It might seem a bit contrary to what you’ve always heard about dieting when you think about eating one meal a day. Experts have told you that to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight, you must eat 5 to 6 small meals per day, right? Well, not exactly. When it comes to diet plans (including the OMAD diet), there are dozens upon dozens of myths out there. There are increasing studies that show that increasing meal frequency does not promote weight loss. There are also many other long term studies on humans showing how fasting can be beneficial in longevity.
If you are looking for a simplified way of eating, want to eliminate calorie counting, and want to see those pounds come off, the OMAD diet might work wonders for you. The Omad Diet can be a relief of other complicated diet plans out there that have many confusing eating patterns or instructions. What is OMAD? It basically stands for “one meal a day.” Yes, you are eating one meal throughout the course of the entire day!
So, what’s the basic idea/concept behind OMAD?
Omad is a form of intermittent fasting that can also be referred to as a 23:1. This means you are fasting for 23 hours and eating within one hour. You would not be consuming any caloric beverages or food outside of your daily one hour eating time frame. With the Omad diet, you can choose to eat whatever meal you choose with no restrictions inside of your eating window. However, it will be better for your long term overall health, to choose a healthy balanced plate containing the food groups. If your ready to get started right away and want a full understanding on how to succeed with Omad, be sure to get “The Complete Guide to the Omad Diet.” The book gives my easy to follow plan, recipes(to get you started), and all the necessary tools for healthy long term success.
So, should I do the OMAD diet, and what are reasons it works so well?
It is easy
There is really no guesswork when it comes to following the OMAD diet. You basically consume all your calories in one single sitting. If your daily caloric needs to lose weight are 2000 calories, you’ll eat a 2000-calorie meal. No counting calories, no small sacks with nuts (or other low-cal meals), and no need to prep meals for the entire week. If you want pizza for dinner, go ahead!
Deprivation (and the concept of cheat days) is eliminated
If you’ve ever dieted and failed in the past, you will know that eventually, those cravings kick in. You don’t eat cake for 2 months, then suddenly something hits you, and you eat an entire 5000-calorie-cake in one sitting. We’ve all been there. On the OMAD diet, this is not an issue. Since you can eat anything, within reason of course, on a daily basis, you are in control of those cravings. If you want a piece of pie or cake for dessert with your meal, it is possible if it fits into your eating window. If you want a burger and fries, you don’t have to wait until your next “cheat day.”
Contrary to what some others believe, your less likely to feel depleted or exhausted on the OMAD diet. In fact, many report feeling more energized. Since you don’t have that heavy lunch sitting in your stomach after a lunch-time date, you won’t have to worry about it weighing you down. Increased energy can also lead to increased production in your work or social life.
Who doesn’t love eating their favorite “taboo foods” daily?
On most diets that you have been on in the past, you have probably had to restrict yourself with meal choices and planning. With the Omad Diet, there are no restrictions on what you eat. You can eat all or whatever foods that you crave on a regular basis with your meal. This is one of the major physiological benefits of eating one meal a day. By knowing you can enjoy more of the foods you love, you build a healthier relationship with food over time. You will also be more likely to have long term success because you won’t feel deprived of all your choices.
No more yo-yo dieting
Like most others, you have probably tried countless diet plans, regimes, and eating schedules in the past. With the OMAD diet, it can no only be just a diet, but a long term lifestyle change. If a friend invites you out for a meal, you can go. If you want to enjoy something fun where food is involved, you don’t have to feel guilty about it. Simply knowing you can have what you want in larger volumes, is going to help you change your mentality towards food. Food no longer becomes the enemy.
Since I’m only eating once per day, are there other restrictions?
You might be wondering what you can drink. If you do get hungry during the day on the OMAD diet, there are some things you can do to stave off the hunger until your eating window approaches.
In terms of beverages, you can drink teas, coffee, and pretty much anything that has no calories. Coffee is a great suppressant as it does help you keep hunger at bay (or any caffeine). Amino acids are also a great addition during workout or post workout. It will help with muscle damage reparation and is a good way to “trick” your mind into thinking you are getting food.
