ADF vs OMAD - I’m struggling


(Reina Noemi) #1

In the past couple weeks I’ve attempted to start ADF. Ive been keto on and off for 3 years and due to inconsistencies and covid I gained back 35 of the 90 pounds I had lost originally. I dabbled in fasting when i was keto in the beginning and even did a a 48 hour fast once.

Now im trying to ramp my weight-loss again and I really love everything about ADF and I want to be able to do it with ease. My problem is i cannot fall asleep hungry.

Yesterday was my fasting day and i got all the way to 11pm and then broke my fast with eggs cause I kept tossing and turning. Prior to that i had been fasting until 7pm and then having a very low carb high fat meal like scrambled eggs and bacon but only eating a little. Enough to be able to sleep. I dont want to eat before bed as I’d like to do a true 36 hour fast and im wondering if maybe OMAD is better but ive tried omad before and i can do it but over time i didnt like doing it everyday.

Idk does anyone have advice on the night time hunger with ADF?

(Allie) #2

So don’t do it. A massive part of this lifestyle is learning to listen to your body and eating when hungry. Try 16/8 2MAD and see how you go.


I can say the say as Allie, if you can’t do it comfortably, don’t do it. Why do you think you need such extreme fasting (it is to most people :)) to lose fat? Lose fat eating every day… It seems you can do eat once on most days, isn’t it enough? If you still eat too much that way, change your chosen food. And it’s fine not doing OMAD every day. I go for OMAD now as it seems I finally can do it - but not every day, at least not while eating very low carb. And I have times when it just can’t happen as I get hungry early or can’t eat big enough meals. Sometimes I eat 4 times because I need that to get my 1600+ kcals for the day. I almost always get hungry if I eat less, I learned that so act accordingly.
I don’t know how others do their fasts, I can only do what my body allows me to do… So I use my experience, make some decisions but in the end my body decides when I break my fast. I can influence it (mostly with great food choices) but not every day are the same… Sometimes one needs more meals.

I never would go to bed hungry. Once, being very desperate I did. I usually feel like a zombie in the morning but it was way worse… My sleep was quite useless.
My SO can and willing go to bed hungry (but he never skips a day) so it’s individual.
But it seems it’s very bad for you so if you are hungry, eat. I am fine eating before bed but it’s better to do it in the evening. I experimented and now I have my ideal OMAD dinner time. It’s a little bit flexible. It’s almost impossible for me to get hungry earlier but if I get some very serious hunger, I eat any time. But I usually will have my OMAD dinner and maybe second or even third dinners when needed in the next months. I had plenty of OMAD days in the last months too but never many in a row as my calorie intake inevitably drops after some days if I use the right food choices for me. I need my high-calorie days too sometimes, another problem for OMAD all the time. I like proper eating on my workout days too, I get stronger and need my calories. But most of my days should be OMAD. I think it will work for me and maybe it would work for you as well? Being not flexible with our IF can’t suit all of us.

How do you eat on your proper eating days? It should be quite substantial to be able to fast for long. I have this even with OMAD, it can’t be a small meal or others WILL follow as I get hungry again and again. A bigger meal works great though.

If I need TMAD, I try to keep my eating window smallish, like 3-5 hours at most (but sometimes I just need a few bites some time after my biggish but not big enough meal). I tend to overeat in a bigger eating window - but there are so many factors, one should figure out what should be done according the circumstances.

Of course the macros are important too. I figured out what my body accept as proper nutrition for the day and I will track out of curiosity and then I can check if it’s enough. Higher protein works way better for me.

So, give us info about how and how much you eat, I am not sure the 7pm thing was your eating day or not. You shouldn’t eat very little on your eating days, it seems quite obvious to me so maybe it was the previous supposedly fasting day…? But if it wasn’t, no wonder you got so hungry, a smart body hates starving and complains. (My body would say if it could that not eating all day is reason enough to feel bad at 11pm. Mine just refuses to be without food for much more than 24 hours nowadays, no matter what. I refuse to give up my EF plans yet but I must be very patient.)

