Eating One Meal A Day: A Stupidly Easy Way To Lose Weight? - FitMole

Eating One Meal A Day: A Stupidly Easy Way To Lose Weight?

2053 Comments | Diet

eating one meal a day diet

Few people have yet to experience the glory that is eating one meal a day.

  • No, eating one meal per day won’t make you fat.
  • It won’t make you lose all your muscle.
  • And it won’t screw your metabolism into the ground.

But it does allow you to feast like a fucking king every single night while eating your favorite foods.

And no, this isn’t a scam and there isn’t even any secret “guru” magic behind it.

It’s really just common sense.

But fitness and common sense is a lost art these days.

If you follow it, eating once per day JUST WORKS.

And if  you’ve struggled with more traditional diets that make you eat  3-6 meals per day, then this may be the most stupidly simple way for you to successfully lose weight, ever!

If you’ve dreamed of eating 24 ounce steaks, with a mountain fries and ice cream, EVERY SINGLE night while still losing fat and building muscle then read on.

Eating one meal per day in a nutshell

The basic idea behind eating one meal per day is simple.

Every day, you eat one big ass meal (preferably at night). The basic idea is to get the majority of your calories in a single meal.

And during the day, you don’t eat anything.

However during the day you can eat 1-2 pieces of fruit or some protein after you workout.

This allows you to eat much more, feel fuller, and better adhere to your diet.

Update: For a modified approach to eating one meal per day for people short on time, check out the Quickshot Diet.

Remember, eating one meal a day is NOT magic


When I first started eating one meal per day, I had this weird belief that eating once per day gave me the power to lose more weight than traditional diets.

While this might seem like the case, nothing could be further from the truth.

It might be nice to believe that eating once per day causes all these different hormones to change in my body that help me to burn “more” body fat. But that’s just not the case.

And insulin levels – everyone always brings up fucking insulin levels.

Don’t worry about your damn insulin levels.

Just focus on creating a calorie deficit – that’s the only way to lose weight and always will be.

Eating once per day just happens to be a great way to create a deficit that many people can actually stick with.

For example, let’s say you need to eat 2000 calories per day to lose weight.

Diet #1 has you eating 3 meals and 2 snacks.

Diet #2 has you eating one meal.

In the end of the day, calories are exactly the same.

You’re just splitting your calories up a lot more in Diet #1.

That’s it. There is no magic. Just simple math.

5 reasons why you should eat one meal per day

I originally came across the idea of eating one meal per day from the Warrior Diet back around 2008.

At that time I was brainwashed by all the “eat 6 meals per day or die” BS and the Warrior Diet was my first foray into intermittent fasting.

Hell, even Terry Crews does intermittent fasting.

I’m not saying it works for everyone, but if you love to feast every single day, have more energy, and potentially be 200x more productive during the day, then maybe this something you should give a shot.

Here are 5 reasons I recommend eating once per day:

Reason #1: Increased energy

How many times have you eaten lunch only to feel super tired 2 hours later? It sucks.

We’re all told lunch is supposed to give us this magic boost of energy, and maybe it does for some people, but I’ve found that most people just fall into a 2pm slump where they eat lunch and their productivity shoots down the drain.

When you fast throughout the entire day, you experience this amazing surge of energy that lasts the entire day.

Reason #2: Never feel deprived when dieting

One of the many reasons people fail at diets is because they don’t get this sense of satisfaction with what they’re eating and how much they’re eating.

When you follow the conventional 6 meals per day model, you have survive on a couple hundred calories every few hours.

At the end of the day, you just never feel satisfied.

You feel like something is missing…

Ironically, eating once per day solves this problem for most people.

The act of fasting throughout the day is a very powerful appetite suppressant, so when you have your massive feast at the end of the day, you practically feel “stuffed” every night.

Reason #3: More time & more productivity

Imagine how much more work you could get done if you didn’t have to worry about eating during the day.

No more worrying about that mid morning snack, no more stopping at subway during lunch, and no more 2pm energy slumps.

All this time you save can now be used to do more productive things that truly matter (like looking at pictures of cats online).

Reason #4: EVERYTHING tastes better

Fast the entire day then eat a grape.

Just one grape.

I guarantee that grape will be the best tasting grape you’ve ever had in your entire fucking life.

