We are sure you would have heard success stories of others getting progress in their weight loss journey by controlling their food intake. But with more and more diets popping up, touting their viability in keeping the pounds away, it is hard to keep up with all of them.
One such diet attempts to move away from the norm of having three meals a day. Called the one-meal-a-day diet, it involves having the individual sit through intermittent fasting over 23 whopping hours till their only meal of the day. What that means is you are deprived of eating or drinking anything that contains calories till your mealtime, which most practitioners of the diet have earmarked an hour-long period, between the hours of 3 and 7 pm.
How Do You Practise This Diet?
This intermittent fasting is commonly known as the 23:1 diet since one spends almost 23 hours away from any calories. The diet has been growing in popularity, since there are very little limitations imposed on the individual. For starters, the diet is extremely easy to adopt, since it does not require one to be meticulous about their diet or count calories. This also means that nothing is considered off-limits, as long as it is within that one-hour time frame.
As tempting as it might be to gorge yourself on all the unhealthy food and drinks in that one hour, it is only a fool’s errand. To sustain your body for the entire day, it is highly advisable that one consumes a balanced meal that contains the necessary nutrients for your overall growth.
A meal on the one-meal-a-day diet has to contain pretty much everything your body needs: Nutrients, fibre, protein, micronutrients, vitamins and minerals.
While it is not possible to include all of those, try your best to hit all the important points with vegetables for the fibre, meat or fatty fish like salmon for the protein, and milk or yogurt for the calcium. Some people on the diet are rather particular about adding in a bit of fat for the extra calories — coconut oil, olive oil or butter are some of those that get thrown into the mix.
Does It Work?
Depending on what you define as success, this one-meal-a-day (OMAD) diet does help shed the pounds in an extremely quick fashion. How that is done is through the process of hormesis, in which gentle stress is placed on your cells to strengthen them and make them hardy against oxidative damage. The logic is as such — when your body is deprived of food, it is forced to operate efficiently at its peak to conserve its energy. Thus, your body has to grow and repair at a high speed, burning fat faster and longer in the process, as well.
In pursuing the diet, you will find yourself flexing and strengthening your mental muscles. Since diets are all about discipline, you will start to realise that you have a mental toughness that you never once knew you had. If you are the sort who easily gets distracted at work, you might just turn procrastination on its heel and out the door, since you will find yourself with an increased focus and productivity. Have a long list of to-do’s? You might just get them completed before your first meal of the day.
The Negatives of OMAD
Despite its success, whether this rapid weight loss is sustainable remains to be said. It is important to note that this diet is not for everyone as there is still a high possibility of your body reacting poorly despite the shifting numbers on the weighing scale. Some practitioners might find themselves with a much higher blood pressure and cholesterol level due to their bad eating habits during that one hour of the day. Common factors like binge eating or feeling extremely weak during the fasting hours might bring about fatigue throughout the day and impede your brain from focusing.
For women in particular, intermittent fasting may not be the most suitable way to lose weight since their body functions differently from men. During the fasting period, you may lack in certain nutrients like iron from the deprivation of food.
What We Recommend
The one-meal-a-day diet may seem highly attractive to people with busy lifestyles or those who hate counting calories, but there is a much safer way to lose weight. What nutritionists advise is to mix and match diet with exercise. By taking a daily jog in the evening or engaging in team sports with a bunch of friends, you would very easily achieve the 150 minutes a week, advised by health experts for healthy weight loss. Diet-wise, you should be looking to fill your meals with fruits and vegetables and to stay away from high-calorie food that does not provide much nutrients. By going on extreme and wild diets in a bid to lose weight, you might just throw your body off its balance. Those results that you see in the initial stages may motivate you, but they are merely temporal. If a healthy mind and body are what you strive for, those huge meals that your body craves for on the one-meal-a-day diet might just ruin you.