Have you heard about it? Have you tried it yet? Does it really work?
The 5:2 diet. What is this diet that has captured the interest of so many people and has them dashing out to buy the self-help books, the special recipes and the general merchandise surrounding it? As the simplicity of its name indicates, it involves eating normally for five days of the week and then for the other two days, cutting down your calorie intake (500 for women, 600 for men).
Scientists claim that you will lose weight easily as your body will be ‘tricked’ into using up your fat reserves for energy on the days that you are fasting.
Whilst traditional diets involve days of extreme calorie counting and deprivation followed by inevitable binging, the 5:2 seems easy in comparison and this goes some way to explaining its popularity.
5:2ers say that they can cope with the days of fasting because they know it isn’t forever and on the other five days of the week they can eat whatever they please. However, does this not lead to the five days of freedom becoming a binge? Will dieters not pile up the food on the plates knowing that the days of fasting are coming? Is it possible that they will end up eating more on those five days than they would normally?
Ultimately, is this a suitable diet for us students at UEA? A typical student would have to make sure that the two days of fasting were days in their timetable when they didn’t have a lot on. No lectures or seminars or deadlines or extra-curricular commitments. It would be extremely difficult to study or concentrate on the two fasting days as a lack of food not only causes a rumbling tummy but a general bad temper and stops your brain working properly. Even if you organised your two fasting days for the weekend, further problems are posed as a night out in the LCR inevitably involves some alcohol and unfortunately, vodka shots are not on the agenda for the two fasting days. Nor are the leftover slices of pizza for the 03:00 post-night-out snack!
The bottom line is that the 5:2 fast diet might be of use to older people who can fit it into their lives easily but it just isn’t suitable for students. The ideal diet for a student is a well-balanced one with lots of fruit and vegetables. We need energy for work and play. We need to eat properly to boost immunity and general health. Faddy diets are not for life and it is more important to lead a healthy lifestyle. Anything that is ‘bad’ for you is alright in moderation, so you don’t need to exclude anything completely from your diet to be happy and healthy.
Of course, exercise is important for students too, but this is easy to fit into our timetables. Heading to the gym after a lecture is simple- even just walking to and from our lectures is a step in the right direction. Indeed, with a wide variety of sports on offer at UEA such as football, rowing and karate, exercising can be fun!
This solution might not be very interesting but it is ultimately more effective than the demanding 5:2 diet for students.