5:2 Diet Meal Plan

If you’re on the 5:2 diet and not quite feeling the love, you may be affected by some of the minor side-effects that some experience.

Here we share some of the more common symptoms people experience:

Feeling cold

Not surprisingly the winter weather can really take a toll on your body, especially on days when you eat less. When dieting, your body may produce less heat due to burning fewer calories.

Plan ahead to wear an extra shirt or fashionable scarf during fasting days to combat the lack of internal heat generation.


How well do you handle the 5:2 fasting days?
How well do you handle the 5:2 fasting days?

You may experience this sometimes on the evening of a fast day. This is normally due to being hungry and/or stressed. Combat this with planning a snack later in the day, such as fruit.


This can be caused by low blood pressure, which should be checked by a doctor (and hopefully was before you started your diet!), and can also be brought on by low blood sugar.

There are a number of things that can help from feeling dizzy during dieting.

  • Try drinking a bit more water (you should be drinking a lot anyway).
  • Add a little salt into your diet: low blood pressure plus a lot of water can equal a lack of sodium in your body.
  • Add some natural sugar to your diet in the form of fruits.

If the dizziness continues, see a dietitian or doctor and get some bloodwork done, and be sure your vitamin/mineral levels are correct.

Lack of desire to exercise

Many people experience a lack of motivation to go to the gym during or just after fasting times. This could be in part due to the lack of energy (calories) your body has during the two fasting days. This is normal and can be due to not performing well while at the gym.

As stated in a previous post, just take your time when exercising and know your body is in repair mode, so don’t push it. On the morning after a fast day, a good breakfast is important to renew your energy, so be sure to get a good meal before hitting the gym on those days and should feel more energized.

Have you experienced any other side effects the 5:2 fasting diet? Let us know below and we will add them to this list with a solution!


  1. Avatar Clay Binkley on August 19, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I have been doing The 5:2 fast for over 3 years…I have noticed I have had more colds then usual. I suppose it could just be due to more stress from work or bad luck, but I am also starting to wonder if my immunity to colds is lower on days I do the fast? Any ideas?

    • Sarah Sarah on August 19, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Hi Clay
      Thanks for your email, that is awesome that you have become an advocate of the 5:2 fasting diet plan and have been following this lifestyle for 3 years.Well done to you for your commitment! I would say it is now just part of your weekly routine. Many people start out fasting becasue they wish to lose weight and do so by burning fat rather than sugar, but there are many health benefits associated with fasting including insulin resistance, lower risk or cancer and improving your immunity. Fasting gives you body a break and allows it time and space to heal and repair. If you would like to read some further scientific and medical information that backs this up please check out http://www.medicaldaily.com/fasting-diet-leads-healthier-aging-and-immune-system-improvements-316246 which is just one of the many studies and reports that back this up.
      So to come back to your initial question I do not believe that following the 5:2 diet and fasting 2 days each week is adversely affecting your health and immune system and making you more susceptible to colds. I would say that it might be stress or other factors. However at the same time I would continue to monitor this and go discuss this with your doctor. Stress is the ‘killer’, you can eat well, exercise and lose weight but if you live a very stressful life and are unhappy, depressed, on edge and have your adrenals firing all the time then all that good work can easily be undone. I am not a doctor and your health is paramount. If after reading this you are still not sure please talk to your doctor or perhaps a counselor, life coach or someone else who may also be able to help with the stress in your life.
      To your health

    • Sarah Sarah on December 4, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Hi Clay Good question and interesting insight. I can not say directly if this is linked or whether it is coincidental. Of course additional stress from work or other lifestyle/ relationship/ family life factors will all play a part. As will not getting enough sleep, not enough exercise, not enough vitamin D (or other nutrients) and drinking too much alcohol.
      Actually I don’t believe your fasting days would be decreasing your immunity, if anything eating lighter meals allows your body to heal, cleanse and the cells to clean up and repair. I have not found any evidence that suggests this.
      here is another reference https://authoritynutrition.com/can-fasting-fight-the-flu-or-cold/ for you that shares some insight.

      Clay I would look at some other factors such as gut health. Do you take pre biotics/ probiotics. Your gut is an important place for being able to fight your immunity to viruses, bacteria etc. If this is insufficient that this will lower your immunity. I can say I was someone who was afflicted with colds continually and bad sinus about four times a year. Besides fasting, exercise, meditation, getting more sleep I believe getting my gut back into good health would have had a part in this for sure. Perhaps this is something your should explore.
      To your health

  2. Avatar Dawn on February 17, 2017 at 4:30 am

    HI, Since starting the 5:2 diet, I get very dizzy and see stars or lights post my exercises. This was only happening initially when I was doing long runs, over 1,5 hours or long cycles (40+km), I try to increase my fluids and food on exercise days, but lately, it is even happening when I do a light 40 minute run. I am worried I have triggered something in my body from this diet. Have you heard of this? Any suggestions as to how to get back to not getting dizzy post exercise (apart from stopping the diet!). Thanks

    • Sarah Sarah on March 31, 2017 at 3:53 am

      Dawn thanks for sharing, as per the email I sent you; it is important that you do not do strenuous exercise workouts on fastings days. the 5:2 diet it is meant to be ‘moderate exercise’./You may have ‘stressed’ your body which in turned is causing these side effects – fasting for 500 calories for 36hourrs twice a week works if you follow it correctly. Since I do not know where you have started; ie what your baseline is and what is ‘normal for you’ I do not wish to give any advice; the best thing for your health would be to go see a doctor/ healthcare professional. I suspect that perhaps you are already a lean, very fit person so you may not have the reserves to burn fat in this manner. Also it may also be a hormonal response – but ongoing dizziness is not normal from intermittent fasting, or the fasting diet – so please consult a physician who may need to examine your entire eating / fitness regime and perhaps run some tests.
      In the interim cut back to fasting 1 day a week since you state that you do not wish to give it up (although I would prefer that you stop until your speak with your doctor), only do moderate exercise on fast days and see if that helps at all. If it doesn’t come off fasting immediately until you see your doctor and they can give you the correct advice for your personal situation.

      To your improved health

  3. Avatar Liz on April 27, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    Hi clay I would like to do this diet as I have type 2diabetesbut I also had a heart attack 18 months ago is it agreeable with my condition

    • Sarah Sarah on April 30, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      Hi Liz, Great question! We have many people who are type 2 diabetics take up the fasting diet, integrating it into there lifestyle. We also have people who have had heart attacks also adopt this diet, eating plan. As eating this way have been shown to help with diabetes, GI, lowering cholesterol, burning fat and helping you to lose weight. However, as I am not your doctor and I do not know your entire health/ medical history the best way to approach this would be to speak to your doctor and medical team and show them this and discuss you would like to take up the 5:2diet. Fasting, eating 500 calories 2 days each week in order to improve your health.
      There has been much research and scientific studies on this lifestyle and so I am sure they will be able to determine the best way forward for you.
      To your health

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