I have always had a love-hate relationship with both my body and food.
Until last year, I maintained a healthy weight — even if it was towards the higher end of average. Last year, life kicked my ass and I turned to food to cope with my fears and sadness.
Emotional eating and a lack of self-discipline began to slowly destroy my health.
Stress got the best of me.
I was eating fast food 10–15 times per week, snacking on absolute crap, and treating my body like a garbage disposal.
It was humiliating to realize how few things in my closet actually fit me anymore. I’d been used to going up and down a few pounds, but now I was dealing with a 30-pound swing.
The last time I saw this weight was a decade ago when I was overdue with my 10+ pound son. This time I couldn’t lose half of the weight by pushing a baby out of my vag.
Damn it — how did I let it get this bad?
Reluctant as I was to admit it, I knew what happened. I lost control of my emotions and reactions, which led me to completely lose control of my health.
The cycle kept getting worse. I hated myself for my lack of self-control. I would wake up berating myself for all of the late-night snacks I’d secretly eaten.
Who was I kidding? Keeping my 4th meal secret from my husband only made the guilt and shame worse.
I was in a downward spiral and something had to give.
There are so many options to lose weight and get healthy. Every year some new diet pops up claiming it works miracles — guaranteed. Upon closer inspection, those diet plans are just recycled and repackaged gimmicky twists on the same idea year after year.
Diet shakes, drinks, mixes, and pills have never been my jam. They either taste like shit, make me shit, or have me asking “are you shitting me” in complete sticker-shock.
Plus, I refuse to line the pockets of health and wellness companies preying on my insecurities on my quest to losing weight. It’s always been a self-control issue for me, not a nutrition or lack of convenience issue.
A path to self-discipline and healthy eating
A few months ago I stumbled upon OMAD, short for “one meal a day.” There was an article detailing the benefits of OMAD through the eyes of several middle-aged women. They claimed this particular way of eating tamed their tummies, helped them conquer binge eating, and took the stress out of eating.
It was exactly what I was looking for.
I knew how to eat a healthy and balanced diet, I just wasn’t doing it. Instead, I used food for emotional support and entertainment — which led to 30 extra pounds and shameful emotions I was desperate to get rid of.
In order to lose weight and get healthy, I needed to focus on self-control and practicing discipline.
Committing to one meal a day
I started on a Friday. I knew this was already going to be hard, so why not really make it a challenge by starting before a weekend?
I learned quickly that OMAD was not a diet. It’s a simple version of intermittent fasting. I would spend 23 hours of the day in a fasted state and have a one-hour window for eating.
Depending on the timing of kid activities, my eating window would start between 5–7 pm. Not only would this help me flex my self-discipline muscles, but it would also guarantee a home-cooked family dinner each night.
Week one was fairly easy
I was prepared for the hunger pangs and I knew it would be almost impossible to avoid triggers. I went into the week with very few expectations, other than knowing I needed to remain confident and self-disciplined.
Week one was simple.
Water and hunger were constant companions. On day two, I went to the pet store to get food for my dogs. My mouth started watering over an image of chicken and vegetables on the outside of a bag — which made simultaneously crack up and feel a little sorry for myself.
By day 4, my hunger started to subside as my body got used to this new routine.
Cooking dinner became an exercise in attention and mindfulness.
I enjoyed planning our family meals and spent extra time and care cooking. Since I was only eating that one meal, I wanted to be sure it was both delicious and well-balanced.
Waking up without the guilt of a late-night binge, or the bloat of crappy food weighing me down was a welcome relief and felt empowering. It only took a week for me to become a believer and OMAD quickly became a integral part of my new healthy life.
Why OMAD works for me
Eliminating two meals and focusing on a single meal each day has been really simple. It isn’t some complicated fasting schedule or diet program with set foods.
All I do is plan one meal per day.
I don’t have to plan for three square meals or calculate portions to allow for next-day lunch leftovers. I just eat whatever I’ve planned for dinner until I’m satisfied.
Fasting takes tremendous willpower and discipline. I’ve learned that my hunger is habitual, and as an emotional eater my desire to eat comes from way more than just signals of hunger.
Fasting has taught me to stay disciplined in the face of hunger and emotional triggers. I’ve learned to avoid the instant gratification and comfort that food brings me.
Now, I lean into the momentary discomfort of fasting in order to reap the rewards of pride and empowerment.
Early on, each of those moments of hunger served to teach me something about myself and my cravings and uncovered stubborn unhealthy patterns.
Fasting is the easiest way for me to exercise my self-discipline and willpower. The first few weeks were uncomfortable, but once my body was adjusted to the change I felt empowered by my strength to persevere.
The pride I felt in overcoming my addiction to food led me to make more decisions to further strengthen my self-discipline and willpower.
OMAD and fasting tap into my rebellious nature
Each time I see a commercial, hear a radio ad or see a billboard, my decision to eat one meal a day is further solidified.
I have a rebellious spirit and use it to remind me why I’m fasting.
All of the media coming at us on a daily basis telling us what to eat, what pills to take, and what plan to follow send us these unavoidable messages. The old me used to internalize those messages and allow them to trigger me into an emotional binge. Now those same triggers tap into my rebelliousness and remind me why I’m choosing to fast.
OMAD and weight loss
Since starting OMAD, I’ve lost an average of 3-4 pounds per week. I’m slowly closing in on losing every last one of those 30-pounds gained last year.
There’s no denying OMAD supported me in losing weight.
But, the discipline gained by successfully following this way of eating has also helped me to increased my exercise by 30 minutes per day and increased my overall water intake. Since starting OMAD and adding more exercise, I’m much kinder to myself mentally than ever before.
All of these changes have helped me achieve my weight loss goals week after week.
Will I stick with OMAD?
This isn’t just some diet plan, it’s a way of eating that supports my busy lifestyle.
Stepping out of my comfort zone and trying OMAD has been liberating. It has given me back my self-control and shown me that a practicing discipline can get me the results I crave.
Eating one meal a day has helped me avoid binge eating and stay in control of my tendency to reach to food for comfort. I’m more thoughtful in preparing family meals and less distracted by snacks and thoughts of food during the day.
I may have started OMAD to lose weight, but I’ll be continuing for the practice of self-control, convenience, and freedom it has brought into my life.