Lean gains or muscle building?
If this is what you are trying to do at the present moment, whether for a competition or for beach season, then the OMAD diet might not be ideal. To get bigger, most people need to pack on the calories; in some cases, they need 4000 to 6000 plus calories. This is increasingly difficult on the OMAD diet, even for the eater with the biggest appetite. So, spreading meals out during the day is much easier to ensure the caloric intake is met. Although the OMAD diet can work, it can be very difficult to incorporate.
This is also true with the concept of lean gains. The better approach is the 2- to 3-meal-a-day eat window. Your body will get more out of this eating pattern. Again, the OMAD diet is not off limits, but it might not deliver the best results in the period of time you want to see them.
How about incorporating more than one diet at a time?
Like anything in life, variety is the spice in life. Although some people do the OMAD diet and nothing more, you can incorporate other types of intermittent fasting. As a matter of fact, some people are far more likely to fail if they restrict their mentality and ways of training. The best approach is to try things out and see what works for you. You can even try to mix things up if you are in a slump.
Many people confuse this one with the OMAD diet; however, they are not the same. With this pattern, you basically fast for an entire 24-hour period (no eat window) and you do this once or twice a week. Once your fast concludes, you eat a normal-sized meal.
As discussed above, this is where you consume one meal a day (anytime during the day within a 4 hour eating window). You consume your meal within one hour.
Several meals a day
If you have the patience for it, you can even do the diet approach where you eat 4 to 6 meals a day. You have a few snacks and a few small meals throughout the day.
There is not a single right or wrong way to go about doing things. However, it is important that if you choose to mix things up or if you choose to do the OMAD diet daily, you are CONSISTENT. You can’t simply do things halfway and expect to see the results you want to see. You must dedicate yourself. You must be willing to do things the right way and you must maintain the proper attitude when you choose to diet.
What should you eat on the OMAD diet?
There are no restrictions here. Can you eat two slices of 1000-calorie cheesecake each night and lose weight? Maybe. Is this the healthiest approach for you to take? Not at all. A good way to go about choosing foods is tracking macros. Doing this gives you an idea of protein, carb, fat, and other nutrients you are consuming. You are more likely to make healthier meal choices, you are still going to feel satisfied, and you can still have foods you love (even those that aren’t healthy) while reaching your goals.
Of course, for long term health reasons, you try to make healthy choices with your one meal a day. If you choose to eat items that aren’t as healthy a couple nights a week, make sure they are in the 4 hour eating window. You also need to make sure you are following the “4 ones” rule and consuming all your calories within one hour, or you will not see the results you are looking for. Keep in mind that everyone is different and your body will react differently to different food choices you make. Account for this and plan accordingly. Try to make educated decisions as you plan your meal, whether you are on the OMAD diet or a on a combination of other diets at the same time.
What are your goals?
As discussed above, for those who are trying to bulk up or make some lean gains for summer season, you might not benefit as much on the OMAD diet. Someone simply trying to shed weight will find it more beneficial. You must figure out what you want to do. There is a trial-and-error phase. You might want to give the OMAD diet a try for a period of time and see how your body is going to react to it. It is not a diet everyone can follow, and in some instances, you are not going to see the results you want to see. If this is the case, you can try mixing things up. You could approach your meal choices differently. Dieting of any kind is difficult at first. So, trial and error is critical, and you must be willing to give your body time to adapt and “re-learn” how to process certain foods you are now eating.
Is it a healthy diet?
You may find dozens of online articles, forums, and posts questioning the OMAD diet. But, what proof is there out there? History shows the OMAD diet in not a new concept or diet. Whether you eat 5 or 6 meals a day or one giant meal, as long as you are consuming your calorie needs and macros, what is the difference how or when you get them?
