One Meal a Day
Eating one meal a day is a popular intermittent fasting method used by many around the world. Eating one meal a day can really help you achieve your weight loss goals and maintain your ideal weight. It’s not a starvation diet (you still eat your recommended calories for weight loss); you just eat during one time a day (about a two-hour eating window) instead of throughout the day. While weight loss is one of the main benefits of this way of eating, there are many more. Here are the top four benefits you can receive from eating only one meal a day.
Benefit #1 – Weight Loss
The first benefit of choosing to eat one meal a day is weight loss. It’s easier to lose weight this way because when you do eat, you feel full faster. Your stomach naturally shrinks when food is not being consumed, so if you don’t eat during the day and eat only at night, the size of your stomach is reduced, so eating less becomes less of a challenge.
You are also eating a large amount at one time, so you don’t feel deprived, and you feel full after your meal. If your goal is to lose weight, monitoring your calories is easier when eating one meal than when counting calories for six. Some may not even need to count calories. You will naturally feel full (and satisfied) off of less food.
Benefit #2 – Increase Productivity and Energy
Another benefit of eating one meal a day is increased productivity and energy. When you are not focusing on when and what to eat all day long, you have more time to get things done. You may even feel compelled to become more productive, especially in the beginning, because it takes your mind off of food and eating. You will have more energy to get things done and more mental clarity.
If you’ve ever been on a fast before or couldn’t eat for part of a day, you might have noticed that you had more energy, and your mind was sharp. There are a lot of things in food, such as sugar and carbs, that can make people feel sluggish. Fasting for part of the day eliminates a lot of substances that slow the mind and body. Your energy also becomes freed up when it’s not being used to constantly digest food.
Benefit #3 – More Satisfying Meals (Without the Weight Gain)
Eating more satisfying meals is also another benefit to the one meal a day lifestyle. It’s satisfying because you essentially get to eat whatever you want (within reason), and you get to feel full because it's a bigger meal. On most diets, what you can eat is limited. This is because you have to focus on eating smaller calorie meals, which means eating mostly low-calorie foods. This is to prevent overeating and to keep the calories down.
You also have to watch the amount, as it’s easier to overeat when you are having multiple meals a day than with one. When you eat one meal a day, you get to eat a lot of calories at once, so the type of food is not as big of a problem, and because you will feel full faster, neither is the amount.
Benefit #4 – You Have More Control Over Your Weight
One of the last main benefits is that you have more control over your weight. It's easier to control how many calories you eat in a day when you are just eating one meal. It’s easier to stick with a calorie amount because you only have one meal to work with, and being able to eat a lot of calories at once will prevent hunger from coercing you to eat more. Whether you want to lose or maintain weight, making adjustments to your calorie amount is a lot easier when you have more calories to work with and only one meal to work with.
There are plenty of other benefits from choosing to eat only one meal a day. Personally, I’ve noticed that I sleep better, my skin is better, and I feel a lot happier. Any other benefits you’ve noticed? Comments are welcome!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2013 Michelle V
Michelle V (author) from USA on November 14, 2017:
Hi bobcat, you can eat anything you want and still receive the benefits. However, it's far better when you eat a healthy, nutritious meal. You also want to make sure you feel satisfied or it will be hard to keep up.
Hi dhruba, dinner is preferable but lunch is fine as long as you don't feel tempted to eat another meal later. I sometimes eat between 11 and 3 because it fits my schedule.
dhruba on November 12, 2017:
I am planning to eat one meal a day from today.Which would be better one time lunch or one time dinner? If i eat early dinner i can wake up early.
bobcat on October 01, 2017:
What about doing military diet as omad
rahul sharma on September 22, 2017:
hi i have been doing this for past 3 months, it feels great
Michelle V (author) from USA on August 16, 2017:
That's great Chris! Thanks for the input!
Chris Iocca on August 12, 2017:
Great article, I have been been following a paleo diet (gluten and dairy free) for several months. But I cheat...often. I love breakfast! I love breakfast food! I have always eaten a large breakfast. So I don't mind making that my main meal of the day. I eat any where between 3-4 eggs, 4 pieces of bacon, 2 cups of blueberries, kale.(I grow my own veggies)I always switch it up to keep it interesting. But, it really works for me. If my sugars or energy do drop during the day, then I don't beat myself up by having a protein shake. I've lost 80 lbs. I'm 56 yr. Old male who had a severe stroke 3 years ago and now I work out 3 days a week, play Pickle Ball 5 days. My mind adjusted easier than my body, but after a week of so my body adjusted. Feel great. Thanks again!
Michelle V (author) from USA on June 26, 2017:
Hi May, I think those issues have more to with what you eat, than when you eat!