(Bob M) #4

When I started fasting, I did ADF (by this, I mean 36+ hours 2x per week) for a while. I think it’s easy to overdo, and also difficult to do.

What I’ve been doing now is 2MAD and throwing in some 36 hour fasts when I can. I may also try one 4.5 day fast. We’ll see.

But even for my current 36 hour fasts, what I do is do these on a day when my daughter has dance class from 7:15pm-8:15pm. Then, I stay at work until I take her, then stay out until I bring her home. This means I only have maybe 30-45 minutes at home before I go to bed (before 10pm for me). Otherwise, I find even these short fasts hard to do.

I personally have found OMAD to be difficult. It might be possible if I ate at 3pm or so, but I really can’t do that (I’d be at work). Also, I’ve been exercising 3x/week and am about to go to 4x/week. Since I exercise usually around 6-7:xx am, I’m hungry around 10am. I’d have to force myself to last until my one meal.

If you can find something like what I’m doing, where you get home so late, you can’t think about food, then try that. If not, maybe give it some time?

(Carnivore for the win) #5

I find fasting is very similar to exercise. Start low and easy, then slowly work your way up. I started at 12 hours, which was super easy, and would just add an hour per week, or about ten minutes per day to my fasts. It is easy to do and adds up faster than you would expect over a few months.

(Marianne) #6

I don’t know what that is, although I assume some kind of fasting. At the beginning, I did 18:6 daily and a 36-hour fast once a week. I didn’t enjoy the 36-hour fasting, although I can’t say I was “hungry,” per se. I just didn’t like not eating. I stopped that altogether and pretty much kept my eating to TMAD. If I’m truly “hungry,” I eat, and I always have a more than ample dinner with no ramifications.

My feeling is if you eat to satiety and when you are hungry, you will be more apt to maintain this lifestyle comfortably, happily and long-term.


(Joey) #7

Sorry to hear you struggled through COVID… that can be a miserable challenge for many.

No one can. Keto is not about being hungry. Chronic hunger indicates malnutrition. And that’s not going to serve you well in any way - especially in the long term.

Yes indeed. Eat a healthy high fat/low carb meal … ideally a few hours before bedtime.

Previously you lost 90 lbs through keto. I’m guessing you are well positioned to be giving out sound advice as to how keto works, right? Off you go! :vulcan_salute:


ADF = Alternate day fasting, i.e. one day regular eating, next day not eating at all. Some do a modified approach, which is very low food intake on the “fasting” day (say 500 kcal or so), based on the research of Dr Krista Varady in The Every Other Day Diet, and popularised by Dr Michael Mosley in his “Fast Diet” books and TV shows.


Check out this thread.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #10

Keto is about maintaining consistent ketosis. So step number one is eating minimal carbs in order to maintain ketosis. If you don’t do that, then you’re back to square one each time. Keto is not about losing weight per se. Remaining consistently in ketosis over weeks and months (and ultimately years) brings with it lots of healthful benefits that otherwise don’t happen. Those benefits include a trend towards metabolic normality which includes ‘normal’ weight/fat composition. They include a lot of other things as well, such as fixing stuff that’s been broke by years eating SAD. Sometimes fixing stuff that’s broke takes precedence over weight/fat loss.

I suggest you start plain, run-of-the-mill keto. Eat only enough so that you’re not hungry all the time, but maybe a little hungry just before regular mealtimes. This will ensure you’re eating enough not to slow your metabolism but still burn onboard stored fat. Try it for a few months and if you’re losing fat steadily, although maybe at a slower rate than you wanted, carry on. IF not then you can try stuff like OMAD, TMAD, ADF and longer fasts or even something even simpler like overnight IF.

Bottom line is: your metabolism is smarter than you think, so give it time to do what it needs to do before you intervene doing stuff that might or might not help. Best wishes.


