau forever, can I?
Have you tried The 2-Day Diet? Did it work for you? I’d love to hear your experience. Let me know how you got on by leaving a comment in the box below.