Look, I don’t know the scientific reason for why food tastes so much better after a fast, and frankly, I don’t care.

But some of the best meals in my life have been after a long fast.

Reason #5:  Because eating cake every night is awesome


Cake is good. But not this much cake.

You know what’s awesome? Cake.

You know what’s not awesome? Not eating cake.

Cake makes everything in life better but with traditional dieting, you aren’t allowed to eat cake, which sucks.

Everyone needs more cake in their life (scientifically proven), so why not have a slice…or two, every night.

When you only eat one meal per day, you can afford to have some cake every night since your calorie budget is so much bigger.

Is coffee, water, tea, or diet soda okay during the fast?

Yes, as long as it’s zero calories, it’s fine.

Coffee and tea is actually a great appetite suppressant.

Eat 1-2 pieces of fruit during the day

While it’s totally fine if you can go the full day without eating anything, a lot of people do get hunger pangs no matter how much experience they have with intermittent fasting.

In this case, you can have 1-2 pieces of fruit throughout the day. This shouldn’t add up to any more than 200 calories plus you won’t feel a huge drain in energy compared to eating something high in carbs like a granola bar or a sandwich.

I recommend 2 large apples due to the large fiber and water content to keep you full

Supplement with some whey protein after you workout

If you train hard with weights 3-4 times per week while fasting (and you should) and follow the 1 meal per day diet then you should consume some 100% whey protein powder after working out so you don’t go half the day without any protein in your system.

I’m not really anal about the post workout “window of opportunity,” but it’s best to get some protein in within 2-3 hours after your workout.

Why 100% whey protein? Because it has the most complete amino acid profile which is great for muscle growth and recovery.

As for which protein powder is best? Try Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard.

The one meal per day approach might not work great for muscle building

You can absolutely build quality, lean muscle by eating once per day.

BUT…some people need A LOT of calories to put on muscle and if you’re supposed to eat 4000 calories per day, it’s going to be pretty hard for some to get that in one meal.

So unless you have a huge appetite, I would probably be better off splitting it up into 3-6 meals.

For more info on gaining weight and building muscle, check out these posts:

Eating one meal per day vs. other intermittent fasting protocols

Eating once per day is just one version of intermittent fasting.

And there are dozens of other fasting/feasting protocols out there that play with different fasting and eating windows.

But after looking at all of them, you’ll notice that the majority of them have the same underlying concept – fast for an extended period of time and get the majority of your calories in a small eating window.

Let’s look at some of the other intermittent fasting systems and how they compare to eating once per day.

One meal per day vs. 16/8 Leangains

If you follow Leangains, this means you’ll be fasting for 16 hours per day and eating for the other 8 hours.

During the 8 hour eating window, you’ll typically be eating 2-3 main meals.

There really isn’t a big difference between a Leangains style fast and eating once per day. The main difference is in the eating window and that all boils down to personal preference.

One meal per day vs. Eat Stop Eat

Eating once per day and Eat Stop Eat are not the same thing.

Many people confuse the two since they both involve 24 hour fasts.

Here’s the difference:

Eating once per day – Fast for 24 hours, under eat during the day, and get your entire daily calorie intake in one meal, every day.

Eat Stop Eat – Completely fast for 24 hours 1-2 times per week (no calories at all), eat a “normal sized” meal at the end of the 24 hour fast.

The problem some people might face is defining what “normal sized” means. It’s basically telling you to not eat until you’re stuffed and make sensible food choices.

But if you want to get more technical, your meal after an ESE style fast should be no more than 40% of your daily calorie intake.

Read my Eat Stop Eat review here.

ESE forces you to create a massive calorie deficit on your fasting days while the one meal per day approach simply changes up your meal frequency but you still get the same amount of calories every day.

One meal per day vs. 2 meals per day

Nothing different here besides meal frequency. If you want to eat 2 meals per day, that’s fine, just make sure your overall calories are the same by the end of the day.

Can you mix and match different diet & fasting approaches


I am all about diet flexibility.

If you want to follow the one meal per day approach one day and do 2-3 meals per day the next, that’s totally fine.

