I don't like oatmeal, what should I eat instead? (and other diet questions)

So, I’m trying to get in fighting shape for my upcoming wedding. While I’m stronger than I have ever been in my entire life, I am 40lbs heavier than when I was a three sport athlete in high school. In high school, I was pretty lean, even during football, but now, I look like a bulky tight end instead of a wide receiver/cornerback. The trainers at my gym suggested a diet of 6 small meals, no starchy carbs or simple sugars after 6 (unless it’s immediately post work out), timed with my workouts, which mirror diets I see in muscle magazines. For instance, for breakfast, I’m supposed to eat a 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 4-6 eggs. Is there something special in oatmeal that isn’t in something like raisin bran or other high fiber cereal? Aren’t all macronutrients created the same? What is so special about 6 meals? The last one or some days, last two, are difficult to eat, much less budget time.

It doesn’t matter what you eat (for the most part) or when you eat it. Limit your calories and you’ll lose weight.

Oatmeal is a good food, because it’s full of fiber. Americans are woefully neglectful of fiber.

There’s nothing in Oatmeal that you can’t get elsewhere, but it’s easy to cook and full of fiber.

Beans are a great source of fiber too. Lentils, peas and other such things are wonderful to eat.

Cottage cheese is your friend. Full of protein and you can choose any version high fat to no fat.

Your body needs about 1 gram of protein PER KILOGRAM (not pound). So if you weigh 170 pounds is 77 kilograms. That means you need 77 grams of protein per day. And extra protein will be broken down to sugar and used or stored as fat.

The remaining food intake can come from carbs or fats.

The idea behind eating six meals is you won’t get hungry and overeat. I eat one big meal a day and two small ones and limit myself to 1,800 calories a day. I’m 45 and have a great body. But I will confess, sometimes I over do it and eat up all my 1,800 calories by 10am. That means I simply don’t eat for the rest of the day.

It really amounts to calories in versus calories out.

The thing is you’re NOT a bodybuilder. Bodybuilder magazines are FOR bodybuilders.

The difference is bodybuilders HAVE to count every single calorie. Because the difference between a first and second place finish comes down to very minute differnces. The winner of a bodybuilding contest gets say, $10,000, the runner up get’s a handshake.

So if eating a certain way changes metabolism he has to do this. Eating certain ways DOES change metabolism but only at tiny minute levels. For the average Joe, this is a pound or two a YEAR. You won’t notice the difference if you’re 170 pound or 172 pounds but in a bodybuilding contest you WILL notice that.

This is why you can’t go by those bodybuilder magazines. Those are for serious trainer, and that means 8 hours/day 6 days a week or more.

One thing I will add again, Americans are WOEFULLY lacking in fiber. We all need to get MUCH more in our diets. If you can choose a food with fiber DO IT.

Four to six eggs??!! Who are you fighting, Rocky Balboa??

I didn’t use to like oatmeal, either; I was a Cream of Wheat girl. But now that I’ve lost 62 pounds (go me!) and have had to modify my diet more and more as the pounds came off (I’ve been doing Weight Watchers, where you generally eat less the more you lose), I’ve been taking another look at former “yuck” foods.

Lately I’ve been having oatmeal for “dessert” after a sandwich or other small meal. Quaker just came out with a reduced-sugar instant version of its flavored oatmeals (cinnamon spice, maple brown sugar, and apples ‘n’ cinnamon). I’m getting to like them; they really fill me up. The appeal of the formerly"yuck" oatmeal increased when I thought about how good it is for me. Sometimes I sprinkle a few slivered almonds on there for interest, along with a splash of milk. Yum! And the fiber helps with weight loss.

Really, try it!

I hate “traditional” oatmeal but I LOVE steel cut oats. In other words, have you tried different preparations? The steel cut dudes are even better for you.

I eat my instant oatmeal dry, mixed with unsweetened apple sauce and wheat bran. It tastes like oatmeal cookie dough.

Starting out with these concerns, anybody want to bet on how long this marriage will last?

Definitely give the steel-cut oats a try. They take a lot longer to make than instant (for a reason), but are worlds better. They have a nutty, toasty flavor, whereas the instant or quick oats taste like glue (or cardboard, depending).

There was a recent thread on steel-cut oats that had all kinds of ideas regarding add-ins.

And 4-6 eggs a day?! That’s crazy talk.

I agree that 4-6 eggs is a hell of a lot of eggs.

That said, you can make porridge out of any whole grain you like. Here’s a recipe for quinoa and barley porridge. Here’s one that’s a combo of rolled oats and wheat berries. Here’s a recipe for a brown rice porridge. All of these are within the first couple of Google hits for ‘[name of grain] porridge.’ I’d caution against cream of wheat (although I like it a lot) because it’s a refined grain, and is not nutritionally much different from eating a bowl of flour for breakfast. It lacks the fiber that a whole grain would have, and so it won’t keep you full.

You might also want to have a look at this recent thread on different ways of seasoning oatmeal. All of the suggestions should apply to any grain porridge.

You haven’t seen my fiancee’s right cross…devastating.

