How I Lost Twelve Pounds by Eating Oatmeal for Dinner
I am over fifty and coping with weight problems that did not plague me when I was younger. Like many American women, I have tried the South Beach Diet, the No Carbs Diet, and a host of fat counting systems that would confuse someone at the IBM Think Tank. While these diets work for those with the time and resources to follow them religiously, I needed something simple that would not complicate my lifestyle with impractical demands.
Years ago I was told that I would have to take thyroid medication, possibly for the rest of my life. I was also told my cholesterol was nearly 300, a highly unacceptable number by any medical standards. Due to a light amount of red wine and cooking with olive oil, my "good" cholesterol was also high, which possibly had saved me from a heart attack or stroke.
I also needed to lose weight. Cutting down calories did not seem to help as much as rigorously counting fat grams and monitoring my evening eating patterns. After weeks of lean cuisine I was still puffy and discouraged. I started keeping a food journal, where I jotted down everything I ate and added it up, calories and fats included. This little device seemed to encourage me to look at my eating patterns. The main issue seemed to be not only what I was eating but when I was gobbling it down. I found out I was a "night eater," which can be disastrous for someone with a slow metabolism.
The Late-Night Snack Habit
I find it almost impossible to sleep with low blood sugar and an empty stomach. I started doing something that ultimately shaved off 12 pounds in about one month. I ate reasonable amounts of fats and calories for lunch and breakfast. I would estimate from my food diary that I was consuming about 1200 calories or less in these two meals. Not a dieters strict regime to say the least. I counted up about 20 or less grams of fats. My body seemed happy with this, but what was I to do when the midnight munchies came calling?
A Healthier Habit
I developed a strange diet that not only worked, but enabled me to keep that 12 pounds off for years and years. Every evening for dinner I would make myself a delicious big bowl of oatmeal, laced with fake sugar (stevia is my favorite) and lowfat soy milk. Sometimes, if I was craving sweets, I would add a chopped apple, figs, or raisins. Oatmeal is extremely filling and has almost no fat, plus it keeps your colon happy with insoluble fiber. Oatmeal also helps the body rid itself of excess cholesterol.
Weight and Health Results
Two good things happened because of my "oatmeal diet:" I felt full and satisfied for mere pennies, and saved money buying lowfat frozen entrees. If I felt really famished, I would add some dry whole wheat or rye toast to my humble meal. The midnight urge to eat high calorie snacks became a passing ghost. I also kept a banana by my bedside, as they are packed with good nutrition, encourage sleep, and take care of 2 a.m. hunger pangs. I found out that my metabolism simply did not burn calories when I loaded up on a hefty dinner, but seemed able to handle a good lunch, complete with a few treats thrown in.
If you simply dislike oatmeal, you can substitute some good hot cereal that you enjoy, provided it is not packed with "corn syrup" sweeteners and other calories to clog your system. Regular cold cereals like Wheeties and Cheerios probably would be a good choice for those of you who associate hot cereals with a dismal childhood breakfast.
After five years of thyroid medicine and tests, I can attest that this strange diet still keeps my weight pretty stable. When I started to eat at night and ignore the lessons of the past, my weight started to creep back and my blood fat levels soared. Late night snacking and heavy dinners became my downfall. A cheap healthy bowl of oatmeal for dinner in place of my usual fare, possibly saved my weight and my life.