So it began, as a longtime lover of oatmeal I figured if I simply switched from breakfast cereals and bagels over to a “healthy oatmeal” diet, I would start to see some results on my efforts to hit my target weight.
Now I must first tell you that I only needed to lose about 7-10 lbs to hit my goal of 12-13% body fat. This is important and a key in my case study as the last 5-10 pounds are always the hardest to lose. It’s also at this stage where case studies like this become extra beneficial as your results typically indicate you finally found that last piece of the puzzle.
The Start : June 4th, 2012
It all started with a simple box of Quaker Oats rolled and uncooked oatmeal. I figured I would use light vanilla soymilk as a low calorie additive with some ground cinnamon for flavoring. I would also add bananas as a healthy filler when I had them on hand (my kids love to eat them and they go fast!).
Week 1: I noticed the scale showed I lost about 1 lb. Of course this would mean about a 500 calorie per day deficit, which just didn’t seem realistic. I knew this was likely the result some fluctuations in water weight and discounted it for the time being.
A New Discovery
Sometime between week 2 and week 3 while shopping I remembered seeing a box of Oat Bran in the Oatmeal section of my local Food For Less grocery store.
There is always the question of what type of oatmeal is best for you. Steel-Cut oatmeal, perhaps instant isn’t as bad as they say it is.
So I simply picked up a box of the Oat Bran and looked at the nutritional data/calorie count. Sure enough the Oat Bran came in at only 120 calories per serving compared to the rolled oats which were 150 calories for the same serving size.
I typically eat around 1.5 servings per meal. So this would be 180 calories for the Oat Bran vs. 225 Calories for the Oatmeal. Certainly a difference that cannot be ignored.
Now let me add that at this point the scale showed my theory was correct on the one pound I lost during week one was mostly just water weight. No miracles in eating oatmeal so far.
The Biggest Concern
The biggest concern up to this point was how quickly hunger develops about 2 hours after you eat oatmeal. Seems as if the stuff just flows right out of your stomach. While Googling around, it appears this is a common problem. Some people suggest adding protein like milk or even peanut butter. This seemed illogical to me, and I didn’t want to mask the actual problem by adding more protein rich calories to try to cover up any problems that eating oatmeal may bring.
Now to make sure you absolutely understand why this is a big problem, it’s that if you have to eat 300 calories every 2 hours just to stay satisfied that would mean I’d have to consume about 2400 calories a day (16 waking hrs=8 meals at that rate). Far too much for me to be lose that last 5-10 lbs. Heck I may even gain weight.
Ended At 30 Day Mark
My original goal was to go 3 months on the Oatmeal For Breakfast Diet. However, after seeing absolutely no difference on the scale and increased hunger, I decided to pull the plug on the case study.
Reflecting back, there are a few reasons I feel oatmeal didn’t work for me (but may work for you..read on…).
#1) Oatmeal is very high in carbs and it likely interferes with your metabolism. Despite being moderate on the GI index, if you research the diabetes forums online, you will see that most people have to watch the amount of oatmeal they eat or they will get sugar spikes (and many can’t eat even small portions).
The diabetes forums are a great tool to research food and get actual user input on the impact specific foods have.
#2) Digest time is unarguably very fast. While oatmeal initially leaves you feeling very satisfied, that feeling doesn’t last long. In about 2 hour the hunger really starts to hit hard. This just means you’ll need to eat again and those extra calories add up throughout the day.
Why Oatmeal May Work For You
If you were for example 30 pounds overweight and consumed pancakes and sausage every day for breakfast, then switching to oatmeal would be an excellent substitute. It’s sort of like the lessor of two evils in this case.
An important thing to observe is that I actually DID NOT gain weight. So it’s very possible that if you’re target goal is to get to 17-18% body fat (which is where I was during this study) you will likely lose weight and head in the right direction.
Hope you enjoyed this study and remember, Eat Smart, Not Less!