One Meal a Day (OMAD) is a popular Intermittent Fasting schedule.
It is exactly what it sounds like. You eat one meal, and then you fast till the next day when you have another meal, and repeat.
It’s a great way to lose fat and get healthy, without having to do the longer extended fasts.
That being said, some people don’t lose weight on OMAD. They maintain their weight, and some people even gain weight.
While there could be other issues, such as metabolic health, the biggest problem that I frequently see is overeating on OMAD.
Let’s look into that.
Most people know what that means.
But just to clarify what I mean by overeating.
I’m talking about continuing to eat past the point of satiety. Or sometimes even eating when you’re not hungry at all.
I’m NOT referring to eating too many calories. It’s not about the calories!
When we eat, we should eat till satisfied. And then we should stop.
Your body will intuitively tell you when that is - if you pay attention.
Why we overeat on OMAD
This can happen on any fasting schedule, but I see it most often with OMAD.
It usually boils down to one of three reasons:
- Hunger signals are out of whack
- Trying to “make up” for the fasting - in other words, we know we’re going to be fasting again, so we shovel in the food because we are afraid of being hungry later
- Eating the wrong kinds of foods
Our bodies are very good at knowing when to eat and how much to eat. We have built-in hormonal signals that control the hunger cycle.
But years of yo-yo dieting, combined with processed food consumption has thrown those signals off for many of us.
So what to do?
One of the great things about fasting is that it will naturally fix your appetite and recalibrate your weight-loss related hormones.
That’s why those hunger signals you get when you’re fasting are a really good sign!
Keep persisting with your OMAD (or whatever fasting schedule you’re following). If you find yourself overeating now, just try to stay consistent and eventually it will start to improve.
In the meantime, always eat till satisfied. Never restrict food on your OMAD if you’re still hungry.
Some days you’ll eat more, and some days less. But it should eventually balance out.
Start practicing mindful eating.
“Mindfulness” is a rather overused term these days, but all it means is basically just paying attention to your body’s signals. Failing to do so is the root of many food-related dysfunctions.
Take your time when eating. Don’t read or scroll your screen at the same time.
Focus your attention on the food.
Slow down and savor your food.
If you eat too fast you’ll miss the signal that you’re full, sometimes felt as a slight sigh.
If you find yourself overeating because you have that feeling that you need to compensate for fasting, there’s a few things you can do that will help.
Remind yourself that you are in control
You can eat anytime you want to. You’re not being denied anything. You don’t have to stuff yourself, because food is always available.
You are choosing not to eat.
Often just this small shift in mindset will help.
Give yourself a later eating window
If you’ve been breaking your fast in the mornings, try switching to having your meal in the afternoon or evening.
Most of us are busy during the mornings and won’t miss food that much. Then in the evenings you don’t have that much longer till bedtime.
Whereas if you have your meal first thing, you’ve got the whole day to go without eating, and that can make that urge to overeat worse.
Stretch your OMAD out more
Instead of eating one big meal all at once, break it up some.
Have an appetizer, wait a bit, and then have your main meal.
You’ll be much more likely to tune in to your hunger and fullness signals.
Start with some healthy fats
Fats are satiating!
Try starting your meal with some healthy fats, like butter, fatty fish or meat, or an avocado.
And that leads me to my next point …
What are you eating?
The kinds of foods you’re eating for your OMAD can make or break your appetite.
High carbohydrate foods and processed junk foods make you feel hungry even when you’ve eaten enough.
They also take much longer for your body to burn through, which means it takes longer for you to get back into fat burning mode. And with OMAD this is so important!
Look at your OMAD as a refuel. You are refueling your body for your next fast. Junk food isn’t going to cut it.
Always aim for nutrition. Reach for whole foods, and be sure to include lots of healthy fats and protein.
A word of caution
If you have been diagnosed with a binge eating disorder you should not be fasting, per Dr. Fung. Fasting can make it worse.
Trust the process!
If you’re not losing weight with OMAD, try some of our tips! Give it time, stay consistent, and you should start seeing results.
Author: Roo Black
Roo is a fasting coach with over 5 years of experience. She leads the admin team of the Official Fasting for Weight Loss Facebook group - one of the largest fasting communities on social media with over 125,000 members. We highly recommend this group for anyone who is looking for fasting advice or coaching.