OMAD is a great way to drive calorie deficit and improve body composition. In this article, I give you several guidelines and tools to help you build sustainable, enjoyable, and worthwhile practices.
Also, I’ll cover multiple questions so by the end you should get a better understanding of how exactly one meal a day works, what to eat, how to fit it into your lifestyle, and what to do when you get off the rail.
Now, let me explain this article structure, and why its setup this way. The outline below will give you overview of the themes of this article. I recommend you bookmark this page for future reference.
In this guide, you will learn more about how to properly OMAD as one of many intermittent fasting protocols. You’ll also learn practical methods and resources to:
Improve self-awareness. You’ll look at intermittent fasting as an active practice that requires constant mindfulness, care, growth, and learning for ongoing improvement.
Develop strong habits. You’ll learn how to be resilient, flexible, and tenacious. This is a goal-centered approach.
Develop useful skills. You’ll develop a broad-based and robust system of theory and practice for your nutritional management, regardless of what “diet” you’re currently on.
Understand what’s really important. You’ll learn to identify, understand, and prioritize your actions based on your personal goals and differentiate useful tips from abstract theories.
Learn several tools and techniques. You’ll learn and develop a wide range of tools and methods, and learn when to choose the correct ones.
Look at results differently. You’ll understand what aspects shapes your progress, and final outcome.
What I expect from you
Without a doubt, I know you want to get the most accurate answers to your questions and learn as much as possible to be able to follow through with this plan properly.
Here’s what I expect from you.
Give your full attention. There is a lot of information in this guide and you have only so much time on your hands. There is a lot of distractions and it can really hard to juggle multiple things at the same time.
So if there are other things competing for your attention right now, save this article for later and come back to it when you are more focused.
Practice what you’ve learned. The best way to learn new concepts is doing new concepts. And the more often you do it, the easier it will get. This guide is full of hands-on practical exercises to help you, so apply what you’ve learned right away.
You’re open-minded and curious. This will develop your skills across all domains. It’s easy to be good in some areas, but once you commit to change, you may discover your own strengths and your unique approach.
You’re willing to put in the work. That means taking action even on the practices that may sound simple and easy, no matter how awesome you are right now.
A few more things to know
Each section is dedicated to a specific topic (e.g what to eat, benefits) of doing OMAD. At the end of each segment, you’ll see a highlighted table with a link.
This link enables you to explore more in-depth about the given subject. So by clicking the link in the table it opens a new browser window with a long-form article that covers more broad information about that specific topic.
This will help you to choose subjects that are most valued to you, and learn more in detail about all nuts and bolts.
Don’t forget that all information in this guide is based on current research. This means you will also see a lot of references to scientific literature, available for your reading pleasure.
Frequently asked questions
Throughout the variety of articles, you’ll find several frequently asked questions that people usually have about a given topic. Those questions will be typically bolded, following with an immediate answer.
As you read the articles, you may get some questions that haven’t been covered. In that case, feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com so I can answer you directly.
Before going further, let me introduce myself. My name is Michal Sieroslawski, and I am an exercise physiologist. I help people get back in shape. In this article, I will mostly cover the intermittent fasting method. However, all the tools can be applied to any nutrition approach.
What is OMAD
OMAD is a dietary strategy that focuses on eating within a pre-specified period of time (1 hour) or an eating window, followed by fasting time (23 hours). By focusing on when you eat, rather than what you eat, allows you to limit calorie intake and create a calorie deficit.
What OMAD means? OMAD is an acronym that means one meal a day and It refers to the amount of food that is allowed to eat. It is a form of intermittent fasting approach designed to create calorie restriction where you don’t eat for most of the day.
What is intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting is a fancy name for reducing calorie intake. Fasting means not eating, and intermittent means sometimes, on occasion, or from time to time. Energy restriction means eating less food than normal.
How OMAD works? In general, OMAD works by creating a negative energy balance where the body switches from using external energy sources that come from food, into using internal sources of energy that come from body fat. Over time, it leads to reduced body weight.
Can OMAD be a lifestyle? OMAD can be a lifestyle, as long as it’s personalized to each individual based on their current goals. It can be done in multiple ways on a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly basis. People who’ve been doing OMAD as a part of their lifestyle admit that it leads to better food choices.
