Do you know what the best time to eat on the OMAD diet is?
(OMAD = One Meal A Day)
There’s all this information out there on the web but nobody actually tells you when to eat your one (scrumptious) meal. It can get kinda overlooked.
Because it’s often viewed as being less important than the fact that you’re just eating one meal a day.
But in my opinion, it isn’t less important at all. In fact, for me it’s one of the most essential things to get right if you’re going to nail this thing.
And nail it you will.
If you’re not sure about the OMAD diet, you can read more about it this post about whether OMAD is hard.
So without further ado, let’s get on with the question in hand: when to eat your meal.
Featured image: Nam Nguyen en Pixabay
Table of Content
Choose Your OMAD to Suit Your Commitments
The most important thing that will make you more or less successful with breezing through your OMAD day is that it should fit with your regular activities.
So feel free to adjust it to fit your day. And although it’s helpful to keep roughly to the same eating window for a few consecutive days, you can totally switch it around too (and should).
So you might eat your meal at 2 p.m. on Wednesday because you have a lunch engagement, then on Thursday you’ll want to keep to a similar time (though fluctuations of an hour or so have no importance).
Maybe on Friday you take a break from OMAD and do 16:8 instead, and on Saturday you choose 7p.m. for your OMAD meal. It’s entirely up to you.
Incidentally, it’s important to vary your fasting rituals and not stick to the same OMAD routine every day if you want to keep your metabolism firing.
An often asked question is whether OMAD will slow your metabolism. The simplified answer is that it can, if you do it long term without any variation. Another worry about OMAD is that you won’t be able to eat enough protein to support your muscle mass.
And if you’re worried that OMAD causes muscle loss, it doesn’t need to.
Having said that, there are some factual and anecdotal differences between the different options of what time to eat.
And that’s where I think it’s important to make the right choice.
Eating Your OMAD for Breakfast
Pst! Don’t do it!
Okay, this is just my opinion – but eating your meal for breakfast is way harder than choosing any other time of the day. There, I’ve said it.
You eat breakfast, your blood sugar spikes (depending on what you eat of course), then it drops down, your stomach creates the hunger hormone ghrelin, which is released into the bloodstream and sends messages to the brain that you need to eat.
Come lunch time you’re hungry (aka starving).
However, I’ve found that if I don’t eat breakfast I don’t get that same rush of hunger. It’s more of a gentle crescendo which I can easily ignore as long as I haven’t eaten any breakfast.
If I was in keto, I stay in keto and it becomes easy to not eat until my allotted time.
Having breakfast is like opening the flood-gates, and once they’re open, there’s no stopping the water! It sweeps you away with the power of a tidal wave and before you know it you’re eating lunch after a full breakfast.
The religion of breakfast-eating (or not) is split into two camps: the breakfast-is-the-most-important-meal-of-the-day camp, and the meh, I don’t believe a word of it, camp. (I belong to the latter.)
Some sources state that if you eat your OMAD meal in the morning, you’ll burn more calories and lose more weight than if you eat later on in the day.
But more recent studies show that that belief is a myth, and not based on accurate science at all.
In fact, according to Healthline, whether you skip breakfast or not has no effect on the amount of calories you burn during the day. Just as it’s a myth that breakfast fuels your metabolism to help get you through the day.
Dr Berg on the Effects of Skipping Breakfast
Eating Your OMAD at Lunch Time
Eating your meal at lunch is another option. But it’s best not to eat lunch too early. Keep it as a late-lunch rather than earlier. Like 3 pm onwards if possible.
That way, you only have to traverse half the day to reach your (amazing!) lunch. Then you absolutely enjoy your much-appreciated meal, and that keeps you going for the rest of the day.
I find the evenings easy to go without food because I still feel satisfied from my late lunch, and a cup of herbal tea or black decaffeinated coffee is enough to stop any rumbling in my stomach.
But everything depends on everything else in our lives and for me for example, in the summer I sometimes shift the eating window forwards to the early evening and sometimes do a late lunch. It’s more difficult to predict.
Eating Your OMAD in the Evening
If you choose to eat your meal in the evening, don’t make it too late, for two reasons.
Firstly, because your day will feel oh-so-long, and you could become weary of waiting for your evening meal. And secondly because you don’t want to eat too soon before going to bed.
You should have 3-4 hours after eating and before going to bed to allow your body to completely digest before resting.
Eating before bed also disrupts your circadian rhythms, which leads to a poorer digestion response and sends your natural body clock into confusion and can interfere with the quality of your sleep.
So if you choose dinner as your meal, make it an early one.
Video on Circadian Rhythm and Eating Before Bed
Conclusion: Best Time to Eat Your OMAD Meal
If you’re wondering why OMAD isn’t working for you, one thing to consider is the time of day that you’ve been eating your meal. The best window for eating during a fast is between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
And if you’re still struggling with OMAD, you may want to consider which is better for you, intermittent fasting or OMAD.
Most successful fasters find they can achieve more in their fasted state, and choosing an afternoon or early evening time to eat means they can take advantage of the day better.
Think no stopping for eating, no sandwich-breaks, no dips in energy or afternoon naps.
So they save their OMAD for later (3 p.m. is on the early side for eating the OMAD, in my opinion) and it becomes easy-sailing to finish the day feeling full, yet with enough time to digest before going to bed.
My OMAD at the moment is at 3 p.m. because I have appointments after that and it would be 9 p.m. before I would get the opportunity to eat again. On days when I can, I shift it later and eat around 5 p.m.
Eat too early and you risk the after food slump, plus lost time in perhaps the most productive window of the day, and getting hungry before the end of the day.
Eat too late and the long day becomes troublesome plus you interfere with your circadian rhythms and quality of sleep. Picking somewhere in the middle works out just perfect.
And you know what?
When my 3 p.m. or 5 p.m. lunch time comes round – I enjoy it so much! And it really does keep me satisfied throughout the evening.
So then I just have to sail through the morning and it’s lunch time again.
Many people feel so good that they do OMAD for the long term, and I’m pretty sure that I’ve just graduated from nursery-school to become one of them.
If you want to do this, go get it!
Give it time, go easy on yourself and remember, you don’t learn to drive a car in the first session behind the wheel.
Practise, practise, practise. Fight for it!
You got this!
And finally, what are your goals with OMAD?