To many, eating one meal a day is as simple as it sounds.
But, is it really?
Is there a certain structure or approach we should use while eating one meal a day?
Yes, for a few reasons
- Structured Discipline – when beginning changes that will be occurring within the body and the mind, having a structured discipline will help you achieve long-term success.
- Staying Consistent – Consistency is also vital to achieving your weight loss goals. When you are consistent in your daily habits, it tends to become second nature which also leads to long-term success.
The basic structure below is how I achieved my own long-term success with the Omad Diet and lost over 80+pounds.
Let’s take a look at what to expect, how to start, and the 4 “Ones” rule when starting one meal a day.
What to Expect When Starting One Meal a Day
When you do start the one meal a day diet, you’re most likely going to be hungry. This can be a “mind over body/stomach” issue you will most likely battle in the first few weeks. It might not actually be that you are hungry at all, but your mind is tricking you into thinking so.
Some may even experience what is known as a “fasting headache” in the first few weeks. This will vary with different people, but most tend to go away after initially beginning the omad diet.
You are most likely used to eating every few hours and consuming processed meals or snacks.
Early on when starting out the one meal a day diet, you will
- Want to have no calorie beverages on hand so they can help with hunger and act as an appetite suppressant.
- 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. Make any necessary adjustments in your lifestyle that are going to allow long-term success.
You 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 (Set realistic goals that fit with your lifestyle).
– Make sure to track your progress as well. Even if the pounds don’t come off right away, record your progress so you can track your habits. This will allow you to track areas of improvement.
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.
The “Four One’s” Rule
Eating one meal a day teaches you to have a “structured discipline” when it comes to your plate every day. In order to 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 won’t be eating snacks, junk foods, or other smaller meals throughout the day.
There are no cheat windows or small eating windows during the day.
Keep in mind if you do a 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 one 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 every day 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(or not). There are no restrictions here, and this can be anything you crave. This becomes a psychological advantage as well as it’s important not to deprive yourself, especially when starting the omad diet.
Drinking a caloric beverage will also help in getting your calories for the day. Keep your beverages between 12-16 ounces.
Keep in mind that when eating one meal a day, you can drink during the day. You can have liquids such as water, tea, and coffee. Drinking things like coffee help suppress the appetite and also “trick” the mind into thinking it is getting some type of food.
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 from 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 one hour. So once you sit down to eat, you should complete your entire meal as well as your calorie beverage within that one hour. Anything after the hour concludes, should be no caloric beverages, until your eating window the next day.
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 starting?
With many diets, people believe a cleanse before starting, 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.
Is there a “cheat day,” on this plan?
There really is no single right or wrong answer as it pertains to this. I didn’t take any cheat days on my weight loss journey, but this comes down to your own goals.
I would advise you to follow omad as close as possible to achieve maximum success.
If you need a cheat day or a “free day” once a month in order to maintain your sanity, it will be personal preference. 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.
Try not to eat too many fats or sugary foods. You want to make the “cheat day” as clean 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?
No, but here are some important points to remember:
- Be sure to eat whatever you are craving; this only helps from a psychological standpoint of feeling deprived.
- My meals usually contain around 1200-1700 calories, but there isn’t a specific requirement. Just be sure you are sticking to the 4 “ones” rule.
- Make sure that you are not undereating and depriving yourself of nourishment. My recommendation is at least 1200 calories per day, but try to get more.
- Try to hit your macros (protein, fats, carbs) when you eat your one meal. If you don’t feel you are getting all your nutrients, make sure you are supplementing.
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. Try to follow the same pattern of eating consistently as you can. As mentioned before, long-term sustainable success will only come naturally with these habits.
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 are 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. Some can jump into it, but long-term success comes with proper planning and discipline. 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.
As with any way of eating or dieting that you do, your success will also depend on your dedication. 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 relief in this diet plan.
Have more questions or thoughts about how to eat one meal a day?
Leave a comment below or visit the Omad Diet Community Forums.