OMAD: Should you eat one meal a day?

What is OMAD?

The acronym OMAD is popping up all over the news, social media, and other dietary outlets. But what does it mean? OMAD is short for ‘one meal a day.’ This means you’re only eating once a day and fasting the rest of the time.

Many people choose to eat the same meal every day – maybe just dinner. They will eat their supper on Monday evening, then fast until suppertime on Tuesday.

The benefits of OMAD:

There’s no question why OMAD is such a popular intermittent fasting strategy these days – it’s easy and simplifies your life.

Let’s look at some of the pros of fasting every day from dinner-to-dinner:

  • You’re not in a rush to squeeze in a healthy breakfast before running out the door
  • Working through lunch can help you get ahead without distraction from colleagues
  • You can fast and never miss a dinner with friends and family
  • You only need to worry about doing food prep for one meal each day
  • A dramatic reduction in your weekly grocery bills!
  • Less time cooking, and more time living life

Is it a good fasting strategy?

This OMAD style of fasting is simple and easy to fit into your routine, but is it right for you? This is one of the most asked questions in The Fasting Method Community. But the answer isn’t as simple as the fasting strategy sounds.

OMAD is a good fasting strategy if you are:

  • Healthy and are fasting for longevity and disease prevention
  • Have reached your health goals and are looking to maintain your results
  • Trying to lose 10-15 pounds of weight
  • During a holiday weekend when you have multiple functions to attend over the span of a few days

You should avoid doing OMAD if you are:

  • Trying to lose more than 15 pounds of weight
  • Looking to improve symptoms of metabolic syndrome and high insulin levels, such as type 2 diabetes (DMII), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Still in the process of working on your health goals

Why it isn’t for everyone

Most people report a huge reduction in appetite within the first month of fasting. Suddenly skipping breakfast and lunch doesn’t seem so overwhelming, in fact it’s easy to do! You think you can do this all the time since you’re not too hungry – and wouldn’t fasting for 24 hours every day be a great strategy for reaching your goals? It’s more fasting than if you do a 36 or 42 hour fast, three times a week, right?  The answer to both those questions is no.

The key to fasting is it tricks your body. It’s unpredictable, and unpredictability is the magic! If you do the same thing every day, your body will adapt. That’s what happens with OMAD if you’re trying to lose weight and eating from dinner-to-dinner or lunch-to-lunch every day. Your body adapts. It won’t put so much effort into burning body fat because it knows you’ll be eating again at the dinner or lunch hour. It knows how much food to expect and will slow things down to adjust to the new caloric intake.

The 30/16 fast is how to do OMAD the right way

If eating once a day is how you feel most comfortable fasting, then try alternating which meal you consume every day. We have found great success when people alternate between 30 hours of fasting and 16.

In the example below you would eat lunch on Monday and fast until dinner on Tuesday. From dinner on Tuesday you would fast until lunch on Wednesday, then repeat for the rest of the week. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays you’d eat lunch. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays you’d eat dinner. And you could choose to make Sunday an eating day or do a 16 or 24 hour fast!

This fasting protocol can help you:

  • Strengthen your fasting muscle so you can do longer fasts later down the road
  • Help break through plateaus if you’ve been doing a lot of 16-24 hour fasts
  • Increase the speed of weight loss if you like eating once a day

Have you tried this fasting protocol yet? If so, let us know in the comments!

