Disclaimer I am not a doctor or any type of medical professional. All information is anecdotal from my own experience, reading and “research”. When changing diet consult a licensed professional.
What Is OMAD?
OMAD, or One Meal A Day, is an eating strategy (aka diet) where you only eat once a day over a one hour period. So you fast for ~23 hours and then eat for ~1 hour.
How It Started
In May 2018 I was at my lowest point - physically and mentally. I was in and out of the gym, ordering takeout from DoorDash constantly and generally not taking care of my physical health. I had hit my highest weight of about 184 pounds (at 5’10”). My buddy was dabbling with Intermittent Fasting (IF) and hitting the gym regularly. Talking with him sparked me to make my own change so I decided to take a week and just eat once a day to regain some discipline in my diet. After the first week I noticed how I had zero hunger pangs and decided to go for week two. I started looking into the health benefits and consequences of only eating once a day and how this might affect my health. Eventually I found YouTubers, bloggers and a community on the OMAD subreddit for some additional guidance and ideas. The longer I stuck to OMAD the better I felt.
- I lost 30 pounds in about 5 months. I’m maintaining my weight between 153-158.
- My relationship with food evolved. I no longer require constant eating or snacking and can break OMAD at will and still bounce back.
- I don’t suffer a huge setback when I treat myself.
- I saved a lot of money when switching to cooking my own food.
- I also saved a lot of time only cooking or worrying about food once a day.
- I almost never feel overwhelming hunger.
- My skin cleared up.
My Key Takeaways
Everything We Know Is A Lie (Sort Of)
I ignored everything from the food pyramid to how many meals a day I need. I was told that I wouldn’t lose weight, it was unhealthy, or I’d get hungry. However, here I am a year later running 20+ miles a week, working out and doing yoga with no issues. A lot of what I thought I knew about eating from growing up was either not true or severly skewed.
We Underestimate How Many Calories We Consume
I love Taco Bell. Prior to OMAD it was not uncommon for me to order $10-$15 worth of TB by myself and having a night of gaming and Mountain Dew. After switching to OMAD and estimating out the calories for my order on the Taco Bell app I was averaging 1200-1700 calories an order for one meal! Combine this with a trip to Thai for dinner or whipping up something quickly and you are likely way over your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
Black Coffee Is Your Friend
When starting the OMAD journey I refrained from consuming anything but water outside of my one hour eating window. Eventually I missed having coffee and tea so I reintroduced coffee into my mornings. Not only does this give you a good boost on an empty stomach it also helps suppress your appetite.
Exercise Is Not Necessary To Lose Weight
In the beginning I added in very little fitness with OMAD. Occasionally I would lightly hit the gym or ride my bike but I wasn’t aggressive or persistent. My only concern was counting my calories for my OMAD. It’s good to eat a healthy, balanced diet but when you break it down to Calories In Calories Out - OMAD is winning. It is more difficult to overeat if you are only consuming your calories in a one hour window each day.
Buy A Food Scale
Using a food scale may seem daunting at first but it is invaluable when figuring out calories, at least at first. I weigh almost all of my vegetables
Go Easy On Yourself
There were times where I wanted to expand my eating window in order to be more social. This is ok. The best diet is the one you can stick to.