Shelby on June 22, 2017:
Honestly I 100% agree! I have been doing the Big Dinner Diet for a month and a half, the best part? IT'S NOT A DIET! This is something I could do for the rest of my life because I feel so satisfied. I do try to stay away from sugar for the most part and only eat bread two to three times a week, BUT it's working for me and I feel great!
May on June 21, 2017:
I am wondering, I have been on this diet for a year and a half now, and lost almost 15 KG. I am very happy with the results. But the difference is that on the weekends I eat like two meals instead of three and I try my best to eat home cooked foods but with meat and such. My concern is can it make problems with cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes?
David-Barnsley on June 16, 2017:
I've been following a ketogenic diet (LCHF) for the last three months - lost 30 pounds and reached my target weight. I feel good on it. I don't eat breakfast but sort of make lunch out of habit rather than hunger. Would moving to OMAD give me further benefits?
Michelle V (author) from USA on May 08, 2017:
Hi Susan, that's great! Your right stomach shrinking is another major benefit!
Susan on May 07, 2017:
For the last fifteen days I have been eating once per day and limiting the time I eat to about 45 minutes between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. I have lost 10 lbs. which, for a pre-diabetic woman of 64 years of age, is astonishing. Another benefit beyond those mentioned in this article, is that your stomach shrinks. At first I was anxious about making it through the rest of the day, so I'd eat until I was uncomfortable. After about 10 days I noticed that I couldn't eat as much and what I ate sustained me nicely. I'll be keeping this up for at least four more months and I may make it my new eating routine as I feel fantastic!
George Ged on May 03, 2017:
This method of eating saved my life
Olando on April 17, 2017:
I'm going to give this a try, starting tomorrow. Except for when I race. I do ultra marathons and need to eat during the race to replace some of the calories burn during 50 miles of running.
Michelle V (author) from USA on March 16, 2017:
Hi Hidaya, the time of day you eat your meal is really your preference. That being said, I would try to at least leave two hours between the time you eat and when you sleep to receive the most benefits. Though it may not affect your weight, going to bed on a full stomach can leave you a little groggy in the morning!
Hidaya on March 13, 2017:
Hi I wondering if I did that one meal a day but I would eat my meal 9 it's okay or not please answer me?
vistagraphs.net on January 18, 2017:
You forgot that it lowers blood sugar for diabetics.
Guy on January 04, 2017:
Michelle, I just want to say you are beautiful.
Michelle V (author) from USA on December 28, 2016:
Good luck Savi! I think you'll be just fine. Once you get past the adapting period it will be so easy!
Savi on December 28, 2016:
I've been doing this one meal thingy since last week but had to scrap it since it was Christmas and started back on it as of today. I feel great already, hopefully I can lose some 9 kg soon. I was 60 kg last year and now 69, can't stand the way I fit into skirts and pants, dresses look awful on me now. Imma gonna make this my 2017 new year's resolution :)
Wish me luck ya'll!
Jorge on December 10, 2016:
Great article!! Eating one meal a day is for smart people only.
Natalie on December 09, 2016:
Hi. So I've been on this for two days now and I feel so good and really full at the moment cause I just had my meal of he day. The funny thing is this is usually a quarter of my meal pre-diet. Started from 140 down to 138, aiming for 120. Whoo hoo! I'm actually excited.
Adriana Gibson on December 07, 2016:
Hello! Today is my second day! will eat at 4pm every day. I'm doing this to lose weight. Should I count calories, carbs? Yesterday I had 1 1/2 cup brown rice, 2 chicken franks, 2 cups of only variety of lettuce, 1/2 cup of bran flakes mixed with 2 tablespoon of whipped cream and 1/4 cup of Atking vanilla drink. How did I do? Thanks you for your comments! I need s forum like this for support.
Menen on November 22, 2016:
Started this yesterday 21 nov2016 tell u guys how it goes in a week after weighing
Nick185 on November 16, 2016:
Hey Abe93304, Lets do this! Started last week and feel great. started at 240 down to 232.. goal is 185. Im 5'11" and feel that would be a great target for me, let me know if you still are interested in keeping track with me so we can reach our goals and stay accountable!
Abe93304 on November 08, 2016:
I'd like to do this program. I have LOTS of issues with food, unfortunately. I am trying this program today (08 November 2016). After reading this article this morning I just had a late lunch (3PM) of whatever I wanted, but made sure there were fresh and cooked vegetables involved. Unfortunately, I didn't watch my protein intake--but I'll be more careful tomorrow.
I'm also giving up all sweets and desserts (my biggest food challenge). The single meal today was so filling (I did have quite a bit of bread with my salad and soup) I don't feel the typical urge to have dessert. My challenge will be skipping dinner and then just going to bed, but it's a bit easier for me than not eating ALL day until dinner.
