Tag Archives: OMAD

Minimalist Diet

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 Warrior Diet, available on Amazon.

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.

5:2 Diet, Feast for 5 days, fast for 2, Available on Amazon.

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.

Guide to Fasting, Available through Amazon.

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.

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One Meal a Day

Or: How I lost 20 lbs in 2 months, went from a size 34 waist to a 30 waist, and feel great.

I wish I took a before picture, but frankly, most of the before/after pics are staged in a way that makes the person look skinnier, or bigger, often without the person losing or gaining much weight at all.

Take Tim Ferris in his Geek to Freak post. Just look at how the feet are positioned – feet pointed out in the “after” pic, but then the “after” is resized so the height is the same for both. But pointing the feet to the side necessitates making the photo larger if you want the appearance of being the same height.

I won’t present the pics, for copyright reasons, but you can go check ’em out here.

Again: this way they can enlarge the “after” picture and make it seem as if both pics are the same height (when measured laterally). But this is false, since placing the feet outwards makes the length shorter, which is then resized to be the same height.

I mean, look at how he enlarged the picture of himself on the right! And notice how much bigger his head is on the right! Whatever you do, you can’t really enlarge your head through weight lifting, unless you’re fish for compliments, I guess. 😉

Now, I’m gonna give Tim the benefit of the doubt and say he probably did gain 37 lbs of sheer muscle, but the photo manipulation isn’t even that subtle. You don’t really need to “click to enlarge,” Timmy already did that for you!

Now, I don’t have a classic “before” pic, but what I do have is a screen capture of myself doing the Solar Panel Install for my Casita video around October of 2016:

Me fat face!

 

 

 

 

 

Compare that with this pic I am taking while sitting in my Conchita la Casita, typing away:

Skinny biotch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I lost 20 lbs in 2 months, going from around 180 lbs to 160, and went from a 34″ waist (in pants) to a 30″ waist.

The first place I notice weight loss is in my face. Second, I realized that without a belt, my pants would fall down.

I haven’t been a 30″ waist since High School!

Basically, I just ate one meal a day (OMAD).

I kept it simple, one meal a day, only eating after 2pm. And then I wouldn’t eat till 2pm the next day, fasting for 23 hrs.

The reason I did it was for health reasons. I was feeling lethargic, often needing a nap in the middle of the day. I also have issues with my thyroid, having Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis gives me an underfunctioning thyroid, which is part of my energy problem.I also just felt heavy, seeming like I gained weight, no matter how active I was (rock climbing, hiking, biking), or how little I ate.

I also knew how I function – In order for me to do this for the long-term, I  needed to keep things as simple as possible.

And that’s why I did one meal a day.

The first that I heard of this idea was through a book I had read years ago, called The Warrior Diet, by Ori Hofmekler. It was sort of a proto-Paleo, pre-Intermittent Fasting book, explaining the diet as a way our ancestors ate – active during the day, and only eating meals after tasks were done, in the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the time I first read it, I kind of just thought it was interesting, but didn’t think that I would ever try it. But then I saw my brother Vence after a couple months of not seeing him, and he looked dramatically thinner, dramatically healthier than I had seen him before. Once he hit 50, he seemed to get heavier and heavier. But, seeing him recently, it almost looked like he got rejuvenated. He was not just skinnier, he looked healthier. He mentioned Intermittent Fasting, and eating just one meal a day, and so of course I looked it up on YouTube, and saw several videos about the subject, this one in particular:

I was reminded of The Warrior Diet book I had read years ago, and decided right then to give it a try.

The first couple of days I felt hungry the morning of the fast. I kept staring at the time on my iPhone, trying to will 2pm to come. All I had for “breakfast” was a cup of my version of Bulletproof coffee. I followed this with about 3-4 cups of tea, mostly no caffeine chai, or licorice-mint tea.

After I stopped focusing on the hunger pangs what I noticed was a renewed sense of energy, and the time that would be used for making breakfast, eating and digesting was now – free. Free for me to do – whatever!

