Oatmeal is very much a healthy comfort eating choice and so if we could lose weight eating what comforts us then that would indeed be exciting.
The Oatmeal Diet in Context
Some diets rely on cutting calories to be successful (how much you are eating.) You basically have to eat less than usual and keep that regime going indefinitely. Think Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine.
Then there are the more popular ones nowadays which are the low carb diets like Keto and Paleo. Those have you watching the type of food you are eating rather than how much you eat and rely on the body switching it’s metabolism to a primarily fat burning one to lose weight.
Then there are the diets that watch when you eat. You’ve likely heard about intermittent fasting which just means you skip a meal in the day and eat a bit more at your next meal. These diets use meal timing and fasting periods during the day to enable weight loss.
So with an oatmeal diet, where we have 3 bowls a day, we would have to rely mainly on the first category of diets, the calorie cutting diet with a bit of the 2nd – the type.
Planning the Diet
A typical bowl of cooked oatmeal with milk runs about 400 calories. That’s 1200 calories per day if you eat one for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The average woman needs about 2000/day to maintain her weight and 1500 is recommended to lose weight.
That means if you are a woman you can have a 300 calorie snack or sugar free dessert on this diet too.
If you’re a man you need 2500 calories to maintain and 2000 to lose weight. That means you could have 800 more calories in your day in the form of other snacks or bigger bowls of oatmeal.
That takes care of the how much to eat, the calorie cutting part. The what to eat is just as important and it’s highly recommended that the oatmeal be homemade, and have no added sugar in it aside from natural milk and fruit sugars.
A sample recipe can be found below:
– 1/2 cup of quick oats
– 1 1/2 cups of milk. **
Add ingredients to a small, stove top pot and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and let simmer until desired thickness is attained. Cool and serve.
** Milk is needed instead of water as milk contains all of the essential proteins, vitamins and nutrients you body needs on a daily basis. The oats are extremely healthy for you but by themselves are not enough.
That’s it. It’s important that you use quick oats and not instant ones. You can think of quick and instant oats in the same way you would whole wheat and white bread. The quick oats are a much better quality carb as it takes longer to digest and will therefore enter your bloodstream more slowly, keeping insulin lower.
To make it taste good I’d recommend the following:
While cooking the oatmeal add vanilla and cinnamon.
After it’s been served you can add:
– Lots of fruit like blueberries, strawberries or cooked apple.
– Greek yogurt with sweetener to make it creamy.
– Sugar free granola bits.
– Nuts and seeds.
– Almond or peanut butter (all natural).
There are lots of ways to make your oatmeal taste good. The most important thing when choosing your toppings is that they be low in sugar. That will go a long way to making this diet effective in helping you lose weight.
The problem with sugar is that it elevates your insulin too much and when that happens too often over a period of time we tend to gain weight. Keeping insulin low is an important key to weight loss.
Putting it all Together
So we have the what (oatmeal) and the why (calorie reduction + type of foods) and now we need the how.
The how for any diet usually is the ability to stick to it long term. What this oatmeal diet has going for it is that it is comfort food, is carbs and feels and tastes good. It also has an almost unlimited combination of toppings so that you can enjoy different flavors at every meal, making it seem like you are constantly eating something new.
What this diet does not have going for it is variety. Sooner or later you may crave something with a different texture like a sandwich, pasta or chicken etc., and grow tired of eating the same type of food all day, every day.
Some are okay with repetition but if you are NOT one of those people then I’d suggest a cheat day once per week where you still eat the same number of calories as you would on your oatmeal diet but just with different foods.
Again stay away from sugary foods and use sweeteners if you crave something sweet.
It’s possible to lose weight on this diet and it’s exciting to think that you can do that with a delicious food that is carb heavy.
Remember to plan it all out in advance. Buy the ingredients you’ll need for the week and look into different recipes to keep your diet interesting. There are whole blogs on cold oatmeal alone which require very little prep and no cooking, saving you time and hassle.
Weigh yourself before you start the diet and then no more than once per month after that. Your focus should be on other aspects of your life once you have the diet down.
Once it’s all planned out then it’s easy to make it a routine. And once that’s established then you’re on autopilot and that’s half the battle.
Set and forget with satisfaction after meals. That’s key.
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