Breakfast is the most important meal of the day or so they say.
We’ve been fed this piece of information for decades now. 3 big meals and 2 snacks, that’s the system we’ve followed and it’s supposedly the best way to live a healthy life.
That may have been the case, especially when people were more active, consumed less processed foods, slept better, absorbed enough Vitamin D from the sun and were less exposed to harmful toxins and chemicals but times have changed.
Nowadays, people who follow the 3 big meals and 2 snacks a day system either end up fat or sick.
It’s not so much the system of eating that’s the problem as it is the kind of foods you eat.
If you can change your diet, I can easily see that system of 3 meals a day working well but I find that most people are unable to completely kick their addiction to sugar and carbs.
If that happens to be the case with you, then perhaps this post will be of benefit to you especially if your goal is to lose weight and improve your overall health without drastically changing your diet.
The Basic Science Of Weight Loss And Eating One Meal A Day
In order to lose weight, you have to expend more energy per day than you consume. To put it simply, you have to burn more calories than you consume.
Everything you put into your mouth, other than water, consists of calories.
But, not all calories are the same. Calories consumed from a ton of vegetables don’t create the same result from calories consumed from a can of soda. One is accompanied by a ton of vitamins and minerals whereas the other is stuffed with sugar and other chemicals.
What happens when you consume food high in sugar or carbohydrates, especially processed junk?
It provides the body with glucose which causes a spike in insulin.
When insulin is high, fat burning hormones are blocked. What happens when you have too much sugar and carbohydrates in your body but you don’t exert as much energy?
It stores as fat!
So, not only are you preventing your body from burning fat for energy but you’re actually storing more fat by eating the wrong kinds of food.
Nutrition is a fundamental key to weight loss.
Without proper food, you won’t lose weight properly.
Just because you’re practicing intermittent fasting doesn’t mean you can eat anything and everything you want BUT it affords you the ability to eat some of it whilst still losing weight.
Wouldn’t it be the same to eat 3 meals a day but just spreading my junk food into smaller amounts?
No, it wouldn’t be the same. There’s one fundamental difference, fat burning.
When you fast for an extended period of time, say 16 – 20 hours, your body is depleted of sugar/glucose for energy. Essentially, it targets stored fat and converts it into energy in the liver. This is known as ketosis.
That’s the biggest factor at play here.
Eating one meal a day strips away regular input of glucose thus enabling your body to target all that stored fat for energy while you go about your day as normal.
Now, imagine for a second that you worked out in this fasted state, not only would you be burning excess calories and speeding up weight loss but you’d be using more stored fat for energy due to the demand imposed by exercise.
At the beginning or end of the day, when you sit down to consume that one meal, you won’t be depriving yourself of calories or munching on some salad.
You ought to be consuming at least 1500 calories or whichever amount puts you in a 350 – 500 calorie deficit as compared to your maintenance.
For example, if your body requires 2500 calories to maintain it’s current composition, meaning that you won’t gain or lose weight, you would need to eat 2000 calories during the one meal.
Consuming too little calories can be dangerous to your overall health especially if you’re exercising and restricting yourself from food for most of the day.
My Experience With Eating One Meal A Day
I’ll be the first to confess that I’m a greedy guy. I absolutely love food (thank God I love vegetables or else I’d be ridiculously obese by now) and it bothered me that I would have to give up breakfast and lunch.
I had concerns about my energy levels, amongst other things.
What I made sure to do was drink a ton of water all day long.
The last thing I wanted to do was be deprived of energy and dehydrated because that is a potent recipe for disaster.
On some days I drank plain black coffee but on most days I downed green tea.
Both of these drinks helped to curb my appetite and made the entire fast easier.
The first few days were tough. I was constantly thinking about food and I noticed a dip in energy levels.
I suffered from a headache but that quickly passed when I drank more water and improved the foods I ate.
By the end of week one, my body readjusted and I was losing weight like crazy.
The headaches stopped and I felt less hungry with each passing day. My obsessive thoughts about food subsided and I noticed a new found appreciation for foods I’d eaten all the time.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve taken away from eating one meal a day is on how to have a healthy relationship with food. Before this, I ate out of habit and routine.
My cravings and hunger pangs were often false and just greed.
A lot of my meals were eaten out of boredom rather than necessity and I used food as an escape.
This system of eating exposed my unhealthy relationship with food. Honestly, if you want to truly unmask your bad habits and mindset, this is one of the ways you can.
Weight loss is easy on this system of eating.
It takes a beast to overeat and surpass caloric goals in just one meal. It’s going to take a lot of work to even eat enough calories to reach your caloric deficit goals, that’s how fantastic it is.
You’ll burn fat but you’ll develop a better relationship with food, especially if your one meal a day consists of healthy foods like vegetables, meats, nuts, seeds and fruits.
Apparently, research has indicated that sustained periods without sugar in the body results in lower inflammation and increased cellular regeneration. In different terms, sugar causes inflammation and is bad for you.
The rest from having to digest food enables the body to heal and recover, something people with leaky gut ought to pay close attention too.
Heal your gut and the absorption of essential nutrients from food is maximized.
When that happens, your overall body and quality of life will improve drastically.
All this from just eating one meal a day. Wait, scratch that, one BIG meal a day.
does omad work?
Like anything you try, it’s best to do so with the guidance of a trained medical expert.
I want you to always remember that weight loss is a journey, starving and depriving yourself of essential food is dangerous and unhealthy.
My biggest takeaway from the one meal a day system is that food is a source of fuel, not an indulgence or an escape.
The idea is to use food appropriately, not abuse it. This is not a system designed just for weight loss, it’s to help people differentiate between actual hunger and the illusion of hunger.
You will learn to be disciplined, committed and strong-willed.
When that happens, whether you eat one meal a day or three, you’ll treat food with respect but most importantly, you’ll treat your body with respect and provide it with nourishing food.
Will you lose weight eating one meal a day? Well, that mostly depends on YOU!
I’m not saying that you have to entirely cut out the foods you like to eat but exercise self-control and moderation. Combine that with eating one meal a day and you’ll be able to still lose weight.
OMAD certainly works. Even if you were to not change your diet, I’m quite certain that you would experience some benefits, including some weightloss, on this system of eating.
However, always keep in mind that calorie consumption matters, along with your body’s ability to target fat.
If you were to eat one meal a day consisting of 80% healthy foods and 20% unhealthy, I think you could experience some wonderful results.
Rather 80% than 0%, right?
Perhaps, start by implementing the one meal a day fasting protocol into your lifestyle without altering your diet if you struggle with being disciplined.
Get some momentum going and then start replacing one unhealthy food item with a healthier substitute.
With each week that passes, keep substituting one bad item for a good one. Eventually, by the time your diet is predominantly healthy, you would have achieved so much change that it will blow your mind.
On that note, if you enjoyed this article and have an opinion on eating one meal a day, feel free to share it with us in the comment section below.