The one meal a day diet – It might seem like eating one meal a day is a crazy way of eating considering what most have been used to for most of their lives. With this in mind, think back to our ancestors (way back, hunter-gatherer days). They basically followed the one meal a day diet even though it hadn’t been labeled the “Omad diet” in their day. Basically, they ate when they could. During the course of the day, they would forage, hunt, and gather. At night end, they would finally consume their meals. What’s the difference between us (today’s society) and cavemen? Probably the fact that we have so many options and we are led to believe that we have to eat more (frequently) in order to attain dietary success.
When cavemen followed this one meal a day diet plan, they lived extremely long periods of time (of course if they weren’t hunted down themselves). They were healthier, weren’t overweight, and health issues weren’t a concern. It has been a long-standing diet plan. It hasn’t been given a name until recent years when health gurus and gym rats started following the one meal a day diet plan themselves. Whether you need to lose those 20 pounds you put on over the holidays or want to eliminate the processed junk in your diet, it can be confusing for one to know how to get started.
What to Expect When Starting One Meal a Day
When you do start the one meal a day diet, you are going to be hungry. This is basically a “mind over body/stomach” issue you are going to have to weed through for the first few days or week. It might not actually be that you are hungry at all, but your mind is tricking you into thinking so. You are most likely used to eating every few hours and consuming those processed meals. Your probably even used to having snacks during a certain point in the day. You are going to have to train your mind to learn how to consume food only once per day.
Early on when starting out the one meal a day diet, you will
– Want to have no calorie beverages on hand in order to fill your stomach so that you don’t feel those hunger pains at lunch time.
– Get out of the house. If you work from home or the office, make sure you distance yourself from food. The more active you are, and the more productive you are, the less likely you are going to think about food.
– Make a plan. Talk to yourself, let yourself know what is going on, and allow yourself to recondition the manner in which you think about food (yes, you will talk to yourself for a few days).
You basically want to train your mind to know it is only going to eat once a day (for a short period of time). Once your mind is informed, it can then send the message down to your stomach as well.
How do you actually begin with the diet?
Now that you understand some of the aspects when starting to eat one meal a day, you are ready to get underway. You will want to do a few preparations when you are starting out. The most important is to set goals for yourself. These can include:
– Weight loss you would like to achieve while on the omad diet.
– Set incremental goals (don’t simply state I want to lose 60 pounds as this will make it more difficult; instead, set small goals along the way).
– Make sure to track your progress as well. Even if the pounds don’t come off, you might drop a few inches initially, so take the small progresses as they come.
On any diet, the one meal a day diet included, you have to give your body time to adjust. Set timelines and mark the minor accomplishments along the way. This is going to make it easier to stay on track and focused. When you do start to see success, eating one meal a day, is not going to seem so much like the enemy. It will become easy to follow and allows you to attain your weight loss goals quite easily. Use the community forums for support and be sure to read over any questions you might have.
The “Four Ones Rule”
Eating one meal a day teaches you to have a “structured discipline” when it comes to your plate everyday. In order maintain this discipline, it’s important to have a “structured” way of eating. When I lost my weight, I found this method to work best for my weight loss and helped me to maintain a long term healthy lifestyle moving forward. A good way to look at the one meal a day diet is to consider the “four ones“. This would be: (1) One meal, (2) One plate, (3) One beverage, and (4) one hour.
How do you follow the “4 ones” rule when eating one meal a day? Let’s take a look.
1. One meal
You are only going to be eating one meal within one hour of your 4 hour eating window. You aren’t going to be eating snack, junk foods, or eating many other smaller meals throughout the day. There are no cheat windows or small eating windows during the day (there are other diets out there which allow it, but not the one meal a day diet).
Keep in mind if you do workout, you might want to incorporate a whey protein shake/drink post workout. This is not really considered a “meal,” and should only be done on the workout days. If you workout four days a week, you can incorporate this as a means to fuel your body with protein until your eat window arrives.
2. One Plate
When you are eating your own meal, it’s important to understand how much you are putting on your plate. You want to select an average sized plate (traditional dinner plate). Your meal should not sit over 3 inches high on your plate. Try to incorporate veggies, a fruit, carbs, fiber-rich foods, and some form of fat and protein.
The average dinner plate is 11 inches in diameter. Try not to eat on plates much bigger than this or you will be defeating the purpose of the one plate rule. Your one meal a day could actually be two, depending on how big the plate actually is.
This is another instance where it’s very important to make sensible choices. Try to eat your one meal a day on the same size plate everyday to maintain consistency. As mentioned before, consistency is very important for long term success.
3. One beverage
Allow yourself to consume one beverage which does contain calories. Keep in mind that when eating one meal a day, you can drink during the day. You can have water, tea, and coffee. Drinking things like coffee help suppress the appetite and also “trick” the mind to thinking it is getting some type of food.
During your meal or eat window, you are going to want to incorporate a beverage which does contain calories. It is also similar in nature to the food choices you are making. Sure, you can choose chocolate milk or high-calorie drinks which have tons of sugar, but what good will this do you? Instead, try something like natural fruit juices, fruit shakes, or make your own veggie/fruit drink during the hour eating window. Not only will this help you get in your daily fruits and veggies, but they are also far more filling. They are going to allow you to hit your macros when you are trying to consume all your daily calories in the period of one hour.
4. One hour
When you do start the one meal a day diet, you are going to choose a four-hour window. This can be something in the evening like 3 PM to 7 PM or you can go with something in the afternoon 12 PM to 4 PM. It can be any 4 hour window during the day that you choose. Make sure you choose a four-hour window that will best fit your schedule and lifestyle. Try to stay as consistent as you can with your eating window.
