In this article I will be answering the question from one of my clients who asked me can you overeat on OMAD?
You cannot overeat on OMAD. The longer you stay on OMAD, the more reduction in gastric capacity (stomach capacity) you have. Therefore, those changes lead to being fuller with less food. The results of being fuller with less food will cause eating less.
I’ve noticed that on day one. All it took was a whole day of fasting to realize that I don’t need to eat the same amount of food that I was used to to get full.
One of the things that I ask my new clients who just started working with me is to try OMAD for a day, and see how they feel. I do this because it is a great self-assessment tool to see how their body reacts to less food.
Is It Possible To Overeat On OMAD?
It is possible to overeat on OMAD if you eat too much food at once. However, overeating one meal a day won’t make you gain weight or jeopardize your results. People who overeat on OMAD usually binge eat for multiple days.
This means, even if you eat a little bit more, you will be fine. The problem is when people crack under pressure and completely lose control. This is manifested in having a few days in a row where they feel emotional and overeat to feel better.
You may start your week strong with iron willpower and enthusiasm, but then something happens, and you find yourself raiding the refrigerator.
So eating more food during one meal a day is not a big deal. You may notice that you feel lethargic or sleepy after.
People may notice a drop in energy levels. That is commonly called food coma or after-dinner dip. That is not the problem. The problem is when people lose control (source).
Why Am I Sleepy After Eating OMAD?
Falling asleep after eating OMAD is a normal body response. The decrease in energy levels after eating is caused by postprandial somnolence. Activation of the parasympathetic nervous system after a meal stimulates the sleep centers in the hypothalamus.
Drowsiness after food intake is a normal body response, especially after breaking the fast with a big meal. After looking at studies, there are several theories around postprandial sleeping (source).
Decreased blood flow to the brain, neurohormonal modulation of sleep from digestive signals, or vagal nerve stimulation. However, not all of those theories are final. But all of the studies are clear that it is a natural response and not a cause for concern (source).
So this is normal.
However, I found one exciting studies that have compared the meal composition and correlation with the duration of sleep after meal.
The study examined a high-fat-low-carb meal versus a high-carb-low-fat meal. They measured that insulin was significantly higher after a high-carb meal, however, cholecystokinin (CCK) concentrations were significantly higher after high-fat meals (source).
The results showed that the high-fat group rated fatigue significantly more, comparing to the high-carb group. The conclusion from the study shows a strong correlation between cholecystokinin (CCK) and tiredness after meals.
In other words, high-carbs meal made people less tired, and high-fat meal made people more tired.
Does OMAD Make You Tired?
OMAD can make you tired if you eat fast, and you eat more food at once. To feel less tired, slow down your eating and prioritize proteins in your meal because adding more protein will keep the satiety high, and minimize post-meal tiredness.
So just because the post-dinner dip is natural, it doesn’t mean we cannot do anything about it. Adding proteins to your OMAD meal not only will keep your muscle protein synthesis active, but it will also keep you more satisfied after your meals.
Decades of studies confirm that regardless of which dietary tactic you choose (plant-based, paleo, keto) protein is king. Your body uses protein for multiple purposes, including preserving lean body mass (source).
So having a protein-rich meal will ensure that you feel less tired, feel fuller with less food, and maintain your daily metabolic operations.
Focus on eating slowly, and being aware of your body cues. Eliminate distractions to help you eat mindfully. Stop eating when you feel satisfied or no longer hungry, NOT when full.
How To Stop Overeating On OMAD
Here I will show you tips on how to not overeat on OMAD.
People overeat when they do intermittent fasting because of a whole gamma of reasons. But usually, they feel uncomfortable with hunger. And they can freak out from the smallest rumblings in the stomach.
The good news is that the more often you practice OMAD, the easier it gets. Not only is reduces your gastric capacity. But it also gets you more comfortable with feeling hungry. In other words, you increase the hunger tolerance (source).
Here is the step-by-step guide on how to not overeat on OMAD.
Tip #1: Focus on Slow Eating
This is by far the easiest shift you can do to stop overeating on OMAD. I’m not gonna brag, but this single habit can make a huge change-maker and can positively influence your results.
Even without OMAD.
Many times people have over-eating problems simply because they eat too fast. And just by slowing down, you are limiting the amount of food that is coming in. So slow down.
Slow eating helps you to tune in to your body signals and it delays the satiety response. This means you will feel fuller with less food.
Plus, slow aware over-eating is not fun. Try to eat slowly and over-eat and you will know exactly what I mean.
But here’s the problem. Some people may have a hard time quantifying what exactly slow eating means. Everyone can have a different definition of slow eating. So here are some clear instructions on how you can get started with eating slowly.
Tip #2: Put your fork down between your bites.
One of the easiest cues to do is putting down your fork between every bite and make sure you chew your food for longer than usual before you pick your fork again.
This simple practice will teach you to relax and really take your time.
Tip #3: Breathe and relax
I know that sometimes it may feel like you had a really long day, and all you can think of is to get food in to your mouth. But patience is the key.
Don’t rush with your meals. Take time to breathe and relax. You will enjoy your meal much better when you are not feeling rushed.
Tip #4: Set up the timer
Another method you can use is simply to set up the timer for 20-25 minutes. This will give you a time frame of how long exactly you should be eating.
