- Jennifer Still
- Eating one meal a day, a diet known as OMAD, isn’t as radical as it sounds, according to author Jennifer Still.
- Here, Still details how a consistent routine of OMAD has helped her lose more than 120 pounds.
I’ve followed a ketogenic diet on and off for the past four years or so, but I decided to rededicate myself in early 2018, and the results have been great.
However, starting in June, I added another element to my approach to eating that has been a total game-changer when it comes to weight loss: I only eat one meal a day.
While many would find the idea of eating one big meal a day to be daunting or even impossible, it was a natural extension of my previous experience with intermittent fasting, and I actually grew to love it pretty quickly.
Here’s how the OMAD diet helped me on my journey to losing 120 pounds and counting.
1. I do fasted cardio, which burns more calories
- Skydive Erick/Shutterstock
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed that performing cardio on an empty stomach burned 20% more body fat on average than it did for those who worked out after eating.
While that study wasn’t behind my decision to eat one meal a day, fasted cardio became a natural consequence of my dietary approach and has helped me see the numbers on the scale go down more quickly and shown more visible results in my body.
2. I’ve stopped snacking
- Wikimedia/Jonathan M
This is rather obvious, but it’s a change that’s made a huge difference. Cutting out snacking altogether has meant that I’m drastically reducing my calories.
Following the OMAD plan means you literally eat one meal, albeit a large one, and snacks aren’t part of that. Thankfully, in combination with the keto diet, I’m eating foods designed to keep me fuller for longer, and I don’t miss the snacks at all.
3. I consume fewer calories
I mentioned this above, but my change in overall calorie count deserves its own point, as it doesn’t come from just the lack of snacking. While I try to ensure I get my daily caloric need in the one meal I eat, there’s no denying that it totals much less than I was consuming when I was eating three meals and snacks.
The weight-loss formula of expending more calories than you take in holds true, and eating at a bigger caloric deficit has totally boosted my progress.
4. My body has more time to digest and process what I eat
Because I’m only eating once, my body has time to fully digest and absorb nutrition from the food I eat. It takes six to eight hours for the human body to digest a meal enough to transfer it to the large intestine to be broken down even further, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Given that I tend to go about 22 hours of the day without ingesting food, that means my body gets plenty of time to do its thing. I spend a lot of time in a fasted state, which boosts my calorie burn even more.
5. I have more mental energy to focus on fitness
Because I’m only eating once, thinking about food takes up very little of my day. When I was eating three meals, it felt like I’d just finished cooking and eating an hour or two before having to start the process all over again. I love spending time in the kitchen, but it got to be a bit exhausting.
These days, I prepare food and clean up once, and then I can move on with my day. Not only does it leave more time for working and hobbies, it lets me focus more on my fitness goals, like training for a half-marathon later this year. It feels good to actually have the mental bandwidth to dedicate to other things rather than trying to squeeze everything in.