Stanford conducted “a marshmallow experiment”. Researchers gave each participant (a four year old kid) a marshmallow to eat but with one catch, they will get another marshmallow if they wait for another 15 minutes for eating the first marshmallow, when the researcher returns. Later researchers tracked down those kids involved in a study observed that kids who have self-control got better grades, higher SAT scores, and general social success. This study proves that will power not only affect one area of life but also other areas.
One essential ingredient for success is willpower. Very few have the willpower to carry on in an adverse situation. For eating once a day you need such will power, it will not only help you in losing weight but also help in other areas of life.
What is OMAD and how it works?
Eating once a day or “one meal a day” (OMAD) is a type of intermittent fasting. In which person fast for 24 hours continuously and have a single meal at the end of fast. “OMAD” is very similar to 24 hours fast. Eating once a day increases fat burning, decreases inflammation, improves metabolic rate with lots of other benefits.
OMAD works on the single principle of not eating for 24 hours. This will create a calorie deficit and forces the body to burn fat. Simultaneously due to an absence of food, important body organs involved in food digestion process gets much needed rest and able to focus on repair and healing work, which results in overall improved health.
Results of eating once a day
In a single day on an average person can lose ~2 lb. of weight, which may be different for everyone. Not necessary it’s a fat weight, most of it is water weight. Around 20% to 30% weight loss is Fat.
- As we consume less food, we focus on eating more quality food avoiding snacks and junk food.
- Doing exercise in fasting state burn more fat compared to exercise in a normal day.
- As only one meal allowed overall calories consumed are low compared to 3 meals and snacks.
- You have more time to do your regular work hence you become a productive, less mental headache as you need to plan for a single meal.
- Eating once a day improves body composition and preserves muscle mass results in a lean body.
Benefits of eating once a day
In general eating “One meal a day” provides multiple benefits. Eating once a day will also normalize your blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels and Improved cognitive function
Fasting makes you lose a lot of weight in the shortest amount of time. In absence of food, body starts burning glycogen stored in liver and muscles (a form of carbohydrates) for energy. After glycogen exhausted, our body starts burning fat for energy, called “ketosis”. [Study 1,2]
Most of the weight loss is water weight, but around 20 – 25% of weight loss is fat loss. [Study 3]
Improved Metabolic rate
High metabolic rate associated with a healthy and younger body, that’s why teens can digest almost anything and never get fat, even after eating so many times. As we age our metabolism starts to slow down and we get fat.
In fasting, body starts a process called “autophagy”. In autophagy, body uses its own cells for energy. Cells used for energy are damaged or broken cells which are toxic for the body. Once the broken or dead cell is used up for energy body replace them with a new working cell. In other words, body renews itself.
Body constantly renews cells over time, in fasting speed of cell recycling increases significantly. Damaged cell replacement with a new working cell is necessary for the body to function normally. Cell damage over years is the cause of aging. [Study 7,8]
- Inflammation is caused by free radicals, which are present in the food we eat. Free radicals produced in various metabolic reactions and responsible for oxidative stress.
- As we abstain from having any food, free radicals in body automatically start to declining so does inflammation.
Read more about benefits here.
How to start eating once a day?
Old advice “start small”, start with skipping breakfast for some days let your body to adapt with “no food for morning”, then start skipping lunch for some more days.
- Stop all kind of snacks, calorific beverages.
- Start cutting carbohydrates in your diet. Add more fat and protein.
- In general, eat more green leafy vegetables.
- A principle is simple, get your body adapted to no food for a day.
- So start doing small changes in daily life, observe closely how your body react to changes, and give time to a body for adapting eating once a day.
Tip: drink coffee/ tea without sugar, cream or milk, which will help in suppressing hunger. Do not add artificial sweetener as it may invoke insulin response just like sugar.
Isn’t skipping meal bad for you?
No, not at all. From an evolutionary perspective, humans went from periods of abundance followed by scarcity.
It’s in the last few decades, due to improved agriculture food is available all the time. So people developed a habit of having 3 meals a day and some even have snacks between them.
Are there any negative effects of “one meal a day”?
- One meal a day may cause nutritional deficiencies if you are not having a balanced diet on normal days. Make sure meals are diverse with colorful vegetables.
- Constipation may occur due to less food intake, try to eat fiber-rich food.
- Eating once day is stressful to your mind and body, try to adapt your body slowly with one meal a day schedule.
- Athletes, a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, kids, teens, malnourished adults, a person taking any medication should not follow one meal day diet.
Eating once a day meal plan
A person can follow one meal a day for every day of the week or a few days of the week, as per your convenience.
- I personally prefer 2-3 alternate days in the week for eating once a day.
- Whenever you having a meal, try to add more colorful vegetables and fat and less meat.
Read more about recipes here.
Eating once a day is the best thing you can do for fat loss with minimal planning headache and host of other benefits.