Happy Friday! My name is Holly, and I am a recovering bad eater. I am a 46 year old empty-nester and in January, I was 90 pounds overweight. It was those damn Christmas holiday pictures that finally pushed me over the edge. I was shocked at how old and tired (not to mention large) I looked and I realized that if I wanted to have enough energy to chase after my 2 year old grandson, I would have to make changes. This isn’t my first time trying to lose weight–all other attempts were intense but short lived. My number one priority is this time around, I need to focus on making changes that I can live with FOREVER. Even if the weight loss is slower.
With this in mind, I started my journey by enrolling in my local Weight Watchers meeting. Keeping myself grounded by weekly weigh ins seemed like a good idea. Weight watchers has a great program, but they allow you A LOT of choices. And my choices in the past have not been that great. I needed to expand my food knowledge and expand my healthy food choices. So I started to research. I bought many of the popular diet books, searched for internet information, and I talked to all the skinny people in my life. I realized quickly that I didn’t have a clue about healthy food. I didn’t know where to buy it, how to identify the healthy stuff, and I certainly didn’t know how to prepare it.
I started slowly with Special K cereal for breakfast, frozen low calorie meals for lunch, and salads for dinner. But after only two weeks of this, I was craving more choices. Now that I was not overeating at night, I found myself ravenous hungry in the mornings. I heard someone talking about steel cut oats, and how filling and nutritious they were. Steel cut oats?? What is that? Well…I learned that steel-cut oats are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) which have been cut into only two or three pieces by steel rather than being rolled. The benefits to steel cut vs rolled is that you get more fiber and nutrition that are processed out in the rolled oats. Okay…that sounded pretty easy to add..just boil some oatmeal, and there you go. Off to Costco I went, found a big bag of “Coaches Oats” and ran home to check them out.
I started to panic when I opened the bag. Ummm…it looked like little pieces of chipped wood. NOTHING like oatmeal to me. My stomach started to rebel just from the look of it.
I read the package and was reassured that you could cook this stuff in the microwave in 4 minutes or less. The next morning, I made time to zap me a bowl. 4 short minutes later, I tried to eat it. It was lumpy and it was tough to chew. In short, I hated it with a passion. I was just about to throw the steel cut oats out in the trash, when I happened to mention my experience in the lunchroom at work. One of my co-workers suggested I cook the oats on the stove instead…and for a lot longer than 4 minutes. I wasn’t thrilled with this news. Cooking oats on the stove for 10-15 minutes every morning wasn’t going to happen.
I am happy to report that I have found a way to have my oats and eat them too (every morning) without standing at the stove every morning. I visited my local dollar store, and picked up 8 ounce plastic containers with snug lids. And on Saturday mornings, I boil six cups of water, and 2 cups of oats. I add in 6 packets of artificial sweetener (one for each serving) to make it taste yummy. (You can add more or less, according to your sweet tooth) and I boil the oats for at least 15 minutes. At the 10 minute mark, the oats are very thick, and I add one more cup of water to extend the cooking time. (The longer you cook them, the less chewy they become) .
And finally, in keeping with portion control and being accountable for what I eat, I weigh each portion (1 portion is usually 6.5 ounces-depending on how thick the oats are). My final addition is a handful of organic, flash frozen, no sugar added blueberries to each bowl. And voila! 6 ready to microwave bowls of nutritious goodness for every morning, filled with high fiber, protein, and anti-oxidants. This just might be the most perfect breakfast food on the planet.
My oats are the only the first new thing I have added to my food list. And I am happy to say that it’s been 8 weeks now, and I have consistently lost an average of 1 and half pounds a week. Every week I add something new to my diet…some additions are a great success, and some are total failures. The great news is that I am not bored…and I am learning healthy eating skills that will hopefully carry me to my ultimate weight loss goal of the whole 90 pounds.
Join me here every Friday and let’s continue learning how to eat healthy without your stomach going on strike.
Nutritional Information (without the blueberries): Serving size 1/3 cup dry oats. Calories: 160 Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 10mg Total Carb: 27g Dietary Fiber: 2 Protein: 6g
Holly is the mother of three grown daughters, and has recently embarked on her own journey of weight loss and healthy living. Convinced that the key to her success is smart, but manageable, eating choices, she is now a regular columnist for The Frugal Flambe- you can catch her posts every Friday right here! Join her every week as she shares her triumphs and successes, and maybe a couple of stumbles along the way. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be horrible- Holly can do it, and so can you.