After doing OMAD for few weeks I’ve noticed a huge difference on how my body feels, depending on what time of the day I had my meal. That’s why in this article I will help you decide when is the best time to eat on OMAD.
The best time to eat on OMAD is in the afternoon, from 4 to 8 pm. The longer you wait with your meal, the more comfortable will be with falling asleep. Long-duration fasting reduces melatonin levels, which can lead to sleep disturbance.
This means when you have a meal in the morning, your melatonin levels will drop by the nighttime. That’s why people may struggle with sleep.
When Should You Eat On OMAD?
In general, you should eat around the afternoon on OMAD because it allows you to have energy during the day, exercise, and stay longer in ketosis. Eating a big meal early in the morning can elevate your glucose levels and make you tired for the rest of the day.
Does it matter what time you eat on OMAD? In general, it does matter what time you eat on OMAD because it will influence your energy and sleep. Typically, morning eating raises the blood sugar up and leaves you to feel more tired later on. On the other hand, late eating can impact your circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythm is your body clock that tells you when to be awake and when to fall a sleep. It is strongly influenced by the melatonin levels.
Melatonin is typically high after the meal, and it drops the longer you fast after. Too low melatonin levels can lead to poor sleep.
Also, if your goal is to improve your body composition, lose fat and improve your insulin sensitivity then having your meal in the evening or late afternoon will be the best option (source).
The body switches from external to internal sources of energy after the first 12-hours of fasting. Therefore, the longer you wait, the more results you get.
What time of day is best for OMAD? The best time of the day for OMAD is the afternoon because the body has enough time to digest the food. Eating too late at night can interfere with sleep, were eating too early in the morning can affect sugar levels and make you feel hungry at night.
However, if your lifestyle only allows you to eat later on at night, or early in the morning, then you should try to accommodate OMAD to fit into your lifestyle or choose a different fasting protocol.
Because I can talk all want about how eating OMAD in the evening is a great idea. But if your lifestyle, work arrangements, home environment, or travel schedule doesn’t allow you to eat in the evening, then it’s useless advice. So I would start by assessing your daily routine first.
So you may even discover that OMAD is not really a good fit for you. In that case, don’t worry. There are plenty of other options.
Ask yourself how busy are you? Are you currently working from home? Or maybe you have a morning shift job or even 9-5? Are you ok with having zero food during the day? Can you exercise on the empty stomach?
Otherwise, the longer you do it, the harder it will get. And then it doesn’t matter how many tips I give you. It won’t work. It’s kind of like teaching an athlete about proper squats, running, and jumping techniques when he has a foot injury. None of it is relevant until you find the ankle.
As an alternative, you can always decide to change the intermittent fasting method for something more manageable. Something that will fit more into your lifestyle. Just because one meal a day sounds appealing and delivers great results, it doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
Similar approach to OMAD is a Warrior Diet, where you eat for 4 hours and fast for 20. This means you can easily have a 2 small meals instead of one gigantic meal.
Another option is doing 16:8. This means you simply fast for 16 hours and you have a eating window for 8 hours. This way you can have 2-3 smaller meal (snacks) and fast for the rest of the day.
Remember that weight loss doesn’t come from fasting per se. It’s triggered by a caloric deficit. This means regardless if you’re eating one, two, or three meals a day, as long as you’re in a caloric deficit, you lose weight.
If I Eat One Meal A Day What Time Should I Eat?
If you eat one meal a day, you should be eating in the evening. Waiting till the evening will stretch out your time in ketosis, burn more fat, help to sleep better, and make all process more durable.
In other words, moving your meal just a couple of hours towards the end of the day will help you not only to sleep better but to sustain the whole fasting process.
The longer you wait the better the results (source).
People who eat their one meal a day first thing in the morning usually can feel lethargic, experience uncomfortable cravings for food later on and have problems with sleeping.
At least this is what happened to me at the beginning. But what happens when you’re doing OMAD for several weeks and months, and eventually your body gets used to it? Maybe.
Mornings were a disaster for me. Simply because when I eat too much in the morning my day crushes immediately.
It felt like I could go back to bed. Too much food cause my sugar to rise. And once all this spike comes back down I’m ready for the nap. This means I won’t have the energy to exercise.
I won’t be able to stay focused on my job. And I will feel lethargic all morning and afternoon. But that’s not the worst.
