A friend of mine is starting his 5:2 journey and asked me some questions. That got me started to think what I would have liked to have and know before I became a 5:2er.
10 tips to start your 5:2 journey off on the right foot
- Buy and use a scale: this makes tracking your food much easier
- Start using a Calorie counter: On my Android phone I use My Fitness Pal (let's you add in your own foods) to track my foods and on my computer I use Calorie Count to figure out calories in recipes I make at home.
I figure out the calories in entire recipe as 1 serving, divide those calories by the total weight of the FINISHED dish, then input the calories per gram into My Fitness Pal for that recipe and then weigh my food in grams before I eat. I know this sounds tedious but it's really easy once you get the hang of it.
The trick is to get your scale, put your plate on it and "zero it out" put each part of your meal on one at a time, weigh, then zero it out, next item, weigh, zero, etc. You will be amazed on the calories each item is - it's kind of fun!
- Stock up on veggies: veggies are low in calories and helps to make you feel full. Par cooking a bunch of broccoli or having baby carrots around for a snack will make you feel more secure throughout the day.
- Stock up on emergency prepared foods: Eating whole foods is always best but you may not feel up to the challenge the first few Fast Days. Look at ingredient labels and pick low calorie entrees and pizzas to have in the freezer for these lethargic moments.
- Flavor bombs: get lots of spices, hot sauces, lemon wedges, yogurt dip recipes and use them on everything - a flavorful plate is a satisfying meal! And you can use these in place of salad dressing, mayo, you'd be amazed on what a flavored yogurt dip can do to a plain jane dish.
- Get a fun Water bottle: Get a big cup or water bottle and fill it up with water and drink it all the time. It's good for you and stave off hunger. I have a bright orange water cup that reminds me to drink.
- Caffeine: Learning to steep a proper cup of green tea will give you a caffeine boost without any calories. Black coffee and black tea without tea or sugar are good for this too.
- Stay away from food and booze: Grocery stores are not your friend today, don't try to grocery shop today - stock up prior to your fast day. This gets easier as you get more Fast Days under your belt but still... why torture yourself? Booze is one of the fastest ways to burn through your allotted calories - a 6 ounce glass of red wine is 150 calories, an ounce of vodka is 60 calories BEFORE a mixer. Plus booze leads to bad eating decisions!
- Allow yourself some carbs: It's tough to cut carbs all at once. So make room for them in your meal plan. A slice of toast is about 50 - 70 calories each so cut back on one egg yolk, or reduce your butter/ oil. Trust me that one slice of toast will taste amazing!
- Breathe and relax: It's just 24 hours, you can even go to bed early. Just think of this day as a super busy day where you end up skipping meals. Tomorrow when you wake up you can have whatever you want. If that mantra doesn't help try doing some stretches and yoga to relax.