It doesn’t take a long time to make these mistakes. In fact, the very first mistake is jumping in and starting too soon, before you know how to manage your hunger, even though there are things that you can do to fix this.
For example, a metanalysis on the effects of coffee and caffeine found that coffee could help reduce your appetite anywhere from half an hour to four hours after drinking it. (1)
So even though there are things like coffee that can help, nothing is going to help as much as time and practice will.
If today was the first time in your life that you ever tried swimming, you probably wouldn’t want to start in the deep end. Similarly, it’s a bad idea to start with one of the most difficult fasting protocols right out the gate.
This is because, regardless of how much coffee you drink, your regular eating habits have a much bigger influence on your appetite and hunger.
As you may know, a hormone in our body known as Ghrelin, is responsible for sending hunger signals to your brain, which increases your appetite.
Studies show that ghrelin levels will spike at the times of the day that you normally do eat. For most people these are breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This happens automatically – your body will just let you know that it’s time to eat. (2)
This same study also showed that about 2 hours after the initial spike in ghrelin, it dropped back down to normal levels. This means that if you normally get hungry around breakfast time, if you simply wait an hour or two, the hunger you feel should subside.
If you just jump into an OMAD diet plan without knowing this, you may feel like that hunger will never go away. Ultimately, you might feel like you have no choice but to throw in the towel too early, before your body starts adapting to your new eating schedule.
If you do quit and give in to that hunger, you can easily wind up binging. On the other hand, if you push through in the beginning, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it gets.
You might not believe that a lot of the hunger you currently feel throughout the day is a conditioned hunger response brought about by your habits. But there is plenty of scientific evidence that reaches as far back as almost a hundred years that supports this idea. (3)
This doesn’t just apply to the time of day that you’re used to eating, such as breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can pair all sorts of activities with conditioned hunger responses.
Examples of this include always having to eat something while watching tv, while bored, or while under stress. In these scenarios the tv, the boredom, and the stress, themselves all become triggers that make you feel hungry automatically.
The good news is that these hunger responses are not set in stone. And fasting is the very thing that can effectively break these automatic responses.
But right now, since you probably have multiple conditioned hunger responses, if you try to break all of them at once you’ll most likely be overwhelmed. This is why you shouldn’t jump straight into a 24 hour fast, and instead you should start breaking these habits one at a time.
Starting with a 16-hour fast is a much better idea.
But even 16 hours of fasting may feel too difficult for some of you. To help you break your regular eating habits, you can first start with a fasting protocol that’s even shorter, like a 14- or even 12-hour fast, and then work your way up.
The next mistake that could be making you fatter is one of the most obvious that I hope most of you already know to avoid – eating junk food.
Now, the good news about OMAD is that by skipping meals, you save a whole bunch of calories and macros, for whenever you do choose to eat for your one big meal. That means that when you finally do eat, there’s more room in your diet for things like junk food.
So the mistake isn’t eating any junk food at all – it’s filling your diet with too much junk food. Like I already said, a lot of you like this plan for its convenience, so this same attractive aspect might make you also look for other simple ways to make it even more convenient.
For example, there’s no doubt that eating microwavable meals or processed food is much more convenient than cooking a healthy homemade meal. However, eating this way can bring you well above your total daily calories, and you’ll probably do that with all the wrong macros.
That’s because most junk food is very high in simple sugar and fat, but low in protein. In fact, the amount of protein that you’ll be getting by cramming everything into just one meal will probably already be lower than if you spread your meals out evenly throughout the day.
So it’s very important that you make a point to eat high-quality protein-packed meals. I recommend that you don’t even touch junk food until after you’re done eating a healthy meal.
It’s a lot easier to overeat fattening and sweet-tasting food like ice-cream, candy, and cake when you’re eating them on an empty stomach. This is also why you should have some homemade food prepped in advanced already sitting in the fridge.
When your long fast is over, trust me – you’re going to want to eat. And you might have self-control the first day, and maybe the second day. But if you have to stand there, boiling rice for 30 minutes every day when your fast is over, you’re going to be a lot more likely to start picking at some junk food while you’re waiting.
So even if you do want to cook a fresh meal for yourself daily, you should always have something as a backup already sitting in the fridge even if it’s some fruits and vegetables. And this actually brings me to my next mistake which happens to a lot of people that don’t eat enough vegetables – and that’s overeating.
That’s right – even if you’re eating healthy sources of carbohydrates (like sweet potatoes, rice, and oatmeal), as well as healthy sources of fats and protein, while eliminating all junk food, you can still overdo it.
At the end of the day, OMAD works by reducing your total daily calories enough to put your body into a caloric deficit. If you’re not in that deficit, you’re not going to be losing weight. And if you’re eating too much, you’ll wind up gaining weight.
One way to avoid this is by planning your meals ahead of time. You can take the time to weigh your food and count your calories and macros beforehand. However, this kind of kills the whole convenience of the plan. So I imagine a lot of you don’t want to do that.