For example, you can structure your diet to look something like this:

  • Monday: 1 meal
  • Tuesday: 2 meals
  • Wednesday: Eat Stop Eat
  • Thursday: 1 meal
  • Friday: 1 meal
  • Saturday: 4 meals
  • Sunday: 1 meal

Remember, a calorie deficit is the most important thing to create when dieting.

So just because you’re following a one meal per day diet doesn’t mean you literally have to eat one meal per day, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

If you want to go out and have brunch on Sunday, then screw it, have 2 meals that day. Don’t be obsessive about this stuff.

Recommended Reading: The 1000 calorie diet

The one meal per day FAQ

I’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions from readers about eating one meal per day.

Hopefully this answers all your questions and gets you on the right path.

What kind of foods should you eat?

There isn’t any single food that you should or shouldn’t eat.

If you have specific macro/calorie goals, you still need to hit them. The only difference is you have the luxury of hitting them in a single meal so for those that like to eat a ton of food in one sitting, you’re going to love this way of eating.

But obviously, you need to get a hefty amount of protein, a good amount of carbs, and some fat.

So something like a massive steak, some roasted potatoes, a big ass salad, plus some cookies and ice cream would make for a pretty epic feast.

Recommended reading: “What Are The Best Foods To Eat?” Here’s Your Answer, Now Stop Asking Me

How many calories per day should you eat in my one meal?

I recommend multiplying your bodyweight in pounds by 10-12 to get your daily calorie intake.

Use 10 if you have 50+ pounds to lose or if you’re a woman. Everyone else can start with 12.

This is just an estimate. It’s impossible for any formula to accurately tell you your daily calorie needs.

How many hours should you wait before going to sleep after you have your big meal?

Doesn’t matter. Sleep whenever you want.

What does this do to the metabolism?

Nothing bad. Read this article on metabolism myths for more info.

How long can you eat one meal per day for?

As long as you want. This isn’t a quick fix diet.

Eating once per day is a real, long-term approach to dieting that can work for as long as you want.

Does it matter whether you eat your one meal in the morning or at night?

Nope doesn’t matter at all.

It’s a matter of personal preference. Most people do it at night.

If you eat your one meal for breakfast or lunch, you might feel sluggish and tired the rest of the day since you have so much food in your system.

Could eating one meal per day be bad for you? I keep reading other articles online that say it’s bad for you.

No it’s not.

Most people criticizing eating once per day are just woefully ignorant. Read those articles, and you’ll find it’s just people making assumptions without any real world data.

Can I eat McDonalds for my one meal?

Sure, but I wouldn’t eat fries and Big Macs every night.

Use some common sense here.

You can still eat the foods you love, but you should still be eating mostly whole, nutritious foods for maximize your health and performance.

I love to drink coffee. Can I drink coffee during the fast?

Yup, coffee is a great appetite suppressant to use while fasting.

Can I add milk and sugar to the coffee?

I would stick with zero calorie sweeteners if possible. A splash of milk is fine, but don’t go overboard.

Is eating one meal per day guaranteed to help you lose weight?

Of course not.

It will only work if you put in the work.

I know the majority of you reading this are looking for some magic fat loss hack but eating one meal per day is not that.

You still need to make sensible food choices and you still need to be consistent like any other diet.

Nothing is guaranteed in life.

I tried this diet and it doesn’t work for me? What do I do?

Impossible to say. Maybe you’re eating too many calories. Maybe you’re not tracking your calories correctly.

It’s usually one of those two problems.

Why do you recommend the main meal to be eaten at night?

Whatever you want but try to make it sensibly healthy.

That means something like grilled meat, a carb source like rice/pasta, some veggies, and maybe some ice cream at the end is great.

Obviously food choices vary from person and culture, but use some common sense.

Can you drink alcohol while doing this?

Having one drink per night is fine.

Everything in moderation.

Should you exercise before or after your meal?

Again, doesn’t matter.

It’s all up to you. Find what works best with your schedule and lifestyle.

Do you need to count calories while eating one meal per day?

I personally recommend tracking calories when starting out, only because it gives you an unprecedented level of tracking.

If you’re not losing weight, then you know exactly why and you can adjust calories accordingly.

I never want people to become obsessed with tracking calories, but it does give you a level of precision that you can’t get anywhere else.

But as you become more advanced and can recognize/estimate portion sizes more accurately, then you can back off from the calorie counting.

