Can You Eat Carbs On OMAD?


omad with carbs

In this article, I will explain to you can you eat carbs on OMAD or not.

You can eat carbs on OMAD. Having one meal a day will put you into a caloric deficit, regardless of what you eat. Therefore, having carbs with your meal will prevent cravings that can compromise your results.

If you’ve been dieting for years or even for decades, then you probably have this hard-wired belief that carbs are bad. And thanks to popular diets that restrict carbs, and their marketing, people are literally confused. They don’t know anymore what to eat.

How Many Carbs To Eat On OMAD?

Eating 50-100g of carbs per day on OMAD will maintain your energy levels and prevent food psychological cravings. Therefore, regardless if you’re eating carbs or not, 12-hours of fasting will initiate a metabolic switch and put your body into ketosis.

picture of ketosis

Having carbs with each meal not only won’t affect your results. But it will ease the process for you.

So if you feel like you have a hard time saying no to food, and you constantly have those cravings that are building up over time, it is much better to let it go and eat what you crave for your OMAD meal (source).

Long-term deprivation from foods that you want to eat can trigger unwanted behaviors. Some people may have a iron willpower to stay away from those tasty and delisiouts food.

If that’s the case, kudos to you.

But the majority of people who I know don’t want to live their life like that. They like to enjoy their food and not just use it as a way to control their weight.

Related article: Can You Do OMAD Without Keto

Don’t worry. I will give you one meal a day with carbs checklist, but first.

OMAD With Or Without Carbs?

It is more sustainable to do OMAD with rather than without carbs. During intermittent fasting, your body uses internal sources of energy, even when you eat carbs. Therefore, adding carbs to one meal a day will help to do it long-term.

Listen.

It doesn’t matter how you cut it. If you eat just one meal a day, you will lose weight. There is no magic. No secret sauce. And if you’re doing OMAD and not losing weight, likely, it’s not due to carbs.

People eat for a whole host of reasons, besides just “I wanna get lean”. In the long-distance, we understand that better nutrition leads to better health.

But we also use food to manage a bunch of other stuff that is happening right now. And so “solve” other problems so to speak.

The only reason why people NOT losing weight on OMAD is that they get overwhelmed.

This means they may be consistent for few days, but at some point, something happens (for the lack of better language, having this “shit” moment) and they break down (source).

The level of discomfort will reach the top.

omad with or without carbs

And with choosing the path of least resistance, we find ourselves raiding the pantry or refrigerator to soothe ourselves.

This can be a Friday afternoon binge after a stressful workweek. This can be a random evening after a fight with the spouse. This can be a crush on food that you have been craving for a while.

This can be a glass of wine that turned into a bottle. This can be anything.

Related article: Is OMAD Sustainable

And once we crush, we go down this rabbit hole of more guilt and more shame. So to avoid those feelings we put ourselves under even more restrictions. More strict rules. More hardcore approach.

It will work for a week or two, and then we have those cravings back again. It’s like this ghost in the haunted castle. It keeps coming back on you.

binge eating cycle

Having carbs with your meal not only will ease the cravings, but it will also reduce the stress.

So your focus should be on reducing your stress levels. Not on adding more stress by depriving yourself of foods you want. Remember that OMAD is stress on its own. Any caloric restriction is stress. Don’t add gasoline to the fire.

Focus on how to reduce your stress. This will help your willpower and reduce episodes of binge eating.

Related article: How To Stop Overeating On OMAD

One Meal A Day With Carbs Checklist

Look.

There is a huge difference between eating for pleasure and eating to numb yourself. And it’s usually a numbing mechanism to escape from stress and bad feelings (source).

A great, tasty pasta meal that you enjoy and eat slowly is a pleasure. Eating straight from your pantry or from the refrigerator is not a pleasure. It’s a red flag.