Is OMAD healthy? In general, OMAD is healthy, as long as it’s done mindfully with a variety of different foods that are rich in essential micro and macronutrients. Reducing food volume to one meal a day means fewer nutrients for the body, so properly designed meals are crucial to get health benefits.
Is OMAD Sustainable?
In general, doing one meal a day is sustainable because it is a flexible approach that can be modified and personalized. The modification allows adjusting fasting frequency, which makes it suitable for most people in the long term.
Apart from modification, the main way to stay consistent is by applying certain skills, like controlling your hunger and appetite cravings. Also using tools like food journaling where you record your food intake helps you increase self-awareness and find the blind spots that trigger you to eat.
This will help you identify all the events, situations, thoughts and foods that make you eat more or do things that you would normally wouldn’t do.
There are many ways to make OMAD sustainable:
- Start slowly from where you’re right now.
- Journal your food intake.
- Be non-judgemental.
I’m extremely pleased to tell you that I’ve made an in-depth article about making OMAD sustainable, where I cover each of those methods.
Learn More: Click here to learn about is omad sustainable
Benefits of OMAD
Recent studies shown multiple physiological and mental health benefits of doing OMAD. Those include weight loss, lowered blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, lowered cellular senescence, improved metabolism and reduction in anxiety.
Each month new body of research is coming out testing how does intermittent fasting affect the body and shed more light on the mechanism behind those actions.
I’ve dived deep into this subject and managed to pull out 20 health benefits of doing OMAD, all backed by recent scientific literature, for your reading pleasure.
Learn More: Click here to learn about omad benefits
How To Do OMAD
Getting started with OMAD can feel a little bit overwhelming at the beginning. The cravings, the hunger, the emotional rollercoaster, the energy – the list goes on.
Luckily, I’ve put together a mega guide on how to do OMAD where I share with you 18 best tips that can help you get through any intermittent fasting.
Learn More: Click here to learn about how to do omad
What To Eat On OMAD
Choosing the right type of meals with efficient nutrients on OMAD is important to maintain health. People who want to lose fat or weight to a healthy range and plan doing OMAD for a long-term need to carefully prepare their meals to make sure that:
- it has enough proteins to maintain muscle protein synthesis
- it has enough fiber and starch to maintain healthy digestion
- it is enjoyable to ensure long-term adherence
There is no best way to do it. Doing intermittent fasting for long haul is different than sticking to a diet for week or two. This means you need to consider your wants and needs, unique physiological make up, exercise routine and current lifestyle.
Want to know more? For all the details about what to eat (and what to stay away from) go ahead and visit my guide where I explain more in detail things to consider when you’re crafting your meals.
Learn More: Click here to learn about omad what to eat
Calories on OMAD
Counting calories is one of the most accurate ways to reach very specific goals. However, studies show that it is not for everyone. Some people love to work with numbers (e.g. engineers, mathematicians), but for the majority of people, counting calories may be more stressful.
Should you be counting calories on OMAD? In general, counting calories on OMAD is a personal preference because it provides beneficial results, but it also requires additional time and energy. Some people prefer to count calories, where others like to use intuitive eating.
How many calories on OMAD? IN general, you should be eating around 1500-2500 calories on OMAD. The number of calories will strongly depend on your physical activity, weight loss goals and current lifestyle.
In my personal opinion, doesn’t matter how you cut it. One meal a day will get you lean over time even without counting calories. As long as you stick to the plan. However, everyone is different. So it’s not one size fits all.
Fortunately, I’ve made an informative guide about calories on OMAD where you can learn everything there is to know about that topic.
Learn More: Click here to learn about calories on omad
What To Drink on OMAD
In general, during fasting time on OMAD, you should be focusing on water and calorie-free beverages. Drinking zero-calorie drinks will help you maintain a calorie deficit and give better results. During the eating window, you can drink what you want.
However, there is so much more into this topic because some beverages are deeply rooted in our culture like:
Each of those beverages have some pros and cons. And to be perfectly honest, it is a personal decision that I cannot made for you. I’m inviting you to take a look at this topic in-depth and learn more about each of the beverages that you should (and should not) drink on OMAD.
