I’ve been reading blogs of many people who’ve had great success on primal eating plans, or simply higher-protein, lower-carb plans. So in January I began experimenting with increasing the protein I eat and decreasing the grains. The first thing I did was replace my morning oatmeal (or other hot cereal) with two poached eggs. Now, calorically speaking this is a pretty close match – 2 eggs = 180 calories, a serving of hot cereal usually comes in around 200, so I’d actually reduced my breakfast calories with the substitution.
The next thing I did was replace some of my other options with proteins – instead of eating a meal replacement bar (packed with grains and sugar!) as a mid-morning snack, I substituted a calorically equivalent amount of smoked almonds. I avoided bread and pasta (which I normally do anyway), and stuck to mostly meat and veggies for all meals.
Before I talk a bit about my results I just want to say that every body is a laboratory, and each one of us needs to find the fuel that works in our laboratories. I’ve always been very adamant that what works for me may not work for you and vice versa.
So…this scheme completely failed me. I figured out on Monday this week what was going on.
The breakfast wasn’t doing it for me. Two poached eggs have a much, much smaller volume than a bowl of hot cereal, and I’m a volume eater. So I would eat my two poached egss (which took about 6 bites – making the whole ritual of eating breakfast significantly shorter and less satisfying for me) and go to work and immediately notice that I was hungry and eat my next snack. In an hour I was hungry again so I’d eat the next snack. Basically, the eggs gave me no feeling of fullness whatsoever and I spent almost the whole day trying to give my body the feeling of satiety it was accustomed to and craving from the hot cereal I normally eat. I ended up consuming more calories throughout the course of the day, despite saving a few (20-40) with my initial meal, because my body needs what it needs – it needs to feel full in the morning.
On Tuesday this week when I switched back to my beloved oatmeal, I lasted 2 1/2 hours before I needed to eat again, and then it was controllable with a banana. I didn’t notice the gnawing hunger I’d been feeling throughout January, and pretty much every day since then has been noticeably easier for me on the hunger front (despite Thursday’s binge – I wasn’t eating non-supportive foods because I was physically hungry that day…).
I’ve been hesitant to write about this because I worry that people who follow a higher-protein plan will feel defensive and want to tell me what I should have done and what they do and how it’s still a superior method, and I think I’ve always been very clear that I agree – it is a superior method for them. I have been inspired by the fantastic changes it has made in the lives of some people that I admire greatly, which is why I wanted to give it a try. But for me…I need my oatmeal, my cream of wheat, my malt-o-meal and my steel-cut oats in the mornings.
When all is said and done, though – experimentation is a worthwhile effort! I didn’t know until I tried it whether it would be something that could work for me. If it had worked how fabulous would that have been? With the potential boredom of a life of weight management in front of me, a month of trying something new is a small investment to make in banishing some of that boredom. Mission accomplished, too – I’m excited about my morning hot breakfast again.