Anyway, I don't know if this is the right forum to find a virtual health partner, but would anyone like to commit to this with me through New Year's? I'd be a lot more motivated to stick to it if I knew someone I emailed periodically was also sticking to it--we could keep each other motivated.
B.D. Tom on October 23, 2016:
I have a nerve disorder which is caused by the nerve being inflamed. Doctors had me on drugs with bad side effects. Eating once a day has cured the problem and I am no longer using any medication.
Michelle V (author) from USA on August 15, 2016:
Napa29, I think your plan is great! If I do eat outside of my one meal, I try to make it something that is not processed with lots of protein. Not only will it ward off hunger, it will also not spark cravings.
Napa29 on August 14, 2016:
Hi - I've stared one meal a day just yesterday and hope to commit for at least two months to give it a fair trial. I run every other morning, burning approx 600-900 Cals per run. I've chosen to make my meal window 430 to 730pm. I wake up at 0430am daily. I'm thinking of eating a small protein rich meal on the days I run right after I run. And then not eat till my eating window. Any thoughts on this plan?
Michelle V (author) from USA on July 14, 2016:
Thanks for your comments everyone! I'm glad it's working for you all!
Faith - yes! A lot of times I will have something small in the morning, and have my big meal later on.
Jeremy - thank-you!
abby on May 29, 2016:
yeah i love this diet.
i usually eat throughout the day, without a schedule but the other day i went out and only had time to eat supper, and i hadn't any breakfast
. the one meal i had made me feel a lot more satisfied for less and i didn't feel the urge to snack because it was so easy not to eat anything during the day.
the next day i tried it and didn't eat a thing until dinner. i felt great!
i've been doing it ever since but am careful to eat a fruit before dinner and it reduces my meal and feel free to snack on some dark chocolate after dinner and just before
i am now my ideal weight, healthier and feeling great!
ColtenI on May 28, 2016:
I have been eating one HUGE meal a day at dinner time only, right before bed. I have excelled at my job, have more energy, enhanced memory, and overall well being. I have been doing this for over a year now and am still in great health! I recommend to everybody. It does make eating a lot more enjoyable and tastey!
Jeremy on May 27, 2016:
This is a well written article Michelle. It's straight to the point with great information. You convinced me to get back on my OMAD plan.
Letsgoski2006 on May 18, 2016:
I read about this diet a couple of months ago. They call it intermittent fasting. I started doing it and started losing but I was cheating on weekends and when I went on vacation I didn't do it. I started back two weeks ago. I will weigh again Friday and I can tell I lost. I work out at least three days a week with weights and mix cardio in. I'm working hard not to cheat on weekends now. I only drink coffee in the morning with a little half and half. I get a Starbucks skinny latte around 2pm. I have been eating a 100 calorie Greek Yogurt before working out, but do I really need to do that? I was thinking I need something in my body before working out. I'd rather just wait until I eat my one meal at dinner. I count my calories on My Fitness Pal and use a Jawbone fit bracelet which shows me approximately the amount of calories I've burned during the day. I try to eat less calories than I burn. We will see the results Friday since I stopped cheating during the day on weekends the last two weekends!
Donnalee on April 30, 2016:
I don't know if anyone is posting here anymore but I want to commit in writing. I'm starting tomorrow, 5-1-2016. The only thing I might do differently is allow myself some raw vegetables during the day...cucumbers, etc just for nutrition. But I'll have to see how that affects my appetite. It might be better to eat nothing at all. What happens oTo me on a regular diet is that eventually I want a slice of pizza or a hamburger or something good like that & then I break the diet. This way of eating should eliminate that problem. Good luck to anyone else who is in this time frame also!
Rahul kr singh on April 03, 2016:
I M going to start one meal a day from Tom . it will be definitely beneficial.
Bommakanti Madhurima from Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, India on March 08, 2016:
I am a diabetic patient, can I try this one meal a day.
faith on January 17, 2016:
would this still work if I ate two small snacks during the day and a big meal at night? for example a sachet of porridge in the morning, apple in the afternoon and then my meal?
Michelle V (author) from USA on September 25, 2015:
That's awesome bradythome! It's so unfortunate how people do all these complicated things to lose weight, when it's really simple.
bradythome on September 25, 2015:
I am 19 years old as of right now. I've always been very athletic but as I got into 7th and 8th grade year I started to gain weight. Eventually, I was 225 as a sophomore. I went on this diet plan, and lost 50 pounds. I became the quarterback for my team my junior year and senior year and was all-state both years, but more importantly won the championship my senior year.
