I practiced OMAD for about 7 years, and it was the best decision I could have made for my health at the time. It is not for everyone though. So let me break down what the rules are when trying the One Meal A Day Diet.
Eating only one meal a day is considered intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting has been proven to be, generally speaking, extremely affective to combat blood sugar issues, weight loss, calorie intake, turning your body into fat burning mode, and allowing for autophagy.
There are a few different styles of intermittent fasting. Basically we all ‘intermmitent fast’ every time we go without eating for a few hours. . . Like while we are asleep. This is why breakfast is called Break Fast. You haven’t eaten for hours, and now you are breaking that fast in the morning. Intermittent Fasting is setting up rules for ourselves of how long each day those fasting hours are, and how long those hours of an ‘eating window’ are, where you can get a few meals into that time restricted eating window.
The easiest, and most common style is the 16/8 intermittent fasting eating window. That is where you fast for 16 hours, and eat three meals within those 8 hours. (you can check out what we thought of this time restricted eating for 8 hours here).
But for some, they find they need to be more restrictive in their eating window, and would like to try eating OMAD. Or One Meal A Day.
So that is what we are going to talk about today: What some sample meals you can use for just one meal a day while eating fewer calories, but still making sure you eat enough calories to burn fat and have balanced meals on your weight loss journey.
NOTE: If you’d like to take a two-week Intermittent Fasting Challenge, I highly recommend this INTERMITTENT FASTING TRACKING LOG PRINTABLE. It has everything you need to start intermittent fasting. After buying, all you need to do is print off the papers. If you are not a “printing person”. . .There is a 1-hour intermittent fasting tracker, and 16/8 Intermittent fasting tracker on amazon for a really decent price!
First let’s answer the most common questions about the OMAD diet.
What are the rules of OMAD?
OMAD stands for One Meal A Day. It is a form of intermittent fasting, so it is more than just one meal a day, it is about time restricted eating. For me, I consider a one hour time restricted eating window the perfect amount of time to get all three meals in and allows for a smart amount of caloric restriction at the same time.
There are no hard and fast rules for OMAD, but there are a few omad tips that you should follow to make sure you’re doing it safely and effectively.
First, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. You shouldn’t be drinking anything that would spike your blood sugar during your intermittent fasting window – so no soft drinks, juices, or dairy products. . . drinking herbal tea is just fine.
Second, eat slowly and mindfully during your one-hour eating window, and make sure you’re really enjoying your food.
Third, make sure you’re getting enough protein and fiber in your diet by including lean protein, healthy fat, and lots of vegetables.
And finally, listen to your body and make sure you’re not overdoing it – if you’re feeling tired or weak, take a break from OMAD and eat a more traditional meal.
Can I eat anything on OMAD?
Yes, you can eat anything you want on the OMAD diet, as long as you only eat it during your one-hour eating window. There are no restrictions on what you can or cannot eat, but some people find that they naturally start eating healthier foods when they’re following the OMAD diet, because they’re more mindful of what they’re eating. And of course, there is more to a healthy weight than just your body weight. There are countless health benefits of eating good nutrition, and that should always be considered when working on weight loss.
Is OMAD healthy?
Yes, OMAD can be healthy for some people, but it’s not right for everyone. If you have any underlying health conditions, make sure to talk to your doctor before starting the OMAD diet. And as with any diet or lifestyle change, listen to your body and make sure you’re not doing anything that doesn’t feel good for you. Be aware of how you emotionally handle your omad meal plan, and if you feel in danger of creating an eating disorder, please talk to a doctor or registered dietitian to make sure that you can stay healthy.
What can you not eat with OMAD?
Some people like to add other dieting rules alongside their one meal a day. I couldn’t eat wheat or any whole grains, for instance, and there have been times when I even put OMAD with a low carb meal, which meant that I couldn’t eat carbs during the meal, only fats, veggies, and proteins.
But this is personal preference, and what you find works for your body! And generally speaking, you should probably stay away from a lot of junk food. . . But the beauty of the OMAD diet is that it doesn’t restrict food groups.
How many calories should I eat on OMAD?
You should expect to eat a giant amount of calories during your one meal a day. It should never be less than 1200 calories, but ideally, you should use a calorie calculator to find out how many calories your body needs in a day. The average amount is a 2,000 calorie intake for women, and 2,500 calorie intake for men for upkeep, and slightly less for weight loss.
