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Monica Heisey Tried It: The Famous 5:2 Diet

All summer, the Canadian comedian and author will be trying the latest workouts, health food fads and self-improvement schemes for FLARE. This week: eating whatever she wants for five days and fasting for two

(Photo: YouTube) 5 2 diet

(Photo: YouTube)

This week I attempted the 5:2 Diet, a program of intermittent fasting. I know, I know. The words “intermittent fasting” sound like they should be immediately followed by “lol jk,” but the premise is actually very simple: eat whatever you want five days per week, then spend the remaining two consuming 500 calories or fewer. It is supposed to be very good for you, or at least a very good weight loss mechanism that doesn’t totally ruin your body or limit your lifestyle. The main draw seems to be that you can eat anything you want on the days you are not fasting.

My first day of eating anything was fairly normal. I had a hard-boiled egg and some berries for breakfast, a big old sandwich for lunch, and a homemade burrito bowl (like a restaurant burrito bowl, but YOU control the guac). With a whiskey after dinner and a whiskey after the after-dinner whiskey, the whole day clocked in around 1,700 calories, pretty average for a woman. The day after, I ate similarly, because I had extra guacamole leftover and also because I’m lazy. Then came the fasting day.

I decided to divide my allotted 500 cals into two 200 calorie “meals” and another light snack. 200 calories is a perfectly reasonable snack—carrots and hummus, say, or a square of dark chocolate and a banana, or two of those sad bags of chips that are basically potato-inspired sodium delivery systems. My first meal was the usual HBE (that’s hard boiled egg for you non-eggheads) and a handful of berries with a black coffee and hefty glass of water. The struggle came when lunchtime rolled around, and I found myself staring at an apple. Just one apple. I cut it up real thin and ate it real slow and duh-no-duh, I was still extremely hungry after.

Related: I Tried It: Eating for My DNA Type

This is part of it, apparently. Fasting basically shocks your system with a period of very brief starvation, which science now shows can actually speed up your metabolism. A bunch of “lifestyle experts” are huge proponents of the 5:2 diet, and suggest it can help you live longer and feel better in addition to losing up to a pound per week. This is all very appealing, but so is a full dinner. I developed PMS-like symptoms as the afternoon wore on, feeling kind of pissed off and headache-y and, okay yes, I did cry at that TD commercial where the families print out pictures of a loved one and then the loved one goes to the bank and is surprised by the unexpected appearance of pictures of themselves at the bank. I ate my “dinner” of soup and some bell pepper slices at like 4 p.m. and went to bed early due to hunger, like some kind of Charles Dickens character who has a smartphone and spends most of the novel Googling pictures of bread.

The next day I woke up literally excited to eat, which felt sad. I ate a larger breakfast than I normally would, feeling I had “earned” some kind of  “reward” for all my “hard work,” although I’m not sure what work I did or in what world more oatmeal counts as a reward. The day continued fine, and I was happy to get to eat normally the next day as well. I even had that delusional feeling you get when starting any kind of food ~regime~ where it’s been exactly two days and you are already sure that your clothes fit looser and your body looks tighter. Why not, right? Then I messed up real bad.

My last fasting day of the week was a very hot one. Stupid hot. And humid. Breathing the air in my non-air-conditioned house was more like drinking, so soupy and stinky and thick was the heat inside. To escape, I went to the most air-conditioned place in my neighbourhood: McDonald’s. Seeking to cool down even further, I got a big-ass Oreo McFlurry, ate it, then realized I had consumed all my calories for the day. It was 11 a.m. I spent the rest of the day pacing frantically around the city, trying not to picture people around me as hamburgers with arms and legs, like a cartoon starving person in a comic about a shipwreck. It was very unpleasant! Being “hangry” is real! I like eating food a few times per day and I actually think that is alright!!!!

I waited until 12 a.m. that night, then went to the kitchen and made a nice big burrito bowl by the pale light of the fridge. 5:2 is really more appealing to me as a guac-to-cheese ratio.

More Monica:
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How to Stay in Shape on Vacay While Still Enjoying Life
I Hate/Love-Counting-Calories
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Sweat Your Ass Off Fitness Class
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Read an Excerpt From Monica’s First Book,
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better
Meet Monica Heisey, the Author Who Makes Lena Dunham LOL

More Health & Fitness:
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