Losing Weight & the Gluten-Free Diet: The Secrets We Already Know

The New Year is here and for many it’s the time to revisit the scale and devise ways to shed the extra weight we’ve gained over the holiday season, or have even been carrying around with us for the past year… or more.

Like many others, I too have gained weight since being gluten-free. Thankfully the days of having an insatiable appetite yet still being able to lose weight, because of undiagnosed celiac disease, are long gone. Also gone are the days of cramping, bouts with diarrhea, anemia and feeling like I was in a “mental fog” and out-of-sorts. Bye-bye to that all. Thank God.

I know that now my body is finally healthy. Finally. After years of eating gluten my body was not absorbing the basic nutrients needed to thrive –  including fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates. Now, I am healthy and “normal” when it comes to gaining weight.

And what does a body behaving “normally” mean?  It means that now when I eat too much I gain weight. For the most part I eat healthy and well. But every so often, I enjoy all the gluten-free goodies, sweets, desserts and high-calorie things “I just have to try since it is gluten-free”. All things that don’t helping the waist line.

Through emails sent to BeFreeForMe from our members, comments on BeFreeForMe blog posts, and reading gluten-free forums and fellow gluten-free blogs, if seems that gaining unnecessary weight while on the gluten-free diet, and then trying to loose it, is a huge concern. It’s a hot topic. People are asking if there’s a trick? Any special ideas on losing this extra weight? Is there a special weight loss diet for those with celiac disease? And through it all I have learned that one thing is a fact: Losing that extra weight can be hard.

But why? Here we are a group of people, old-pros at restricted eating. We know what it takes to get into the mindset of eating for our health. Let’s face it, we are good at it. We’re proven pros. Which got me thinking… what if we simply take all we know about eating gluten-free successfully and apply it to eating to lose weight? Would we be on the right track to rid ourselves of any extra weight?

So after much thought I decided that instead of trying to find a magic trick or miracle diet, the secret is something we’ve been practicing all along… our gluten-free lifestyle.  Read on…

– Keep track of what you eat: We’ve all had it happen… The mistaken ingestion of gluten. This is where a food diary can help in determining where the gluten could have come from. By using the same “food tracking” concept when trying to loose weight, a food journal can help keep track of what you eat and assist in making better choices, as well as keep you accountable.

– Always have an emergency snack handy: Being gluten-free we know the scenario: You are stuck in an airplane on a snowy tarmac for hours or you are scheduled in back to back meetings and a gluten-free lunch option is nowhere in site… you get the picture. Any good dieter should also know that a healthy snack kept in your bag is a must to keep yourself in check calorie wise when hunger strikes. Some gluten-free options: fruit-based energy bars, nuts, or dried fruit.

– Plan ahead: We all know that the gluten-free lifestyle can require calling ahead to restaurants to find out what gluten-free options there are to eat.  When watching your weight the same due-diligence should be used. Check out restaurant menus online before getting to the restaurant to not only find the gluten-free options, but also the ones that are the healthiest and the best-bet calorie-wise. Do double due-diligence!

– Life beyond white bread: Being gluten-free we know that there are other options besides “white” (or refined grains) when it comes to bread. For those trying to lose weight, go for the gluten-free breads that contain whole grains that are higher in fiber and protein. Some grains to look for include: amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats (pure, uncontaminated), quinoa, sorghum, teff, and wild rice.

– You can do it: Being on a gluten-free diet, at least at first, takes some time and experience to get down pat. But over time, it comes more natural. The same holds free for eating to improve your health, and loose some weight. Renew that faith in yourself and remember that you can do what you put your mind to do!

– Life just isn’t about food: People that are trying to loose weight are often told to engage in activities that don’t focus around eating and food. If anyone knows the challenges of combining social situations and food, it’s a person on a gluten-free diet. Embrace activities that involve exercise, and bring along a light gluten-free snack to refuel!