It takes around 15-20 minutes for the satiety to kick in. This means if you finish your meal in 5 minutes, your body won’t register that you are full, so you may continue to eat or be hungry again very soon (source).
So by timing yourself you consciously stretching the time. This practice will also help you to tune in to your body signals and notice when you feel hungry, no longer hungry, and full.
Tip #5: Smell and taste
Let me tell you a story.
Back in the day when I was living in Glasgow, I used to work in a place called Virgin Active. Inside the massive gym, there was a small cafe where staff would cook the food every morning.
One of my 6.30 am clients, Renata, was very sensitive to the smell of bacon while she was exercising. It upset her stomach. And it got to the point where she would puke every time when they were frying the bacon in the morning. So we would need to always stay on the far end of the gym.
That’s how powerful the olfactory (smell) system is.
Try to sense the taste, smell, and texture. Focus on each bite. There is some physiology behind smelling and tasting each bite. It impacts olfaction and palatability. This means that real food starts to taste so much better (source).
And the junk food tastes like cardboard. If you don’t believe me, try to chew for 1 minute on the Dorito chip. Once all the additives dissolve, the chip will taste disgusting. Seriously.
There is strong evidence that smelling and focusing on flavor is necessary to stimulate satiety hormones to raise. It’s because food-related odors provoke salivation and release of gastric acid and insulin. So it’s kicks start your digestion before you even eat (source).
If you don’t smell your food, and you just rush through the meal, your body doesn’t even know you are eating.
Focusing on the senses instinctively moves us toward better choices. Because the healthy food just tastes so much better. The real food taste like food. The more time you take to smell your food, the faster you will get full.
So if your body doesn’t know that you eat, when are you gonna stop? Probably when it’s too late. When you exceed the stomach capacity (aka full).
Tip #6: Eat mindfully without distractions
There is overwhelming research showing that eating with distractions influence the amount of food that we consume. In other words, we eat more while watching TV (source).
And it not only distracts our attention from the food we eat but from the hunger signals that we receive.
So you may not register that you’re already satisfied because you’re focused on TV.
It doesn’t mean you need to clear the deck and stay alone for every meal. But try not to consume any media, and if possible switch off the devices.
Also sitting down at the table to eat, rather than consuming your meal while walking on the street, driving a car, or in front of the computer screen. All those strategies may seem super basic. But they work.
On the surface, it seems like it’s easy to adopt, but in reality, it’s hard. If you’ve been gobbling on your meals to save time and get things done, this may feel like a radical change. But it’s the easiest way to stop overeating.
Start with those simple instructions. Even if you just do one of those it will dramatically improve your relationship with food and over time you will stop overeating. Even if you feel like you’re “starving”.
Tip #7: Stop eating when you’re no longer hungry
When you already know how does the hunger feels, now is the time to work on your self-awareness. This means stop eating when you’re no longer hungry.
Not when you’re full. Not when you eat everything from the table. Not when the TV show is finished.
You stop eating when you’re satisfied, no longer hungry, or 80% full.
This will also take time to practice. But it will help you to feel the difference between needing to eat and wanting to eat.
Tip #8. Know your triggers
There is a saying that if food is in your house, sooner or later you or other people that you live with will eat it.
This works both ways. So if you have only a healthy options available at home, naturally it you will eat only those healthy options.
If you or your spouse shop for foods that always lead to problematic behaviors, and overeating, then create a list of those foods and either stop buying them or hide away from the eyesight.
Use the traffic light system approach.
Create a red light list of foods that always seem to trigger unwanted behaviors. Those food are always bad news. If you know what you overeat of some specific items, put them on that list.
Once you created the list, make sure that everyone in the house is aware of not buying those foods anymore. Sometimes you may need to compromise because other people may still want to eat them. In that case hide them away.
Create a yellow light list. Those are the foods that sometimes may trigger bad behaviors, but sometimes they are ok. For instance, you may like to take a couple of pieces of oreo cookies to satisfy your craving. But when someone buys a jumbo pack of 50 cookies, then you eat them all.
So by reducing the size pack to minimum, you automatically eat less.
Or if you like to have a beer every evening, but every time when there is more beer available you find yourself drinking more. In that case, always make sure alcohol is kept to a minimum.
Create a green light list. Those are the foods that always seem to have zero impact on your unwanted behaviors. Those are the healthy choices, and even if you will overeat, it will be less harmful.
Once you created that list, make sure that everyone knows about it. Keep it handy and use that whenever you’re shopping.
Here is the example of the list you can use.
Starting with OMAD can feel doubting at the beginning. That is because we have hard-wired beliefs that we need to eat food every day, otherwise, we will be starving. And if we don’t eat for several hours, we feel like we could eat even double the amount of food that we used to.
Having one meal a day for a period of a week or two can teach us some valuable lessons. For instance, it can teach us a lot about how does physical hunger feel.
But those short-term experiments have totally different impact on our physiology, psychology, and behaviors than long-term experiments. This means trying OMAD for a week or a month is different than doing it for a year or 5 years.
Go Further with OMAD
This article is part of the Doing OMAD But Not Losing Weight
In the following pages, I show you all the related aspects necessary to troubleshoot all the reasons why OMAD may not work and what you can do about it.
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