Going on a diet is for most people not a very exciting thought. Imagining weeks and weeks of grueling exercise, permanent kitchen safari road blocks, no more getting your sweet tooth-fix, and when you do get to eat; its a handful of green peas flushed down with a good glass of water…
It can be very demotivating and difficult, not getting expected results, constantly weighing yourself with a needle that hardly moves. Living in a fast society, we want fast results!
These are typical common thoughts that people relate to diet and weight loss. To lose the stubborn belly fat you do not need to run more, in fact, you’re better off doing the opposite since running is an activity which stimulates your cortisol receptors and programs your body to fat storage.
A beloved child has many names: Intermittent fasting, time restricted eating, calorie counting, Paleo diet, Atkins diet, warrior diet, OMAD – all of them a different name for the same principle. Some people try other available options with general nutrition companies such as Herbalife and replace food with their highly processed meal shakes while others aim for pro sports supplements with high hopes that one of their fat burners like Hydroxycut will magically get the job done.
While supplement companies have you believe through tempting advertising that these pills and shakes are to perform the job for you, they also come with the strong recommendation to be combined with a calorie-restricted diet and moderate exercise.
Which is the exact same activity achieved with the named methods and diets above:
Intermittent fasting: skipping a meal, most commonly breakfast.
Calorie counting: calculate your BMR for weight loss and register your daily consumption all day in an app
Paleo diet: A form of low-carb diet, where our meals mimic primal times where no refined food products existed.
Nutrition companies: Meal replacement shakes, instead of eating a meal you drink a mixture of processed and refined nutrients with water or some form of milk, once or twice a day.
Sports supplements: Pills and capsules which main ingredients are blends of minerals and vitamins for hunger stimulation and a variety of herbs such as Guarana, caffein and cayenne pepper for energy and water-releasing effects.
While all these options differs in names and methods, can you see their common denominator? They’re all designed to achieve the same outcome: CALORIE RESTRICTION.
Thats the secret sauce, eat less calories.
I have experimented with all of the options above and a lot more. When it comes to losing weight and burning fat, you just have to find a way to restrict your intake in comparison to your output in a way that fits you – whatever floats your boat.
From experience and anatomical knowledge, I know that the feeling of hunger is not necessarily always synced with a state of acute nutritional refill. In fact, most us think we need to eat more amounts and more often than we actually need. We are NOT designed to eat every 2 hours! Considering that we have obesity and diabetes rates alarmingly higher than ever, this still surprises people.
Obesity prevalence worldwide – Adults. http://www.worldobesity.org
I do not personally enjoy calorie counting, although this is a very precise and calculated way to lose weight and burn stored fat. I do no want to follow a certain restricted diet where i have to stay away from things I like, such as potatoes, pasta, pizza, ice cream and all kinds of things that shouldn’t be consumed in excess. I stay far away from most supplement companies and their products, with an exception for those who can guarantee certified and confirmed pure products and in that case nutrients that is difficult to get from natural food sources. Someone who follows a well balanced and clean diet, doesn’t generally need supplements.
One Meal a Day
During the day when I’m productive and busy, I can stay away from food and tempting cravings all day, from morning to evening, no problem. Its when I’m NOT busy that I tend to go on a raid in the kitchen department. When i do have my meal, I like to eat until full…
… And the hands down most effective method I’ve found so far is having One Meal a Day.
This sounds crazy to people, but its not. This is very similar to the conditions from where our bodies have been developed. Hunter and gatherers ate light or snacked (when possible) during the day while being out and active, to have a feast in the evening from the day’s catch, this enjoyed together with a few other ingredients that some tribes managed to learn how to preserve. Our ancestors where lean, strong and had athletic abilities that professionals dream to achieve.
Walking around all day on a fasted stomach or highly limited added energy sources forces it to use your stored fat as energy. Theres just no other option for the body to function. If you, on the other hand, where to refuel with a sandwich in the morning, a portion of pasta for lunch and a steak with fries for dinner, your body will simply not be able to process and use all of this energy, this combined with physical and mental stress will add to the equation the fat storing process since your body prefers sugars & glucose before fats as fuel. If you’re not active enough, you are just gonna keep adding to the problem.
