I Tried Eating One Meal a Day and Here’s What Happened
In a recent post, I discussed how I tried intermittent fasting (click here for the post) for improved memory and weight loss. I expressed that the goal of intermittent fasting is to go without eating for at least sixteen hours in succession so that the body can enter a state of ketosis.
Ketosis is a process which changes the body from a sugar burning machine to a fat burning one for more rapid weight loss and lowed blood sugar.
After a long period of intermittent fasting, which is basically eating two meals a day (in my case one snack and one meal) I decided to take things to a new level – one meal a day.
One meal a day or OMAD is just that, consuming one meal per day instead of the usual three to eight that American’s eat on the SAD Diet, or Standard American Diet. After enjoying the results from intermittent fasting, I jokingly said to myself, “I bet I could survive off one meal a day.”
The thought intrigued me so much that I took the idea to my BFF, YouTube. I was surprised to learn that OMAD is something many people practice and the benefits are worthwhile.
Benefits of OMAD
According to my research, OMAD helps the body spend less time on digestion and more time on healing itself. After consuming food, the body expends lots of energy carrying those nutrients all over the body to nourish areas like the brain and blood and also provide energy.
Every time a person eats the body must spend four to six hours turning that food into energy which is very taxing. Because Americans typical eat more than they truly need to, the body ends up spending more time on digestion than anything else.
The goal of OMAD is to only eat one meal every 24 hours so that the body will spend only a little time on digestion and more time on healing itself. Also, the weight loss experienced is allegedly more rewarding than even intermittent fasting, which is saying a lot.
OMAD and History
OMAD is not a new concept. Only in recent history have humans eaten more than one meal a day. Early hunter-gathers spent all day chasing their food and only ate once a day when the food was properly killed, cooked, skinned, and ready for consumption. While the hunter-gatherers awaited their meals, they survived on their fat reserve or in other words extra fat. This is the same principle of OMAD, instead of consuming more food, the body is suppose to “eat” its fat reserve and spend time on healing other areas.
Plan to Action
With all this information in place I said, “What the heck, you only live once! Let’s try the OMAD diet”. Keep reading to see what happened.
What I Experienced
Dizziness– The OMAD diet is basically intermittent fasting on steroids, everything I felt with intermittent fasting I felt one-hundred times worse with OMAD. Since I became use to skipping breakfast with IF, lunch time became a problem for me with OMAD.
I experienced dizziness to the point of nearly fainting. This is no exaggeration. It got super scary a few times, but I pushed through. No pain, no gain right?
Hunger– The first few days I was hungry at the time I would normally break my fast. It wasn’t terribly bad, just a little pang, but my God by dinner!
By dinnertime I was ready to die. This is hunger beyond any hunger I’ve ever experienced in my life.
With OMAD you are to consume all of your daily calories in one meal. You would think with that level of hunger 1,200 calories would be light-work, surprisingly it wasn’t. It took nearly an hour or more to eat and many times I would throw half my food away.
I don’t know if my stomach shrunk or what, but eating became difficult. I was absolutely full within a few bites.
Mood– I have absolutely no idea what was happening on a scientific level, but I experienced horrible mood swings. One moment I would be on the top of Mount Everest and the next I would be lower than the deepest level of the Dead Sea. Highs and lows all day that were extreme. I’ve never experienced anything like this before either. This could be contributed to low blood sugar.
Sleep/Tiredness– There were two periods throughout the day in which I was too sleepy to function – directly after meals and during the time I would normally have eaten lunch. This is the kind of sleepy feeling that you can only relent to. I would be out like a light within 30 minutes of finishing a meal and immediately during the mid-day.
The mid-day slump probably had everything to do with my body trying to heal itself, because sleep is designed for physical recovery among other things. After browsing online forums, I found that the tiredness after meals was an indication that I needed to lower my carb consumption.
However, at night I could not sleep much at all. After a few days, I required very little sleep. It was super annoying because I love sleep, but this is a normal side effect of OMAD.
Because the body is not spending so much time on converting food into energy and nourishing itself, it has new freedom and eight hours of sleep is no longer a requirement. I would be lucky to get two or three hours in and I still woke up with way more energy than I needed.
Physical Healing – I have read that many people have cured many illnesses through limiting themselves to one meal a day. Consuming food once daily is supposed to free up the body’s time for self-healing and this interested me most.
In the last few years, I have struggled with inflammation of my chest wall that flares up occasionally with temperature extremes, heavy lifting, and stress. The pain is not an everyday occurrence, but when it is present it can be nearly unbearable.
Usually it appears a few times a month. With OMAD I noticed that the pain was persistent and occurred much more than usual. I think my body was working on a solution, so while I didn’t enjoy the feeling, like I said before, no pain no gain.
Hair Loss– I have no idea what happened in this department either, but I lost hair and a lot of it. Many people online have expressed this too is a product of fasting and it is not savory, but hey….it grows back, so whatever.
Mental Clarity– My head is a jumbled mess of ideas at all times. I’m always thinking of or even writing my next idea. My head would probably make yours spin – everyone I know says I think too much and too deeply.
I’m never really present, so mental clarity is new for me entirely. OMAD offered me a kind of clarity where I could think one thought completely though and be present in the moment.
I had a sort of peace that was new and refreshing. I can’t really even put it into words, but it was a good kind of different. Maybe it was the hair loss, because my head wasn’t as heavy. (LOL)
More Time– No, we are not like early foragers who ran miles in search of food, but as Americans, we do spend an exorbitant amount of time seeking out food. Think of all the time you have spent in a drive-thru, awaiting reservations, cooking, searching for a vending machine, or in line at a grocery store.
This is precious time in your life you will never get back. I found with only eating one meal a day, I freed up a lot of valuable time. This was quite rewarding and kind to my pockets as well.
Weight Loss– OMG! Let’s talk weight loss. It was extreme. Like a pound a day extreme.
Would I Recommend OMAD?
Let’s see, intense mood swings, excruciating pain, tiredness, near fainting, and hair loss. You’re going to think I’m crazy, but absolutely!
I think challenging yourself is good for your brain (new experiences increase neuroplasticity) and OMAD is absolutely challenging. Also, the benefits in the long-term will easily outweigh the discomfort.
I only stopped OMAD, because I’m a Sagittarius and I got bored, LOL!
No, I actually stopped because it was difficult as hell. The discipline it takes to endure those kinds of physical symptoms is Herculean. In all, I got about eight or nine days out of it. However, this year with a renewed mind, I think I will try this experience for an extended amount of time.
Use good judgment and discretion when deciding if OMAD is right for you. Comment below if you are seriously thinking of trying the OMAD diet. I’d love to do it as a group effort with you!
Watch this video to learn the importance of fasting for your body