5:2 has those insane days, I think PSMF does that too, at least some version…? Never tried to figure out WHY anyone thinks it’s good as it’s simply impossible for me anyway… Why to starve? If ADF has low-cal days, it’s starving all the time, it can’t end well, 5:2 is different but still very odd to me. Fasting is fine and dandy until one doesn’t get hungry but what good does low-cal? Oh well, if it works for someone… Still not interested enough to look up the reasons and I am amazed how people aren’t super hungry in that situation… We people are so different.

ADF seems okay as long as the one in question don’t need food every other day and manage to eat well on the eating days (it includes eating enough. if I skipped every other day, I probably would need 3000+ kcal eating days even when losing fat, surely some people can do it with somewhat less). I can’t pull it off, my body likes food every day and similar days suit me but it doesn’t mean it’s not great for others. But I am aware some people manage to undereat on keto and that’s quite bad. So one should be careful.

(Karen Ogilvie) #12

Fasting insomnia is a common issue. It’s one of the main reasons I encourage clients to instead follow an up day/down day cycle. Sleep is crucial for metabolic health! If you’re struggling with fasting insomnia, it’s worth switching it up to an OMAD instead of an overnight fast. This will be a regular sized meal and not a gut-busting feast but it’s often enough to relax your nervous system for sleep. I suggest eating 3 hours before bedtime (and not 11pm) when you’re unwinding from your day. The following day, you’d eat your normal 2-3 meals.


I think there are conflicting interpretations here. Fasting insomnia is different from nighttime hunger. The former is caused by counter-regulatory hormones such as cortisol, which you don’t want elevated in the evening. The latter could be from a more complex hormonal cascade.

In my experience with ADF, it was more likely to be the former. Often, I was not hungry at night but I still had that wired sensation which is similar to the affect of caffeine.

(Alec) #14

Fasting should feel natural and relatively easy. If it ever feels difficult or stops you doing what you want or need to do, you should not be fasting.

I put insomnia firmly in that category. If fasting is causing you to miss sleep, you should not be fasting. Try something else. Like a few others here, I think OMAD could be right for you.


That’s a very sweeping generalisation. If fasting did not present any hardship I doubt it would ever have been utilised by various religions. Observations aside, the fact is counter regulatory hormones increase. Sooner or later, that will interfere with sleep.


What does it have to do with whatever we should do…? And we know fasting is hard for many people. And easy for others to some extent at the right time.

In the case of most people, I am with Alec. If fasting gets hard, I stop, obviously :smiley:
But I can imagine special cases where forcing it (to some extent) may be the smaller bad. Or someone just want to do it and they know what are they doing…
Many people forces keto too, to get healthier or something. It doesn’t come naturally most of the time. But for me, force is out of question (unless I am pretty sure I need it for health or I am desperate. once I forced fasting, I didn’t eat when I was hungry at bedtime. NEVER again, I always wake up as a zombie but that was some serious level, a bit similar to sleeping in 90% humidity. no proper rest. but it’s me, my SO slept hungry zillion times without more problems than what hunger already provides)…
But fasting is different, one can be healthy without it while a good diet is pretty important. So it’s very rarely worth to force it too much. Trying a bit harder (like when I wait until a real need to eat, it’s not trivial to me) is fine unless it triggers bad things but being “strong” and suffering, I can’t condone that without some super good reason when there is simply no better way…
Not sleeping because of lack of food is extremely serious and unhealthy though, I say one should stop then.

(Robin) #17

Good point and omg, just rememered that back in the day when I lived in a commune (I’ll wait for the snickers to die down), we fasted on a regular basis for spiritual reasons. I could not begin to remember what those reasons were (lol) but I do remember being very good at it and feeling great.

(Joey) #18

Right on.

This is so truly insightful, it’s hilarious. Thanks for the morning lift!

And @robintemplin, you’re cracking me up, too. Bless you (in the biblical sense). :heart:

What a great start to this glorious day!

(Robin) #19

My job here is done.


So you’re out of breath on the staircase, take the elevator. It’s too cold outside, stay indoors.

I’m not being funny here but trying to succeed at most things involves getting out of your comfort zone.