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

2020-02-13T16:10:04-05:0031 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?

The Fasting Method
Guest

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
Guest
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
Guest
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.

Georgia
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Georgia

Have had a similar experience when I switched it up from OMAD to 3×42. Longer fasts Worked great for a few weeks. Then Something happened and I started binge eating (nuts, chocolate & carbs) on refeed days -followed by painful edema for weeks on end. Have Felt like an absolute failure so getting Back on the low carb OMAD protocol. Determined to get back on track.

Kat
Guest
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

Holly Pearson
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Holly Pearson

So u eat lunch and done by 5 everyday

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.

The Fasting Method
Guest

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 »

The Fasting Method
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?

The Fasting Method
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.

The Fasting Method
Guest

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

Dena Toney
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Dena Toney

Just started this on Monday. Anxious to see if it jump starts my weight loss. I had hit a plateau. Lost 32 pounds in 4 months, maintained from September Thru January and then have slowly gained 5-7 pounds the last couple of months. It will be 1 year in April and overall I am thrilled!

Kelly Kelley
Guest
Kelly Kelley

I am starting this today. I’ve been doing OMAD with at least one gallon of water per day, no sugar, and one 42 hr fast per week but the weight loss is slow, down 9.6 pounds in February. I would like to get this number to five pounds per week so I’m going to try this. I’ll check in next Sunday and let you know how it goes. 🤞

Pascale Thivierge
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Pascale Thivierge

Since OMAD is not recommended for more than 10-15 lbs of weight loss, then what would be an ideal protocol to loose 20-25 lbs? Would. 16/8 window suffice or should i move up to a 18/6 or Change those regularly? I am reading the Obesity zcode and joined the FB discussion group but this is not clear to me, especially after reading this post. Thank you!

The Fasting Method
Guest

If you are looking to lose more than 15 lbs then I would recommend alternate day fasting (ADF) 36-42 hr fasts 3 days a week.

Kathy Gilchrist
Member
Kathy Gilchrist

I have been doing 3×42 and wondered if results would differ if alternate weeks I did 3×36. I have lost over 100lb but lately both my motivation and weight loss are stagnating.

Jaymie
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Jaymie

I began fasting seriously almost a year ago. I’ve been LCHF/keto off and on for many years. My T2 diabetes was corrected from this diet and losing about 40 pounds. After that 40 pound loss I plateaued. Fasting made a big difference. In about 5 months I lost an additional 20 pounds! It was just falling off of me! I was just 5 pounds from my goal weight!!! But then last fall I ended up on a round of prednisone which made me ravenous and I succumbed to my old way of eating and fasting was really, really challenging. Slowly… Read more »

The Fasting Method
Guest

Hi Jaymie, ADF is one full day of fasting and eating 2-3 meals on the following day. If your husband works late certain days which allows you to fast through dinner, then this sounds like it should be doable. If not, then take a look at what you are eating as well as how much and how often during your eating period. But don’t give up!

Sophie
Guest

Great post! One simple way to get started with OMAD is using 23-1. Fast for 23 hours then eat what you need in that 1 hour span. It’s best to eat highly nutritious food as your body still needs to function properly. And for those starting out, the best tip is to eat more fats. That way, you don’t experience extreme hunger

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