Being in a fasted state is also very beneficial for the organs, giving them time to rest, repair and recover. It also stimulates muscle growth. Multiple studies and clinical tests have confirmed evidence that intermittent fasting varieties reduces fat and increase muscle growth, since One Meal a Day (OMAD) is just another form of intermittent fasting, it is subject to the same effects.
Portions today are designed to make you full, this is very tempting but completely wrong. You should eat until satisfied, not full – to maintain a normal diet and healthy weight. Some people can do this, but if you are overweight, you are NOT doing this. It takes about 20 minutes after eating for your body to register that its had enough. If you stop when your full, its way too late and you have over consumed. Then add to the fact that we do this many times per day.
Only eating one meal a day physically hinders you from overconsumption that result in weight gain, since you physically can’t fit that much food and calories inside your system before you’ve had enough. This way you can basically eat whatever you like (best used with some common sense) until you are full, which is very tempting to do. Even if you decide that you want dessert or snacks after, go for it, its not likely to be much and wont be more than 3 meals combined as a whole. Another thing that happens naturally is that your stomach decrease in size, which limits the ability to receive and process higher amounts of food, that results in you being satisfied earlier than if you train it to constantly receive more and more.
Eating like this also gives you more time during the day for other activities. When its dinner time, it is a long awaited feast with family and friends, you can enjoy and appreciate the foods more, eating slow and have all the things you don’t want to give up. All of the energy you’ve been consuming will be used and burned off during the night and the whole day after until next meal. This way you can eat with a good feeling and enjoyment instead of feeling guilt.
First we need to address some doubt that might already be boiling in your head, lets clear that out of the way:
Herschel Walker, former NFL running back and MMA fighter, here at 49 years of age. Herschel is a proponent of OMAD, his daily meal consisted mainly of soup and a LARGE salad.
Dealing with myths and fears
Not eating is unsafe: unless you’re suffering from a specific unusual diagnose this is false, fasting has been around as long as there has been life on earth. Many cultures are voluntarily and religiously practicing this, seasonal and daily. Animals fast whenever they get sick. Fasting are used as cures for multiple cases and diagnoses. There are tons of institutes and health resorts who performs guided fasting and the list keeps going on. The longest recorded therapeutic fast was for 382 days. This was performed under supervision of medical professionals with water and mineral supplementation. Let that sink in.
I need food otherwise I’ll kill someone: well, then you are a crazy person and way to dependent on mouth pleasure. These sudden blood sugar drops are there because you’ve programmed your body to have them by constantly eating. If you were driving in a remote place and your car broke down, would you start kicking the car and then lay down and cry until you died 2 hours later? I don’t think so. You’d be amazed how you can gain control over your body. Train your body to a more stable energy consumption.
When you’re hungry you have to eat: theres a huge difference of biological hunger and habit hunger. Habit hunger comes from social eating, snacking in front of the TV or just being bored. Try not eating for a whole day once and notice the difference in the evening. ” The hunger feeling” is your body producing acids to start breaking down food at certain times of day, because you normally eat at those certain hours then your body develops patterns. When you’re hungry next time, drink a big glass of cold water and feel the effects.
I can’t perform if i haven’t eaten: we must be able to crawl before walking. Start slow, skipping snacks, skipping breakfast, skipping lunch and work your way into it. Drink plenty of water, have a few coffees throughout the day. If it gets unbearable and the hunger feeling isn’t going away, have one mouthful of something like small fruit or nuts. The acid and feeling of hunger usually goes away with the first bite either way, the problem is that people don’t stop until their big plate of spaghetti is finished. Baby steps!
Breakfast is the most important meal: this is false and was made up in the 50s when cereal companies like Kelloggs wanted to create and be superior in a basically untouched market. Selling is not about the product, selling is about creating the NEED for the product. When you wake up in the morning, your body is in the process of getting rid of metabolic waste, this process is ongoing until you break it by eating. Breakfast – breaking the fast. Orange juice in the morning, drinking a glass of sugar the first thing you do??? How about some water and go for a walk outside in the fresh air.