Once you are settled on the four-hour window, you are then going to consume your food within the one hour window. So once you sit down to eat, you should complete your entire meal as well as your calorie beverage within that one hour window. Anything after the hour concludes, should be no caloric beverages, until your eating window the next day.
It really is quite simple. It will take some time to getting used to. Early in the diet will be difficult. Also, keep in mind it is not a 100% exact science. If you eat at 6 PM on Monday and eat at 6:15 PM on Tuesday, this is not going to ruin everything. Make sure that you are only eating within your one hour window and that you maintain a rather structured eating pattern during the days which you are following the one meal a day diet. Take the time to figure out which eating window will work best for your situation.
FAQ – Getting started on the Omad Diet
Is there any prep you should do before hand?
With many diets, people believe a cleanse before hand, not eating for 24 hours (a fast), or doing something like a liquid diet might help them “jump start” weight loss. When it comes to one meal a day diet, this is not the case. As a matter of fact, diets which force you to put things in your body which aren’t natural, (those cleanses or other products you buy at health food stores) typically don’t result in success. Early on you might lose some weight, but it is usually only water weight which you will gain right after you stop the program.
So, when starting the one meal a day diet, take a few short weeks to prepare, and go for it. Make sure you are mentally prepared, you are willing to dedicate to it 100%, and that you are ready to make the change in your eating patterns. Once you are ready to do so, there is nothing special you have to do prior to starting the diet in order to start seeing the weight come off.
Is there a “cheat day,” on this plan?
There really is no single right or wrong answer as it pertains to this. I would advise you to follow the diet program as close as possible for maximum success. If you need a cheat day or a “free day” once per week in order to maintain your sanity, go for it. But, make sure you are right back on track the very next day, and that this cheat day or meal, doesn’t last an entire week or several days.
If you do choose the “cheat day or meal” mentality, try to do something similar to a refeed. Here, you basically are going to increase your carb intake, and increase caloric intake by about 25 to 30% of what you are consuming daily on your one meal a day diet. Don’t eat too many fats, don’t go with sugary foods, and try to make it as “clean” a “cheat day” as possible. Basically, try to consume foods you like, but prepare them at home, avoid refined and processed foods, and make sure you get right back on track the next day.
Are there certain foods which are on/off limits?
You are going to want to hit your macros for the day (protein, fats, carbs) on the one meal a day diet. This is the case with any diet. So, if you do want a piece of cake one night (as long as it is within the one hour eat window/one plate mentality), do so. But, remember you may feel hungry over night, you might not see the results you want during that week, or you might suffer certain setbacks.
On any diet, you are going to have cravings, you are going to want to swerve off track, and you are going to want to eat those “taboo” foods you know you shouldn’t. The same goes when following the one meal a day diet. So, if you do happen to do so, or if you aren’t 100% on track each day, simply make sure you get back on the next day. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Although, you should try to eat natural foods and avoid processed foods, everyone slips up every now and then. Make sure you allow yourself room to make mistakes. They will happen along the way.
In terms of foods, as long as you are hitting your macros, making the “healthiest” possible choices, and eating within that one hour frame, you shouldn’t have too many restrictions or foods you shouldn’t eat during the eat window.
Should I strictly follow this diet?
It really is up to you. Many people like to mix things up. Intermittent fasting has many forms. So one day they will do the one meal a day diet, the following they may choose to eat three meals, and the next couple of days might choose to go into a deficit. The main thing to remember is that consistency is key (consistency in the pattern you follow, not in only choosing to do one diet, and nothing more).
So this means if you decide to strictly do the one meal a day diet for a period of one or two months, then stick with it until the end. Don’t simply switch things up midway, as this will mess with your progress, get you off track, and may actually set you back. If you choose to mix and match a few days a week, and do a refeed every couple of weeks (for a period of one to two months) make sure you do so until the conclusion of that time.
Anything you choose to do, in terms of dieting, has to be consistent. You don’t have to follow one program, you don’t have to eat the same exact meal each night of the week, and you don’t have to cut out certain foods entirely. It is extremely important to remain consistent. You have to make a plan and stick to it. If you simply “wing it,” or try something new every few days, without having a plan in mind, you are not going to see the results you want to see, and you are not going to attain the goals you want to attain.
Is this diet for everyone?
Probably not. One meal a day requires consistency and discipline; a great deal of it. So you have to make your mind up and you have to be willing to follow it. Further, this diet is more so for those who are in maintenance, or in a calorie deficit to lose weight. If you are bulking or doing lean gains, you might better benefit from eating twice or three times a day (as your calorie intake is usually far higher, and eating all calories in one sitting is quite difficult to do for most).
It is also important to consider yourself as a person. If you know you need to snack, if you are diabetic, or if you have other medical concerns/issues, you might want to consider other diets. But, the one meal a day diet is very effective, as long as it is properly followed. It helped me to lose my weight and gave me a structure for long term success. As long as you are willing to dedicate yourself to following the rule of the “four ones,” and properly training your mind and body to stave off hunger, you will succeed.
Trial and error is critical in any and every diet you plan on trying out; this is going to be the case with the one meal a day diet as well. You simply can’t jump into it without planning and without dedicating to following through with it. It is entirely possible to attain your goals within the time frame you have set, and it is possible to do so on the one meal a day diet.
If you are considering this as a means for weight loss, these are a few of the many factors you should weigh, prior to simply jumping into this once a day eating pattern. As with any other diet, your success is going to depend on you and how dedicated you are. If you are ready to start seeing the weight come off, want to feel better, feel more energized, and rid your life of those unhealthy cravings, you will find a relief in in this diet plan.