Could the 5:2 diet be right for your travel schedule?

Weight loss is never easy.  If business trips involve meal-meetings and light eating is too hard, then a five : two regime could be the answer.

It’s not advisable to change eating habits on long haul trips with time zone change, our circadian rhythms have enough disruption to deal with; but if we have short, frequent travel, then choosing a few diet days can be a good option.

fruit, smoothie, tape iStock_000002912142_SmallTHE 5 : 2 SYSTEM EXPLAINED

Simply put, it’s five regular eating days and two very low calorie days, with the diet days not necessarily taken in succession.

A ‘fundamentalist’ 5 : 2 involves the diet days being super low in calories, that is 500kcal a day for women and 600kcal a day for men.  This regime has been found to lower fasting blood sugar levels in people with boarder-line diabetes.

The ‘modified’ 5 : 2 regime makes life more manageable, using around 800kcal on the diet days.  This provides a 50% calorie reduction for most women and more for men and continued over a number of weeks, will produce gradual weight loss,

The beauty of this diet for people with regular travel and hectic work schedules, is that each week you pick the two days which work best for eating less.  Low calorie days need to be ones when you are fairly busy but fairly sedentary.  You need to know what and when you will eat.  This leaves the five non-diet days to be ones when the meals/travel/work regime would make food restriction impossible.

A TYPICAL LOW CALORIE DAY (calories in foods vary, this is guide)

Drink plenty of fluid; for variety try sparkling water and herbal teas.Strawberry Yoghurt


1 Low fat fruit yoghurt                        120kcal

Tea with a little milk                           20kcal


Small cappuccino (no chocolate)        110kcal

Or with skimmed milk                        53kcal


Vegetable soup, large bowl (400g)     80kcal


2 Clementines                                     60kcal



100g white fish, seasoned and baked in foil              360kcal

200g steamed broccoli and cauliflower plus 4 heaped tablespoons peasthai steamed fish curry custard in Tin foil (Hormok) isolated on


Omelette with salad                                                   360kcal

2 medium eggs, milk, 30g feta cheese, 10g butter

100g mushrooms, 50g onion

Plus salad, rocket, tomato, cucumber, radishes

Dressing, 1 teaspoon olive oil plus a splash of balsamic vinegar


400kcal or less, ready meal from the supermarket (if it’s 350kcal, add broccoli)

There is a huge variety of weight loss regimes on offer and the five : two is only one.  Some people fare better with the group support and positive encouragement offered by weight loss clubs, but attendance can be hard with business travel.  Some prefer the convenience of a meal replacement product.  The best diets are those with a system that we can maintain.  Losing weight takes time and anything promising unrealistically swift results is not going to provide long term success.  Ensuring that we consume our daily requirements of essential nutrients and fluid is also vital.

Tight clothes are tedious.  The slide into gradual weight gain needs periodic correction.  Considering which diet fits in with our work and travel lifestyle needs careful consideration.

©  Extravitality 2016


Author: Carol Sadler PhD
Carol is a Nutrition Consultant. She counsels in diet and lifestyle change at Surrey Cardiovascular Clinic where clients have been referred by the clinic cardiologists. Prior to this Carol worked in private practice in Dubai for nine years, where she had various media engagements including Emirates Radio 2 Lifestyle Show monthly ‘phone-in’ on nutrition topics; Gulf News Friday Magazine (weekend supplement) monthly nutrition letter answered; City7 TV appearances on Breakfast Television and Lifestyle Show commenting on nutrition topics. Contributions to local magazines, and organizations, eg Rheumatoid Arthritis Group, Grazia Magazine, Living in the Gulf magazine. She continues to write nutrition articles and blogs, recently writing for Reader’s Digest, and HASTE Academy heart health charity and provides talks on diet issues. Carol is a member of The Nutrition Society, a Registered Nutritionist at the Association for Nutrition, Registration No. 912 and a member of SENSE (self employed consultant Nutritionists group for professional development).

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