Sunday, September 26, 2021

Weight Loss - OMAD and Calorie Restriction

Picture of Ice Cream Cone

Weight Loss:
One Meal A Day?
Calorie Restriction?

I continue to read articles and watch videos about losing weight, and I want to share what I've been learning recently!

My story continues...

One Meal A Day (OMAD)

[Brag: ON]

I have been on the One Meal A Day plan for over a year. It's worked for me! On September 2, 2020, I weighed 40 pounds more than I do right now! 

It had taken decades to get to the weight where I was, and I'm not particularly worried about how slowly it's coming off. I can see measurable progress:
  • I've dropped 2-1/2 shirt sizes.
  • My pants are baggy.
  • All my belts are on the last (first?) notch.
  • (Quandry: What do I dare give away, and what size do I buy new?)
[Brag: OFF]

However, I seem to have reached a plateau. I have been within a 4-pound range for the last two months.


I know this because of my daily routine. I awaken each morning before 7:00. My first stop is the bathroom, and the second is the scale. Then I record my weight. I do this every day.

On July 20 the scales reported my weight as 235 pounds. I have not been below that in the 60 days since then. Fortunately, my daily weight has not been above 239. This morning it was 237.


I continue to journal my food. I eat the same boring stuff every day. I dutifully record the total calories, and they vary between 1,800 and 2,300 per day. I don't change what I eat, just the quantity. For example, today I had two eggs instead of my usual one.

Basal Metabolism Rate: This tells me that my basal metabolism rate is about 2,000 calories.

Exercise: I still lead a largely sedentary lifestyle. I stopped my daily walks at the end of Spring. During the COVID lockdown, I got into the habit of staying home. At home, I spend my time on my computer or watching YouTube videos on my TV.

Meet Giles Yeo

I spent an hour watching a YouTube video by Mr. Yeo. He has a PHD in some combination of genetics, obesity, and patterns of eating. I'm not interested in him, but in the story he tells. The video is titled "How We Got the Science of Weight Loss Wrong." (49 minutes)

The first 25 minutes of his video cover how our bodies process food. He hits on such topics as calorie density and fasting. It was interesting but mostly boring to me.

And, of course, he repeats the ubiquitous phrase "the physics are simple, to lose weight take in less calories than you expend." He also says, "All of the calorie counts you see on food today are wrong. ...calories are not created equal."

Calorie Counting Is Complicated

My take-away from the first part is that science does not have all the answers about food, and it's far more complicated than we've been told. Mostly how energy (food) is processed is different both in the food itself and the body that is processing (consuming) it. Duh.

Earlier I said that my BMR is about 2,000 calories based on the calory numbers published for each product.

Publix Chicken Wings vs Tuna salad

About the time my weight plateaued, I changed from eating 5 Publix buffalo wings to a tuna salad (1 can of tuna, two forkfuls of relish, and a few squirts of Mayonaise). I changed one non-beef protein to another non-beef protein. (From chicken to fish.) My calorie count went from 480 to300 - almost 200 calories per day less.

I stopped losing weight and simply maintained it.

Result: Perhaps the reason was how my body processed the food.

Back to the Video!

Screen Capture from YouTube
The video gets interesting about halfway through. At the 25 minute mark, Mr. Yeo starts applying the groundwork to specific diets. 

I recommend that you follow this link to the part where he talks about  Caloric Availability and Popular Diets: Watch for 4-5 minutes, or until you get bored.

He says that all diets work, and divides them into three categories. All diets "that work" will have one or two of these characteristics

  1. Caloric restriction - eat less - change the balance of acquiring and expending calories
  2. High protein - get most of your calories from protein
  3. High Fiber - get most of your calories from fiber

Then he said something that lept out at me: fasting is basically a way to reduce calories - an implementation of #1  Caloric Restriction. He acknowledges and then dismisses the metabolic claims.

OMAD - One Meal A Day

I'm not really sure where my OMAD diet falls in those categories!

#3 The salads and bananas I eat contain fiber. Not as much as broccoli, but some.

#2 Protein: I eat 1-2 boiled eggs, 6 oz of beef, avocado mayonnaise, and either chicken or tuna. I also eat 2 ozs of processed sausage.

#1 I treat myself to a piece of pumpkin pie every day. It has fewer calories than a piece of apple pie, but it is still full of sugar. I'm sure my fruit and salad dressing will fall into this category.

(PS: I'm full for the rest of the day!)

Something that I quickly learned when I began OMAD was the difference between true hunger and food triggers. In the evenings, a lot of content on TV stirred food triggers because of some scene or commercial. I wanted that particular food. I realized that it was a trigger because I wasn't interested in eating anything else.

I wasn't hungry. I wanted that (whatever it was). In years past, I would have drifted into the kitchen to see what I could substitute for that particular food. Evening snacking was my downfall in years past.

These triggers happened 6 hours after my one meal, and I would make a mental note to remind myself the next day. By the time mealtime rolled around, that particular craving had gone away.

I have since learned something about food triggers. They have nothing to do with hunger. They bring back good memories of what you were doing. But I digress...

The Bottom Line

I cannot tell you what will work for you! But I can tell you what works for me:

  • I'm still a fan of intermittent fasting. Specifically, I prefer 3:21 or OMAD.
  • I try to limit my eating to one time period a day. 
    • Generally, I wait until 11:30, then spend an hour wolfing my food down.
    • Sometimes I'm busy, then, and wait until as late as 3:30. (still knock it down in an hour)
  • I eat the same things every day. I'm lazy and don't want to think about it.
    • (Egg, sausage, orange, banana, hamburger, salad, tuna, pie).
  • It's mostly protein and I feel full afterward. 
  • I will eat when I dine out socially even if it's during my so-called fasting period. This is new in the last few months. I am no longer so strongly focused.
    • If the host is distributing o'dourves, then I'll have one or two.
    • At a restaurant, I'll order a salad. Not so much for myself, but for my companions and the restaurant.
  • I'm OK the few times I "cheat." This is not more than 1-2 times a week. For example:
    • I'll eat my egg/sausage/fruit at 8:00am, then wait until 11:30 for the rest. 
    • At 8:00pm I'll have a couple servings of salad or a piece of pie
  • I still don't drink beer or other alcohol. (But that's a different decision.)

I will continue to read/watch about how I bring my weight down another 30 pounds.

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