Experiments With Eating Plans

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.

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11 Responses to “Experiments With Eating Plans”

  1. Freewaydiva Says:

    I’ll eschew the armchair quarterbacking, although I’m happy to engage in friendly discussion some other time. 😉

    In the end, though, you’re right. People will stick to what they are willing and able to do, and where they see measureable results. I hate excessive excercise and counting/measuring things, so an “eating these things, not eating those things, and periodically moving around and lifting heavy things” approach is very appealing to me and easy to maintain.

    But it *is* very much like politics and religion…

  2. Sylvie Says:

    I had a similar experience this last week. I bumped up my protein and dropped my carbs and found that I was absolutely starving about two hours earlier than normal. I ended up adding 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds(fiber & omega-3) to the protein and finally pushed my lunch back to its normal time.

  3. Princess Dieter Says:

    Everyone has to know their sweet spots. For me, it’s eggs. But not just eggs. I need volume (as you say, filling up), so I eat veggies and fruit with my eggs. Keeps me full for 5 to 6 hours. I eat breakfast at 2 or 3 pm and I’m full until 8 pm, when I want supper. And that’s it. Two meals. Occasionally I add a snack somewhere, but, mostly, two meals. I’m not Primal (as I eat taters and rice in smaller portions and I do like my cheese). But for me, eggs with 2-6 veggies in the am, and fruit (usually papaya, or citrus, or cantaloupe) and I’m done with food for a long good while. I easily get 3-6 of my fruit/veggies servings with breakfast alone. 🙂

  4. Karen@WaistingTime Says:

    I’ve been eating a higher (lead) protein and lower (bad) carb diet for a couple years. I found eggs never filled me up for long. But neither did any kind of cereal, hot or cold. The best breakfast I have found for satiety until lunch is actually beans! I made them in the crockpot once a week and reheated them. The texture/feel is a lot like having hot cereal, so you might like them. They are a great combination of protein, fiber, and carbs.

  5. Andie Says:

    So funny – during the detox I just did, I had oatmeal instead of eggs for the first few mornings, and was ravenous, although I really enjoyed the change while I was eating it. I was so relieved to get back to my eggs. I eat two, but my husband is fine with just one. There really is no one-size-fits-all answer!

  6. lisalys Says:

    I just tried steel-cut oatmeal for the first time today. I’m hoping it will stick with me longer than the meal-replacement bars I’ve been eating for breakfast since June! :-> I can eat eggs for breakfast, but the only reason they stick is that they’re cooked with a ton of onions & mushrooms for volume. :->

  7. Kat Posell Says:

    I’ve been so inspired by your accomplishments and dedication to exercise. You’ve found what works for your body and you’re happy with your food choices. But I just want to put out there that it sounds like you tried to do low-fat Paleo, which is known as Faileo for exactly the reason you experienced.

    I eat mostly Primal based on Mark Sisson’s ideas at marksdailyapple.com, along with the science of Chris Masterjohn at http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/, and the research wizardry of Denise Minger at http://rawfoodsos.com. But I’m allergic to grains, beans, and carrageenan, so it’s much easier for me to make those food choices. I got off track over the holidays so last week I started Dr. Kruse’s Leptin Reset (http://jackkruse.com/my-leptin-prescription/) and I’m down 3 pounds this week (probably mostly inflammation).

  8. Yoko Olsgaard Says:

    This sure is proof of every body being different. I think that finding your sweet spot is the best thing of all. For me, it’s eggs and lots of protein and veggies … my body likes it but my mind gets tired of it. So I fall off the wagon now and then. Steel Cut Oatmeal is a luxury item for me in terms of how it slows down my weight loss. But it beats eating ice cream. 😀

    I am so glad you have become so adept at communicating with your body.

  9. joyce Says:

    so interesting – eggs totally fill me up in the am. (but my stomach is very sensitive in the morning, and can’t tolerate a lot). I always figured it was because the whites float and go up to the top of my stomach, lol. I like oatmeal, but anything high carb sets off my insulin levels, and then I’m on the snack, snack, snack boat that eggs put you on. I had to quit breakfast bars because I just can’t take the sugar.

  10. snapshotstacy Says:

    So often, what people ‘hear about’ a particular way of eating & what the actual method are diverge. LOL From what I’ve read (and experienced), in order for the “Paleo” way to work, you’re looking at volume – quite a bit, actually… two eggs for breakfast doesn’t cut it. Both the Paleo books & the Krause methods want you to eat around 50g (yup, 50!) of protein at breakfast! Believe me, when I eat more than 35, I’m not hungry at all until lunch.
    The only reason I don’t follow Paleo more closesly, is because I’m not willing to give up dairy! 😀

    Every person is different, though. What works for one may not work for another… I don’t do well on a high carb/low fat diet. No satiety and lots of inflammation (no bueno). But I know lots of people who don’t do well on low carb/high protein, too!

    What it all boils down to at the end of the day… is “My body, my science experiment!”

  11. keepingthepoundsoff Says:

    I think you said it all. Every body is a laboratory. You are the one who knows how your brain and body are reacting to any changes you make. I changed away from my breakfast eggs to a cereal and fruit breakfast and I am satisfied thru to lunch – no morning snack anymore. That is working for me. I also started working out AFTER breakfast, rather than before. If I work out before Bkfast I switch and have the eggs in the AM so I get my post workout protein.


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