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

In late 2022, I started doing intermittent fasting, where you fast for long periods of the day and only eat within certain hours. Specifically, I tried the OMAD approach – one meal a day – to intermittent fasting.

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

I was always good at working out and pretty active, but my problem wasn’t the gym. It was a refrigerator.

At my bottom, my weight ballooned to an unhealthy 206 pounds, which for a shorter guy is noticeably squishy. I felt unhealthy and wanted to improve my own situation and set an example for my family.

So my motivation was high and I was very disciplined, especially when it came to snacks and what I ate during my eating windows. In the end I had lost about 35 kilos.

Along the way I have learned a lot about hunger; especially how to manage it.

Joel Hunter’s before and after shots from a year on the OMAD diet. He lost 35 kilos.
Joel Hunter

Most of it is really an emotional response. We often eat because we think we are hungry. While there are hormonal responses that trigger hunger and cravings, I believe a lot of it comes down to psychology and our mental strength.

I have found several ways to avoid hunger while fasting, which is a significant challenge that many fasting people face. Key strategies include staying busy and active and planning meals in advance.

This planning is crucial to prevent constant thoughts about food throughout the day. It’s especially challenging when you’re surrounded by food, like in grocery stores or places where food is readily available.

These situations can trigger hunger pangs, so being prepared and having a plan is essential. If you’re going out, meal planning helps avoid surprises that could trigger cravings or temptation.

Another important lesson I’ve learned while fasting is the need for calorie awareness and healthy eating. Many practice “dirty OMAD” where they eat fast food or whatever they want but still lose weight.

This is because they are reaching a calorie deficit. Fasting periods also help train the body to burn stored fat.

I’m not saying that “dirty OMAD” is inherently problematic. However, the problem with this approach is that it can be challenging to control the upper limit of caloric intake, especially if the eating window is longer. The temptation to overeat is greater.

I think the biggest reason I lost 35 pounds and then stopped is because the after-meal snacks added calories. This is a common problem with many diets that can slow down weight loss and affect fasting.

These include snacks like chocolate, chips and others that I often ate after the main meal. Despite the daily fast, these snacks, especially during my laziest four to six hour eating window, were significant.

These extra snacks added calories that I needed to maintain my weight instead of losing more weight. So it is very important to remember the calorie intake even when fasting.

Now I’m significantly lower than my starting point and comfortably at a weight where I don’t have to focus too much on my diet or do additional exercise.

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

Would I like to be a little lighter and leaner? Yes absolutely. But what I’ve learned from doing intermittent fasting is that it’s a very powerful tool for weight loss.

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

In my 20s, in what I call my “prime,” it seemed effortless to maintain a healthy weight and athletic physique. I weigh about 165 pounds, which is my goal weight, but I’m setting a realistic schedule.

I plan to achieve that by losing another 15-20 pounds of fat over the next 365 days using my OMAD method and keeping it off.

To achieve this, this time I am taking a stricter approach to fasting, especially in terms of consistency, for better 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 usually followed the fasting program very well. But going forward, I’m going to focus on the quality of what I’m actually eating during my eating window and making sure my calories come from quality sources, primarily whole foods and protein.

That’s how I had started. I initially focused on whole food sources and a high protein diet, which led to my most significant success. That’s why I’m going to continue with this approach.

Overall, however, I was really happy with the weight loss achieved during the year.

Joel Hunter is a lifestyle vlogger YouTube.

All views expressed are the author’s own.

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