OMAD Weight Loss

Many people follow the OMAD diet for numerous reasons, but the most popular is weight loss. You may have considered intermittent fasting as a way to shed excess body fat whilst still enjoying some of your favourite foods. You are not alone! OMAD and Intermittent Fasting are increasing in popularity for good reason; it has been shown to have several health benefits, including weight loss and muscle gain.

Important Notice: This website discusses the many proven benefits of intermittent fasting, but there are potential dangers if you are taking medication. The information on this website is not medical advice. Please discuss any lifestyle changes with your doctor. Those that are under 18, underweight, have an eating disorder, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, should not follow a fasting protocol unless instructed by a medical professional.

Intermittent fasting (typically fasting between 16 and 23 hours per day) has been extensively studied as a method for weight loss, as well as broader metabolic health. OMAD is a type of intermittent fasting equivalent to 23 hours of fasting, and 1 hour of eating per day. Intermittent fasting and “one meal a day” eating has become extremely popular in the last 5 years, but it certainly is not a new practice:

Periods of voluntary abstinence from food and drink (i.e., intermittent fasting) has been practiced since earliest antiquity by peoples around the globe.[1]

Whether you’d like to lose excess weight, improve your general fitness, or combat some of the signs of ageing, the OMAD diet could you help you achieve your goals.

OMAD or 16:8 for Weight Loss?

If you’d like to speed up your rate of fat loss, OMAD (23:1) has been proven as an excellent way to do this for a number of reasons:

  • It’s difficult to overeat on a daily basis when you only have a 1 hour eating window. Remember, although you should enjoy a substantial meal (at least 1200 calories), you should not binge eat and/or consistently eat junk food.
  • The longer your daily fasting window, the lower your blood insulin levels and the longer you spend in ketosis. This is when your body converts to using fat as its primary energy source. This means your body is burning your stored fat in the later stages of your fast.[2]
  • The longer your daily fasting window, the higher your human growth hormone (HGH) levels. HGH helps your body to build muscle and burn fat.[3]

It is important to note that the above benefits apply to all intermittent fasting diets, and all should help you to sustainably lose weight. However, benefits are maximised and results often experienced more quickly when following an OMAD approach. For those that are new to IF, it is sometimes easiest to start on a 16:8 diet, and slowly work up to a 23:1.

It’s More Than Just Calorie Restriction

Whilst OMAD and IF help you restrict calories, studies have shown that eating the same number of calories, but in a time-restricted window, has weight loss and health benefits.

A study in the Journal of Translational Medicine that tested the timings of calorie intake showed that “an intermittent fasting program in which all calories are consumed in an 8-h window each day, in conjunction with resistance training, could improve some health-related biomarkers, decrease fat mass, and maintain muscle mass in resistance-trained males.” [4]

It is important to take your lifestyle and goals into account when choosing which approach is right for you. IF/OMAD should work around your lifestyle rather than get in the way of it. Many choose to skip breakfast and lunch whilst at work, and then have a hearty dinner when they get home. Others choose to go to the gym first thing, and then follow up with a large lunch, before fasting for the rest of the day. Choose the approach the works best for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Is it Unhealthy to Lose Weight with Intermittent Fasting?

If you are underweight or struggling with weight gain, under 18 years of age, pregnant or are breastfeeding, you should not attempt an intermittent fasting diet. If you are at risk of an eating disorder, or have a history of eating disorders, you should not attempt an intermittent fasting diet unless specifically instructed to by a medical professional.

A study by the University Hospital of South Manchester showed that intermittent fasting is typically well tolerated in most individuals. There was no evidence of harm within the participants of the study.[5]

Many studies have shown that IF and OMAD, providing the participant has no underlying health conditions and follows the diet responsibly, is a healthy way to lose weight. As always, it is worth speaking to a doctor before making any major adjustments to your health and nutrition, as skipping meals and calorie restriction can antagonise some medical conditions.

Exercising on OMAD

Exercising whilst following an OMAD diet can help to speed up weight loss, or help you break out of a weight loss plateau. Many find it beneficial to time their exercise after a meal to keep energy levels up in the gym, whilst others prefer to exercise fasted to target stored fat.

It is worth testing what works for you. Some individuals have no problem exercising fasted, whilst others notice a lack of energy in the gym. Try working out before and after your eating window, and see which works better for your workout style.

OMAD Weight Loss Tips

  • If your goal is to retain or build muscle whilst burning fat, make sure to increase your protein intake.
  • Unsweetened black coffee, black tea or green tea are great drinks with zero calories that help to keep your energy up whilst fasting. The caffeine also helps to suppress your hunger.
  • Enjoy your favourite foods. This is one of the benefits of OMAD! However, avoid binge eating and focus on a balanced diet.
  • Minimise your sugar intake. Eating refined sugar will spike your insulin levels which temporarily inhibits fat burning. Eating less sugar will lead to faster weight loss results.

OMAD Weight Loss Infographic