Tasting a piece of smooth chocolate, letting it sit back and melt in your mouth is a pleasure. Gobbling on an extra-large chocolate bar without even tasting it is a soothing mechanism.

Sitting down to watch an interesting show on TV it’s a pleasure. Flipping from channel to channel for hours is a numbing mechanism.

Spending time online to learn something new (just like you’re doing it right now) is positive and stimulates dopamine. Learning makes you happier. Sitting for hours online to avoid talking with your spouse because you argued is destructive.

Related article: Can You Have A Cheat Day On OMAD 

eating for pleasure vs eating to relieve the stress

So as you can notice, it doesn’t matter what you eat. It matters why you eat it. Sweet’s are not the problem. The reason why we over-eat them is the problem.

It’s an escape from emotions.

So as you can see, the food is not the problem. The problem is the problem. If you’re on OMAD and you had this shit moment that causes you to overeat, the first thing you need to do is identify what happened, and why. Otherwise, you will never get out of this loop.

You will end up chasing you own tail.

one meal a day with carbs checklist

Eat Slowly

Eating slowly will not only help you stay full for longer. It will also improve your olfaction and palatability. Your food will taste and smell better. It is very common to gobble on food without even realizing it.

And there are a number of studies that confirm that slow eating leads to eating less food, without even trying. It maximizes satiation, reduces energy intake, and it’s an effective strategy for reducing food intake within meals (source).

People report greater fullness, they rate meals as more enjoyable and experience less hunger during the day (source).

Slow eating will enhance your senses like smell, flavor, and texture of the food. If you spend more time discovering your food through those senses, it will kick start your digestion and will alert your satiety hormones to activate.

slow eating cycle
Slow eating help you feel more full for longer on OMAD

Of course, this may sound like not a biggie. And to be honest, a lot of my clients usually feel gobsmacked when I tell them to eat slowly. They have been waiting for some ninja trick that will magically burn the fat.

So they feel puzzled.

Until they try it.

One of my clients, Joe, managed to drop 50-pounds, just from eating slowly. He wasn’t doing any form of intermittent fasting. Joe’s buddies asked him how the hell he managed to drop over 50-pounds. He told them he eats what he wants, as long as he takes 20 minutes for each meal.

So it works.

Slow eating also creates mindfulness. You feel more connected with your body signals and you start to realize how your body reacts to certain foods.

Related article: One Meal A Day For Beginners

Eat Carbs With Every Meal

Look, I know it may sound scary, especially if you’ve been following low-carb diets for some time. Unfortunately, we are bombarded by media advertisements, celebrity recommendations, and general beliefs that are impossible to avoid.

Low carb message is everywhere. And trying to avoid it it’s like holding your breath to avoid air pollution.

It got to the point that some people think that counting calories and carbs is the only way to succeed. And as long as you cut out the carbs you will lose weight.

Not exactly.

How many people do you know that know everything about carbs, ketones, grams, calories, portion sizes, points, and macronutrient ratios, and are still overweight?

Exactly.

eat carbs with omad

Plus, those types of people are usually very biased about being “right” rather than finding out what’s working.

In other words, for them, it’s more important to win a debate rather than find a practical solution.

But here’s how it works. Weight loss is driven by caloric deficit. Not by carbs deficit (source). So you can have your favorite pasta or bread and still lose weight. OMAD is the way to go.

Adding carbs will reduce cravings, which will make you enjoy the process more, rather than exhaust you. So if you want to have something sweet, do it. You will look forward to your meal.

This means if you fast for 20-24 hours, and then you have something delicious (even the sweet or dessert), it will taste 10x better on OMAD. That’s why I always encourage people to enjoy themselves.

Related article: Is OMAD Better Than Keto

Don’t Worry About Calories

OMAD is basically an organized caloric restriction approach to eating. It makes your life so much easier.

Normally, if you wanted to lose weight (caloric deficit), you would need to eat less than you normally eat with each meal. But for most people, eating less is very subjective. So they would need to start measuring their portion sizes, counting calories, weighing food, etc.