What if you get hungry when fasting?

Here are some tips:

  • Drink plenty of water, black coffee, and tea.
  • Chew sugarless gum.
  • Stay busy and productive. People eat more out of boredom than anything else.

How much water should you drink?

At a minimum, enough to stay hydrated.

Also, if you’re pissing green, then you prob need to drink more water (and see a doctor).

The “8 glasses per day” recommendation is pretty solid.

I will say that drinking more water can help ward off hunger pangs.


Have you tried the one meal per day diet? Let me know what you’re experience was in the comments.

Brent - October 18, 2018

Keith, I’m about 5’9″ and weigh somewhere between 290 and 300 lbs. By doing the eat one meal a day thing, is 2000 to 2500 a decent calorie intake to shoot for? My goal is somewhere between 180 lbs (my weight in high school) and 200 lbs. I know it’s less than body weight times 10 or 12, but I’d like to lose it a bit faster than that, as long as it’s sustainable. Thanks

Hawa - November 1, 2018

Hei Keith, am about 168cm, and weigh somewhere between 80 and 82 kg. By doing the one meal a day, how much calorie should I be eating. My goal is somewhere between 65 and 70 kg. Please help. THANKS

Robert - November 1, 2018

I Googled “eat once per day” and got your site. I Googled it cause I wondered if anyone out there was doing what I have been doing for about 3 months now. I am totally with you on this. It works for me. I’m not really educated on the diets and calorie intakes you talk about. I just eat one meal, as much as I want and what I want, in the evenings M-F. It’s so simple and effective. That’s my style. My one difference is that I eat anything and everything all weekend long ( Sat- Sun) and I don’t drink alcohol M-Th. Thanks for your site!

    Bea - November 12, 2018

    Hi, Robert,
    Is your system working for you? I just found this fasting protocol. I want information. I did it today and didn’t get hungry at all. Do you drink sugar free soda during the day? Thank you!!

Brandie - November 12, 2018

I did this diet after trying and failing at all other diets. I decided to only eat once a day, whatever I wanted. I lost 120 lbs in a year. As time went on my stomach shrank and I needed less food to satisfy me. 10 years in and I’ve kept the weight off. It is hard in the beginning, but gets easier. I stay away from sweets, they add up in calories. It really is the best way to stick to a diet. No cravings, because when dinner rolls around, you eat what you want.

    Keith - November 12, 2018


    Bea - November 12, 2018

    CONGRATULATIONS!! Do you drink diet sodas if you get hungry? How about sugar free hard candy or sugar free gum? I’d really appreciate more information. I am VERY impressed.

Brandie - November 13, 2018

I do drink diet sodas and a lot of water. I try to stay away from candy because it is hard for me to eat it in moderation, since I love it so much. Sugar free gum helps a lot. Honestly when I started this diet I didn’t know it was something anyone did. I just researched calorie intake that was needed daily. I thought, well if I eat midday one good meal, then I will probably be ok with cravings. I needed fast results to keep me going. You get them.

Ana - November 24, 2018

When I started a couple a weeks ago, I did a lot of research. I understood quite fast that this method, is very easy for me to follow, for one simple reason. I can eat whatever I want, without feeling like a sad miserable hungry dieting person.
First 3 days were a bit hard but I found a trick that helped me out a lot. I was simply saying “later”. I’ve put aside whatever I wanted to eat for “later”.
By the time it was my one meal, I had a table full of goodies and to be honest, I felt a bit bad, because I realized, what I was about to eat all day but I didn’t while waiting for later. Of course, I had a bite of everything! EVERYTHING! I had promised myself “later” and I wasn’t going to disappoint me. As you can imagine, of course, I ate about the 1/3 of quantity (aka calories) and I was stuffed but above all, Happy!
During the day I drink loads of black coffee and flavored water with zero calories.
I avoid soft drinks, even with zero calories because I have the feeling that at the end, all the fizzy carbon, just expands my stomach in long-term, but because I love them, I will have one every other day with my meal.

I am a 48yrs old woman, in menopause (I realized that in my case is a myth that a woman in menopause can’t lose weight), lost 5.5 kilos (12 pounds) in 2 weeks, 165cm (5,5″) hight and I started 91.5 kilos (approximately 202 pounds)
My goal is way far (60-65 kilos or 132-145 pounds), but I did a hell of a start, and that is something I was trying for years. Besides, as I see it, is a way of living, and a good way of dieting.
Thanks for the space you provided me, to write my experience so far.