Since I was in the midsts of cleaning and fixing my house, in preparation for renters and world travel, this additional hour (or 2) of time was given back to me. And not just time – it was also the energy to DO things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an experiment, at about a couple weeks in on my fasting, which I had gotten used to by now, with no more, or smaller, feelings of hunger – I decided to lower my medication by a quarter.

I felt the same amount of energy, so I stuck with that amount for awhile.

And then, as an experiment, I decided to only take half of my thyroid medication.

I felt the same as before.

Some results:

  • Weight dropped by 20 lbs.
  • Waist size went from 34″ to 30″.
  • Energy went up – dramatically!
  • Focus increased
  • Thyroid medication use dropped to a half dose.
  • Brain fog disappeared.
  • Blood sugar normalized.
  • Blood pressure lowered

I was pre-diabetic (Type 2), and my doctor said unless I made some lifestyle changes that I would have to go on medication. She also said I had borderline high blood pressure as well.

But after doing the one meal a day diet, while before I was averaging something like 135-145 morning glucose reading, I was now getting sub 100 readings.

Totally normalized!

What do I eat

Having not eaten for 23 hours, you kind of want  a substantial meal. A typical meal for me was a burrito  bowl at Chipotle. I would get the following:

  • Sauteed green peppers and onions, half steak/half chicken, tomato and corn sals, avocado and lettuce.

I avoided rice and beans since I also wanted to keep things low glycmic as well, but would add them back in if I was going to rock climb or workout that day.

Another mainstay was a large Wild Oats salad, that weighed in at $15. A LARGE salad!

A rough calculation of the meals were somewhere around 1,000 calories each. A typical US calorie count for someone in the US is around 2,000 to 2,500 calories. I was eating less than half that.

When I tell folks about my diet, they tend to ask the typical questions and make the typical comments:

“Aren’t you starving?”

“Your metabolism is going to slow down – then you’ll gain weight!”

“It’s not a sustainable diet!”

” That doesn’t sound healthy.”

But, if they haven’t seen me in awhile, I can see how their eyes track me, looking at my face, my now non-existent belly, my healthy skin color and clear eyes – and it dawns on them that whatever I am doing –  it must be working. I had the same reaction once I saw the effect it had on my brother. It’s what convinced me to start.

I just know this: I feel better, more energized than ever. I climb harder for longer at higher grades than I was previously. My blood sugar normalized, and I take less thyroid medication. My skin and eyes, and just general appearance, look better.

The fears that people have about such a different diet is just that – fears. Mostly unfounded. I know, at least for me, that the slowing of metabolism on a restricted diet is just not that big a factor as it is advertised. And that rather than being unhealthy, I look and feel better than before.

I can just express what has worked for me, and one meal a day was what did it for me – quickly, and (mostly) painlessly. While I did and do feel the occasional hunger pangs, it’s a small price to pay for the results that I am receiving. Nowadays, I barely notice that I haven’t ate, often not eating till 3 or 4.  And whileI’ve read that there are variations of the diet, like having up to 3 meals in the 2-8 pm window –  a single large meal per day just simplified things for me. And even on the days I would feel the need to “cheat” with a dessert, or something with high carbs like pasta or dessert – not eating for another 23 hours seemed to make such digressions a moot point.

Autophagy

There’s something called “Autophagy” which I think must be responsible for the results that are beyond just weight loss – the energy, the blood sugar, the skin and eye quality. Autophagy means “eating oneself” and it’s what happens when one fasts. Your body, during a fast, can use the energy it would previously use for eating and digesting, and instead use it for cleaning house – eating dead cells, cancerous cells, and healing injured areas.

Good article here on Autophagy.

It’s the only thing I’ve read that could explain the results I see and feel. Since I now also avoid most carbs, I’m probably somewhat in ketosis as well (using fat as fuel).

In any case, I encourage you to give it a try – all you might lose is any extra weight – and what you gain may be pretty significant!

 

 

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