One Meal A Day, or OMAD as it is often called, can be a very effective protocol for weight loss and other health issues. I have done OMAD Carnivore for over 4 years and even OMAD Keto for a couple of years before that. I find it fits into my lifestyle and is extremely effective for me in my own “n of 1.” Below are some tips that I have learned through trial and error through the years.
Long-term OMAD isn’t for everyone. Some people have great success on OMAD, especially for weight-loss but find that they don’t enjoy it after a month or so. This isn’t a problem at all! I suggest trying it out and seeing if you like it. See what kind of results you get and assess how you feel after 30 days or so. This isn’t like a class where there is a pass/fail grade attached. It is actually more like dating, not all relationships need to lead to marriage and not all of them will be a good fit.
We are trying to find the best relationship between you and food. Some people have tremendous success cycling OMAD every other week or one week per month, do what works best for you.
Adjust your perspective
I know this might sound a bit hokey, but it really is effective. It is often helpful if you reframe your internal narrative. For me, I personally find it very helpful to think of it as a daily feasting window. That way, I can think about the awesome meal I get to enjoy without worrying about portion size, calories, or any of that nonsense. This lets me focus on the awesome instead of thinking about it as depriving myself for the rest of the day. So, I tend to say “intermittent feasting” and not “intermittent fasting.”
Consider starting slowly. If you have been eating three meals a day, you may find more success easing into it. Many people find it easy to skip breakfast and just eat lunch and dinner at first. Then, if your schedule allows, you can inch your lunch later and later until you have blended it into your dinner, feasting window.
“I can’t eat enough at one sitting”
This is one that I hear quite frequently, and I get it. Not everyone can eat enough meat at one meal to maintain satiation for the next 23 hours, but I have some suggestions:
- Up your fat content. I find that it is more effective for myself and many others to go more fat heavy at meal time. For example, choose fattier cuts of beef like ribeye instead of sirloin or even 73:27 ground beef instead of 80:20. Another really helpful way to add fat is butter, ghee, or tallow. I top my meats with butter very frequently. Another thing I love to do is melt butter or ghee and dip my meat into it. [Pro Tip, I often do a 50:50 mix of melted ghee and tallow for dipping]
- Consider limiting fluids around mealtime. I don’t drink anything for at least an hour before mealtime and around 30 minutes after. I have found that this enables me to concentrate on getting enough fat and protein to last me for another 23 hours. This is also very helpful doing ADF or Alternate Day Fasting. I recently finished 30 days of eating this way, or one meal every two days and it can be a challenge to consume enough at that one meal!
- Eliminate as much temptation as possible. This one can be tough, especially if you have others in your household who aren’t carnivore or fasting. But, if you can, get rid of as many quick snacks as possible. Most of the time, people think of things like snack cakes, cookies, chips, etc. and those definitely need to go.
Even as a carnivore, we will tend to be more successful with OMAD if we have quick carnivore* items like:
- Cooked bacon in the refrigerator
- Hamburger patties cooked and ready to go
- Pre-packaged string-cheese
- Beef jerky
- Carnivore treats like the pre-packaged bars or dried meats
Have some other options available, such as drinks:
- Water with lemon zest**
- Sparkling water
- Tea, hot or iced***
- Hot water with salt (this is my favorite; I get to enjoy the ritual of heating water, using my coffee paraphernalia, and sipping it gives me electrolytes!)
Have ways to keep yourself busy
Boredom can be a challenge when doing OMAD. Staying busy is a great way to keep your mind off of eating outside of your feasting window. It is often much easier if you are working but you can absolutely have things planned to help, even when you aren’t working on something like:
- Playing with pets
- Working out (This can be done in short bursts throughout the day and doesn’t require a long workout session. Busting out a few squats for example.)
- Find a hobby you enjoy
- Calling friends or family
- Reading or audiobooks
If possible, keep your feasting time around the same time every day. Your body adapts quickly around circadian rhythm, and you will find that your satiety and hunger hormones (leptin, ghrelin, etc.) will adjust accordingly. For example, I like to eat between 5:30 and 6 pm every evening. I have found that I am not hungry during the day anymore, but I get very hungry right before my normal feasting window!
Reach out for help
There are many of us coaches here on carnivore.diet with a great amount of knowledge and experience. Consider booking a coaching session or even instant coaching where you make a call and get immediate help or advice.
*You can always add these back after you have been OMAD for some time but the temptation early on can be difficult.
**This won’t break your fast. If you need it to help you get through or as a treat, it is ok!
*** Coffee or tea on carnivore warrants a post entirely on its own. We won’t debate it here, if you drink them, this is a good time to do so.