Dylan Baker - November 26, 2018

Hey I am 6’5 280pounds I was wondering how many calories I need to consume, I started fasting yesterday and haven’t ate in about 17 hours I’m hoping fasting works well for me.

    Keith - November 28, 2018

    if you get bout 2500-3000 cals per day, you should be good.

Luke - December 3, 2018

This works but not because of a natural calorie restriction. Calorie restriction has no science behind it and never has. Insulin is one of the major factors to wether or not your body stores fat OR releases it. Check out The Obesity Code or visit Dr. Jason Fungs website for more information so I don’t butcher any of the facts. If you read that book and understand what science shows, it’ll change your entire outlook on nutrition and dieting.

    Keith - December 3, 2018

    “Calorie restriction has no science behind it and never has”

    Fuck u smoking, dawg?

Dan - December 5, 2018

I stumbled into this this “Eat once per day idea” from a different angle.

I’m recovering from spinal surgery and had been in bed for 6 months total (before and after the discovery of a Cyst). I had been 225 pounds (a good weight for me). After the ordeal I hit 260 pounds before I could start walking again. Gaining 35 unwanted pounds at age 46 just sucks so much.

As soon as I could walk again I started burning 1,300 to 2,300 calories per day on my treadmill. I had to walk slow at first, so these workouts literally took ALL DAY LONG. I found that I would get on the treadmill immediately on waking up and walk for, say, 6 to 8 hours at a shot. I guess I was making myself too distracted and exhausted to want to eat, if that makes any sense.

An hour or two before bed I finally started to feel hunger pains and had to force myself to eat something. About 3 days into this I realized I had only eaten 3 meals in 3 days. Until then, I didn’t know this was possible. I had always assumed 3 meals a day was mandatory, LOL.

So, since I was distracting myself all day from food by walking on my treadmill, and was NOT extremely hungry even at the very end of the day, I just went with it.

I’ve been at 1 meal a day for 23 days now, and at the same time I’m averaging 1,800 calories/day burned on the treadmill. I’ve lost 15 Pounds in 23 days. I should probably take a day off and rest my legs and feet, but since it’s working so well, I just can’t stop! I’m so sore in the mornings I can barely get out of bed. But I get on the scale and see massive weight loss EVERY SINGLE MORNING!! It use to take me a year to lose 15 pounds at half effort.

I never intended to reduce my eating dramatically. It was just a situation that developed for a few days and I decided to turn this into an additional goal. Why eat two extra meals a day if your brain isn’t torturing you with hunger pains?

Anyhow, now that I find myself eating only once per day, I’m starting to research the matter to see if I’m wrecking my health in the long run. Eating once a day doesn’t immediately sound healthy. But, it might very well be the way we Humans had eaten for upwards of 200,000 years.

Where does this idea of Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper come from? I’m going to research this further, but I bet you a dollar Mankind hasn’t eaten 3 meals a day until very recently in our history–around the time of the discovery of Farming. We couldn’t of eaten 3 meals a day prior to that because we didn’t have the food to do so. And even if you had the food, where would you store it? A hole in ground? Your cave dwelling? In the summer months, meat could only be stored for a few days. How long can you keep edible fruits or nuts laying around before the rats got to it?

Before Agriculture and Settlements, I think the answer is people ate ONLY when they could. And I think they were doing good if they ate every other day. Now quite suddenly in our history we can’t go 24 hours without three meals in a single day?

I’m thinking we should eat by our hunger clock and not the wall clock.

Anyhow, enjoyed your article,


Rose - December 7, 2018

Can’t wait to try this starting tomorrow! I loved reading these success stories.

James - December 9, 2018

Would this work for someone who is obese. I’m male 6ft 4 360lbs at 40% body fat. What calories/macros would you reccomend? Can the meal be spread over several hours I.e 6pm-10pm

Lisa - December 11, 2018

Started OMAD three days ago. Not weighing myself yet. It definitely felt easier today and less of the stuffed feeling I experienced after first day dinner.

Will keep updates.


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