Megan Ramos, The Fasting Method Co-Founder

2020-02-13T16:10:04-05:0021 Comments

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Timothy Mc Henry
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Timothy Mc Henry

I love the OMAD diet. I’ve been on it for over two years. While I can’t say I am losing weight any longer, I can say I’m easily maintaining my weight. For me, there is only one way to lose weight and that is multi-day fasting (10 to 30 days which I do at least twice a year). I’m to the point where eating before 5 pm or having more than one meal a day is incomprehensible. It doesn’t sound good at all. Coffee in the morning and green tea (with a cinnamon stick) or Earl Grey is all I… Read more »

Tina
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Tina

What electrolytes do you take on your 10 to 30 day fasts? Do you take them every day and how often?

rachel
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Disclaimer* TFM does not endorse any fasts beyond 10 days.

laura
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laura

The chart does not correspond to the text. It indicated eating breakfast. It’s confusing. Please fix

JAN
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JAN

Agree…the chart says to eat breakfast but the narrative doesn’t

Julia Wood
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Julia Wood

Hi Megan & fellow fasters! Love your post Megan, but I’m having trouble with your table – there are no 16 hour fasts in it, only 30 hour fasts – breakfasts seem to pop up where they’re not needed, after breaking a 30 hour fast the night before, thus obliterated the 16 hour part of the protocol. Or am I reading it wrong?

Julia Wood
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Julia Wood

Also I love the look of this protocol, because it only requires me to go to bed after a period of 8-ish hours without eating on the lunch-only days, thus hopefully improving my sleeping!!

Alice
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Alice

It looks as if breakfast on Days 1-6 should be labeled “Fast” instead, and then the alternating 30 and 16 hours of fasting would be correct (30 from end of lunch until dinner the following day, and 16 from dinner until lunch the day after that). I think the notion for those who like to of eating three meals on Day 7 (Saturday or Sunday) also seems like a good way to break things up and avoid adaptation.

Andrea
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Andrea

I have only been using the omad 30/16 protocol for a week but I really like it. Have used various fasting protocols with lchf for 17 months and am now within 10 lbs of goal weight. I can see that this may become my maintenance WOE.

Jess
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Jess

Timely post for me. I first got started with fasting after reading the obesity code and I did OMAD. It went great for a couple of weeks and then the FB community shouted me down for doing OMAD. I tried 3×42 but I found it too difficult and ended up falling off the wagon completely. I think I’m going to try again with this protocol.

Kat
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Kat

I do this now but more ADF OMAD. Eat my OMAD (I try to stop eating by 5pm), then fast all the next day, then break around lunch and eat dinner, then fast til mos afternoon the next day.
It seems to be doing well so far!
I also stick to LCHF on OMAD and after my ADF I eat mostly whatever sounds good. this helps me not feel restrictive in my food choices.
I’ve been losing weight for 2 years, IF for about 1.5 of those. I’ve lost 110 lb so far. Not diabetic but have PCOS

Nicole
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Nicole

I think what people are trying to explain is that the fasting chart sample included in the article is inaccurate because it suggests eating both breakfast and lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays instead of just lunch.

rachel
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This error will be fixed shortly.

Ajay
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Ajay

Hello everybody, this is Ajay Mathew, I started lchf in june 2018 I was 120 kgs from there reached 90 kgs in june 2019.Then I stopped for one month and gained 7 kgs again I started lchf reduced 3 kg and wanted to go back to 90 kgs but could not.I was again forced to stop for 1 month and now have become 100 kgs which means total increase of 10 kgs from my lowest of 90.I have been on OMAD from September but looks like my body has got used to this form of lchf food and not reducing… Read more »

rachel
Guest

I would suggest, if possible, joining our membership community or working with one of our coaches to see if they can help you with different fasting protocols to help with slow metabolism.

Jean
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Jean

So, i could try the 30/16 Omar if I have a lot to lose or it is still not recommended?

rachel
Guest

If you have a small amount to lose and are healthy it could help.

Gileo Alojado
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Gileo Alojado

I can’t extend my fast more than 26 hrs. To trick my body, I do OMAD 3-5 days straight with alternating TMAD either after the 3rd, 4th and 5th day. I dunno, if that’s ok. As to the OMAD, its always lunch. On TMAD, lunch plus breakfast or dinner on a 6 hr feeding window. Dunno, if that is good enough.

rachel
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If that’s what works for you then keep it up!

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