OMAD / Low carbs

I’ve done some experimenting lately with a lot of things in my lifestyle. My target is to improve my cognitive abilities and energy throughout the day so that I can be as productive as possible. Both in regards to my industry, but also other pursuits that I may have in life. Like relationships and hobbies.

In addition to taking cold showers and quitting coffee, something that I’ve tried and am still practicing (although closer to 80-90% of days rather than all) is one meal a day (OMAD) and low carb diet.

It started as a means to combat the tiredness from quitting coffee. I had experienced OMAD and low carb for only a week last summer and remembered that it resulted in very stable energy. It was as if I was energized the whole day and had no dips. I thought, let’s try it to offset the drowsiness I felt from the withdrawal symptoms from caffeine.

Said and done. Initially I just did low carbs and it was very difficult. I did feel somewhat more level energy during the day, but cravings for fast food and refined sugars were super strong. I managed to hold it for a few days and then relapsed on a big meal of phad thai. However, I felt the downside of the carbs instantly after relishing in such a meal.

I’d feel more tired again and as I had recently been on a high energy level I could feel the strong contrast between the two modes. This instantly fueled me to get up on the horse’s back again right after. I did this a few times back and forth and every time I “failed”, I came back stronger and more certain that low carb is what I wanted.

I talked to someone who mentioned OMAD and I thought that sounded pretty extreme. But I got intrigued at the same time. What if OMAD could unlock even more stable energy levels. So I tried skipping lunch one day about a month after I started low carbs.

Skipping lunch was obviously not easy the first time. But I instantly liked it. I had a high energy level the whole day until dinner. It was a hunger infused energy. But at my occupation I could do 8-9 hours without any interruption except bathroom breaks. It felt like I got 2x more done than on a regular day because I could be in a flow state the whole day.

It also created a lot of extra time for me. Not only that I felt 2x more effective, I could get one more hour of work in during a day, or 30 minutes more work and 30 minutes more free time. It also unlocked energy for me after work to do meaningful hobbies like learning, coding, reading and writing instead of doom scrolling or doing something else that is virtually meaningless.

However attractive these benefits are, it was difficult to maintain. Because the habit for regular food is strong. It takes time to break it down, but luckily every time I relapsed I got reminded how much worse I feel without OMAD and low carbs.

Since starting this experiment ~2 months ago, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my body. My stomach feels much more calm (I think I have irritable bowel syndrome or something similar) on this diet. I can have more stable energy and not be dependent on frequent sugar fixes during the day. And also my sleep got a lot better.

I noticed that the day after a sugar relapse I’d wake up feeling exhausted after a full night’s sleep. While after a low carb and OMAD day I’d feel very rested and energized. I’ve gone back and forth enough times to be quite confident that at least for me this is significant.

I think going forward that I will find a balanced level of OMAD and low carbs. I’ve felt too vividly how bad carbs and regular meals are for my cognitive acuity to go back probably. It’s difficult (and perhaps not even desirable) to follow OMAD and low carbs strictly during certain shorter travel and social events. But the price paid for the cheat days is high, so I’d like to keep them to a minimum.

The ultimate question to ask is. If you find something that makes you more energized and cognitively stronger, is it worth sacrificing it for momentary pleasure? My answer is; most of the time no.

Have you tried OMAD and low carbs? What effect did it have on you? Let me know if you have found any other routines or results from experiments that you’ve done that gave you similar results.

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