Michelle V (author) from USA on July 05, 2015:
That's awesome Amanda!
seigfried23 on June 22, 2015:
I really think people should incorporate exercise into their daily life; it does much more for you than just burn calories. The problem is, you'd probably have to eat more than a meal a day to sustain a workout...
amanda on March 10, 2015:
I lost nearly one and half stone. Doing one meal a day diet xxx
Sid on December 02, 2014:
I'll tell you another benefit. You become acutely aware that you aren't getting your necessary nutrition eating several times a day because you see exactly what you are taking in for the day. I'm adding multivitamin and an Apple and vegetable snack around 6. Just for nutrition
Michelle V (author) from USA on October 07, 2014:
Great Charity! Just be careful to stay within a health calorie amount.
Charity on September 14, 2014:
I'm planning on starting the one meal per day starting on 9/15/2014 and I currently weight 246 pounds and a workout program also!
Charity on September 14, 2014:
I'm going to try the one meal per day starting 9/15/2014 and I currently weight 246 pound!
Michelle V (author) from USA on August 29, 2014:
Congrats Emylee and J!!
Michelle V (author) from USA on August 29, 2014:
Yes Jibran Khan, you can workout on one meal a day. It's actually more beneficial to workout on an empty stomach, and then eat afterwards!
Emylee on August 16, 2014:
I've been doing the one meal a day plan for a while. It sort of started out as me only eating twice a day, because I started not to like breakfast food as much. I started to drop weight. Then I started only eating once a day. I was eating a very big meal around 5 or 6 in the afternoon and nothing past 7. Now I have little of an appetite. But I do not feel deprived. I've went from 260 lbs. to 150 lbs. the people around me think I'm starving myself of course. But I believe that starvation is when you feel starved. I feel perfectly fine with my eating routine. And the people around me overeat, so compared to them it will look like I'm starving myself. I have tried many diets in the past, and always gained the weight back. But as of now I am maintaining my weight and I feel healthy, and don't feel like I'm on a diet. I can have whatever I want. I even have days I decide to have a little snack after my meal, and I'll wake up and will have lost a pound. I'd recommend this to anyone who can make it work.
Tania on July 25, 2014:
I jog and never have any problems. Start out slowly and just read what you body is telling you.
Jibran Khan on July 20, 2014:
Is it okay to exercise (running) when eating one meal a day?
J on July 20, 2014:
I LOVE one meal a day!! My SO has been doing it for about 18 years now and I have been off and on for years. Back at it again and now I do one meal a day but allow myself beer and wine freely on the weekends. I eat healthy and eliminated junk food/processed sugar, but did not eliminate any food groups (sugar, fat, carbs etc. all allowed as long as they come from wholesome/homemade sources). Into day 6 of a 30-day challenge to get me back on track and I have already lost a few pounds! Also, I love being able to eat a full meal with family/friends and don't have to worry about counting calories or limiting a food group. I plan to make this a permanent way of life.
Aneeta L on June 10, 2014:
hi i have done this befre nd it works!!i hd sme isses, unrelated and hd to quit, but im jumpin back onboard!
Michelle V (author) from USA on June 09, 2014:
Great, let us know how it works for you!
Ree on June 06, 2014:
I am going to try this.
Michelle V (author) from USA on December 12, 2013:
That's great progress Tamica! Glad it has helped you!
Tamica on November 07, 2013:
I have began eating like this . Lost 22 lbs but still have about fifty to go as I am obese . I feel great and in control instead of being controlled by my old food addiction . I do have more clarity and as a result of this I also have better b/m also . Thanks for Sharing !
Michelle V (author) from USA on August 01, 2013:
Good point grndzro. I think the 2000 calorie diet is more for nutritional needs than caloric needs. Many people need way less calories than that. I think people should focus on what their personal body needs, and not just what a generic guideline says you need.
Michelle V (author) from USA on August 01, 2013:
grndzro on August 01, 2013:
The human body is not supposed to eat 3 square meals a day...that's why americans are in general overweight.
It's all that processed crap food that triggers hunger pains.
I do not eat anything GMO/gluten/yellow corn/HFCS/ and I only eat about 1K calories a day(if that).
The 2000 calorie a day RDA was designed as a guideline for nutrition. As long as you take a very good multivitamin all you need to really concentrate on is getting enough sodium/potassium, and eating lots of complex carbohydrates(veggies/salads). Eat before bedtime and have some protein.
Veronica on July 31, 2013:
I started eating only one meal a day in January 2012. I weighed 305 pounds. I have lost 127 pounds so far. The best part is I feel no deprivation at all. Love it!
Michelle V (author) from USA on July 25, 2013:
Thanks ric! I think after changing to one meal a day you realize that before you were eating out of habit, and not off of hunger.
ric on July 24, 2013:
I have been doing it for several days and I love it...
adventage numer 5: you rediscover what being hungry really means ;)
muj on July 22, 2013:
i have been doing the 1 meal a day diet courtesy of ramadan and i have already lost 6 kilos in around 2 weeks