Starvation is not healthy: we’re not starving ourselves, we are giving our body time to clean out the closets and empty the cups before pouring in new. We will eat and have sufficient calories and nutrition, its just done within one sitting instead of all day which easier leads to overconsumption.
Theres a few factors to bear in mind which can alternate the setup, lets get down do business:
OMAD, How to do it:
Simple, just eat Once a day?!
Although it that simple, start lite suggested above, with small steps and gradually take bigger leaps. Make sure to always try to push your comfort zone a little bit, a little hunger feeling will NOT kill you. The best way to treat unwanted habit hunger is: STAYING BUSY!
This is how my OMAD day looks:
6-7.00 AM wake up, drink water go for a walk.
8-9.00 AM enjoying a cappuccino before starting work.
12.00 AM paus from work, another cappuccino or lemon water or equivalent.
1-6.00 PM work and drink water or other tasty healthy beverage,
6-7.00 PM EAT. Making whatever dinner i feel like, no certain restrictions whatsoever.
8.00 PM preferably go for a shorter walk.
10.00 PM in bed, some reading and sleep
This is just an example on how I prefer to do it, since my most cravings hit in the evening and I prefer to end the day with a well deserved meal. YOU may choose to have your meal ANY time of the day, morning, lunch, afternoon – whatever works for you!
The key is to learn how your body works and also listen to it! If theres a feeling that can’t be cured with some cold lemon water or some your-way coffee, then try having something small. A half of a pizza might be less than usual for you but it doesn’t make it “something small”, try a few nuts or a small fruit, normally this takes away the overall feeling and you can go on with what you were doing and stay busy. The key is to stop, not eating more than that little adjustment. The more time goes and the more you practice and limit, the less you will need and the better you become.
One day you will notice how efficient you are and it will be surprising when you think about how much you used to shove down the pie hole.
Trying it out: start experimenting with OMAD by limiting calories and drinks in weekends when you have time off your duties. You will feel some side effects in the beginning, such as: headache, tiredness, unfocused, drowsy, unmotivated, irritable. These will however go away and pretty quickly your body will adapt to this new lifestyle.
You will become a very energy efficient vehicle and a a 24-hour fat burning furnace.
You can stop the OMAD whenever you want and start a more normal diet. To make sure you keep the results you’ve reached, adjust your intake to your caloric need and switch to a cleaner diet consisting of leafy greens, moderate meat and healthy fats. If and when you feel like gorging down some pizza and finishing off with a bucket of ice cream, go ahead, but don’t eat again until at least the same time next evening or restart the OMAD cycle for a few days.
Although its advocated here to eat whatever, its VERY advisable to have a healthy mindset for your longevity and overall wellbeing and health. I don’t put whatever garbage I can find in the supermarket in my mouth. I do have snacks and pizza and pasta on occasions, but I also try to make most of those dishes myself completely. Use some common sense please.
The recipe for success in a nutshell:
- Start slow and work yourself up, skipping meals and snacks.
- If necessary in the beginning, rest and take naps if possible.
- Stay busy and occupied.
- Drink water, tea and coffee, with milk is fine.
- Try to overall eat quality foods to promote your health.
- One small snack is fine, a piece of a fruit or vegetable is not gonna ruin it.
- DO measure and weigh yourself to stay motivated (not if on a regular diet!).
- Walk, aim for 10-15k steps per day. Moderate exercise is recommended.
- 1 hour eating window every 24 hours.
Results: Practitioners for OMAD, me included, are losing weight quickly and easily maintaining a low and healthy fat percent with this method. It takes out the guesswork and leaves so much space for nutritional errors and ignorance. Whenever I’ve been sloppy, overeating and getting out of shape, which I do sometimes, this is the method i use to quickly get back in shape. A week or two of this, depending on your starting point, and you quickly be in shape before summer or other events.
This might seem extreme, but it really isn’t. We’ve just been brought up in a fast and consumption based society, and like the article says and what you were looking for, this really gets the job done in a fast fashion. Lose weight and get fit quick!
12% healthy body fat, eating whatever I feel like, once a day.
After about 10 working days of OMAD.
Starting weight: 82kg
Finishing weight: 75kg