The OMAD (One Meal A Day) intermittent fasting method has been gaining in popularity. It seems like an obvious choice for weight loss since you are narrowing down your eating window to one hour. But what if you are not losing weight on OMAD?
OMAD: What is it?
First, let’s quickly talk about how OMAD works. It’s simple (although not necessarily easy): eat all your calories within a one hour window. This intermittent fasting method is also called the 23:1 method because you are fasting for 23 hours and eating for one hour.
What can you have during your OMAD fasting window?
If you want to do what is called “clean” fasting, you should be having only water, black coffee or black tea during your fating window. However, some people do “keto” fasting, which allows you to put some fat in your coffee for example. I put full-fat coconut milk in my coffee and I have been achieving my weight loss goals.
What does a typical meal look like on OMAD?
The OMAD method doesn’t restrict calories or specify a given macronutrient ratio. It’s a convenient intermittent fasting method for people on shift work, those who travel or people with a hectic schedule because it cuts down food preparation to only once a day. All you need to be concerned about is making sure you eat lots of nutrient-dense foods and avoid processed foods.
If your daily calorie goal for sustained weight loss is, say, 1,200 calories, you would have a nice big salad like I make for my Easiest and Simples Meal Plan Ever to DIY the Fasting Mimicking Diet. That comes to about 600 calories. Let’s say you also have coffee with coconut milk and the Power Shake, now you are at around 800 calories. Add one serving of chicken breast (around 4 ounces) and you have almost all your calories for the day.
I mentioned the practical benefits of the OMAD diet. Less cooking and less worrying about food can free up a lot of your time. Of course, you also have the other benefits of intermittent fasting, which include:
- Improved insulin levels
- Improved cholesterol
- Increased human growth hormone
- Lower inflammation
- Better cognitive function
- More energy
- Better sleep
Moreover, fasting for 24 hours (we are close with OMAD with 23 hours) boosts gut stem cell regeneration. As you know, your gut health is critical for your general well-being.
7 Reasons You Are Not Losing Weight on OMAD
Since I don’t have any experience myself with the OMAD diet (I have been done the fasting mimicking diet, the eat-stop-eat diet, the 5:2 method, and the warrior diet), decided to ask other women about their experience with OMAD. I am going to share what I have learned from them.
1. Your Body Needs Time
Some women told me that it took them a while to start losing weight (a few weeks). Sometimes, your body needs to heal first (you will find similar advice in my post Top 5 Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight With Intermittent Fasting).
2. You Are Eating Too Many Calories
Are you actually fasting during your fasting window? Are you putting fat in your coffee or consuming anything that elicits an insulin response? I mentioned that you can achieve your weight loss goals with keto fasting. However, fat in your coffee can add up calories fast. It’s hard to “eat” too many calories within one hour, but it’s not as difficult to drink them in the form of MCT oil and coconut milk.
3. You Are Eating Too Few Calories
When you eat only during one hour each day, you increase the chance that your body will get used to fewer calories. Some women find they experience success at first with OMAD, but the weight loss stalls later. I think this can happen with any type of intermittent fasting. I have experienced it with the Warrior method. In my case, the weight loss has slowed down, but it is still happening. Since I love how I feel, and how convenient this method is, I am still using it. You can choose to make this decision too. Weight loss is not everything, but listen to your body.
4. You Are Choosing the Wrong Foods
Make sure you don’t eat processed foods that are high in calories and that cause inflammation. Pick nutrient-dense whole foods like fruits and vegetables, clean meats, nuts and seeds, and whole grains in moderation.
5. You Need to Switch Things Up
If you really want to lose weight and are not seeing the results you were hoping for, it might be time to switch things up. Many women who were not able to lose weight on OMAD finally lost weight with the Alternate-Day Fasting method. This one came up over and over as an effective weight-loss tool.
Alternate-Day Fasting means you are fasting overnight (12 hours), the next day (12 hours), and overnight again (12 hours). This adds up to 36 hours and you do that twice a week.
Another fasting method to try when weight loss is stalling is a prolonged water fast (most women saw results when fasting between 3-5 days). A prolonged water fast will help your body heal (which may be a reason why your weight loss is stalling). If like me, you don’t feel up to a prolonged water fast yet, try the fasting mimicking diet.
6. Your Body Is in A State of Stress
Are you working out too much? Or maybe you are feeling deprived and unhappy. Fasting increases cortisol production (a stress hormone). Cortisol helps decrease inflammation and lose weight. However, when you have too much cortisol, it causes you to store fat. I would say that whatever intermittent fasting approach you pick for weight loss, it’s important that you don’t feel deprived and unhappy about it. Your mental state is very important. If OMAD is too restrictive for you, try the Warrior Diet (increasing your eating window to four hours) and really enjoy your food freedom during your eating window. Make sure that the method you pick makes you happy!
7. The Scale Is Not Telling the Whole Story
Many women told me that they had to stop worrying about the scale (another thing that would increase your cortisol levels). Your worth is not tied to the scale and the important thing is that you are doing something good for your body. When you take good care of yourself and give your body a chance to heal, things fall into place.
Take Your Measurements
You can take your measurements once a week. Many women lose inches before they lose weight. Measure your waist and your hips to track your progress.
Test Your Ketones
I enjoy testing my ketones once in a while to check another form of progress. While with experience I can feel when I am in ketosis, it’s interesting to see how high my ketones can get. You are in ketosis when your ketone levels are above 0.5 mmol/L. When you are in ketosis, you know your body is using your fat cells for fuel, so ultimately, you will be losing weight!
In case you are curious about purchasing a ketone monitor, I love mine, it’s called the Keto-Mojo. You can use it to measure your glucose level as well (which is helpful to know if you keto coffee is affecting your insulin for example).
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OMAD and Keto for Women
In my post Intermittent Fasting Without Keto, I talk about the fact that intermittent fasting and keto may be too much stress for a woman’s body. If you are doing OMAD and keto, try increasing your carb consumption. OMAD and keto may work for some women, and it may not. It’s up to you to experiment.
When You Stop OMAD
Be aware that whatever weight loss method you choose, there is a risk to gain the weight back when you stop. If you are doing OMAD and stop abruptly, you may find that you quickly gain the weight back. You need to take it slow and watch what is happening to your body. One week, I gained 5 lbs just because it was the week before my period and I ate a lot more on top of not following the Warrior Diet I had been on for 2 days. A whole month of progress lost in one week, just like that!
If you reach your weight loss goal and decide to increase your eating window, go gradually.
Not Losing Weight on OMAD Video
As you probably have figured out by now, there is no one-size-fits all and it comes to health and wellness. The same thing applies when you are having difficulty losing weight. If you are not losing weight on OMAD, remember that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story, treat yourself with kindness, and experiment with different fasting approaches. Take your time, this is a lifestyle, not a band-aid solution!