The popularity of intermittent fasting is skyrocketing. This kind of fasting has been known to boost performance and weight loss, modern research has uncovered benefits behind this ancient health practice. One type of intermittent fasting style on the rise is one meal a day, or the OMAD (One Meal A Day) diet. The OMAD diet has recently become all the more popular because Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey revealed that he eats just one meal a day, in a short early evening three-hour window. Fasting is a powerful tool for modulating your body’s performance, and not eating for anywhere between 16-48 hours (or longer) can profoundly impact your body and brain.
Different types of intermittent fasting styles range from calorie restriction, cycling between regular and fasting days, to limiting how many times a day you consume food. The OMAD intermittent fasting schedule aims for a 23:1 fasting window, to give your body 23 hours each day to reap the full benefits of the fasting lifestyle.
What is OMAD and How Does it Work?
OMAD is a form of intermittent fasting, and is the practice of cycling in and out of periods of eating and not eating. You consume all of your daily calories in just one meal, and typically fast for the remaining 23 hours. OMAD fasting allows you to reap the health benefits of fasting, while also hugely simplifying your schedule. Experts are of the opinion that the 4-7PM window is an ideal time to break your fast, and gives you fuel when you need it the most. It is a perfect time to eat with friends or family, and enough time to digest before heading to bed.
OMAD Benefits – Why Eat Only Once a Day?
Most people tremble at the thought of missing a single meal, and intentionally missing all but one meal can seem excessive and useless.
The OMAD diet or other intermittent fasting styles activate autophagy, which is your body’s clean-up mode for damaged cells, toxins and waste. Fasting can have profound effects on your metabolism. Not only does it let you burn fat longer it also resets your tolerance to hunger. Intermittent fasting has a beneficial impact on lowering your blood sugar and increasing insulin function, both of which are important factors in preventing obesity and diabetes.
Most high profile proponents of OMAD claim a multitude of benefits:
- Increased focus and productivity. Do you hit that groggy 2:30 p.m. slump when you’re at work? OMAD is said to eliminate the sluggishness people feel while digesting their lunch, because there is no lunch.
- Weight loss. On the OMAD diet it is hard to be at a caloric surplus when you’re only eating once a day.
- Diet freedom. One significant OMAD benefit is that you free up a lot of mental energy when you don’t have to plan five to six meals a day.
Some follow the OMAD eating pattern for religious reasons. While others, including prominent pro athletes like Herschel Walker and Ronda Rousey, voluntarily eat once a day for long term health benefits. Walker claims to have been eating one meal a day, typically a salad and some bread in the evening, for years now. There is also historical evidence that proves that the ancient Romans only ate one large meal a day, with the popularity of breakfast only beginning during the Middle Ages.
How to Start The One Meal a Day or OMAD Diet
The OMAD diet can be a pretty extreme intermittent fasting schedule, especially for newbies. Staying hungry or avoiding food for 23 hours a day is quite challenging. It takes a lot of extra effort, mental strength and willpower to create a situation that does not stress you out; only then can you truly enjoy the powerful benefits of the OMAD fasting routine.
Here are the top three tips for transitioning into a OMAD schedule, and finding the right balance for your body:
1. Cut Back on Carbs
To set yourself up for the best intermittent fasting results and the least bitterness: limit the number of carbs in your diet. When you tend to consume a lot of carbohydrates, your body stockpiles glucose as glycogen. This means that your body takes a lot longer to shift into ketosis, or fat-burning mode when you are fasting. So try to limit your starches and fruit by following the Bulletproof Diet or eating keto, which will curb your hunger and make you feel satisfied for longer.
2. Ease into Fasting
The goal with OMAD is not to punish your body. A successful transition to intermittent fasting means training your body to handle a different yet sustainable routine. If fasting is new to your body, try a gradual transition through intermittent fasting cycles. Some people may need to introduce intermittent fasting slowly in order to build to a 23:1 OMAD schedule.
As Brad Pilon, author of “Eat Stop Eat,” and a top expert on the science of fasting, explains in an episode of the Bulletproof Radio podcast, “The hardest part of fasting wasn’t the not eating because I was hungry, it was the not eating because of my habits…It took a while to get used to letting go of my trained eating styles.”
3. But First, Coffee
Coffee and fasting? If you’re an athlete, parent, stressed student, busy entrepreneur or generally have a hectic schedule, you may need a little extra boost to help keep you feeling powerful through a day of fasting. The healthy fats from grass-fed butter may give you a stable supply of energy that sustains you throughout the day while also boosting your ketosis and metabolic rate. The goal of an OMAD diet is to actually make the one meal a day work for your body, and not to judge yourself.
Is OMAD The Right Fasting Diet for You?
Avoiding the temptations of hunger during your fasting period needs some careful considerations. Restricting yourself to one meal a day can prove to be taxing on your mental stress, especially for beginners. Take care of your stress levels by practicing stress relief hacks during the initial stages.
So is OMAD the right fasting diet for you? Listen to your body for what it needs throughout the day, and to nourish it with well-balanced meals instead of depriving yourself is probably your best bet. Make sure your meals are balanced, diverse, and cover a full range of micronutrients. OMAD doesn’t necessarily need to be a strict 23:1 fasting:eating ratio. It could be more comfortable for you to spread your large meal out over more than an hour, give it a try!