What Is The Oatmeal Diet? And How To Stick To It And Lose Weight The Healthy Way?
How many different diets are out there? Far too many to mention. Most, such as the Atkins Diet, are gimmicks that come and go quicker than it takes an avocado to ripen. But what about the oatmeal diet? How good is it and how can it help you to lose weight?
Put simply, oatmeal diet recommends that you swap at least one (but preferably two) of your meals each day with – you guessed it – a bowl of oats.
To create oatmeal, hulled oat grains are ground or rolled. It’s a whole grain that can reduce your risk of developing a number of debilitating diseases. In countries like the UK, the U.S. and Australia, oatmeal is used interchangeably with the word porridge.
Perhaps your dad used to eat a bowl of porridge each morning for breakfast as you were growing up. You’d watch him pour the oats into a saucepan, add milk, and then heat up on the stove. It didn’t exactly look as appealing as Captain Krunch! These days, however, maybe you’re drawn to its creamy, warm texture, especially on those freezing cold Monday mornings before work when a quick apple before you leave the house just won’t cut it.
Your dad was onto something, too – as are the many people who eat oatmeal for breakfast around the world. Oatmeal is super healthy. Oatmeal can low cholesterol, help you to lose weight, and reduce your risk of developing all kinds of scary diseases. It’s also rich in fibre, which means it can keep you feeling full for longer. In this way, it can aid your weight loss program.
Because of its weight loss benefits, the oatmeal diet has become popular with dieters.
How Does Oatmeal Help You Shed The Pounds?
Good question. There are in fact several reasons.
Number one is oatmeal’s soluble fibre content. Oatmeal is loaded with soluble fibre, a type of dietary fibre which treats your digestive system with much more respect than insoluble fibre. It essentially acts like a gel once it’s inside your system, protecting your stomach while at the same time swelling so that you feel full for longer.
It works almost like magic.
Oatmeal is also rich in protein, and in fact contain more protein than quinoa for each serving. If you’ve heard all about how like “totally amazing” quinoa is because of its high protein content, this news might surprise you. But a half cup of oatmeal has 7 g of protein, while a same-sized cup of quinoa has just 5 g of protein.
Protein comes in dead handy when you’re trying to lose weight, as it regulates your blood sugar levels. If they veer off too wildly, it can cause insulin spikes, which in time causes your body to store fat. And once that is on, it can be very hard to shift.
There are few calories in oatmeal, which makes it a fab choice for breakfast if you’re trying to lose weight. Out of all the grains available, oatmeal is less calorie-dense than most – despite also being a carbohydrate. In this way, it’s actually something of a unique carb in that it contains a lot less calories than other grains. Just a half cup of oatmeal contains around 160 calories.
In more good news, oatmeal is gluten-free. You may have heard the term “gluten-free” a lot in recent times. One of the reasons for this is that people have as a collective become much more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies. Gluten, and the way it’s processed, has as such become something a growing number of people are averse to consuming. Some people are even allergic to gluten, and consuming it can make it very hard for them to lose weight.
Oatmeal, being free from gluten, is an ideal breakfast meal – providing you don’t buy oatmeal that contains gluten, that is. See, while oatmeal is gluten-free by its nature, food companies often process their oats in environments where there are oats.
This means some boxes of oatmeal will contain oatmeal. But fear not, because supermarkets and online stores stock certified-gluten free oatmeal. You just need to make sure that you always check the label.
Oatmeal is also a diuretic. You or may not have heard this word before. If you drink coffee regularly, you may have been told that coffee is a diuretic. Alcohol is also a diuretic. But what does any of this mean?
It means that oatmeal can help you to shed all the excess water weight that your body is storing. How? By making you need the bathroom more! Porridge is sky-high rich in B vitamins, an these contribute to it being a natural diuretic. Your body consumes the water it needs, before dispensing with the rest, thereby ensuring that you don’t put on weight.
In this way, oatmeal reduces the risk of you feeling heavy and bloated after breakfast – a feeling many of us know all too well after gorging on pancakes and bacon!!
Those B vitamins are worth expanding on. B vitamins give your metabolism a boost in energy, and they also help you to burn more calories. If you don’t have enough B vitamins in your system – and this can easily happen if you’re not careful – it can lead to fatigue, depression, lethargy and a sluggish metabolism. At this point, it can be very hard to lose weight but very easy to put it on.
Oatmeal is supercharged with B vitamins. It contains B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B12 … all the B’s!
How Does The Oatmeal Diet Work?
Okay, so you’ve decided to take up the oatmeal diet. Excellent choice! We bet you can’t wait to get started.
Unfortunately, there is no honeymoon period. You don’t simply ease your way into the oatmeal diet – you enter it full-tilt, eating nothing but oatmeal during your first week.
Yep. Nothing. But. Oatmeal.
For the whole week.
