Do you want to lose weight but feel like traditional diets with their limited calories or restrictive food choices are too hard to stick to?
The OMAD diet can be a good solution because it helps you drop fat and get fit while eating just about anything you want.
Keep reading to find out all about this incredibly useful diet.
What is the OMAD Diet?
So what is this diet that claims to have such impressive results?
OMAD simply stands for “one meal a day.” As the name implies, it is a type of diet where you just have a single meal each day.
The idea behind this diet is that even a single large meal has less calories than you would eat in small meals throughout the day.
You can eat whatever you want, and you don’t have to track what you are eating.
Keep in mind that this diet does not mean you have to eat all your food for the day in a single sitting. Usually, people following the diet just keep all their eating in a one hour window.
How much weight can you lose on the OMAD diet?
The answer to this question can vary a lot depending on what you eat.
2016 research found that eating a single meal a day almost always led to a decrease in BMI, but the amount of weight loss among subjects varied (1).
All types of weight loss essentially come down to how many calories you eat, even when you aren’t counting them.
The single meal that a person eats each day usually ranges somewhere between 500 to 2,000 calories.
This means that some people might just lose a pound or two each week on the diet while others who stick with it can lose huge amounts of weight. Some report weight loss of over 100 pounds.
How to do the OMAD diet
What can you eat on the OMAD diet?
You can eat basically anything you want on the OMAD diet as long as you eat it during a one-hour period. You can eat healthy meals or have fast food and junk food if you want.
People on the OMAD diet regularly eat things like pasta, barbecue, cake, tacos, pancakes, and more.
You can lose weight eating just about anything, but your progress will be quicker if you stick to healthy items.
The diet will be most effective if you eat plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, plant-based fats, and lean proteins.
Outside of the one-hour period, feel free to drink no-calorie beverages like water, coffee, or tea.
What foods to avoid on the OMAD diet?
The OMAD diet does not have any categories of food you have to avoid. Unlike other diets, there aren’t rules about never eating carbs, fats, sugar, cheese, or other “unhealthy” items.
However, this does not mean you should eat meals made up of nothing but unhealthy items. Though rare, it is possible to gain weight if you’re eating high-calorie stuff like an entire jar of peanut butter.
You also need to avoid wasting your one meal on foods that don’t fill you up. If your own meal is nothing but cookies or other empty calories, you might end up feeling hungry later on in the day.
What does a typical day on the diet look like?
This will really depend on your own personal preferences. Some people like to eat their one meal in the morning while others prefer mid-day, the afternoon, or even the evening.
A common option is eating your one meal of the day around five pm. People who do this start off their day with a big cup of coffee or tea.
They continue drinking water throughout the day, and then in the early evening, they prepare for a big meal. You can order out or make it yourself, since you can eat anything you want on the diet.
After eating the meal, they can then relax before bed with a cup of herbal tea.
Most common meals for the OMAD diet
Technically, you can eat anything you like, but certain meals may be more filling and nutritious than others. Here are some of the most common OMAD meals.
- Whole wheat pancakes topped with fresh fruit and served with two eggs and two slices of bacon.
- A serving of steak, two baked potatoes, and roasted green beans.
- A plate of spaghetti topped with parmesan cheese and a serving of tiramisu.
- Grilled salmon, a green salad, and brown rice.
- A big sub filled with lunch meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onions.
Is the OMAD diet healthy?
There has been a lot of research done on fasting and OMAD diets lately, and most agree that it can be quite healthy. Unlike other diets, it does not severely limit a person’s food intake.
According to a two year study of intermittent fasting, those who fasted daily lost weight, got sick less frequently, and had improved insulin resistance (2).
Of course the main reason that the diet is so healthy is because it helps you lose weight. Obesity is the underlying cause of many major health problems, like heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.
Is there any scientific research on the OMAD diet and what does it say?
What are the benefits according to the science?
In addition to being generally helpful because it lowers your weight, the OMAD diet comes with specifically useful benefits.
- A 2011 study found that it improved the body’s ability to process blood sugar, reducing diabetic symptoms (3).
- Research published in the Nutrition Journal linked fasting to improved memory, especially in old age (3).
- A study from 2017 found that subjects who tried OMAD fasting slept better at night (4).
