What is OMAD?
One Meal A Day
Why should you try this?
There’s been a lot of new research about time-restricted eating. Specifically, Sachin Panda who wrote The Circadian Code has learned that mice who eat the same calories over different lengths of time weigh different amounts. Dr. Jason Fung who wrote The Diabetes Code, The Obesity Code, and The Cancer Code, and has co-authored many more is also a leading expert in the field of fasting. While Sachin Panda’s research focuses on reducing your eating window Dr. Fung’s research and clinic are honing it further to focus on fasting. He’s a proponent of any kind of fasting. Whatever works for you that you can stick to. He also has a lot of YouTube videos on his channel that explains the science of why it works.
Why I am Fasting
I don’t know about you but for me, the science of it is a big draw. I’m over those fad diets that have no scientific precedent. I want to get nerdy and see the facts and see diagrams. I also want something that’s going to work. I’m so sick of trying things and feeling like a failure. When I really shouldn’t it’s not my fault if the program didn’t work for me. The program was likely a bad fit, but instead, we blame ourselves and internalize this as a failure. I’ve done this more times than I can count. I want fast results… who doesn’t? I just want to feel like myself again.
OMAD for me ended up being a fallback more than an active choice. After the research I did I immediately did a two-day fast like it was nothing. My husband was away on a trip with friends and I had a ton of yard work to do to distract me. It was great! I lost 8 lbs which if you do your research you’ll know is mostly water weight due to the fact that insulin carries water. I also was doing a lot of outdoor yard work so I was likely sweating more than I was drinking. On the third day, I made my kids cheezy bread and it sounded good. I had no actual hunger, but I decided to eat anyway. I could have lasted longer. In hindsight I kind of wish I had kept going. Given it was my first time fasting I figured 2 days was enough. No need to overdo it. Honestly, it’s more of a psychological issue than a physical one. All of the fasting research shows ghrelin signals cycle and weaken which I definitely noticed.
Cue my husband’s return and our return to our evening ritual of a glass or two of wine and a snack after putting the kids to bed. All of a sudden it became much harder to maintain a fast. This is where OMAD came in. I figured well if dinner and evening snacks are my most beloved meal then maybe I should just eat and do OMAD for a week and see how it goes. So I did!
Here’s What Has Happened This Past Week
My Average Day
During this past week, I woke up and made breakfast for the kids as usual. I skipped breakfast and lunch. This means I also skipped my supplements. I take different supplements due to a book I read on longevity called Lifespan: Why We Age. It’s an amazing read and gets a little technical here and there, but it explains the mechanics of aging and is considered to be on the cutting edge of scientific research. I would take care of chores and the kiddos until my husband arrived home and I started work. Then I’d wait until he made dinner. He’s a trained chef and a certified sommelier…so yea his food and wine pairings are amazing. …Now you see part of my problem. We would eat dinner as a family. I’d finish working while my husband put the kids to bed and afterward we would open a bottle of wine and watch a show together. This is probably one of the least healthy habits that we’ve gained since I started working from home and Covid hit. We would stay up until eleven or 11:30 PM and then finally call it quits and turn in for the night.
The food we ate was pretty healthy. We’ve had fish a few times with a serving of vegetables and fruits. I think we ate tacos one evening and the night we phoned it in and made the kids a pizza I opted for a salad. As soon as I started eating though it was like I’d opened a flood gate. That led to chili-spiced pistachios, cheesy popcorn with extra oil topped with nutritional yeast, and those two glasses of wine. Depending on my emotional state I may or may not have added more snacks while we watched an episode of something.
How I Felt
I felt fine the first day but the second day was really hard to get through. Ignoring my ghrelin cues took a lot more effort. On day three I noticed that the ghrelin was less of an issue but I also started noticing that my evening snack may as well be considered a meal. Probably more than a meal. I also noticed on the last few days here that I felt like I was looking forward to my evening meal in a way that felt unhealthy. I noticed around 3:00 PM I would start thinking and planning what snacks I was going to have. It felt like I was encroaching on disordered eating territory and it felt icky.
OMAD isn’t for me. It may be perfect for some people but in my case, it felt like it was going to head down a dark road. I’ve also realized that even though I have all of the knowledge at my fingertips and I’m aware of time-restricted eating and fasting protocols putting them into action does take a conscious desire to change. I also noticed how much I actually snack in the evenings and have solidly identified it as my trouble spot. Also, I missed breakfast! I love breakfast! It’s my favorite meal of the day by far. I haven’t given up on fasting. This coming week I’m planning on trying out ADF (Alternate Day Fasting). From what I’ve read others have also felt as though OMAD lead them to disordered eating but ADF seemed to be better because it lengthens the fasting window and allowed them to eat normally. My biggest task will just simply be cutting out those after-dinner snacks. Oh, and the one not-so-fun side effect of fasting is that some people won’t be supportive and it can be a bit of a shocker. I shared my eating plan with someone close to me and their reaction took me aback a bit. To be fair though I had a loved one do a 30-day fast a few years ago and I was not supportive. While it’s not in my nature to be negative right off the bat I did have many questions back then. A 30-day fast is a bit different than a one or two days at a time though.
I hope my experience has helped you, and if you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments below! I’d love to answer them!
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Also, I am not a doctor or healthcare professional. If you embark on a similar journey make sure you do so with proper planning and medical supervision with respect to your personal needs.