5:2 Just One Day

I only had one fast day this week: a work conference on Thursday and Friday ruled those days out, and while I COULD have gone for Monday and Wednesday that would have meant sharing no meals with my husband all week. So I did just Tuesday. And thought, I’d better make it a good one!

Up till now, I’ve eased myself in gradually by eating in a very similar way to my normal days.  So that was breakfast, a mid morning snack of cheese on rice cakes, soup and a salad for lunch, something like fruit mid afternoon, and then dinner at 6, with possibly an evening snack.  This week I cut out all the snacks, I’ve dropped the salad from the lunch so it’s now down to an under-50 calorie soup.  I might try to get to the stage where I can do just breakfast and dinner, with a longer fasting period in between.  But making the change gradually has certainly helped.

For dinner I brought together some of my low-cal heroes: portabello mushrooms, a tin of shrimp, spinach, and a tub of salsa.

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The mushrooms are about 25 cals each, half a tin of shrimp is 50 cals, the spinach is negligible, and the salsa – well, I discovered that shop bought salsa varies quite a bit from brand to brand, so the lesson learned is to read the nutrition labels carefully.  This Sainsburys one worked out at about 60 cals for half the tub, but was quite high in sugar.  I cut out the stalks of the mushrooms  and chopped them with the shrimp, spinach and salsa.  I then stuffed the mushrooms with this mixture.

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I baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes.  They were really good, and it’s a versatile dish that would lend itself to different stuffings.  I used the rest of the salsa and shrimp next day in a salad, with the addition of a chopped avocado.

shrimp 005Other progress – down to 139 pounds, and able to fit into my skinny dark green trousers.

5:2 one month in

I said I would try this eating plan for 4 weeks, and I’ve done it!

My weight this morning was just under 10 stone, which I’m delighted about. It’s been fairly easy sticking to the 500 calorie limit, in fact I’ve enjoyed finding meals that fit within that budget. I feel fantastic, my mood is really up-beat, and friends tell me I’m looking well.  It’s also easy to shift fast days about in order to meet work or social commitments.  So I’m in for another 4 weeks, I reckon!

grapefruit pot with berries

grapefruit pot with berries

Here’s my list of favourite low-cal snacks:

5 calories – 5 radishes, for crunch.  Blueberries and raspberries are about 1 calorie each too.

10 calories – a sugar-free jelly pot.  These come in all sorts of exotic flavours, and make a very satisfying squelch when you eat them. shoes and food 006

15 calories – a mug of oxo or bovril.  Really satisfying!

20 calories – 60g canteloupe melon

25 calories – one Finn crisp cracker with a smear of Marmite

30 calories – 2 stalks of celery with an extra light Laughing Cow squidged down their middles. Blue cheese flavour works really well with celery.  The “extra light”  is 20 cals, compared to just the “light” at 25 cals – I find the taste is better and worth those extra 5 cals.

My favourite evening meal this week was Chick’n’Pickle. Total 140 calories

30g cooked chicken (50 cals)

30g pickled onions (8 cals)

30g gherkins (6 cals)

Pickled egg (70 cals)

Bed of lettuce (5 cals)

It was a bit too pickly – if I was making it again I’d just have an ordinary boiled egg, or maybe even a poached one.

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5:2 Tom Yum Yum!

Just finished week 3 (in fact today is the first fast day of week 4 for me)

I’ve easily lost a pound a week, my mood is really bright and chipper, I enjoy the menu planning that’s required for 2 days, and then love having fewer restricitions the rest of the time.

I had my cholesterol checked this week – 5.2, spookily enough, but the pharmacist said that while ideally you’d want it under 5, the ratio of my good cholesterol to the bad stuff is spot on.

My fast day heroes this week have been:

1. Tom Yum paste. A tablespoonful is 15 calories, made up into a soup with loads of veg (sliced mushrooms, shredded cabbage, spring onion etc) takes it up to about 40-50 cals.

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 I added in some cold slivers of beef, which made it 123 per portion. Served with some finely chopped red chilli, coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime. I’m going to try variations with chicken or shrimp. You could leave out the meat for a vegetarian 50-cal soup, or bulk it up with a nest of egg noodles (mind you, 170 cals for one nest!) for a more substantial bowl.

2. Anchovies. These pack a taste punch way above their weight. 2 anchovies are about 13 calories, and are plenty when snipped into a salad, or to nicoise up some steamed veg with a few black olives as well. Also good for your oily fish omega oils, but really high on the salt/ sodium scale, so dont eat the whole tin.

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3. Microwavable saucepan. I use these to prepare my evening meals. A chopped leek, some baby courgette rounds, a few mushrooms, half a pepper, diced. Add a splash of water and a few herbs, and blast in this baby in the micro for a few minutes.

4. Aunt Bessies frozen carrot and swede mash. 45 cals for 100g, great substitute for mashed potato.

5. Grapefruit.  Half a grapefruit is about 50 calories.  I found little ready made pot of grapefruit in juice at Tesco, which are much less fiddly than a real fruit, so I shall keep some of those on standby.

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6. Smoked salmon.  Really decadent, but a 30g serving is about 50 cals.  Add a few capers and a wedge of lemon.

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I’ve found that it helps to have something similar to what I usually eat – soup and salad is my normal lunch anyway, so keeping that pattern means I don’t feel deprived.

Summary menus this week:

Tuesday – Half grapefruit (54) and boiled egg (70), crackerbread and laughing cow light (65), tom yum soup and salad (150), sauteed veg with anchovies and olives (90). I was really headachy in the afternoon and so added a Babybel Light (50)

Thursday – Half grapefruit (54) and smoked salmon (50), rice thins and laughing cow light (60), tom yum soup and rocket-berry salad (170), souffle omelette with spinach and mushroom (110).  Sadly, my Graze box arrived today rather than yesterday, and I was unable to resist the cute little afternoon tea for 84 cals – a lovely assam blend with a gorgeous lemon and poppy seed cake.

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Rocket-berry salad

A handful of rocket leaves (5 cals)

A splash of fruity balsamic (5 cals)

Berries – raspberries and blueberries are about 1 cal each, so 20 of each is generous (40 cals)

I don’t usually like fruit in salads, but the syrupy balsamic goes really well with this.

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