Hackernoon logoHere's What I Learned From Eating One Meal A Day by@z3nch4n

Here's What I Learned From Eating One Meal A Day

Zen Chan Hacker Noon profile picture

@z3nch4nZen Chan

Interested in Infosec & Biohacking. Security Architect by profession. Love reading and running.

OMAD is the short form of “One Meal A Day”; one type of the recently famous diet — intermittent fasting (IF). If you do not know what it is, let me explain it in my terms. First, regarding eating and fasting, our body can be separated into two stages:

  • Feast state — The time you start eating until food is digested
  • Fast state — The time in between feasting, which means the digestion systems are resting

When our body is in feasting mode, digestion systems “wake up” and start working on breaking down food substances and growth. While fast state gives our digestion systems to rest, and most body repairing is undergo during this period.

If we let ourselves eat three meals a day, from 08:00 to 20:00 (12-hour diet), our body would have more than 14 hours feasting and only have ten or fewer hours for our body to rest and repair.

Staying in a feast state is the most fundamental reason why in modern society, lifestyle would lead us to “Inflamm-aging”, such as having diabetes, brain fog, skin problem, allergies. Those are all found out related to Prolonged inflammation in the body (you can check out my painful journey in my “previous” life).

Fasting, or the light version of that — Intermittent Fasting (IF) — is in reverse; it involves letting our body have more time to rest and repair. Here are some of the benefits of correct intermittent fasting:

  • Weight and body fat loss
  • Increased fat burning
  • Lowered blood insulin and sugar levels
  • Possibly reversal of type 2 diabetes
  • Possibly improved mental clarity and concentration
  • Possibly increased energy
  • Possibly increased growth hormone, at least in the short term
  • Possibly an improved blood cholesterol profile
  • Possibly longer life
  • Possibly activation of cellular cleansing by stimulating autophagy
  • Possibly reduction of inflammation

My own experience with FASTING

I get into biohacking and start intermittent fasting at 8/16 first, eating in an 8-hours window every day. For me, that is easy to follow and helps me to gain some metabolic flexibility gradually. I started skipping breakfast and replace it by drinking Bulletproof Coffee and start eating from around 12:30 to 13:00.

Bulletproof coffee helps to surpass the hunger and allows me to delay lunch till 14:00 to 15:00. Drinking Bulletproof coffee helps me to use fat as my primary energy source. By starting to be more fat-adapted, I experienced “Keto-Flu” around a week.

After three months of such an eating style, I decided to try my first 24-hour fast and run for 10km before breaking the fast at night (Yes, it is hard to run with low glycogen and slow keto conversion).

Although I can feel that my speed in that 10km run was slower, 24-hour fast, in fact, if well prepared, it is not as hard as you think, especially on a busy day. I ran because I want to be sure I am okay without food for 24 hours straight and can do some more. And YES, it is!

My first 72-hours fast

After 6-months of intermittent fasting with 18/6 at minimum fasting window, I tried my first 72-hour fast by following Tim Ferris' 3-day Fast method originally from the book — Tools of Titans.

Instead of doing in on a Friday night till Monday night, I started from Monday and broke my fast on Wednesday night, which was the day I go running with my friends. (Yes, I planned to run again before breaking the fast).

The hardest part was the second day and night. When glycogen in the body was completely depleted (Around 2000 calories and can last for 24 hours), sleeping that night was the hardest.

But the next day, I found myself in a clear and peaceful state when I woke up. I could sense the water passed through my throat to the stomach at the time I drank a glass of water. All my senses are heightened. It was the best experience of living in a long time. And most importantly, I have no hunger during the day. Maybe my senses were still in full power mode, but I became more mindful and appreciative of the journey of my night running.

Although there were an unmistakable energy drop and reduction in my pace after 45 minutes. I felt hunger again, and luckily, I went back to my locker safely.

I did not find re-feeding after a 72-hours fast challenging to do. But my “spider senses” wear off after my dinner. It was the best meal in a long time. When I returned home, I was both exhausted but self-reliant. I slept like a baby that night. That sense of confidence lasted for a week. After the completion of my first 72-hours fast, I promised myself to make it a habit. I will now do one 24-hours Fast every month and one 72-hours Fast every quarter to reset.

There is no better time for trying OMAD than NOW!

