'Warts & All' 5:2 Diet Guide - Part 3


Dieter’s fear is REAL. It’s the same for anything new and tricky. Having a plan and a system means you don’t let it win.

Committing to change

Starting the 5:2 diet is the hardest part. It’s making the commitment. Overcoming the fear. Putting a plan in place is the first step to overcoming this fear. By sticking to the plan for just one week (actually only two days on this amazing diet) then you’ll see two really strong positives

  1. You can do it. You can commit to a diet and overcome your fears.
  2. You can lose weight. In the first week you’ll lose at least a pound… maybe two…maybe three. How’s that for an achievement?

You need to put a plan in place for just one week ahead. Let’s put that plan in place step-by-step…

Start by picking your 800 days before the week begins. Spend a few minutes at the weekend thinking about your week ahead. What days are the quietest? What days are impossible due to work commitments or evening events? Remember your two 800 days are not next to each other. Monday and Wednesday/Thursday is a popular choice. But it has to be what fits in best with you. It won’t always be the same each week.

The best days are busy but not social ones.

Pick your most boring days.

Think about what you’re going to eat on your diet days BEFORE the week starts. What do you need to buy? Is there any food prep you can do in advance?

What kind of dieter are you?

If you work 9–5

  • Try to diet on the same days each week – try Monday and Thursday.
  • Eat a filling dinner an early dinner as soon as you come home from work.
  • Work through your lunchtime or go for a brisk, refreshing walk.
  • Plan and prepare your evening meal in advance so that it is quick and easy to cook when you get home.


If you are single

  • Plan your diet days for days when you are busy but have no social engagements, especially if they involve food or drink.
  • The days you diet can be flexible, so you can choose different days each week – check your calendar and plan accordingly.
  • Prepare your food in advance. Cook batches and freeze in individual portions. Then you will have a perfect meal ready in minutes when you get home from work.
  • Keep busy on diet day evenings – try out a hobby or go for a walk.


If you are a full-time mum

  • Choose your diet days so they are your busiest days when you and the kids are out and about.
  • Prepare your food in advance so it is ready at the same time as their food.
  • Eat your main meal as an early tea with your family. You may find you can eat the same meal – just without the carbs.


If you are dieting as a couple

  • Try to make sure you both diet on the same days. Consult your diaries and stick to the same plan.
  • Plan to sit down and enjoy your evening meal together.
  • Go to the cinema or for a walk together on the evenings of your diet days.


If you are a serial diet failure

  • Plan out your 800 days carefully. Come up with a schedule and stick to it.
  • Try dieting on a Monday and Wednesday as that way you will get your diet days out of the way as quickly as possible.
  • If you are struggling with motivation on a diet day, remember why the 5:2 Diet is different – tomorrow you can eat normally with no guilt.
  • Everyone finds some days harder than others. But as you get used to the diet it gets easier and easier.
  • If you fall off the wagon one day you can always try again another day or another week. Don’t give up!


Making it work for you


What if you’ve got a tricky question like Sam,

I know what long hours teachers work and how they always need to be ‘top of their game’. Here’s what I suggested:


The big difference for you is to not have breakfast before you go to work in the morning. Instead have a 250 cal 'breakfast' at morning break. The key to making it work is choosing the right breakfast - that's easy and staff room friendly but filling enough to sustain through your long day. For you I would suggest - a quaker Oats so simple pot (164 cals) and a banana.




Your week is divided into two 800 DAYS and five NO LIMIT DAYS. As your NO LIMIT days make up the majority of your week, it’s vitally important you get them right.



They don’t need to be meticulously planned.

You should not be thinking about diets or restrictions on these days.


But here’s an incredibly important mindset shift. It’s not about the quantity of what you eat, it’s all about quality. And that means cutting out the junk food, the filler food, the preservatives, thickeners, artificial colourings, flavours... They have nothing to offer you. They are cheap nasty calories that do you more harm than good.


The #nojunk principle is behind everything I do. It’s about going back to food that you could cook, even if you don’t.


And we’re not cutting out the treats we’re just twisting them, if you like we’re making them more old-fashioned. Could you have bought or made something similar 50 years ago?


Double chocolate fudge brownie? No. But you can have a generous slice of home-made coffee and walnut cake.

An ostentatious sugary cocktail? No. How about a couple of glasses of prosecco instead?


Do you see what I mean? It’s not about never eating nice food again, it’s about deciding to ditch the junk and make a smarter choice.


It’s important not to obsess about food on your NO LIMIT days but there are three simple guidelines which will help you stay on track


  1. Reduce processed food and empty calories
  2. Don’t snack between meals
  3. Make it, don’t buy it


Results in just one month


If you follow my system for the new 5:2 diet and combine two 800 DAYS with five NO LIMIT DAYS each week, you can have fantastic results in just 4 weeks on the plan.


Kate has lost half a stone in just four weeks on the New 5:2 Diet. She’s now back in her size 12 jeans 😊


Kate says:


“At 48 I was a size 20 and didn’t want to be fat and 50. I managed to lose four stone basically by not eating and was down to a size ten or twelve. But I thought about food all the time and it was no longer a pleasure for me.


“Then 18 months ago, I needed emergency surgery, followed by various other operations which meant I couldn’t exercise and gradually I put the weight back on. I went back up to a size 18. I was tired of dieting. I’ve tried them all and had initial success but eventually I get bored and want real food again.


“I love Jacqueline’s supportive style and inspiring recipes. I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying choosing from the different recipes and though I fast for 14 hours from dinner to breakfast the next day, I don’t feel hungry. My lifestyle has changed.


“I’m not obsessing and am changing the way I eat. I’m back in my size 12 jeans…just! It’s brilliant. I still feel like I can socialise at weekends and make up for it in the week.”




One of the biggest struggles I’ve come across (and it came up time and time again as your #1 struggle) is trying to lose weight with an underactive thyroid.


I’m not going to lie to you. It is tougher to lose weight with hypothyroidism. You fight for every pound and it feels like your body is constantly fighting against you. But it can be done.


You need to factor in the extra time it’s going to take to lose weight. It’s going to take time to lose weight safely. You also need to be very careful with your blood sugar levels, total body fatigue and too much exercise.


My top tips for the 5:2 diet with an underactive thyroid are:

  1. Carry a snack (fruit, biscuit, cheese) always, but especially on an 800 day. Don’t feel guilty if you need to eat it.
  2. Be prepared to give up on a diet day. It doesn’t mean you’re failing, just that that one day is too hard. Take a break and try again another day.
  3. Don’t exercise at all on an 800 day.


Linda’s story

I have an underactive thyroid and at present am having this monitored by the doctor, regular blood tests etc. I have been following the plan.  I have been taking it very slowly and if my blood sugar drops too low, I will have an extra snack, like a banana or some fruit. I have lost 4 pounds slowly and carefully over 6 weeks.  This is very encouraging, even though it’s slower than most people. I know my metabolism is slow, so I don't mind losing weight slowly.



What’s coming next?


In the next lesson, it’s all about eating the ‘right’ calories.


  • How do you eat the good calories?
  • What’s the ‘no fuss’ way to eat right?
  • How do you banish cravings?
  • How do you ‘cook’ if you don’t like (or can’t) cook?



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