Looking back, I can definitively say that the first couple of days on OMAD was an “experience”. Just because I’ve never fasted for a whole day before, so having one meal a day was hard. But after a couple of days, it got easier.
OMAD does get easier within the first week. There are three things that can help you in the process. The first is keeping the food journal, the second is staying busy throughout the day, and the third is exercise.
In this article, I will show you exactly how to use all three methods to help you. So even if you apply just one of them, it will get easier.
How To Make OMAD Easier?
There are several ways to make any diet more user-friendly, however I wanna share with you my best tips that can help you get through OMAD and get the best results. Here are my 3 best tips on how to make OMAD easier.
Tip# 1: Use Food Journal
When I did OMAD, in the first couple of days I was shocked at how does my body feels. Simply because I’ve never fasted for the entire day. So I didn’t really know how does physical hunger feel.
I used to eat food all day round the clock. The worst thing was that I wasn’t even hungry. I would eat because I was bored, frustrated, or lonely. So I would grab something to eat, to make me feel better.
But the thing is that if we’re gonna use food to make us feel better, we gonna have a problem.
Think about your body as a car with two different tanks. Tank P and Tank E.
Tank P is the physical hunger that you can feel up with food. When you are physically hungry, your “dashboard” shows that you need to eat.
Tank E is the emotional hunger that you can feel up with emotions, feelings, and sharing those feelings with other people. Hunger signals from the Tank E dashboard indicate that you have psychological needs that aren’t adequately met.
If you find yourself regularly eating (just like I used to do) whenever any emotional whiff comes in, whenever feeling stressed or anxious, you can’t really differentiate if what you’re feeling right now is physical hunger or emotional hunger.
So when you can’t tell the difference, you will likely satisfy the emotional hunger with food (just like I used to do).
It will take a lot of food to silence and mute the Tank E. Because there is no food amount that will fill up emotional hunger, so you will feel hungry again soon.
That’s why you may feel that doing OMAD is not easy. You may feel like you’re constantly thinking about food and you feel uncomfortable.
To make OMAD easier you need to distinguish physical hunger from emotional hunger.
It will pay you in spades.
How to use food journal
To differentiate physical hunger from emotional hunger first you need to put yourself out in the water to know exactly how does the physical hunger feels and be conscious about it.
To do so you can use a food journal.
The most powerful, yet the simplest way to (1) be aware and (2) change behaviors is by writing down what you do, think, or feel.
Your goal here is NOT to write how many calories you eat. Your goal is to write down what you eat, and capture how you feel throughout the day, and what you thinking about.
Here is an example of how to use a food journal to capture all the nugget information that will open your eyes to what exactly is happening.
As you can see, we don’t care about counting calories. This is more of a self-awareness practice.
It may feel weird at the beginning but trust me, this is the easiest way to get to the point where you will realize what exactly are you feeling.
It took me few days to get to the point where I finally realized.
- What does the physical hunger really feel
- Hunger is not an emergency
Because more often than not, we are afraid that if I feel super hungry right now, it means in the next couple of hours I will be starving.
After researching hunger, feelings, and how does the body actually copes with not eating, this is what I’ve found out.
Hunger is a signal from a hormone called ghrelin. This means when you feel hungry it is strictly related to the levels of ghrelin in the body. That’s why you may feel like you’re hungry only 5-hours after your last meal, but 10-hours later you’re just fine.
That was a game changer for me.
Because I’ve finally realized that hunger is not something that will get worse and worse.
So after few days of consciously writing down exactly what I feel, I knew that this is not something to be freaking out about.
Different people have different ghrelin levels. For instance, women have a higher level than men.
That’s why when husband and wife can do the same fasting routine, same food, and same fasting time. The husband won’t feel much hunger, where the wife will feel much more intense signals.
The bottom line is to start journaling your food together with what you feel and think.
Tip# 2: Stay Busy
The second way to make your one meal a day easier is to distract yourself and stay busy doing something. This doesn’t have to be labor-intensive work.
So stay busy, but not too much.
It can be something that you actually like to do, and you can easily lose the sense of time doing.
For me personally that was doing some small grade daily tasks that doesn’t require a lot of thinking. House work, comuniting, gardening, cleaning, manual work, etc.
Something that you can kill the time and not thinking about the food. This will help you stay distracted.
The reason why those jobs need to be low grade difficulty is because you don’t want any additional stress on your body.
One meal a day is a form of intermittent fasting and it will put micro stress on your body. That is called good stress.
But good stress can quickly become bad stress if you have too much general stress on your plate already.
So the last thing you want during your one meal a day is to be involved in some complex project where it will require extra analytical thinking, comprehension, analytical application or evaluation.
Tip# 3: Stay Active
The last tip is to stay active or designate an hour of your day for training. Ideally, you want to exercise before your one meal. It doesn’t mean hardcore workout.
Quite the opposite.
Find an exercise that is low intensity. Something like walking, light stretching, or even weight training but with a low amount of reps, sets, and longer rest time.
Low-intensity training is to energize you, rather than exhaust you. It’s designed to boost your circulation, give you energy, and most importantly suppress your appetite.
Studies shows that any exercise can lower your appetite and hunger pangs. So by placing your workout strategically before your meal will help you “kill” the huger signals, at least for couple of hours.
My best time for working out is around 11 am – 2 pm. This is when I notice a dip in energy, so by using an exercise as a tool to lift myself and top up my batteries, not only I can do more stuff during the day, stay more focused, more productive but also control my hunger better.
And I personally believe that’s what you should think about your exercise too.
Instead of looking at it as “calories burned”, think about it as a booster of energy.
So you can do more, move more, and have more energy.
Plus exercise also stimulates dopamine so it naturally feels good after a workout. That’s why I don’t do anymore any high-intensity exercises. I prefer to lower the intensity, but do it 7-days a week.
Again, not to burn more calories. Just to feel better. Which over time will burn calories anyway.
Doing one meal a day can feel hard at the beginning, but once you actually dive deep and take time to understand what is happening in the body you will be able to do it much easier.
And once you see it, you cannot unsee it. You cannot unring this bell, so to speak. This means that once you get familiar with your physical hunger when you get into grips and start to feel better after exercise, you will stick to it.
Even after you done with OMAD.
Go Further with OMAD
This article is part of the One Meal A Day Diet, which I recommend you read.
In the following pages, I show you everything there is to know about OMAD, benefits, tips, and how to do it properly.
Next: Click here to learn more about how long does it take to get used to omad