How much weight can you lose on OMAD diet?
There’s no one answer to this question – everyone is different and will lose weight at different rates. However, some people find that they lose weight very quickly when they first start the OMAD diet, and then the weight loss slows down after a few weeks. . . which is common for all diets. I lost 30 pounds in about 4 months, and although I continued it as a way of life, my body settled down and stayed a healthy weight after about 6 months.
How much weight can we lose in a month with OMAD?
Of course it depends on each individual person, but I lost over ten pounds easy my first month.
Is there a meal plan for just one person?
I kind of laugh at this question about meal plans for OMAD. After all, you can literally eat anything! Now, if you’d like to eat healthier as well, I would stick to high protein foods, with good high fats. . . these two combined will keep your energy going for the rest of the day.
I one time made the mistake of eating an ‘all you can eat pancake dinner’ for my meal. I ate so many pancakes and syrup, that I easily made up the right amount of calories. . . but I had the craziest sugar crash about 4 hours afterwards, where I could hardly lift my head off of the bed, and had to beg my husband to get me some food. A little scary.
So don’t do that.
You will burn sugar (like fake syrup) and simple carbohydrates (like white floured pancakes) very quickly, and have nothing left to fall back on if that is all you ate.
But there have been plenty of times where I have eaten sugared things, but I also had protein and fats, so when the sugar burned off, I still had those to fall back on till the next day and the next meal.
Should I count calories on OMAD?
Yes, but you don’t need to be strict until you hit a weight loss stall. At first you want to make sure you are eating enough calories. You will find that you lose weight very quickly at first, and when your body starts to slow down, track your calories to see if you are eating too much. I don’t keep strict count unless I am stalled. Otherwise, I just have a general sense of how little is too little, or how many calories are too many calories.
Can the OMAD Diet affect my metabolic health
Our body is a wonderful, yet sometimes frustrating thing. When faced with a new diet change or calorie restriction, it will compensate by using your stored fat to burn the needed energy. But if you are steady in your new diet, eventually your body will figure out that this isn’t a short term fix, but a long term lifestyle, and will actually lower your metabolism (aka the amount of energy expended each day) to match your new diet.
So many experts agree that the best way to keep and improve metabolic health, is to switch up the diet every once in a while (yay for cheat days!) and to have a staggered plan of exercising that keeps your metabolism guessing.
Does OMAD burn more calories?
So the cool thing about OMAD, is that by allowing your body to go into AUTOPHAGY, it will break down and get rid of dead and dying cells that you have been holding onto. This can cause extra weight loss as your body gets rid of those extra things. It can then be more efficient when handling calories as well. (Check out what autophagy is and how it is so awesome).
What time should I eat in OMAD?
You can eat it any time you’d like. And, even crazier, is that the time can differ from day to day. Research has found that getting into a strict routine with diet and weight loss, can actually help your body adapt to the ‘new normal’ and hold on to the calories. So switching things up daily, can keep your body from getting too used to one meal a day.
Some people love to eat breakfast, and have all that energy to then burn throughout the day. Some people prefer mid day. . . late enough that they are hungry, but early enough to not be starving. And some love to not even worry about food throughout the work day, and be able to come home and make a great meal for dinner that night.
I usually stick to early afternoon or dinner.
Can you do OMAD everyday?
Yes you can as long as you are getting the right amount of calories (there are benefits to true fasting, but should not be done for long periods of time. Check out what I learned from fasting for 5 days). However. You should also plan on cheat days randomly so that you can trick your body into always being ready to lose weight.
Can you eat fast food on the omad diet?
Yes, in fact, since most fast food places have a supersized meal, you can technically get your daily calories fairly cheaply by using your one meal a day on fast food. But most of it is junk food, with bad-quality fats, and it might not have the most nutrient dense foods. So for that reason, I wouldn’t plan it for my daily eating pattern, or make it a major part of your weight loss plan.
What should I eat for one meal a day?
Although you don’t need a meal plan, enough people have asked for one, that I will share a sample of what I’d normally eat in one sitting (within 60 minutes of first bite to last bite) when I first began. And then I will share what I normally eat now.