– We know how to say “No thank you”: Being gluten-free we know how to say “no thank you” graciously and politely. Learn how to use these three little words when refusing high calorie foods that add to your waistline.

–  Respect your body: Often time, it takes awhile to get your body healthy. After I went gluten-free it took some time to heal – to feel better. The same holds true when it comes to weight loss. We can’t expect immediate results, but slow gradual ones. Be patient.

– Believe in yourself: Dig deep inside and dig up that “I can do it” attitude. You got through the ins-and-outs and the trials and tribulations of gluten-free living. Take that same attitude, motivate yourself, and set your mind to reducing your weight for your health!

What are your pointers for loosing weight on the gluten-free diet?

Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions when it comes to better health?

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8 Responses to “Losing Weight & the Gluten-Free Diet: The Secrets We Already Know”

  1. Mary Says:

    Eat to live, don’t live to eat! Gluten free foods/cooking/baking can and will open up a whole new world of eating. I’m still fighting with textures of baked goods, but I LOVE using all the new flours that are more nutritious, are higher in fiber, and actually lend a plethora of new tastes to my palate. I am thankful that my Celiac Disease’s silver lining is the fact that I’ve been introduced to flours and spices that had never been in my normal day to day eating. Savoring the new flavors helps me to eat less because it is more satisfying!

  2. Mel Says:

    GREAT post! I echo everything said here. I had been doing most of them even before I had to go GF, and they are very helpful habits to have learned already!

  3. Alex K Says:

    I love this post, and agree completely with what Mary said about eating to live, not living to eat. Yes there are many tasty gluten free options (don’t get me wrong I love to try them all out!) but, just because they are gluten-free, they aren’t always a necessary part of a healthy diet. Being gluten free is new to me as I found out six months ago that I have a gluten allergy, but one thing that I have realized since being gluten free is that there are so many healthy, naturally gluten free meals and snacks to incorporate into my diet that don’t require the processed gluten free foods that I first started out with in my diet. I am so grateful for the amount of resources available online via blogs like this to learn more about cooking g-free. If anything, I’ve found that I have to be more creative when making dishes, which has proven to be a great thing as I have discovered g-free meals can be both healthy AND delicious with the right combinations of foods!

  4. Kathleen Reale Says:

    I love all the comments above! It seems we are all eating better being GF! =)

  5. cassie Says:

    Also, don’t forget the greens and colorful plants that have grown. when most are first diagnosed they are eating these and losing weight. then they. learn about the boxed items and crave these from prior diagnoses. this is often when weight gain is seen once again.

  6. Donna Maneval Says:

    I was losing a lot of weight before being told I have celiac.But the problem I am having I also have diverticulosis,so I have been totally following the diet totally.Any advice?

  7. TXEdie Says:

    Every Celiac must read the “Ingredients” of a packaged food and can’t ignore the “Calories” listed right above those ingredients. Simple truth: If you eat more calories than your body uses, you gain weight. Actually, the fewer “Ingredient lists” you read, the slimmer and healthier you will be. Why is that?

    Fresh fruits and vegetables, and fresh meat/fowl/fish have no “ingredients” beyond what you see — and are naturally more healthy and low-calorie. There are no additives to avoid in fresh food — what you add is obvious. Any healthy diet consists predominantly of those natural foods.

    An occasional treat/sweet/etc.? Go for it … just read that ingredient list and take note of those calories!

  8. Kathleen Reale Says:

    Love these comments!

    TXEdie… you are SO right! Fruits, veggies, and lean proteins are the way to go if eating healthy… naturally GF! =)

    Also, Donna M. … just like Cassie says above… try to limit the amount of “packaged” or boxed gluten-free items that you eat (things like cookies, crackers, etc.) As you get use to the GF diet, you will discover that there are plenty of delcious “naturally” gluten-free items that are lower in calories. Another tip is to get cooking! Making things from scratch can help in losing weight and taking control of your diet.

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