As a nutritionist and fitness trainer, I often get asked whether living on a single meal daily for five days a week is enough to keep you healthy while losing weight.
Short on time? Here’s a quick answer
The short answer is yes, you can. However, you must ensure that this restrictive diet meets your nutritional needs while staying compatible with your lifestyle or current health. Your physical tolerance and fitness goals also matter when deciding whether doing OMAD for five days is advisable.
Today, I’ll dive into how OMAD influences your body, how you can get the most out of a five-day program, and everything else you want to know about this diet.
How to do OMAD for 5 Days?
Following the OMAD diet for five of the week’s seven days sounds like impending hunger pangs and rumbling bellies will fill your week. But it’s doable if you get the right nutrients and time the meals for optimum effect.
Ensure that your diet includes all necessary nutrition first. You get two ‘cheat’ days where you can take multiple meals (without overdoing it). And you can accommodate hydration breaks for the remaining five OMAD days.
What happens if I do OMAD for 5 Days?
With the extension of OMAD for five whole days, you’ll experience faster weight loss and burning of additional calories.
Your body’s store of glycogen will drop with less food consumption. So, it begins using the fats stored in the body for essential bodily functions. The result is that weight loss is faster, and you grow closer to achieving the lean, mean look you’ve always wanted.
Ensuring that your single meal has enough nutrients to keep you healthy is vital to the success of any OMAD program.
How Many Days a Week to do OMAD?
Beginners in the program may start with one or two days of OMAD per week so that their body is not overwhelmed with hunger. With some conditioning, you can ramp up the schedule to several days per week.
However, for OMAD programs that kick in five or more days a week, you must schedule your OMAD days and meals carefully.
Inadequate nutrition for an entire week will weaken your body. But the strategic placement of single-meal days will allow your body to recover through timely meals and healthy restrictions.
Here’s an example of how five OMAD days can be spaced evenly across the week.
What to Avoid When Doing OMAD for the first time?
There are some crucial habits you must ensure and others you should avoid when undergoing an OMAD diet. These oversights may prove dangerous if you plan to extend your OMAD schedule across multiple days.
- Avoid dehydration by drinking water intentionally and regularly. With the decrease in solid food, your body needs all the hydration it can get. Schedule water breaks throughout your day to ensure adequate hydration.
- Avoid developing a sedentary lifestyle. Regular exercise and physical activity will promote better metabolism and use of energy.
- Do not ignore the nutritional content of your meals. Ensure that you’re actively including the correct macronutrients, appropriate vitamins, and enough protein in your diet.
- Avoid excessive eating on your normal days. Overeating outside of OMAD days may negate your single-meal days’ caloric loss and benefits.
What are the Benefits of doing OMAD 5 Days a Week?
- The OMAD program extended to 5 days a week will increase the rate at which the body burns existing calories and stores of fat.
- The single-meal pattern promotes a more simplified meal schedule where you don’t have to cook frequently or worry about what meal to eat next.
- You also enjoy the convenience of choosing when to eat and how to schedule your meals. This flexibility and versatility are not as much in normal diets.
- If used correctly, intermittent fasting routines lead to better mental focus and physical performance.
What are the Drawbacks of Doing OMAD 5 Days a Week?
- There’s a higher risk of nutritional deficiencies if you fail to load all the macronutrients and vitamins into one meal.
- Hunger pangs are a natural part of any intermittent fasting program, and OMAD for five days may increase the discomfort.
- Irregular eating and meal patterns may lead to negative health effects.
- Patients with existing medical conditions may experience worsening symptoms.
Should You Still Track Your Calories on OMAD 5 Days a Week?
Yes. Average adults require anything from 1800 to 2600 calories daily as a minimum. Spacing out meals should not mean abusing your caloric intake.
Can I have a Cheat day once a week?
How many Calories can be Consumed on Cheat Day?
You can exceed your minimum daily intake of calories on your cheat day. So, if your daily minimum is about 2400 calories, indulging in 3000 calories is fine as long as you can balance the coming days.
How long will it show on the scale after a Cheat day?
Overeating during a cheat day might cause an immediate increase in your weight, which could be noticeable on the scale the following day.
However, you can potentially return to your target weight by adhering to proper fasting routines and maintaining balanced meals in the subsequent week.
Do you have to eat at the same time every day for OMAD?
No. As shown in our example chart above, you can schedule your meals across different times of the day based on fasting patterns and cheat days.
Is One Meal a Day Bad?
What I learned from eating one meal?
From my experience, the OMAD diet is both sustainable and enjoyable once it blends into your lifestyle. It takes some getting used to initially. But figuring out when to take the meals and balancing them with the right hydration habits goes a long way.
Do you need to train your body to get familiar with one meal a day?
Yes. You need to condition your body to tolerate some discomfort at first. Also, training yourself to enjoy cold-pressed juices and healthy beverages in between is key.
Ask yourself why you are doing OMAD
Your overall objective for following this diet is also vital. Whether losing weight or simply eating healthier, the OMAD diet opens up new doors in your lifestyle. And your final goal will determine what routine, schedule, and spacing of meals will suit you best.
At first glance, the One Meal a Day (OMAD) diet might seem daunting and unachievable. However, when properly implemented, it can bring ease, improved health, and increased flexibility to your lifestyle.