So, you want to know, “Can I Eat at Night on OMAD?”
While intermittent fasting and one meal a day can be fantastic, it’s often difficult to know when to actually eat your single meal.
You know that you literally only have a 1-2 hour eating window, but you also want to ensure that you get the best out of this.
Basically, you don’t want your eating window to impact your working day or when you’re trying to sleep at night.
So, will eating OMAD at night work against you?
Or is this the perfect time for you to be eating?
Allow me to reveal all.
Can I Eat at Night on OMAD?
It is perfectly fine to eat at night on OMAD. In reality, you should determine what time of the day is best for you to enjoy your one meal. This is obviously based on your activities, energy levels, and hunger. However, it is said that the best time to generally eat your one meal is between 4pm-8pm. So, if you do choose to do OMAD at night then ensure you eat at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed.
1. Discover Your Perfect Eating Window For OMAD
In reality, there is no specific right or wrong time to consume your only meal on OMAD (one meal a day).
Basically, it all comes down to what suits you and your current lifestyle.
That being said, researchers have determined that the best time for OMAD is generally between 4pm-8pm.
However, as I say, you have to do what suits you best.
One of the main issues that most of us suffer with from OMAD is dwindling energy levels.
And often this can be made even worse by consuming a large meal.
No doubt, you’ve noticed this yourself, and as soon as you’ve finished eating your meal you feel tired and lethargic.
If this is the case then it doesn’t make much sense to eat your one meal first thing in the morning, as you have a whole day ahead of you.
Then again, the last thing you want is to be falling asleep during the afternoon at work, as you decided to eat your one meal for lunch.
Furthermore, if you exercise regularly, then you also have to figure this into the mix.
Obviously working out also requires energy, plus it also generally makes sense to eat very soon after exercise.
When you take all this into consideration, the recommended 4pm-8pm slot starts to make a lot of sense.
You can basically go about your day as normal, enjoy your meal at night, knowing that any dips in energy don’t really matter.
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2. When Are You Working Out?
Okay, I briefly mentioned working out, as this is something else you’ll need to take into consideration.
Admittedly, there are various reasons why you would follow OMAD.
These range from time available, resetting insulin levels, autophagy, changing body composition, and of course, to lose weight.
However, if you do work out you’ll need to figure out the best time to eat.
Unfortunately, this can be a bit of a catch-22 situation.
What I mean by this is that you’ll generally need energy from food to fuel your workouts, but you’ll also need to top up your depleted energy levels after your workout too.
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But, the simple fact that you only have a 1-2 hour eating window makes this extremely difficult.
Once more, there is no ideal solution, and it’s a case of what works best for you as an individual.
From a personal perspective, I would generally want to eat after my workout.
This is simply because I don’t have a physically demanding job (sitting at a computer all day), and therefore I should in effect have sufficient energy to workout.
Then once I’m done I can enjoy my meal for the day and completely relax thereafter.
This obviously also means that I would generally need to workout in the evening.
This actually makes a lot of sense, and fits in well with my lifestyle.
I wake up in the morning, stick to coffee and water for the day while I’m working.
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I finish off and head to the gym at around 5.30pm, enjoy a workout, and I’m ready to enjoy my one meal of the day at around 7pm.
Then if I do experience the expected energy spike and drop, it makes no difference, as I’m at home and have nothing else to do for the day.
That being said, once again I’ll repeat, you have to do what is best for you and what fits in with your lifestyle.
3. Be Wary of Sleep
I guess the biggest issue with doing OMAD at night is sleep.
In fact, fasting in general, if done incorrectly, can have a big impact on your sleep.
And unfortunately this can also play havoc with your emotional state, which is when there’s more chance of you cheating, or simply giving up altogether.
I’ve already spoken about the spike in energy followed by the subsequent drop.
This is basically your insulin and blood sugar levels that are doing this.
Now, you would think that having a drop in energy levels after doing OMAD at night would be perfect.
However, in truth, it is anything but, and it is likely to severely interrupt your sleep.
Firstly, if you’re taking on your entire day’s calories just before sleep, you’re probably going to feel full.
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Then as soon as you lie down you’re probably going to feel bloated and uncomfortable.
This will clearly make it very difficult for you to fall asleep.
Furthermore, eating just prior to sleeping can affect your circadian rhythm and your melatonin levels, both of which are essential for a good night’s sleep.
All these things that can potentially affect your sleep will also carry over into the next day.
So, you wake up feeling tired and grumpy because you haven’t had a good night’s sleep.
You now have to go through an entire day at work and an early evening workout before you get the chance to eat again.
As you can probably tell your motivation and willpower will be extremely low throughout the day.
And unfortunately, this could lead to taking short cuts or simply cheating on your fasting window.
So, while eating your OMAD at night is perfectly feasible, you’ll also need to time it right.
Therefore, if you are sticking to a single nighttime meal then ensure you’re eating it at least 2-3 hours before you go to sleep.
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So, I hope you understand that eating at night on OMAD is absolutely fine.
However, it’s important to fit your single meal in with your current lifestyle.
So, as an example, you’ll need to determine when the best time to eat is so it doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels, thus leaving you tired and lethargic thereafter.
Furthermore, you’ll need to decide when you’d like to eat in relation to your workout, i.e. before or after.
Plus, you’ll also want to ensure that eating a big meal at night doesn’t impact your sleep.
Therefore, if you are going to do OMAD at night then you should be eating approximately 2-3 hours before you go to sleep.
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Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.