There’s what, 80 calories per egg? Four eggs is like 320 cals, and I’m not sure about the oatmeal. I’ve been eating Kellog’s Raisn Bran because it tastes the best (of the raisin brans) and it has a lot of fiber. With skim milk, that’s like another 200 calories, so we’re talking 520 for breakfast. My other meals are pretty small. I only weigh 205, and if healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week, then at most it’s 20 weeks to hit my goal, totally doable in a year (I’ve lost roughly 8 since the new year). It’s just that the process is so-o-o-o-o- slow. I’m aiming between 2100-2400 calories per day.

I wonder if I can grind the oatmeal into my protein shake?

Does fiber really help with weight loss? From what I’ve been reading, it’s all like you said, calories-in versus calories-out. Maybe I’ll start adding fiber supplements to my protein shakes.

There’s your cholesterol to think about with all those eggs.

Will you really be losing weight on 2100-2400 calories a day? That seems a little high, but I guess I’m just guessing.

As for fiber, isn’t it that it moves food out faster, so that fewer calories are absorbed?

The oatmeal is probably to counteract the cholesterol in all those eggs. I agree with the previous comments about oatmeal, it’s not that bad if you try steel cut. You can have it savory instead of sweet if you prefer (maybe with a poached egg on top). Also, as GilaB pointed out there are many other whole grains that can be used for breakfast. Avoid anything instant. Look for stuff that can be frozen, then you can make a big pot and freeze some for the rest of the week.

Fiber is usually more bulky, and thus makes you feel ‘full’ sooner, and so stop eating before you take in so many calories.

Fiber doesn’t directly help you lose weight, but it does help keep you full, and thus less likely to eat more than you’re supposed to. I noticed a long time ago that if I eat a high fiber breakfast cereal, I get hungry for lunch an hour later than if I eat the same volume and calories of a lower fiber cereal.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I find it hard to use dry cereal when dieting. Milk needs to be added to make it palatable, and potion control is hard. Oatmeal, being full of water, feels like more food.

However, there are lots of hot cereal alternates out there to try. Cream of Wheat is easy to find but I’ve also seen whole wheat hot cereal available at most grocery stores. Multi-grain hot cereal is also available at TJ’s, and I’ve seen it at a few other places. You might see what Bob’s Red Mill has to offer, too, and just check out the hot cereals where you are.

But 4-6 eggs, is that right? That in no way is a “small meal”. Plus, that’s an awful lot of fat. Are you sure it’s not egg whites, or something like that? Large eggs are about 80 calories each.

Yeah I think some people do put oatmeal in their protein shakes.

Seriously, try the steel cut oats. You can make them in your rice cooker or crock pot to be ready and smelling great in the morning for you, and they keep well - you can make a big pot and heat some up for the rest of the week, too. I love making them in the rice cooker to run in the mornings.

I don’t care for steel-cut oats, but I love kasha. It’s buckwheat cereal, and you can get it most easily in the Jewish section. 2.5 cups milk + .5 cup kasha = 2 large bowls. I eat it with dried cranberries and chopped nuts. Yum.

Kind of the opposite, I’d say - check the nutrition labels but many cereals have a huge amount of sugar in them.

Plain old oats doesn’t have added sugar. Neither does stuff like (unfrosted) shredded wheat.

I like oatmeal and similar whole grain cereals. Prepared hot using nonfat milk, sometimes I just stir oats in with unsweetened applesauce, can be eaten hot or cold. For cold cereals, something like shredded wheat, nonfat milk and fresh berries is delicious.

You might be surprised what makes a good hot wholegrain cereal. Check the aisle at your local supermarket or healthfood type store, there’s oatmeal, wholegrain blends (I picked up one from Trader Joe’s with oats, barley, and a bunch of other stuff), wholewheat couscous and bulgur, brown rice, etc.

As a general rule, having fresh fruits and veggies as opposed to dried varieties is good since they have a low caloric density - the water and fiber really help fill you up. If you compare a cup of, say, raisins with the same number of fresh grapes it’s pretty impressive. Ditto for things like fruit juice - look at how many oranges you’d have to eat to get the same amount of juice as a big glass of OJ, and that juice is mostly water and sugar. Go for the actual orange instead and you’ll fill up faster with far fewer calories.

As far as actual weight loss goes, how much are you looking to lose and how fast?

I’m right 208 now (ugh – but I did just eat), I’d like to get down to 185, my last weigh-in weight at my last tae kwon do competition. I have 14 months. The plan is to drop the weight via eating right and exercise, and lots of steady state cardio (with a little high intensity for good measure). Then, define/build-up the muscle that’ left. Also, I’m factoring lots of eating in the year ahead (holidays, Easter brunch, engagement party), plus, I’d like to see if I could do it by August when we go to the Cayman Islands for vacation.

When I do six eggs, then the last two are whites. But, usually, I do 4 eggs scrambled. I all the dudes in the gym (trainers and the like), and they all said, yes, the whole egg. Like I said, the hardest thing is the timing, and lately, the variety. I’ve been killing the ground turkey lately.