But if you’re not tracking your calories and macros, then you need another way to prevent overeating. This is where vegetables come into the picture.
Not only will vegetables provide you with most of your micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but they’ll also help fill up your stomach and prevent overeating.
If you want to be successful with OMAD, the number one goal after finishing a 24-hour fast should be to take control of your hunger. If you just start eating randomly, it’ll be very easy to overeat.
But if you instead start by eating a healthy source of protein, with at least 2-3 cups of vegetables, you’ll notice that much of the hunger that you have will be gone. And that’s exactly what you want.
With OMAD you shouldn’t be going to bed everyday hungry because you had to cut yourself off of eating. In fact, that’s a sure way to fail your plan.
Ideally, you want to stop eating when you feel full and your body tells you that you’ve had enough. Starting your meal with a healthy source of protein and vegetables, and only then moving on to the other things you want to eat will help you feel satisfied without overeating too many calories.
#4 One Meal a Day… Every Day?
But what if you find yourself feeling hungrier, or more and more tired as the days go by? What if you eat so many vegetables that your stomach feels full, but at the end of everyday your calories are consistently really low?
Well this is where another one of our mistakes comes into play – thinking that one meal a day means one meal every day. To be successful with OMAD, it doesn’t mean that you can never eat more than one meal a day.
On certain days you’ll require more calories, protein, and nutrients to recover. For example, if you have an extremely intense workout, you may need an extra meal to get in enough protein and enough carbs to replenish your glycogen stores and repair your muscles.
Another example is if, for some reason, you weren’t hungry during your last eating window and you ate very little. That doesn’t mean that you always have to wait until your next meal 24 hours later.
Remember that this whole fat loss process works based on totals. And if your totals aren’t adding up over the days and weeks, you may need to throw in another meal.
If you’re just not getting enough calories during your eating window, day after day you’ll feel it adding up, leading to tiredness, aches, and flu-like symptoms. Instead of ignoring it and turning it into a bigger problem than it is, you should just throw in an extra meal.
Things happen in life and you’re not a robot, so you can’t expect to get perfectly portioned meals every day. For a lot of you, limiting yourself to just one meal a day will automatically put you at a large deficit and that could add up over the days, weeks and months on this plan.
If you throw in an extra meal one day, because you notice that you’re either way too hungry, or you just need the extra calories, it will most likely help you way more than it’ll hurt you. There is no magical fat-burning process that will stop working if you happen to eat one extra meal.
Undereating can be just as bad as overeating, because if you feel starving or tired day in and day out, you’ll probably wind up binging on everything in sight which will ruin all your hard work.
Instead of letting it get to that extreme, you should feel completely comfortable occasionally switching away from the one meal a day structure when you need to.
Not staying busy is a much bigger mistake than most people think. That’s because if you’re not busy doing other things, you’re going to be sitting there, staring at the clock until your 24-hour fast is over.
And if you’re obsessing about a meal in your head, or about the clock reaching that special eating time, you’re probably going to eat everything in sight when you’re finally allowed to… if you even make it that far!
Even if you don’t binge, you’re not going to last on OMAD very long because you’re not making it a part of your life. Instead, you’re turning it into a torturous exercise.
If you just stop thinking that you’re going to starve, and if you simply forget about eating and focus on your job, your family, and improving your life, you’ll find yourself being extremely productive and the hours will fly by, instead of dragging on.
The bottom line is that you don’t want to feel like you’re a slave to the clock. If one day you happen to get done with work early and you feel really hungry a couple hours before your fast is over, then just break your fast a couple hours earlier.
If on another day you find yourself so caught up and busy that you forget about breaking your fast and you wind up having to eat a few hours later, then that’s totally fine as well. Ultimately the small day to day modifications you make will balance out over time.
But the only way you’ll be sticking to this diet plan over time is if you make your diet fit into your life rather than you fitting your life around your diet.
That’s it guys, I really hope this post has helped you out. Now, if you’re looking for a done-for-you fasting plan that’ll help you burn fat fast without the constant trial and error, check out my 6-week challenge.
It comes with a custom diet plan that includes plenty of intermittent fasting protocols, including a one-meal-a-day option. On average, people that take part in the challenge are losing either 20 pounds or 5 percent of their body fat in only 42 days.
You’ll also get a 42-day workout plan, a full video exercise library, a recipe book, and an accountability coach that’ll mentor and guide you through the whole process, and much, much more.
The best part is – as long as you don’t cheat and don’t quit for the 6 weeks, not only will you have a transformed body at the end of it, but you’ll also get the whole challenge for free. To find out more, click the link below.
- Coffee May Reduce Appetite For 1/2 hr to 4 hours after consumption – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28446037/
- Ghrelin (Hunger Hormone) Released During Normal Feeding Times (i.e., breakfast, lunch, dinner) – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15941923/
- Pavlovian Psychology | Classical Conditioning | Pavlov’s Dogs – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470326/