Weight loss community is a world full of jargon and abbreviation. I mean, you’d see these CICO, TDEE, IF… and had no idea what these experienced dieters were talking about. And then they broke down the abbreviation, and you thought… ah… those things, I’ve done those already.
Like OMAD. Scrolling through both wordpress reader and instagram to get some inspiration of what I would cook for the day, I often come across this hashtag. I kept thinking, what the hell is this? Why are these people keep eating a massive portion of meal?
Until that moment happened, and I realised that OMAD actually an acronym for One Meal A Day. And the first thing I thought… are you MAD?
As someone who grew up Catholic, and whose mum are still fasting during Lent the idea of having one full meal a day is not new to me. And once I know what OMAD actually is, I knew right there and then how unsustainable that would be for me. You know how I know this?
Because even the Catholic church has now allowed two smaller meals to be consumed during the day as long as when they’re combined together they’re not equal to one full meal. Only done on Wednesday and Friday, starts on Ash Wednesday and finishes on Good Friday. And lots and lots of reflections on your life choices which lead you to this sort of penance.
But even when I am no longer practicing, I understand that the point of Lent is as a tool to reflect, to remind you of sufferings, and hence the practice is meant to be punishing (for whatever sins you’ve done during the year).
I am sure that it is different for everyone, but I honestly cannot see OMAD beyond the severe and prolonged Lent. So, the thought of doing something which is more punishing than the Catholic way to self torture is really not appealing to me. What I learned from practicing Lent since when I was a child… none of us lost weight with one meal a day. The deprivation of food would lead us to a binge the day after, or euphoric chocolate eating on Easter.
Of course, not mentioning about the drop in blood sugar which then made Lent even harder because all of us would be in a crappy emotional state, while feeling ill.
If you are not religious, and have no idea what I am talking about that’s totally understandable. Imagine this as an incredibly restrictive Intermittent Fasting. Instead of 16:8 or 18:6, OMAD only gives you one hour eating window. Which means whatever calories you might need, whatever nutrients you might need, you need to pack it up in that hour.
Some more sensible approach to OMAD allows a certain kind of smoothies to be taken during the fasting windows to help fulfilling nutrients needs. But generally, only water and unsweetened tea or coffee are allowed during the 23 hours of not eating anything.
If you think Warrior Diet is hard… I think OMAD is mad.
I cannot genuinely see this as a possible option for a healthier lifestyle. Losing weight… probably, but I can see how easy people gain the weight they have tried desperately to lose when they stop OMAD. Because the principle is that if you are only given one meal a day, it would be easy to eat under your calorie budget, hence you will definitely lose weight.
I mean… in one meal of OMAD, you can have one McDonald’s triple cheese burger, a large size of chips, and a large vanilla milkshake. And you are still just above 1500kCal. I know that because McDonald’s UK has this nutrition calculator for their products on their website. Use it. I found it incredibly helpful to get a guilt-free well-informed treat every now and then.
So yeah… for an aggressive weight loss method, I think OMAD should work. I just don’t think they are suitable for me. I imagine that it is easily done if you have that kind of job with long hours like chefs or nurses, as you are almost always doing something and have no time to eat anyway.
But would I do that for myself? I definitely would not. It’s not sustainable. It doesn’t make my CICO either easier or more effective. If any, personally for me it might even endangered my health because of my hypoglycaemia. So I will steer away from this.
If you want to do this, by all means do it. Many people has done it successfully, and there are plenty of support forums which can give you more information. However, I suggest you should see your GP and discuss this first before you plunged into such a life changing decision. Just in case.