The first thing that I want to clarify is that this style of eating is not for everyone. If this intrigues you then by all means give it a shot. If it seems too extreme that is fine too. This is intended to be informational in nature.
OMAD is at its core just eating one meal a day.
There are stipulations that some will make about the specifics of OMAD. I find that that eating one meal a day is sufficient enough. If the takes you 15 minutes, no problem. If that takes you 2 hours, no problem. This is the way I view it.
There are many who stipulate that OMAD is only 1 hour a day or 23/1. There is nothing wrong with this strategy. I recommend using it as a guide instead of an obsession. I have seen it go both ways. Try to remember that flexibility is a key part of making this lifestyle change.
The biggest factor to keep in mind during OMAD is getting full. Your body requires adequate calories to function properly. This means allowing your appetite to adjust gradually. This is true during other IF strategies as well but especially true during OMAD because you only have the one opportunity to consume.
What does this appetite adjustment look like? I highly recommend a book by Dr. Bert Herring that specifically addresses AC: Appetite Correction. In lieu of this I will explain my experiences with appetite correction.
We like to look at and count calories in order to understand our energy budget. This is a product of misinformation often spread by fad diets. This has imbedded into our culture and subconscious. Your body already understands what energy it requires without knowing the calorie count on a label. Your cravings are a representation of this energy need. Beyond that, the macro/micro nutrient needs of the body are also a part of your cravings. The current problem with most people is that you cannot trust your cravings to adequately represent your energy and nutrient needs. This is due to hormone imbalances; such as chronically elevated insulin and leptin resistance.
Listening to and trusting your body will result in your appetite adjusting. Your body understands what energy/nutrients are needed to complete today’s activity. Some days this activity will increase/decrease, your body will adjust the appetite accordingly.
In my experience it will take 3-5 weeks for your appetite to begin to adapt.
It will take 8-12 weeks for it to become habit and become natural. At this point you can begin to trust your cravings more. Some people will choose to adopt an intuitive eating style once this transformation occurs.
During this process you can expect to get full immediately on some days. You may only consume 500-1000 calories and feel stuffed. Stay consistent. If this happens, then you should be naturally hungrier on the following day. You will also have days where you eat far too much and you feel bloated and miserable after. Both of these are natural, this is a part of you learning to listen to and trust those cravings.
If you can stay consistent you will become more in tune with your appetite.
What this looks like in practice is that you understand how much food to place on your plate based solely on your cravings. It takes time, don’t rush it.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I recommend that you wait 30 minutes after your meal before closing your window for the day. Allow your body/mind time to receive and interpret the signals from ghrelin and leptin. Once you are sure that you are full, close the window until the following day. With 23/1 you will be eating at approximately the same time each day. This can be a source of comfort for some, while being a source of intense restriction for others. You will have to experiment for yourself to understand better. The most important take away from this is:
Get full, not stuffed. Allow your appetite time to adjust.
Try not to count calories while you allow your appetite to adapt. I will also caution that many people experience a slowdown in weight loss when they approach their bodyweight set point. I have noticed that this is often about 10-20lbs sooner than most people would like. I have seen dozens of people lose 50-80-100lbs only to get discouraged when they stall just short of their goal.
I believe this happens because this is where your body is happy at this weight. If you wish to drop below this set point, you will often need to add calorie restriction and exercise to get lower. I don’t day this to discourage you at all. I just want you to be prepared once you encounter it.
If you have questions, please post them below…