5:2 living Based on the simple concept of eating normally for five days a week and having a calorie controlled diet for the other two, the 5:2 diet has become a firm favourite with those aiming for weightloss or simply trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Ambassadors of the diet, LighterLife Fast, have taken the approach further, looking at how applying it could be the perfect way to kickstart life-enhancing initiatives without too much effort or dramatic adjustment.
Mindfulness and fitness coach John Lingley says, “Reducing or adding something in your life for two days a week is an achievable approach because it can be easily applied to an individual’s lifestyle and you can decide each week which days will be your two days to make a change.
Psychologically, knowing that we’re only changing something for two days a week is much more manageable than trying to give something up completely, or taking up a new habit and trying to stick to it every day. Even just deciding what you would change can be beneficial as it encourages you to really think about your life and how you could improve it for yourself, your family or your relationship.”
5 top tips
- Haven’t tried the 5:2 diet yet? For recipe ideas and handy products to help you on your fast days, check out lighterlifefast.com
- Whilst three days a week is the ideal amount for exercise, focusing on resistance training twice a week will up your fitness levels and get you into a good routine.
- Try to make a homecooked, healthy dinner two nights a week and ensure that the family all sit down to eat it together.
- A good night’s sleep is important for a healthy lifestyle. Make a point of dedicating two nights a week to getting tucked up nice and early and cut down on big meals and coffee before bed.
- Are you a serial worrier? Twice a week try writing your anxieties down before you get into bed to get them out of your head and onto paper.
5:2 digital detox A recent study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that those who log on to Facebook more frequently are more likely to experience depressive symptoms. Paul Sutton, independent social media consultant, says, “As social media has become a part of the everyday, it’s now easy to live too much of your life online. Checking social networks and taking pictures and videos constantly of the things you’re experiencing can result in missing out on the joys that life has to offer there and then. Social media is an incredible tool to enhance your life if used correctly. But it’s important to put down your mobile and to take the time to enjoy the present too. Invest in developing your offline world as well as your online profile.” It’s good to take a step back from social media now and then, but if you’re tweeting and Instagramming as much as us, this is easier said than done, so a two-day approach could be the answer.
5 top tips
- Get into the habit of taking regular, planned breaks from social media. Start with a few hours a couple of times per week and build up to two full days.
- A good starting point is to silence the notifications you get from Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Simply turn them off on your mobile while you’re on your break so you’re not prompted to visit those sites.
- Try and choose the two days that are generally quieter online for you. For example, you’ll miss social media less if you’re not desperate to log in to Facebook to find out the gossip after a big night out!
- Let your friends and family know when you’re on a social media break. If anything’s that important, they’ll text or call you.
- If you really find it difficult to avoid the apps on your mobile, remove them. It only takes a minute to re-install them after your break.
5:2 mindfulness An effective way to de-stress and momentarily escape from the distractions of everyday life, mindfulness is fast becoming a staple part of people’s routines. If you’d like to lead a more mindful life but aren’t sure where to start, take it slowly by introducing the new habits into your life for two days a week.
John Lingley says, “Mindfulness is something that can be used to develop your awareness in the present moment, to ensure you are fully connected in the here and now. There is also lots of evidence to support its many benefits of reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
Incorporating mindfulness into your life with a 5:2 approach, beginning with two days each week, can be the start of it becoming a way of life for every day of the week. It can also develop awareness as to the benefits of living this way and how different you may feel when you’re not being mindful. It will help you to come to terms with how things are, rather than how you want them to be.”
5 top tips
When you first wake up in the morning, observe five mindful breaths. Notice changes in your posture and be aware of how your mind and body feel when you move from sitting to standing and then to walking. Also take five mindful breaths before you go to sleep.
- Eat mindfully, paying attention to your food and eating slowly, noticing when you are chewing and swallowing. This is a good strategy for weightloss.
- n Be non-judgmental. Develop awareness as to when you are judging something or someone.
- Meditation is an integral part of mindfulness and starting to practice this for two days each week can be an excellent strategy to build up to a daily practice of 20-30 minutes.
- After having a mindful day, focus on how much calmer you feel, living in the moment rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.