Still curious? Click here to learn about what to drink on omad
Cheat Day on OMAD
In general, you can have a cheat day on OMAD. Having a day when you can eat whatever you want can relieve some of the psychological pressure and lower stress. It also helps to appreciate food much more as with intermittent fasting our nasal chemosensory and palatability improve.
Nasal chemosensory is the ability to smell the food. Intermittent fasting sharpen our smell senses, which makes food taste and smell better.
Learn more: Click here to learn about can you have a cheat day on omad
OMAD and Exercise
OMAD is an intense intermittent fasting protocol where you fast for 23-hours and you eat just one meal a day. So by eliminating 2/3 of your meals you get instantly into a caloric deficit. But does OMAD work without exercise?
OMAD works without exercise. For sedentary people, physical activity uses 10-15% (or less) of daily calories. For physically active people, exercise can use 30% (or more) out of daily calories. One meal a day reduces calories without additional exercise.
This means you can be in a caloric deficit from one meal a day without having to exercise. However, there are a number of reasons why you should consider adding physical activity together with OMAD.
Is OMAD effective? In general, OMAD is effective because it reduces 2/3 of the food volume and creates a calorie deficit, even without exercise. It is considered one of the most effective forms of daily intermittent fasting, where you split your day for feeding time and eating time.
If you’re curious about how to combine OMAD and exercise, I’ve put together an extensive guide where I cover everything there is to know about working out on the OMAD diet.
Want to learn more? Click here to read about omad and exercise
How Long Can You Do OMAD?
In general, you can do OMAD for 6-12 months, or until you’ve reached your desired bodyweight. During the 6-12 months of intermittent fasting body adapts to new calorie intake, lowers the hunger levels, lowers the appetite and you can maintain the weight even after eating more frequently.
In other words, you will get used to eating less food and be full.
The hardest part is to get through the ghost town. But even if you feel like 6-12 months is a long road, please remember that there are other great ways to implement intermittent fasting:
- Skipping a meal
- Eat Stop Eat
- Fasting-mimicking diets (FMD)
- Alternate Day Fast (ADF)
- Leangains (16:8)
- Warrior Diet
So you can mix all the approaches in between. If you feel like OMAD is not sustainable long-term, there are other options.
Want to learn more? Click here to learn about how long can you do omad for
Why Is OMAD So Hard?
In general, OMAD is hard because it allows one to eat one meal every 24 hours. This is already a big challenge because people are not used to feeling hungry. Feeling hungry for most of the day can be very uncomfortable for some people.
Calorie restriction can temporarily elevate stress and cortisol levels. And if someone is already having a lot of problems, then additional stress may be more detrimental than beneficial.
If you find difficult to stay consisent on OMAD, I highly recommend you read my article where I explain the mechanisms behind why OMAD is so hard.
Learn More: Click here to read an article about why is omad so hard
When Does OMAD Get Easier?
In general, OMAD does get easier in the first week because your body get used to doing intermittent fasting and being in a calorie deficit. To make OMAD easier you can also start doing things like staying physically active, be mindful and log in your food intake.
My best tips to make OMAD easier:
- Use food journal, but forget about calories
- Stay busy, but not too much
- Be active, but don’t go over the board
This may sound basic to you. But I like to look at it as a foundation in building consistent practice.
Want to learn more? I’ve written a full article with the detailed step-by-step process when does omad get easier
How Long Does it Take To Get Used To OMAD?
It can take around 1 week for the body to fully get used to OMAD. The time will depend on multiple factors like foods that you’ve recently eaten, your circadian rhythms, physical activity, hormonal levels, age, and your health status.
Also, remember that many people feel really uncomfortable within just a few hours after the last meal. And to avoid this feeling of being uncomfortable, we eat.
“I will eat bigger breakfast not to feel hungry later”.
So getting used to OMAD will also depend on your personal beliefs around food.
Learn More: Wanna know how to get used to OMAD? Click here to learn about how long does it take to get used to OMAD
How To Start OMAD
If you’re on the fence about starting OMAD then this article will hit home with you. Many people start doing one meal a day but somewhere along the line, life happens and they may run into roadblocks. So they quit
People quit for various reasons. Having a child, moving abroad, changing careers, going to college, starting or finishing the relationship, or having a shoe-string budget. So I will share all the best tips and tricks on how to start OMAD and stay there regardless of what lives got for you on the plate.