And that was fine in the short-term, but for most people, that’s too much for the long-haul. They start to freak out. They start to have excessively detailed and numerically oriented food journals.

And, if they put on a pound they immediately tightening their rules, adding extra weight to the workout and exercise more, to burn off those calories (source).

OMAD is different. Even if you eat carbs, you just eat one meal a day. This is super convenient. Because not only does it put you in the caloric deficit on day one, but it also takes away the hassle of counting and measuring.

You gonna be in caloric deficit on OMAD. Doesn’t matter how you cut it.

don't worry about calories on omad

Yes, it’s not easy to fast for the entire day. And any form of intermittent fasting is uncomfortable. But being uncomfortable is subjective, too.

Some people may be not used to hunger feelings at all. They may have beliefs that any rumblings in their tummy mean they need to eat. They feel disconnected from their body signals and how does the physical hunger actually feel.

If we gonna go a bit further, some people automatically reach out for food in response to any negative feelings. That’s emotional eating. Eating to avoid bad feelings (source).

OMAD is a great way to get in touch with your body’s hunger, cravings, satiety, and improve enjoyment. It teaches the skill of hunger tolerance. Because you’re not eating for most of the day, you quickly realize that hunger is not an emergency.

People who feel comfortable with intermittent fasting are those who develop the skill of hunger tolerance. They understand that hunger is not an emergency.

Eat Until 80% Full

One of the world-famous research done by Brian Wansink, P.hD. compared Americans and Europeans eating habits. And more precisely, the cues that people use to stop eating (source).

It turns out that Americans usually stop eating when they run out of beverage, when the plate was empty, when they eat everything from the table, or when the TV show was over.

On the other hand, Europeans usually stop eating when they don’t feel hungry anymore. And this shows that Americans usually rely on “external” cues, where Europeans rely more on “internal” cues.

But Europeans aren’t the only ones. In Okinawa, Japan, there is a tradition, a mantra I would say, that Okinawa’s chant before each meal. It’s called Hara Hachi bu. It means “stop eating when you’re 80% full”.

And guess what.

Okinawa Island in Japan is known for the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world (source).

stop at 80 percent full

So one of the good habits you can develop is to practice eating your meals until you’re 80% full. It may feel a bit subjective to some people. Especially if you’re not an engineer type of person, and you don’t work with numbers.

So think of it as eating until you’re no longer hungry. This will help you distinguish between physical hunger and appetite. Because if you’re no longer hungry, but you want to eat more, that’s not hunger. That’s an appetite.

Related article: Can You Snack On OMAD

Use Food Journal

Before in this article you may remember that I’ve criticised numerically oriented food journaling. And I still believe that this is unnecessary work. You don’t want to track how many calories you’ve eaten and how many calories you’ve burned.

That’s crazy.

But what you can do is use food journal to capture your thoughts, feelings and emotions.

photo of food journal
Food journaling has been proven tool in a long-term weight loss programs (source)

This is so much better return of investment of your time. Because it will show you what situations, thoughts, places, people, environments, emotions, and foods trigger certain feelings.

In other words, what is the real problem here.

You may notice that you always feel like binge eating after Friday afternoon. Or you may notice that you always drink more when you’re with X person. Or you may notice that you’re always more stressed out on Wednesday afternoon.

That may sound like obvious stuff.

But we’re busy, and there are hundreds of things that demand our attention. So you may know this stuff, but you just don’t do anything about it.

Using a food journal to write this stuff down makes it more real. And it shifts your attention to find solutions to this problem. And you may not need to binge eat anymore, because you’ve sorted the problem.

The food is not the problem. The problem is the problem.

Conclusion

There is no need to deprive yourself of eating carbs when you’re doing OMAD. In this article, you’ve got some great tips to get you started and when you implement at least a few of them it will make your journey much easier.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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