I did the OMAD diet for a year and learned to control my hunger

In late 2022, I started doing intermittent fasting, where you fast for a long time a day and only eat for a few hours. Specifically, I tried the OMAD—one meal a day—intermittent fasting approach.

I am a father of three and throughout the past decade, I have struggled to find a balance between my family life and responsibilities and my health.

I’ve always been good at exercise and pretty active but my problem isn’t the gym. This is the refrigerator.

At my low point, my weight exceeded an unhealthy 206lbs, which for a shorter man is remarkably attractive. I feel unhealthy and I want to improve the situation for myself and set an example for my family.

So my motivation is high, and I’m very disciplined, especially in terms of snacks and what I eat during my meal windows. By the end, I had lost about 35lbs.

Along the way, I learned a lot about hunger; specifically, how to control it.

Joel Hunter’s before and after shots from a year of doing the OMAD diet. He lost 35lbs in weight.
Joel Hunter

Most of it is really an emotional response. Often, we eat because we think we are hungry. Although there are hormonal responses that trigger hunger and cravings, I believe that much of this comes from our psychology and mental strength.

I found a few ways to avoid hunger while fasting, which is a big challenge that many fasts face. Key strategies include staying busy and active and making sure meals are planned in advance.

This planning is important to avoid constantly thinking about food throughout the day. This is particularly challenging when you are surrounded by food, such as during grocery shopping or in places where food is readily available.

These situations can cause hunger, so being prepared and having a plan is important. If you’re going out, planning your meals helps to avoid surprises that might cause cravings or temptation.

Another important lesson I learned during the fast was the need to be calorie-conscious and eat healthy. Many practice “dirty OMAD,” where they eat fast food or whatever they feel like, and still lose weight.

This is because they get a caloric deficit. Fasting periods help teach the body to burn stored fat as well.

I’m not suggesting that “dirty OMAD” is inherently problematic. However, the issue with this approach is that it can be difficult to control the upper limit of calorie intake, especially in longer eating windows. The temptation to overeat is greater.

I believe the biggest reason I lost 35 pounds and then stuck around was that I managed snacks after meals that added sneaky calories. This is a common issue with many diets that can hinder weight loss efforts and affect fasting.

This includes snacks like chocolate, chips, etc., which I tend to have after my main meal. Despite fasting every day, these snacks, especially during my four to six hour eating window during my laziest hours, are significant.

Having extra snacks contributed to the calories I needed to maintain my weight instead of losing more. So it’s very important to stay mindful of calorie intake even when you’re fasting.

Now, I’m lower than my starting point and comfortable at a weight where I don’t need to focus so much on my diet or exercise.

The idea of ​​having a cheat day or an off day doesn’t really cross my mind anymore. I know I can eat this way and maintain a weight I’m comfortable with.

Do I want to be lighter and thinner? Yes, absolutely. But what I have learned from doing intermittent fasting is that it is a very effective tool for further weight loss.

My goal for the next 12 months is to see how far I can take this weight loss and get serious about it.

In my early 20s, at what I call my “peak condition”, it seemed effortless to maintain a healthy weight and athletic physique. I weigh about 165lbs, which would be my target weight, but I’m setting a realistic timeframe.

I plan to get there by losing an additional 15 to 20lbs of fat over the next 365 days through my OMAD approach and not ignoring it.

To achieve this, I will adopt a stricter approach to fasting this time, especially in terms of consistency, to achieve greater results. I fasted for over a year, but had some cheat days with shorter fasts. For example, I had breakfast for about 10 days.

I generally followed the fasting regimen well. But, going forward, I plan to really focus on the quality of what I eat during my eating window, making sure my calories come from quality sources, especially whole foods and protein.

That’s how I started. At first I focused on whole food sources and a high protein diet, which led to my greatest success. Therefore, I plan to continue with this approach.

Overall, though, I’m really pleased with the weight loss achieved throughout the year.

Joel Hunter is a lifestyle vlogger at YouTube.

All views expressed are those of the author.

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