- 2008 research concluded that intermittent fasting was linked to an extended lifespan and less health problems in old age (5).
What are some negative side effects or risks of eating one meal a day according to the science?
In general, the OMAD diet is safe and healthy, but this does not mean that it has no side effects. People on the diet report that they can feel weak and struggle to concentrate towards the end of their daily fast.
Going without food for long periods of time can be dangerous for those with hypoglycemia and other disorders that cause low blood sugar.
The diet may also not be advised for those with heart problems. A study published in JAMA found that it could slightly increase levels of problematic LDL cholesterol (6).
Has anyone tried the OMAD diet and what were their results?
Kay runs an intermittent fasting blog called Good Girl Gone OMAD where she writes about her months of progress with OMAD.
Learning about Kay’s story is fascinating because it shows the reality of what months of following OMAD look like. She’s dropped several dress sizes since then.
For Kay, the hardest part was really just dealing with the social consequences. She said she got some negative comments from friends and family members who didn’t understand the diet.
However, the results were worth it. She loved that on the OMAD diet she started losing fat she’d struggled with for years. It’s allowed her to love food again while being able to stay healthy.
Victor Pride of Bold and Determined gives a thorough breakdown of trying the OMAD diet while exercising. He said that he struggled to overcome the hunger for the first few weeks.
Eventually, he found a way to follow the OMAD diet that worked for him, and he loved the results. He felt focused, cut back on a little fat, and did not lose muscle.
Victor reports he plans to try a month long OMAD diet once a year in the future.
OMAD before and after
This relatable blog from Kimberly shows the day to day realities of living with the OMAD diet. She shows how easy it is to lose smaller amounts of weight with the OMAD diet.
Check out Ashley’s video to see how she lost her baby weight by following a keto version of the OMAD diet.
A particularly inspiring story is Jimmy’s tale of using the OMAD diet to lose over 80 pounds. He found that the OMAD diet was a sustainable way to lose weight, so he could be a healthier father.
Is it OK to do OMAD for athletes and bodybuilders?
Doing OMAD isn’t necessarily dangerous for athletes and bodybuilders, but it can impair performance if you don’t time your meals correctly.
It is generally best to eat your meal a couple hours before exercising. This gives you time to digest and ensures your body has enough fuel to work properly.
Athletes and bodybuilders will need to pay more attention to how many calories they eat and what macronutrients they eat.
The OMAD diet tends to result in unconsciously eating less, so athletes may have to plan meals carefully to ensure they get enough calories to build muscle and power through workouts.
Eating a higher protein intake can reduce the amount of muscle loss some athletes experience when fasting.
How to deal with hunger?
As you can see, there are all sorts of reasons to try the OMAD diet, but you’re probably wondering “won’t I get hungry?” Here are a few tips for dealing with hunger.
- Switch to eating your meal earlier in the day. 2018 research shows this can reduce hunger throughout the day (8).
- Pick meals with plenty of protein and fat to keep you feeling satiated for a long time.
- Sip coffee or tea to suppress appetite between meals.
- Fill up with water when hungry.
- Eat plenty of fiber to slow digestion and make you feel full.
Can you do the OMAD diet and keto at the same time?
You might be wondering if you can combine the OMAD diet with other diet types and get twice as many benefits. There is nothing stopping you from doing both at the same time.
Since OMAD is so flexible, it is very easy to tweak your diet to follow keto principles. The keto diet is generally high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates.
All you have to do to follow an OMAD keto diet is make sure your one meal of the day sticks to keto guidelines.
Some people feel like they may burn fat more quickly with a keto version of the OMAD diet, but that is not the only benefit.
Keto tends to suppress hunger, so it can be a good way to manage the cravings you get on the diet.
What’s the difference between the OMAD diet and the warrior diet?
Both the OMAD diet and the warrior diet are types of intermittent fasting. The main difference between the two is the length of your eating window.
Those on the OMAD diet are encouraged to stick to a one hour eating window, with nothing but liquids at other times. You can choose whenever you want to eat this meal during the day.
The warrior diet has a slightly longer eating window of four hours, and people are supposed to eat this at night, not during the day.
It is also a little stricter than the OMAD diet. There are specific types of foods you should eat on certain days, and you cycle between high carb and high protein days.
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