If you reach your target carbs, fat, and protein levels each day, aren’t you supplementing the body with the resources and nutrients it needs? You can still cheat on your diet if you follow the small-meal approach. You can go off track when working with a nutritionist. Further, there is more proof and research that has been conducted showing that the OMAD diet is a healthy approach that helps the body burn more fat when trying to lose weight. You are also encouraged to supplement when doing the OMAD diet to ensure you meeting your nutritional needs.
As is the case with any diet you try, there are positive and negative remarks about it. The diet plan is by no means unhealthy. However, it is not something every person can follow. It will take dedication, and it is going to require a learning curve for you to stay on track. Planning well in the beginning will ensure long term success. With this being said, it is a great way to incorporate the foods you love each day while reaching your health and body goals. You simply must try it. You can also try out other types of intermittent fasting and see what works for you.
Should you exercise?
This is going to be a case-by-case answer. For some, you are already exercising and fairly active. This is where the whey protein supplement is going to come into play on the days that you are working out. It is going to give you an added energy boost, and it is going to help you regain protein losses on days where your body is depleted. So, if you are already working out and plan on continuing to do so, then you can follow the OMAD diet and reach the goals you have in mind.
If you do not work out, should you begin? This depends on your goals, but exercise is always encouraged for a healthy lifestyle. If you are trying to lose weight aggressively, you might want to start working out a couple times a week. It will help increase the caloric deficit each week, which in turn is going to result in more calories lost. You can calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure using the TDEE Calculator to help with your planning. It will also result in more weight loss in a shorter period of time. If you are trying to maintain, you may choose to not incorporate exercise.
Choosing to work out on the OMAD diet or not is not going to hinder your progress (especially if you are just trying to maintain). But, if you do choose to work out, you will find it extremely beneficial to incorporate protein in your meal on the days you are hitting the gym. It will help your body maintain its strength and ability to work on the days you feel more fatigue.
How long should I follow this diet?
There truly is no time frame or limit in place. If you want to try to lose a few pounds within a 3-month window, you can try the diet out for three months. However, eating one meal a day can be much more than just a short type of intermittent fasting. Eating one meal a day can truly become a lifestyle, just as it has for me. There are people who have literally followed the OMAD diet for years. They have maintained an exceptional physique, feel great, have the energy they desire, and state they will never go back to any other lifestyle or eating pattern.
For some, it simply does not work. Some people do not have the dedication or focus and will start picking at food during the course of the day. If this is your case, you might be best served with trying to mix things up and do a few diets or eating patterns during the course of a week. This might help keep you motivated and focused, and help you avoid those hunger pains.
The choice really comes down to you and whether you are in it for the long haul or simply trying something new. Maybe you like to mix things up during the course of a week and try the OMAD diet for a short of a period of time. We can help in our community forums to answer any questions about being on the OMAD diet if you are just starting out or have been doing it for any length of time.
Is it really a diet?
Many say that when following this approach to eating, they feel as if they are not dieting at all. It is a diet because any eating pattern we choose is considered a diet. You technically are on a diet when eating one time meal a day. However, the simple fact that you can truly eat what you want and are not depriving yourself makes many feel they are not dieting at all. This is one of the main reasons why people find it so easy to stay on track once they begin the OMAD diet. You can truly eat nearly anything you would like during your eat window each day and have more flexibility in food choices. You are also able to go out and enjoy meals with friends.
Many people allow themselves one calorie drink with their meal. However, many people do not restrict themselves as long as the caloric beverage falls in the calorie window for the day.
Like anything else, trying new things allows you to find what works best for you. The same is the case for dieting. The OMAD diet is a healthy eating plan/lifestyle that will allow you flexibility in your food choices. It will also help you reach your goals. It is a trial-and-error type of diet regime, and it won’t work for everyone. For those who are disciplined, love food, and can follow the one meal a day lifestyle, it is a routine that works wonders. Just as it has for myself. It can help you attain your diet/physique goals and is truly something easy to follow once you get the hang of it.