During this COVID-19 pandemic, you may be Work From Home (WFH) or required to have 14 days of self-quarantine. For me, this “new normal” leads to less physical movement and not having a meal with colleagues to minimize exposure. I will have OMAD during the day of WFH or with low physical activities. There are some extra benefits to doing that too.

1# More appreciation of the tastes

Your tasting sense will be higher after a whole day of fast. The taste of food is different, and you will appreciate “real food” more and do not have an appetite for junk food.

OMAD limits the food you can eat, so you will be more careful about choosing what to fill your stomach for that day as you only have one shot! I am more eager and looking forward to my mealtime/ eating window. Eating less leads to secondary benefits: better mood and digestion.

2# Have a more straightforward relationship with which food is good/bad for you

With one single meal for your body to digest, you will have more control over what types of food to eat. You can judge rather the food is good/ bad for you after each meal. So no need to listen to others or looking for “superfood”; instead, simply try different real food and see if you feel any discomfort/ satisfaction.

If you have a food allergy, OMAD also helps you to separate the particular food/ part of the food that you cannot eat. With the elimination of noise and better-tasting sense, it will be easier to try than to describe.

I found instead of seafood that will trigger an allergic reaction (that is itchy tongue and throat and skin rash), it is only raw shrimp. I can eat crab, shells, or cooked shrimp without any problem.

3# Becoming a Prius

The first time in the office at lunchtime, my colleagues invited me for lunch (it was before the pandemic at that time). When I told them I only eat once a day, they were shocked and concerned. They didn't believe it was possible to have enough “energy” for the day (If that is true, the human will not survive). I still remember the first reaction from me to calm them.

You will have the extra alertness and a clearer mind after 14–16 hours of fasting (7 hours after wake up in my case, i.e., around lunchtime). I will provide some suggestions on the groundwork of fasting in the end.

“Hunger is simply a emotion, you are not really hungry most of the time.”

It is true — after you experienced a prolonged fast — that your body can functions after a long time without eating. I also ran for 10km before breaking my 72-hours fast. It was not easy, to be frank, but more like a challenge like running a marathon. You will be more satisfied and find freedom from eating. You will have more control over your mind and body.

Also, you will have more understands of your physical desires. With your first source of energy (Carbohydrates) was used up, you will feel another hunger. I called it the “Real Hunger.” That is a strong urge to “re-fill the tank” or charging your battery of the body. Try to sleep with this feeling is torture. You can mitigate the effect without eating.

But the truth is, once you are metabolic flexible, the urge will not be as strong as before. Because the body can convert FAT, the more comprehensive energy source (FAT) into ATP. It feels exceptional by turning yourself into a hybrid car.

4# For sure, you can save $$$ and time

I know eating with friends is more than eating but connection and social gathering. During the pandemic, it may be a good time to take back control of your lunchtime. OMAD gives you back the freedom TO EAT or NOT TO EAT.

It was “normal” for me to eat three meals a day, and it is healthy. By adopting an OMAD habit, you can now have more time to do what you want; you may go to the gym and nap during the meal break. You can still go out for lunch, take a break, chat with friends, and skip and enjoy working in a better state of mind.

You are no longer fixated to go out and eat or stop what you are doing in the middle of the day. With OMAD, you reach the “flow state” more often and get more done in a day. If I need extra focus on my work, I would like to work straight for 8 hours and leave the office earlier. Also, you use your meal expense all in one meal to celebrate your achievement on that day or just save it.

Moreover, you can eat whenever you want. I only check email twice a day; at the beginning of my work and lunchtime. First, I will read all my emails and reply at noon. The second batch would be around 1500.

The best moment to focus and do some brain work is during lunch break. Firstly, the office will be quieter at lunchtime. Customers and colleagues are busy putting food in their mouths while you can have a non-disturbed extra hour. Secondly, you will get extra focus from fasting, our nature for humans to be more alert, and sharp focus on hunting and gathering food.

Final Words

BEFORE you go into fasting:

  1. Try cold shower and meditation (to lower cortisol)
  2. Have enough sleep
  3. Be prepared for the Keto-Flu
  4. Plan for the time, do not waste the extra hours
  5. Tell yourself this: hunger does not necessarily equate to low to energy

What do you think about OMAD? Let’s try OMAD during the pandemic, be productive, healthy, and save some money.

Thank you for reading. Happy Fasting.


Join Hacker Noon

Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.