Thursday, January 28, 2010

But... why oatmeal? And why dinner?

There have been plenty of diets in the past that've claimed that flipping breakfast and dinner will make you lose lots of weight. Indeed, many have had success doing so. The problem I and many others have with this practice is that it can be mighty hard to motivate oneself to actually make something dinner-esque in the morning. When most people want to just roll out of bed, into the shower, and onto the bus or car to get to work, adding in an extra hour to half an hour can feel highly onerous. As someone who can function decently around 5.30AM, I like to get up and exercise in the mornings. Adding in "making dinner-breakfast" to the time schedule would make me have to get up at 4, and go to bed at 8PM to get a decent night's sleep. Ew, no thanks.
Adding to that the societal norm that most of us are used to of eating something that isn't a plate of pasta with marinara at 7AM, the whole concept of flipping dinner and breakfast ends up fatally flawed for many.

But Katja, you ask, isn't having oatmeal for dinner and breakfast for breakfast like having two breakfasts in one day? To a certain extent yes, but that's where the "slop" idea comes in. Oatmeal isn't the only slopular option -- which I am hereinafter referring to as a "sloption." Cream of Wheat, polenta, grits, and even brown rice or quinoa if made properly all fit the definition of "slop" but can be gussied up to be sweet or savory or sour or any other food word that starts with an s.

The big bonus about all of these "slop" foods is that they're incredibly inexpensive, available in bulk, and, unless you fill them with cheese and butter, really quite healthy. One can get a big can of Quaker oats for $2, or a huge bag of corn grits for $3. In this craptacular economy, a bag of food that provides the basis nearly a dozen meals for $2 is a pretty sweet deal. Add on to that the fact that oatmeal is proven to reduce cholesterol levels and may help one become less susceptible to adult-onset diabetes, all these sloptions are beginning to look better and better. Check here for a fun look (without any citations, but who am I to doubt Mister Breakfast?) at why oatmeal, in particular, is rad.

That said, after my oatmeal+honey dinner last night, I was down a pound this morning. It's oatmealy magic!

In the future, this blog will include recipes for ways to make slop not entirely boring, focuses on different slop-types, and further weight loss progress from yours truly.

Slop it up!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Slop Diet: An Exercise in Eating

It's a story frequently told both on and off the intertron: girl feels she's overweight, girl loses weight, girl gains weight back slowly over a few years. Your heroine finds herself, today, at the "gained back" point. I'm not -as- heavy as I once was, but at about ten pounds off my all time max, things are a little rough. I found myself, recently, going back through what helped take the weight off in the first place; being a few years younger certainly helped, but the major factors as I saw it were that I exercised a lot more, and I counted calories pretty religiously.

One of my biggest successes back then, I think, was that I focused my calories in the first half of the day, and had smallish dinners. According to a nutritionist friend, one burns most of one's calories in the first 12 hours during which one is awake. Thus the idea: why not have a tiny, nutritious dinner and big, filling breakfasts and lunches?

The problem then became: what to eat for dinner that was small, filling, and healthy enough to keep me from feeling like I'd eaten a hunk of cheese and called it a meal? I experimented a bit and oatmeal wound up the winner.

Now, I know I'm not the only person who's ever eaten oatmeal for dinner and called it a diet. Regardless, it worked, and now I'm trying it again. This time, I've branched out to add in cream of wheat, polenta, and grits to the mix, since oatmeal on its own can be more repetitive than the music at a mid-90s rave. The goal is to have something slop-based, i.e. that it needs to be in a bowl or it'll go all over the place. Various types of gruel kept peasants going for centuries, it'll certainly keep me going when used for a single meal.

I'm starting this blog a little late in the game. See, I should've written this three weeks ago, when I started on the slop diet. I didn't think of it then, though, so now it is.

Tonight's slop is going to be steel-cut oats with a dash of honey and cinnamon for flavor. Yesterday was a non-slop day (gardein santa fe "chicken" breasts and quinoa), and the day before was cream of wheat with 1/2 tbsp of butter and salt. Tomorrow'll probably be polenta with habanero salsa.

And so it begins, the documentation of the slop diet.

To get really voyeuristic about my eating habits, check out my livestrong profile.