At the beginning of this year I had become an accidental minimalist, renting my home, most of my possessions, to live in a 13 foot RV I named “Conchita la Casita” for about a month, then leaving the “capsule” to travel the world, starting in Chile.
Since then I have contemplated: is it possible to extend minimalism – the idea of only having what you need – to diet? What would that look like?
There are a lot of diets that would fit the bill, and most under the title of “Intermittent fasting.” Some common ones are 5/2, The Warrior Diet, and Lean Gains. The diets are basically versions of eating only during a certain “window” of time, such as only eating for 5 days, fasting for 2 days for 5/2, or only one big meal every day in the evening with The Warrior Diet.
The reason I find these to be “minimalists” is that unlike the other diets such as Paleo, or even to “philosophies” of eating, such as vegetarianism, only eating during a certain window makes the diet the simplest – no counting of calories or figuring out the ratio of macros to micro nutrients.
As with everything we humans do, we tend to complicate things. Everyone wants specifics, for example, on the 5/2 diet, which 2 days are the best? What time do you start and officially stop the fasting window?
I wanted something even simpler, something that could even be done while traveling, a diet that would not only help me lose unhealthy fat, but was simple, save me money, save me time, and live a more healthy life.
My answer was: OMAD, or One Meal A Day.
The basic idea is: Eat one meal a day. That’s it. Ideally, it should be a well-rounded meal – not all twinkies, for example, but outside of that that’s all it is.
I usually eat my meal around 2pm, and eat until I am full. Then I don’t eat until 2pm the next day.
I started this diet while I was renovating my house and living out of my Casita. It just made things simpler. And I am also the type of person who is encouraged by results, and the results for me were dramatic.
The results of doing OMAD:
- Lost 25 lbs in 2 months.
- Went from a size 34 in jeans to size 30.
- My Blood Glucose used to be pre-diabetic, with my doctor saying “People with this BG reading typically are on drugs to lower it.”
- Blood Pressure – too high. My doctor said the same thing in regards to my blood pressure – too high, and would have to be treated with drugs.
- Money saved: I estimate that I saved over $200-400 per month by only eating out once per day (if that), or making my one big meal at home.
Since I have been traveling, I have altered things a bit, just eating 2 meals a day by skipping breakfast, but frankly I feel best when I only eat one meal. My body just seems to respond best – I have the most energy, I feel light and calm, with a clear mind and good focus. So, as I travel I slip from 2 meals a day to 1 meal a day, as my mind-body-emotions dictates.
I occasionally check my blood sugar while I travel, with mornings starting higher (like 100) but dropping to 80 when I approach my 2pm eating time.
There are studies that show that among the benefits of fasting are apophagy, or the body’s ability to get rid of scar tissue, repair tissue, and generally “clean house” occurs during periods where we don’t eat. Also, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is highest 16-23 hours into the fast, with one study participant increasing their HGH by 2,000 percent.
All I know is that once I started seeing my belly fat disappear, my blood sugar stabilize and blood pressure reduce I was hooked! I feel like I have grown “younger.” And an added bonus is the absolute gustatory pleasure I take in the act of eating. When 2pm rolls around I admit I have been fantasizing about food, planning in my head how I will break my fast. And, while I eat a fairly balanced meal, I have started adding dessert – something I would avoid in the past because I knew I’d either gain weight or feel terrible afterwards. Now, it becomes a welcome addition to my meal. And despite whatever I eat I seem to have stabilized at an ideal 150 lbs, with a flat belly, needing a belt to keep my size 30 pants on!
I am no longer overly concerned about food. I understand what real hunger is, rather than just eating on an artificial 3 meals a day schedule. I look better, and more importantly I feel better. I really recommend trying out this diet for awhile. You can always do one of the variations if you like, but OMAD has led me down a path with numerous positive benefits besides just weight loss that I feel like it’s the light, if you know what I mean.
Give it a try, it literally changed my life.