So that you can prepare yourself for success and have the right tools and skills to always bounce back from those obstacles. Because obstacles will happen all the time. And what separates success from failure is the ability to rebound as soon as possible from any setbacks.
As you will notice, those skills and practices are not related strictly to the food you eat. And there is a good reason for that.
Decisions that we made around food are whole-body experiences. This means you need to be resilient, psychologically healthy, and mentally prepared to endure the tough moments.
Want to learn more? Click here to learn more about how to start omad
Doing OMAD But Not Losing Weight
In general, if you’re doing OMAD but you’re not losing weight it can be because you have a good plan, but you’re not executing it properly, or your plan isn’t good enough. Lack of progress can be due to multiple factors like adherence, high expectations or mindless eating.
At some point, during OMAD (or any dietary method) we all gonna encounter setbacks. This may be in form of not losing (or gaining weight). If that happens, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or there is something wrong with the approach.
It simply means you’re a human that can make mistakes and the next action step should be to find solutions and “blind spots” aka triggers that hold you back. In my personal opinion, the sooner you encounter those setbacks and learn from them, the better.
To show you what I mean, I’ve made a complete guide on how to troubleshoot the problem, and what you can do about it.
In this guide I’ve included things like:
- Is OMAD for everyone?
- How long does it take to work
- Can you gain weight on OMAD
- How to stop overeating on OMAD
Want to learn more? Click here to learn more about omad not losing weight
How To Stay Motivated on OMAD
In general, the best practices to stay motivated on OMAD include setting up small and visible goals that are within the reach, measuring your progress to see results, surround yourself with like minded people, and learn everything there is to know about the topic.
Motivation comes and goes. It is not something that is constant. To stay motivated you need to:
- Have ability to delay gratification.
- Be able to stay rational during the setbacks, not emotional
- Be able to respond, not react
- Work on skills that builds up willpower
In other words, you need to create motivation by constant effort and focus. Motivation is a mental strength that helps you do stuff when you don’t feel like doing. When you’re scared to try something new but you do it anyway. When you feel down, but you got back up.
One thing is for sure. Motivation can be learned. You can find more information in the guide below, where I give you some of the best methods to stay motivated on OMAD.
Learn more: Click here to learn more about how to stay motivated on omad
Is OMAD Better Than Keto?
In general, OMAD is better than keto because it allows for variety of foods, including carbohydrates. In the long-term, depriving yourself from foods you like may lead to more stress and food cravings. Over time, those cravings adds to allostatic load and may cause binge eating.
At the end of the day, many dietary approaches have the same goal in mind. To reduce excess weight. And all of them works by creating calorie deficit. So it doesn’t matter if you eat carbs or not. As long as the body is in the negative energy balance, you will lose weight.
Learn more: Click here to learn more about is omad better than keto
Why Am I Not Hungry On OMAD?
Generally, people don’t feel hungry on OMAD because over time their body adapts to lower food volume. This leads to lower hunger pangs and reduced appetite. It also is related to the levels of ghrelin in the body, as well as leptin.
Hunger levels spike throughout the day. And it will vary from person to person based on their physical activity, gender and age.
Learn more: Click here to learn more about why am I not hungry on omad
The last tip for starting OMAD is to establish your priorities. This means that you need to have a deeper “conversation” with yourself about what is your priority here.
For instance, if you’re saying that you want to lose weight, but it seems like socializing is your number one priority, then you will make decisions based on your social life, not health.
This means you may say you want to lose weight, but each weekend you find yourself staying up late with a bottle of wine then it will create a conflict. This will save you a lot of headaches, conflicts, and problems.
I know it’s tough to make those decisions in a difficult situation, but from now on you’re eating healthy and that’s who you’re.
You are prioritizing your health above anything else. It doesn’t mean you need to become a monk. It just means you’re placing your health first above anything else.
I’m gonna do one meal a day. Don’t stress if one meal a day is too much of a commitment. I will show you other effective forms of intermittent fasting here.
There is no one-size-fits-all. This means there are several ways how to skin the cat. But according to research, it’s not really clear if those benefits are due to fasting, or just caloric restrictions.