As I write this, the clock has just turned 6:00pm on Monday 22nd February. I haven’t eaten for about 21 hours now and by giving myself just one hour to write this blog post, I’m about to demonstrate one of the most proclaimed benefits of intermittent fasting (IF): laser-like focus.
Typically writing a blog post has been a long, drawn-out process with me spending days contemplating what to write and then, when I do finally sit down, managing to only get about ten minutes done before getting distracted by something else.
And that is something I’ve been eager to improve on, so for the past week I’ve been attempting one of the strictest forms of IF, one meal a day (OMAD). Eating only in the evenings and for no longer than an hour in total, usually between 7pm and 8pm.
I know what you’re thinking. One meal a day? You must be crazy. Well I thought the same thing when I first heard about it, but after having had tremendous results experimenting with IF variations like 16:8 and 20:4, I wanted to know what it would be like to take it up a notch.
The beauty of OMAD is that this sharp mental awareness allows me to spend the whole day working in an orderly and determined manner. Instead of multi-tasking, I simply focus on the one task, get it done and then move onto the next one.
It’s hardly rocket science but as a self-employed person with the dangerous tendency of trying to do too much at once, this ability has literally become a superpower for me.
Back when I did the 20:4 method, I would always start eating at 12pm and stop at 4pm, which meant I would have highly productive mornings but then the dreaded afternoon slump would inevitably hit after lunch, leaving me yawning and unfocused. OMAD, however, equips me with concentration on tap the whole day through.
And the attraction of IF is not just psychological. By having such a long fasting window I am giving my body the chance of reaching a state of ketosis, where it burns fat instead of carbs, and after having tried to shift those stubborn corona kilos for a few months now, this is the one thing really making a difference.
Whether you believe it or not, OMAD is not about starving myself. Far from it. It’s about using that one hour of eating to take the time to consciously savour a healthy and nutritious meal. Looking for a way to cut out the junk, the snacks? This is it.
Now that’s not to say it’s all been plain sailing. Over the past week I’ve found myself at times irritable, short-tempered and lethargic. But the longer I keep going, the stronger I become.
And as this graph above shows, the hunger hormone ghrelin does not continuously increase if you skip a meal. It may be uncomfortable at first but your hunger pangs will reside and you will get through it. But just like anything in life, practice makes perfect.
Oh, it’s seven on the dot. Time to eat! Bon appétit!
NB 1.0: I am neither a doctor nor a nutritionist. My blog is based purely on anecdotal experience. For a more scientific-based explanation of IF, please click here.
NB 2.0: OMAD is one of the most extreme forms of intermittent fasting and not recommended if you are new to this way of eating.