Eating one meal a day is a form of intermittent fasting. It is extreme fasting and is reserved for people who have tried simple forms of IF. (I have tried eating one meal a day but did not get a desirable result. It was probably because I followed it incorrectly.)
What is Eating One Meal a Day?
As the term suggests, you will be eating one meal a day (OMAD). In here, you will fast for 23 hours and have an eating period of 1 hour.
OMAD is said to offer lots of benefits including burning fats, simplifying your eating time and improving your mental resilience.
It is not like the 8/16 intermittent fasting plan (that I follow). With this plan, you will be eating all your calories in one meal and you get to fast for the next 23 hours.
How to Start OMAD?
As mentioned earlier, it is an extreme form of intermittent fasting. If you are a noob in fasting, you might want to start with 12 hours fast or 8/16 plan first.
Keep in mind that OMAD requires that you avoid food for the next 23 hours. And this entails extra effort. It may stress you out. In some cases, you will over-consume food. As a result, it canceled out the benefits of fasting.
It is ideal that you start slow. You may wish to start fasting for 12 or 16 hours. Once you get adapted to IF, you can introduce OMAD.
For example, on Monday, you can try fasting for 12 hours. On Tuesday, opt for 16 hours of fasting. Then, on Wednesday, add the OMAD fasting.
Doing it this way will allow you to experiment with the type of fasting that is ideal for your situation. It will help you determine how your body responds to extreme fasting.
The hardest part here is to control your habit of mindless eating. Eating one meal a day can be tough at first.
If you feel hungry, simply drink water or opt for a low-calorie beverage, like coffee.
However, be mindful when drinking coffee on an empty stomach.
You want to skip it if you have GERD. I have GERD and before I drink coffee, I make sure I have eaten first.
Then, I wait for 30 minutes before drinking cafe latte (I make my own latte at home. Thanks to the cheap espresso machine I bought.)
It will take a while before you get used to your eating style of eating one meal a day.
How to Starting Eating One Meal a Day and Make it a Habit?
OMAD can have life-changing results in your life. One of its benefits is that you will lose weight, as long as you do it correctly.
To make this eating pattern a habit, you must only eat healthy foods. Avoid sugary food and processed meat.
Since you will be eating one meal per day, you need to ensure that your one meal is high in nutrients.
You must choose food that will help you feel full for a longer period. In that way, you will not be missing snacks and your stomach will not growl after a few hours of not eating.
If you failed to consume the right food, your desire to eat will increase during the fasting period. That’s why you must only consume nutrient-dense food.
It is also one of the reasons consuming food rich in healthy fats and protein can be a great choice for an OMAD diet.
1.) Consume the Right Amount of Protein
You can eat one meal a day. Thus, never focus on fats and carbs. Other nutrients are important, too.
For that reason, you should include protein in your meal to help in building lean muscle.
Consume animal-based food, such as organ means, eggs, meat, and chicken.
2.) Eat Healthy Fats
To stay full for a longer period, make sure to eat between 100 to 180 grams of healthy fat. The best sources would be eggs, olive oil, avocados, fish and coconut oil.
3.) Have Vegetables —- Lots of Them
In your meal, make sure to eat veggies. Opt for those that contain a high amount of antioxidants to improve your gut health. Spinach and broccoli are the best options.
To promote gut health, choose sauerkraut and kombucha.
4.) Carbohydrates are Allowed
But you must avoid those refined carbs. Instead, opt for quinoa, turnips, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Avoid excessive amounts of fruits as it is not good for your body.
What is the Effect of OMAD to Patients with Diabetes?
Before you even start eating one meal a day, make sure that you have consulted your physician. It is especially true if you have type 1 diabetes.
If you have this type of condition, you will need to eat regular meals to maintain a steady flow of blood sugar.
In a study about participants who ate one meal a day, it showed that those who followed OMAD experienced a significant body fat reduction. However, their LDL and HDL increased.
Should You Try OMAD?
Intermittent fasting is a useful tool in helping you lose weight or maintain your healthy weight. The OMAD diet is an extreme form of IF. Eating one meal a day can be challenging for beginners.
But because of its many benefits, you might want to try it.
However, before you do, make sure to consult a nutritionist or your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition.
Eating one meal a day can be beneficial. But it is not for everyone. Try shorter fasting periods first and see if how your body responds to it.