Woman eating salad
Woman eating salad
(Image credit: Rex Features (Shutterstock))

A diet that means we can still indulge in a takeaway on a Saturday night? Count us in! The 5:2 Diet has taken the weight loss world by storm, with dieters everywhere pledging allegiance to its intermittent fasting concept. This healthy eating plan promises that you'll see serious weight loss and health results that actually last.

So, how does it work? For just two days a week, dieters must live off a restricted intake of 500 calories a day for women and 600 calories for men. Then, during the rest of the week, you can eat whatever you want - it's that straightforward! The days can be consecutive or you can spread them out throughout the week - whatever's easiest for you. On fasting days, you can also spread your calories out however you wish - whether you prefer one or two large meals or smaller snacks throughout the day.

Intermittent fasting could have other benefits too.According tonew research, it could reverse the symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes by restoring the function of the pancreas, which helps to control blood sugar levels. The study, carried out on mice, was designed to resemble a human diet which mimics periods of feast and famine (5 days on a diet low in calories, protein and carbohydrates, but high in unsaturated fat, followed by 25 days of eating freely). Other research suggests that intermittent fasting may cut the risk of heart disease and cancer, and slow down the ageing process.

If you're looking to improve your long-term health and wellbeing, the 5:2 diet could be a great way to ease into fasting.

First things first, though? Let's get you into your dream dress for that upcoming special occasion.

Developed by Dr Michael Moseley, from BBC's Horizon, and food journalist Mimi Spencer, the revolutionary 5:2 diet has been helping weight watchers around the world shed those unsightly extra pounds. In fact, you could lose as much as one pound per week on the diet plan.

But how do you stick to a bi-weekly fast of 500 calories a day without keeling over for lack of energy? Believe it or not, there are a wealth ofhealthy, calorie-controlled dishes out therethat will help you get the energy you need without ruining your 500 calorie a day diet. From aspicy mexican bean burger, todelicious banana oat muffins, there are meals that are guaranteed to leave you feeling fulfilled without the extra calories.

See our video below for more delicious recipe ideas for your fasting days...

Unlike other diet plans, this one means you're not on a diet all of the time. Nor do you have to starve when you are. On fasting days, you simply cut your calories. Then, you're pretty much free to eat what you like on your days off. Simple! And, if Jennifer Aniston swears by it, we're pretty much sold...

Amy Hunt
Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is Life Channel Editor at womanandhome.com, having been with the brand since 2015. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on either women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly, Goodto.com, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on womanandhome.com. She is passionate about everything from books, to homes, to food and the latest news on the royal family. When she isn't editing or updating articles on cleaning, homewares, the newest home gadgets, or the latest books releases for the website, she's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware of her own.