Beginner Meal Plan for OMAD diet
- Monday: (around 2:00) 2 bowls of cereal with milk. grilled cheese and chicken sandwich, and 3 bars of snickers. (around 2,000 calories. 90 grams protein, and 80 grams fat)
- Tuesday: (leftover) Lasagna, chicken nuggets, and mint ice cream. (with generous portions, around 2,600 calories, 100 grams protein, 144 grams fat)
- Wednesday: Chinese take-out food: orange chicken, fried rice, sweet and sour chicken, two fortune cookies. ( around 1500 calories, 47 grams protein, 51 grams fat)
- Thursday: 6Tacos with ground beef, black beans, Spanish rice, sour cream, cheese, and lettuce. 2 ice-cream sandwiches. (around 1800 calories, 87 grams protein, 91 grams fat)
- Friday: BBQ pulled pork on 2 baked potatoes with coleslaw and two servings of peach cobbler. (around 2,300 calories, 51 grams protein, 133 grams fat)
- Saturday: 6 Pancake meal with 6bacon, 3 eggs, 3 sausages, hash browns, syrup and whipped cream. (around 1,700 calories, 70 grams protein, 93 grams fat)
- Sunday: 3 servings of Roast Beef with potatoes, carrots, and peanut M&Ms. (2,200 calories, 132 grams protein, 100 grams fat).
Ok, so looking at these wildly decadent and intense meals, you might be thinking that there is no way you are going to lose weight! Well, if you are used to eating only salads. . . then you probably won’t lose weight doing this. But if you have had an average American diet, where you are probably over eating calories on a regular basis. . . this might actually be your weight loss solution!
I was so worried about being hungry, and not having adequate calories to get me through the next 24 hours, that I ate extremely large portions (like all of those above) and I didn’t worry too much about whether it was ‘healthy’ food or not (as you can see).
And I still lost weight.
After I began to really appreciate putting the right kind of nutrients into my body, and being more aware of how heavy and gross carbs made me feel, I slowly changed what I ate.
So if you want to really kick your OMAD diet into high gear. Cut out sugars and grains, and replace with proteins, veggies, good fats, and even some fruit.
This is how my 60 minute OMAD Diet Plan looks like now:
I focus on a low carb diet for my eating plan. So each day has a low carb meal but will also focus on calorie reduction, weight management, and nutrient dense foods, while still making sure we enjoy our food. (many of these low carb meal ideas you can get here)
- Monday: 3 servings of Homemade meat spaghetti sauce with zucchini noodles fried in butter, pint of rebel ice cream, and almonds to snack on for the rest of the hour. (1,800 calories, 30 net carbs, 100 grams protein, 145 grams of fat).
- Tuesday: 3 bowls of Keto cereal with chia seeds and almond milk. 90 second sunflour bread with chicken salad and cheese. and a handful of frozen lily’s chocolate chips. (around 1,800 calories, 22 net carbs, 127 grams protein, 124 grams fat)
- Wednesday: egg roll in a bowl with extra stir-fried veggies in soy sauce. Eat all of it. (around 1,500 calories, 25 net carbs, 75 grams protein, and 110 grams fat)
- Thursday: Taco Salad – taco meat, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, and salsa in a bowl. Rebel ice cream (around 1,600 calories, 23 grams net carbs, 90 grams protein, 118 grams fat).
- Friday: sugar-free bbq pork on a bed of coleslaw with a side of air-fried green beans. A bowl of frozen blueberries and homemade sugar-free whipped topping (around 1,500 calories, 35 net carbs, 100 grams protein, 90 grams fat)
- Saturday: Eggs, bacon, sausage, with keto waffles and sugar-free syrup and homemade whipped topping. (around 1,300 calories, 33 grams net carbs, 75 grams protein, 95 grams fat)
- Sunday: Roast Beef with Air-fried Brussel sprouts, and creamed Cauliflower. ending with air fried, sugar-free candied almonds. (around 1,500 calories, 45 net carbs, 82 grams protein, 101 grams fat)
With this new sample menu, you can see that I took the original menu, and made a few healthier changes. And that is really what dieting, losing weight, and becoming healthier is all about. Little changes on a consistent basis can make big changes in your life. My portions have also gotten smaller as I have gotten smaller and have needed less calories.
I do still have cheat days. . . Going out on dates, exploring food trucks, Christmas dinners. . . I give myself permission to eat the things I love without guilt.
Some people even use their cheat day. . . or feast day. . . where they can have a large meal a few times during the day. . . and then the alternate day fasting afterwards would have a higher calorie restriction (around 1,200 calories), to even out their feast day.