There are many health reasons for eating one meal a day, but the greatest benefit is indeed on a mental level. By eating one meal a day for extended periods and even making it a life-long practice is like putting up a fence against once desires. It teaches you to control impulses and derive joy and benefits from doing so.
|Eating one meal a day is a habit that increase self-awareness
This teaches you the incredibly valuable lesson of how to be in the driver seat of you mind and body. It increases the degree of control you have over your life. If you follow this practice for some time you will recognize how the effects can be felt well beyond the area of food and eating. In my experience this diet alters the way you think and your motivation-pathways. You will develop a state of mind in which you are more likely to resist immediate gratifications and instead look for long-term benefits. It is well knows that this will lead to a happier, healthier and probably richer life. In fact when it comes down to the financial aspect of delayed-gratification, the effects become measurable. Only by saving money (delaying consumption) are you able to benefit from interest, compound interest and future capital gains of investments.
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The inner state of mind is an area where the outcomes of delayed gratification cannot be measured as easily. This is a very personal and individual development that takes place gradually. Being able to stay in a mental place of peace and general well-being without having to search for the next “high” or stimulation from the outside world makes you resilient to circumstances you cannot control. Whole philosophies developed around the idea that the main way to attain a state of lasting happiness is based around working on and molding ones inner mental space.
Stoicism developed in ancient Greece. More recently the movement of minimalism has picked up some ideas of stoicism. But minimalism is mainly focused on external influences. The core idea of minimalism is to attain freedom and happiness through the reduction of possessions. But it fails to deliver the mental concept and attitude required to detach happiness from outer circumstances in general. Many minimalist end up chasing outer experiences, which do not require the possession of physical objects. Excessive travelling and adventuring are common activities that minimalists engage. In that state they are attached to a system that enables them to engage in such a (environmentally) destructive activity. The activity is needed to get the next “high” in the form of new places, cultures and experiences. On a mental level this is the same motivational pathway than people who live the “consumer-lifestyle”, acquiring and changing possessions on a regular basis.
With the OMAD diet, one can take a first step into the direction of detaching from outer satisfaction. The next step could be to learn about the original ideas of stoicism and following such path. With a stoic mind, possessions and outer experience actually become enjoyable. The mind is not attached to them and does not need them to be happy. But they can be used and enjoyed from a standpoint where you are free to actually choose to partake in them or not. Similar to someone who does not regularly drinks coffee. He can choose take it occasionally for a boost in energy, but does not need it to function on a daily basis. He enjoys a boost in energy from coffee and the stoic enjoys a boost in happiness. The addict on the other hand does not experience such feelings and in turn needs the substance to feel normal.
For most people, switching to one meal per day is a difficult change. The adaptation process will reveal certain challenging aspects of ones psyche. But for a person interested in personal development, this is a good thing. It presents an opportunity of mental growth which we usually suppress by keeping busy and cover up by overindulgence in food and other highly pleasurable but also addictive behaviors. We tend to keep busy for long periods of time (work) and then fill the rest of our time with as much pleasure as possible (consumption). So OMAD actually presents the opportunity for much needed idle time. Such times allow us to reflect and develop a broader perspective of life. Introspection falls way short in today’s environment where distraction and entertainment is available for every little bit of free time. Smartphones, TV, Gaming, Food, Sex, Cinemas, Travel, … There is an activity for every length of free time. We do not even have to think for a minute anymore for ourselves and come up with our own purpose.
A certain degree of boredom and true idle time is necessary for creative thoughts. We can never really tap into that anymore. The free time gained from only eating once per day is a powerful tool for transformation in several ways. By facing ones desire for food without giving in to them, one can see into the nature of desires. Observing how it behaves and where it arises. These are interesting insights that can only be gained through careful introspection. As these are individual insights, reading or hearing them might not necessarily teach you much which you can apply for your own life. But spending a few weeks or month eating only one meal a day will bring you some insights if combined with careful introspection into the difficulties you will face.
So let the transformation be a spiritual one as much as it will be a physical transformation for the body.