Gloria taught for many years, and also worked as a mental health group facilitator.
How Oatmeal Turned My Weight Around
Now that I'm over fifty, I'm coping with weight problems. 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 little bit 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 dieter's strict regime, to say the least. I counted up about 20 or fewer 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 low-fat 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 Wheaties 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 saved my weight and my life.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Brad on May 29, 2019:
I have found that a evening bowl of oatmeal with a few freeze-dried blueberries, some crushed pecans, and a touch of what used to be called B grade male syrup (now referred to as dark or robust syrup) not only helps me sleep but has completely eliminated any problems with irregularity. Lost some weight too, but I have been increasing my exercise so the oatmeal that may not be factor in that.
XinsenZhang on September 17, 2018:
Overnight oats are indeed very healthy, and are far better for you without calves' milk.
Sue on November 29, 2017:
Hi, Gloria, if you have oatmeal for dinner, can you 2 or more bowls??
Thank you very much for your information
Sue on November 28, 2017:
Hi, Gloria, if you have oatmeal for dinner, can you 2 or more bowls??
Thank you very much for your information
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on September 15, 2016:
Any milk you choose would probably be fine! Thanks for reading.
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on March 13, 2016:
Sounds interesting! Best wishes! Let me know how this works.
Yehudit52 on March 11, 2016:
As a child I was very thin, since my lat pregnancy at age 40 am now obese. Remember eating huge amounts of food as a kid but not gaining weight. Mom says I lived on oatmeal, corn and potatoes since I was a super finicky eater. Wondering if fiber starchy foods kept me thin, Dr. McDougal wrote a book The Starch Solution and seems to think so. Have been debating if I should try it. Since I've develop a milk intolerance, and am pre-diabetic make my oatmeal with water, or homemade almond milk and a few raisin or a chopped date. Going to try eating this way for dinner, - praying this works.
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on February 18, 2016:
Firdose on February 16, 2016:
I have started to eat Oats with milk and sugar, since am a night eater my dietitian has recommended a liquid dinner in case i eat after 8 pm, so am eating oats. I feel very lite in the morning.
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on January 17, 2016:
carmel on January 15, 2016:
Brillant idea !!! Cheap & affective !!!
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on June 12, 2015:
Yes, low carb works for me, too!!
vwriter from US on June 11, 2015:
I found that the low carb diet by Diane Kress made sense to me. However, it took me a while to understand it. I went off it when I had an esophagus issue and man oh man did my numbers rise. My cholesterol went to over 300. I was a time bomb waiting to happen. I'm back to low-carbing it and getting my numbers back in order. I'm glad your way of eating is helping you keep your numbers and weight in check.
Praveena Veena from Hyderabad on February 23, 2015:
eating oats with veggies is best for weight loss.
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on February 13, 2015:
It can be tedious! Thanks for your comment!
poetryman6969 on February 13, 2015:
I am not about to try to the oatmeal diet but it does make for an interesting story!
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on August 31, 2012:
Thank you Linda!!! I had a bowl of oatmeal just a few hours ago and it still keeps me from over stuffing at night..
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on April 10, 2012:
It really helps!! I am a type 2 diabetic and I feel very hungry at night so I need something to fill me up at night. Try proteins in the morning (I have boiled eggs)and oatmeal at night and see if it helps. Sometimes I have a salad at night, too, or a banana..
Lori Colbo from United States on April 07, 2012:
This is great news. I am going to try it. I eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast but I can switch to evening. I am a night eater too. Thanks for sharing.
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on March 05, 2012:
Thank you--I still use this trick and am maintaining a fairly stable weight and blood sugar. it's not for everyone, but it worked for me!!
Ruth R. Martin from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York on March 05, 2012:
Thank you for this useful information! I am almost 30, (still young in most people's books!) and have not been happy with how my weight has been creeping up on me lately. I also have low blood sugar problems, and am always hungry. My biggest challenge is finding low-fat foods to eat that keep me full for a while. This might just be the answer! Thank you!
Fiddleman on March 05, 2012:
I never liked oatmeal when I was a kid but in my adulthood I have found it to be a great cereal and so healthy for me.
shorty72 on March 05, 2012:
I really enjoyed this hub I have found oatmeal good as well not for losing weight in general but for lowering my cholestrol I have been enjoying it for breakfast for the last 8 years.
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on March 04, 2012:
It still works even though I am diabetic (type 2) it does not seem to raise my glucose too much. Thank all of you for your comments!!
Man from Modesto from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California) on March 04, 2012:
Yep! Oatmeal and other whole grains burn slowly and provide a steady stream of sugars to fuel the body. They also help to cleanse the g.i. system, scraping off gunk and build-up from intestinal walls.
Brown rice, buckwheat, and nuts help in the same way. The number 1 factor in good overall health is a healthy colon. Oatmeal supports that.
Shasta Matova from USA on March 04, 2012:
That is a great idea. I have eaten oatmeal for breakfast for a while, but hadn't tried it for dinner. I'll have to try it, since I too need to watch my late night snacking.
Pamela Dapples from Arizona. on March 04, 2012:
I could certainly benefit from your suggestions -- except for one thing. It would still take will power and I've never figured out how to develop that. I love porridge, though, and I really should try this whole routine. Voting up and sharing this one.
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on November 06, 2011:
Thank you, Ethel..I use fake sugar and soy milk..I can have all the cinnamon I want..
Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on October 17, 2011:
Yes in the UK we are now told that "porridge" is very good for us. As long as you don't add tons of sugar and or treacle :). Great for winter mornings and nighttime hunger pangs.
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on October 16, 2011:
I eat off and on all day--I have to write down the calories and fats and track myself. My real downfall was eating at night, so I supplied myself with a bowl of oatmeal instead. haha!
Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on August 14, 2011:
This is very interesting. I will try it. I am not a breakfast person at all. I just cannot eat until I have been up for several hours. Do you eat breakfast too? Or are you even hungry in the mornings after your evening oatmeal?
I like "real" oatmeal and we use soy milk so all that is already here along with apples that are a staple. I am going to try this and will let you know after a few weeks if I have lost weight. Thanks so very much.
Gloria Siess (author) from Wrightwood, California on July 17, 2011:
It's fine!! I am allergic to milk. You probably could add sugar or honey also (I am a borderline diabetic). I think the full feeling it gives you helps to beat off the urge to eat late at night. I make a BIG bowl of it, and if I'm really famished I add some toast, etc./Thanks for reading!!
Christopher Antony Meade from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom on July 17, 2011:
I,m open to any good ideas that will keep the dreaded pounds at bay, without starvation, and yours seems as good an idea as any I have seen; and oatmeal is very cheap,(one of the very few foods that still is).
Thanks for that really useful article. I have a feeling I will be referring to it in the future.
Would it matter if I used real cows milk? I don't like soya milk.