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 there (opens in new tab)that will help you get the energy you need without ruining your 500 calorie a day diet. From aspicy mexican bean burger (opens in new tab), todelicious banana oat muffins (opens in new tab), 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 is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.