Some dieters stick to this rule rigidly, and will eat quite literally a bowl of oatmeal with a spoon. Others will be a tad kinder to themselves by adding milk. You approach it however you like. A bit of milk isn’t cheating!
Whether you add milk or not, you must eat whole oatmeal. Instant oatmeal isn’t allowed. Granola bars should also be avoided, at least for the first week.
By sticking to just whole oatmeal (and a bit of milk) for a whole week, your calorie intake should be somewhere in the region of 850 and 1,200 each day. How many calories you consume will depend on how big your bowls of oatmeal are, and whether you add milk or not. The ideal is to always try to aim for a half bowl of oats and, if you’re adding milk, a half cup of skim milk.
Once the first week is done – congrats, you made it! You deserve an oatmeal-shaped medal at this point – you then need to shift your focus to the next thirty days that lie ahead of you.
This is where things can get a bit daunting for some dieters, as thirty days sounds like a lot.
It’s four weeks.
It’s a whole month.
Of almost nothing but oatmeal.
However, it isn’t just oatmeal for thirty days. Phew!
You must continue eating your three bowls of oatmeal (breakfast, lunch and dinner), but you are now permitted to add other foods. Instant oatmeal is also now allowed, and by adding fruit in the morning and a half cup of raw vegetables in the afternoon, you could see your calorie consumption increase to around 1,300 a day.
Once those thirty days are up, you deserve a trophy shaped like an oatmeal box with your name and the words “OATMEAL DIET WINNER” engraved on the base. Thirty-seven days of pretty much oatmeal? We’re sure even Jesus Christ never had to do anything like that!
However, it’s all worth it. And once those initial 37 days are up, you can start to relax the amount of oatmeal you consume. Indeed, you can now return to your usual diet with one slight revision – you must replace one daily meal with oatmeal, and you must snack on oatmeal at least once each day.
And when you do return to your usual diet, it isn’t a cue for you to go wild and eat whatever you like. You must still discipline yourself and limit the amount of fats you eat. Otherwise, all you’re previous hard work over those past 37 days where you dreamt of nothing but oatmeal and had visions of Oatmeal Men would be for nothing.
Which would be, like, totally uncool.
How To Stick To The Oatmeal Diet If You Don’t Even Like Oatmeal
Here’s the thing: Oatmeal is a bit bland, and certainly not everyone likes the way it tastes. It’s not exactly the most exciting breakfast you’ve ever had. And when you ask your dad how he managed to eat oatmeal every single morning for 60 years before retiring, he’ll probably say something about not having a choice in his day before warming up some more oatmeal.
If you’re struggling to stick to the Oatmeal Challenge (it’s a challenge if you dislike the taste), here are some tips to make porridge more appealing:
Guess what? You can make porridge fabulous! Yes, our parents and grandparents stood bent over a hot stove, monotonously stirring their oats while sighing something about their back aching. It made porridge look awful!
But porridge has been given a makeover in recent years, and is now one of the most exciting meals you can have for breakfast. Check these combos out:
Porridge + Mangoes + Coconut
Mangoes are one of the most exotic foods available in your supermarket. Can you imagine an easier way of making your porridge instantly cooler than by adding a few pieces of chopped mango? Add coconut shavings, too, and you’ll be getting a proper taste of the Caribbean in the morning.
All that’s next is to pretend you’re in Jamaica and listen to some Bob Marley. Eating oatmeal has never been so hip.
Porridge + Walnuts
The great thing about walnuts is they’re super healthy, and they add an important kick to your bowl of oatmeal.
Walnuts are rich in nutrients, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. They will help you to lose weight, while benefiting you in a number of other ways.
Porridge + Mixed Berries
Is there anything tastier in this world than a crunchy blueberry?
How about a succulent strawberry?
And who can forget the dark beauty of the blackberry?
We don’t want to forget any of them, which is why our top tip is to mix them all together in a bowl of oatmeal for maximum taste. Porridge and mixed berries is also a nutritional powerhouse that will refuel you in the morning so that you’re primed to seize the day.
Make A Smoothie
Yep, you can even blend oats with a variety of fruits so that you get to enjoy a deliciously healthy smoothie for breakfast. You’re still getting your oatmeal – you’re just being extra creative with how you get it.
The thing with oatmeal is that you can add SO many other healthy, delicious ingredients so that your bowl becomes a super bowl. Porridge really doesn’t have to be the bland, sloppy, thick breakfast that our forefathers “put up with.” It can be a nutritional feast for the eyes and tastebuds that helps you to lose weight while making you feel awesome in the morning.
Sticking to the oatmeal diet does require some perseverance and determination on your part. You should set some clear goals before you start the diet so that you know where you’re heading, and also what you need to do.
Once your 37 days are up, you can start adding niceties such as coffee and cinnamon tea to your meal plan. You can snack on tasty blueberries in the morning, and enjoy a yogurt and banana for lunch. For dinner, you can have chicken breast with a large green salad. But you you should always try to supplement each meal with a half cup of oatmeal.