When I eat my OMAD meal in the morning, evenings were the worst. Because once the sugar rush wears off, and you crawl to 6 pm, now you will have this battle with your mind.
All the food cravings start to kick in. And because my work is slowing down towards the evening, now I have more free time on my hands, so it’s easy to get bored.
Can I do OMAD at night?
Doing OMAD at night, right before bedtime isn’t recommended because it can negatively impact sleep, long-term health, and wellbeing. Nighttime eating, especially before bed, has been shown to have adverse metabolic effects, disturbance in the circadian rhythm, and changes in the endocrine system.
Eating OMAD late at night won’t trigger weight gain because you’re still in a caloric deficit. Therefore, regardless if you fast in the morning or late at night, you will still stay in ketosis. However, late-night eating can lead to poor sleep quality, tiredness, and greater appetite during the day.
So initially you may not notice that you are doing any harm. But eating a large meal late at night can lead to poor sleep and so-called sleep debt. Sleep debt is when your body doesn’t receive enough sleep at night. Directly, it doesn’t have an impact on any of the health markers. But it’s like a domino effect.
So once the body doesn’t get enough sleep for a longer period of time it starts to make some nasty adaptations.
Sleep debt negatively impacts glucose metabolism. One study shows that 6 consecutive nights of 4 hours of sleep was enough to lower glucose tolerance (ability to dispose of a glucose load) by 40% and insulin tolerance by 30% (source).
Sleep debt showed alterations in leptin and ghrelin that are responsible to regulate hunger and appetite. Leptin is an appetite-inhibiting hormone, and ghrelin is an appetite-stimulating peptide. One study showed that 2 days of 4 hours of sleep was enough o increase ghrelin by 28% and reduce leptin by 18% (source). In other words, the less you sleep, the more likely you’re to eat.
Sleep deprivation affects extrinsic factors, such as food choice. This means it significantly decreases activity in the regions of the brain, responsible for appetitive evaluation (source). In other words, when you’re tired, your willpower threshold is significantly lower, which can lead to those unwanted binge behaviors.
Sleep loss affects your willingness to do any physical activity. This means when you’re well-rested you probably wouldn’t even question having a workout or not. You just do it. But when you’re sleep-deprived, even with one night, your willingness to train goes significantly down.
Is It Bad To Eat Right Before Bed?
Eating right before bed is bad if you’re eating a large amount of food because it can lead to potential metabolic consequences, disrupted circadian rhythms, and impact sleep quality. Consuming the majority of daily nutrients late at night can also lead to bizarre and disturbing dreams.
However, recent study showed that consuming a small cereal meal, 90 minutes after evening meal, just before the bed time, for 4 consecutive weeks lead to reduced total daily caloric intake, and therefore, weight loss (source).
Which shows that eating food late at night isn’t as that bad, if you’re eating relatively small quantities of it. But if the late night meal is the biggest meal of the day, then the effects will be negative.
Also, late-night snack in the form of protein is a well-documented method to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and restore whole-body protein balance. This method can be applied by the elderly, who struggle with the loss of skeletal muscle mass with aging (source).
What Time Do You Eat On OMAD?
When I’m doing OMAD I eat in the afternoon. Simply because it just aligns with my entire day. I can stay focused in the morning without any food. I can do my most important work before lunchtime.
To help you get through I drink coffee and stay busy.
Around afternoon I notice some cravings and hunger games comes in. So to kill those demons I workout. I like to spend 60 – 90 minutes doing some kettlebell swings or ashtanga yoga. This gives me a second wind.
Now all of a sudden I can do more in the afternoon and stay busy again.
My meal doesn’t start around 6 pm. This is when I can relax. I usually have everything done for the day. The schedule is closed. The blog is done. I can sit down and authentically enjoy my meal.
Because it’s just one meal a day I will feel some sugar rush. Maybe even my head will get red. But an hour later this sugar spike wears off. And most importantly – I have a great sleep once I have something in my belly.
Go Further with OMAD
This article is part of the OMAD: What To Eat To Stay Full For Longer
In the following articles, I show you all the related aspects necessary to get started with OMAD and knowing what to eat for the best results.
Learn More: Wanna know more about how does OMAD works for weight loss? Check out my article can you lose weight eating one meal a day