The ketogenic diet has several benefits that aren’t directly related to weight loss. While many people start keto for weight loss, they often enjoy other health benefits while following keto. While these can vary from person to person; some of the benefits can include improved thyroid function, a reduction in migraines, and improved gut health. The key to jump starting the other health benefits of keto is "one meal a day," also called OMAD.
What is OMAD?
OMAD is more of a radical form of Intermittent Fasting, also called IF. With OMAD, you consume all of your calories in only one meal. Now, that may seem a bit daunting. To truly succeed at OMAD, it’s essential that you are fat adapted. Your body already needs to be burning fat for fuel efficiently, or you may find yourself struggling with hunger throughout the day. Doing regular keto for six weeks prior to starting this is highly recommended, as you’ll be fat adapted by then.
How Do I Start OMAD?
For many people, the road to OMAD starts with Intermittent Fasting. With IF, you’re eating all of your meals in a short window each day. This gives your body more time to burn fat because it’s spending less time producing insulin. As you get more fat adapted, you are able to go longer without food, especially if you still have weight to lose. This is because your body is burning both the fat that you consume and the fat that your body has already stored.
To start OMAD, you will first need to get your body used to IF. Try doing a schedule of 18:6, where you eat all of your meals in a six-hour window. Many people eat between noon and 6:00pm so that at least eight hours of their fasting window includes sleep. Over the course of several weeks, you can gradually reduce the size of your window until you are down to 23:1.
You can, of course, go faster. However, for the best success, you should be fully fat adapted and allow yourself to adopt OMAD gradually. Without doing a slow transition, you may find that you are craving food outside of your eating window. That may leave you miserable, and for many people, that leads to failure.
Tips for Succeeding with OMAD
1. Don’t Neglect Your Electrolytes: Without consuming salt, potassium, calcium, and magnesium throughout the day, you’re at risk of electrolyte depletion. This is going to leave you feeling like crap all day long. Start your day with bone broth (US | Canada). Not only will it take the hunger pangs away with too few calories to break your fast, but it will also replenish your electrolytes.
2. Consume Enough Fiber: Getting in enough fiber is a struggle for many people who do the keto diet. We focus on protein and fats over carbs, so we’re not hungry enough to consume enough fiber. If you’re not consuming fiber-rich, low carb foods such as broccoli and asparagus, add a psyllium supplement to your diet. My fave fiber/digestive drink is: 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar + tbsp psyllium fiber + 8 oz of water. Zero macros.
3. Work Out Wisely: If you’re already working out regularly, you may need to slow down for a few days while your body adapts to OMAD, but play it by ear. If your electrolytes and water consumption are up, you may have no issues.
4. Add Exercise: If you’re not working out, adding some exercise after the first several days of OMAD can help the process.
5. Get Enough Fat: When you’re only eating one meal, it can be a struggle to get in all of your fat. You’ve spent the last several months rethinking your mindset about food and learning to listen to your body. It may be very difficult to get in enough food to meet your macros because it won’t take you long to feel full. However, if you want to stay fat adapted, you need to make sure that you hit your fat macro goals. Try MCT Oil capsules to add fat if you just can’t consume enough fat.
6. Take a Multivitamin: When you first begin OMAD; you may find it difficult to finish all of your food. Not only does this make it difficult to hit your fat macro, but it could also be challenging to get in all of your nutrients. Add a multivitamin to your daily regimen to help supplement until you find the right mix of foods that gives you the nutrients you need while meeting your OMAD goals.
7. Consider Insulin Resistance: If you are insulin resistant, you may find that OMAD makes it difficult for you to stay in ketosis. MCT oil can help you stay in ketosis; you may need to add some capsules in the mornings or have a fatty coffee (MCT Oil + butter + coffee).
8. Measure Your Ketones: You won’t know if you need to consume additional MCT oil if you aren’t sure that you’re in ketosis. Measuring your ketones will help you stay in control! Urine strips are not very reliable once you are fat adapted, but if you are within the first 6 weeks of keto, they should be good. After that, invest in a blood ketone meter (you can buy one on Amazon) as it’s the most accurate way to measure.
OMAD isn’t the solution for everyone. However, for many people, OMAD helps them realize improvements in gut health, reduce hypothyroid symptoms, and achieve measurable weight loss. If you’re successfully fat adapted but need a new jumpstart for your diet or need help managing symptoms, one meal a day might be the right solution for you.
If you would like to track my OMAD cycles, join my Facebook group!
You got this!
Leta ~ Intentionally Bare
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only. The content in here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or heard here.