OMAD or One Meal A Day is all the rage right now. Most people who reach out to me with questions have questions about OMAD. They either struggle with losing weight on OMAD or would like help to get started with weight loss on OMAD. I don’t do one-on-one coaching, so I thought it would be helpful to create a step-by-step action plan to help those who want to get started with OMAD for weight loss.
Step-By-Step Action Plan to Lose Weight on OMAD
I am not going to talk about the benefits of OMAD or intermittent fasting in general, I have many other posts about this topic. For example, you can check out Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss: The OMAD Diet. Let’s jump right into my step-by-step action plan to lose weight on OMAD.
Step One: Document Your Starting Point
Anytime you want to reach a goal, you need to make sure it’s measurable. Weight loss is measurable in more than one way and I want you to measure it in more than one way. Write down your starting weight, your hip, and waist in inches or centimeters, and take before pictures of your face and your whole body (preferably in your underwear). This first step will help track your progress.
Step Two: Do a Modified Fast or Go Keto for a Week
If you have read any of my weight loss with intermittent fasting posts, you know I always recommend you start with modified fasting or the keto diet. It will help your body heal with improved insulin sensitivity and autophagy as you become more metabolically flexible before getting started with intermittent fasting.
Modified Fasting 101
Modified fasting is the number one thing I did that helped me successfully get started with intermittent fasting. It is based on Dr. Valter Longo’s Fasting Mimicking Diet. Dr. Valter Longo came up with the Fasting Mimicking Diet to help those who want the benefits of prolonged fasting without having to do a water fast. He spent years studying the effects of fasting and calorie restriction on animals. The result is a low calorie, low sugar, low protein, and relatively high in fat diet that you can do a few times a year to support longevity. Modified fasting has been shown to improve metabolic health in human clinical trials as well. You can get started with a modified fast by using my Easiest and Simplest Meal Plan Ever.
The Keto Diet
The keto diet is another way to mimicking the effect of fasting. You consume so little carbs (under 20 grams a day) that your body is forced to use fat stores to produce energy in the form of ketones. For a long time, I felt the keto diet was an all or nothing proposition. That’s why I favored modified fasting, I couldn’t envision myself on the keto diet for the rest of my life. Now that I have more experience with it and have done it for 14 days, I realize that you can use the keto diet in a similar way you would use modified fasting. Obviously, many people successfully practice intermittent fasting AND the keto diet long term, but you don’t have to do both. You can start with the keto diet, introduce intermittent fasting, and increase your carb consumption at times. It’s a matter of experimenting to figure out what works for you. I created a 7-day meal plan that will take all the guess work out.
Step Three: Do the Eat-Stop-Eat Method or Alternate Day Fasting Twice a Week for a Month
Maybe you are excited about OMAD and want to jump right in. I that’s the case, you have my blessing. However, if you have tried OMAD before and haven’t seen the results you were hoping for or if you are pretty new to fasting and feel apprehensive about not being able to fast for 23 hours every day on OMAD, Step Three is for you. Make sure you keep track of your weigh tloss during this month too.
Not Losing Weight on OMAD
The one single piece of advice that I most frequently give to those who don’t lose weight on OMAD is to do Alternate Day Fasting instead. Alternate Day Fasting requires you to fast for 36 hours twice a week. The way you would go about it is you would start fasting after dinner (say at 8 pm in the evening), then you would fast overnight (12 hours), the ad for the next day (12 hours) and the next night (12 hours), which means you would break your fast at 8 am. Do this for a month and see how you feel. You may find you are able to lose that stubborn weight and feel great on OMAD after that.
More Fasting Practice Before OMAD
If you are new to fasting and are just finishing a modified fast or have done at least 7 days on the keto diet, I suggest you go for the Eat-Stop-Eat Method. In that case, you are fasting for 24 hours twice a week. Start your fast after dinner (say, at 7 pm) and eat the next day at 7 pm. Again, practice this intermittent fasting method for a month before you get started with OMAD.
Step Four: OMAD for a month
Yay, finally! Maybe you were anxious to get started with OMAD but decided to listen to my advice of starting with a modified fast and a month of the Eat-Stop-Eat Method. Congratulations! You improved your chance of success by giving your body an opportunity to heal itself and adjust to intermittent fasting. Now, let’s talk about how you can implement OMAD.
What to Eat on OMAD
When you eat only one meal a day, you need to make your meal count. Choosing the most nutrient-dense foods is essential. First, make sure you eat your meal within a 1-hour window. I think many people deceive themselves by saying they are doing OMAD, but don’t fast for 23 hours each day. They may have a snack here and there or stretch their eating window to 3 hours or more. One meal is one meal. When you leave the table, your meal is over. If you are keto, you can use my meal plan for inspiration. Have two portions of whatever lunch or dinner you feel like having and that will be your one meal. If you are not keto, these are some of my favorite meal ideas:
- A large salad: Combine your favorite veggies, nuts, and some fruit. Make sure you drizzle with some olive oil for more healthy fat and you have a nice meal salad. I love the Apple-Almond Salad in this modified fasting meal plan.
- Potatoes and meat: Roasted white or sweet potatoes are my favorites. Another option is roasted squash. Just add your favorite source of protein with some greens, and you have a delicious and simple meal.
- Stir fry: A stir fry is another easy way to make a quick, yet nutritious meal. I often use a frozen stir fry veggies mix and add ground or diced meat with some tamari sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. That’s it!
- Meat, rice, and veggies: Another one of my go-to combination that is versatile and nutritious. Change up the seasonings and the types of veggies for more variety.
Step Five: Evaluate Your Progress
If you followed all the steps in this action plan, you took notes of your starting point. You did a 5-day modified fast (or the keto diet for at least 7 days) and one month of the Eat-Stop-Eat Method or Alternate Day Fasting. What is your progress like? Are you losing more weight doing Alternate Day Fasting or OMAD? Did you lose weight with your modified fast? How do you feel? If you are enjoying OMAD and are losing weight, keep it up. If not, consider going back to Alternate Day Fasting, do another modified fast or the keto diet. All the different intermittent fasting methods and diets (low carb, moderate carb, keto) are tools in your toolbox. At certain times, some tools will work better than others. Under different circumstances, you will need different tools. A good example is many women find that they struggle on the keto diet during the week prior to their period. Many fasting experts recommend at least a moderate amount of carbs during the last week of your cycle. It’s a good idea to keep that in mind and pay attention to the signals your body is sending you.
How to Lose Weight on OMAD
Now that you have a step-by-step action plan to help you lose weight on OMAD, I hope you feel confident you can reach your goal safely and effectively. For some women. losing weight on OMAD is quick and simple. However, it’s not always the case. Many find that they don’t achieve the desired results and struggle. Make sure you give the process at least two months following the steps I have outlined for you, but if you don’t feel well and are not losing weight, try other things. Remember, your weight loss is a process and the journey doesn’t end once you reach your goal. It’s all about finding that lifestyle that makes you look great and feel great.