While many of us strive to be healthy and conscientious in our daily lives, sometimes blind spots develop and we suddenly realize we can’t fit into that favorite pair of jeans quite as well as we used to. This was the case with me recently — having added 10 pounds to my 5’3”, normally 120-pound frame – and I took to correct the problem through diet and exercise. As I’d also learned that I had a digestive sensitivity to foods containing wheat, I decided to go with a gluten-free diet.
Weight loss is eighty percent diet and twenty percent exercise. Clean eating is absolutely essential! Moreover, it’s not just those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities who stand to benefit from a gluten-free diet – by cutting out foods containing wheat, barley, oats and rye, you also cut out an enormous amount of junk food (such as cookies, cakes, pastries and pasta). Not to mention that “with fewer choices, you’re a lot less likely to overeat,” according to Shelley Case, author of Gluten-Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Breakfast for me typically consisted of a bowl of Cinnamon Chex cereal (or a bowl of Cream of Rice), a rice cake with peanut butter or Nutella, and Greek yogurt with Udi’s gluten-free granola. (If I was in a hurry, I would mix up a Rich Chocolate Ovaltine-banana-soy shake.) For my lunch at work, I would have a bowl of Annie’s gluten-free macaroni with vegetables that could be steamed right in the bag. I invested in a rice cooker and a George Foreman grill, making delicious bunless burgers with rice for dinner. (Other dinner options included rotisserie chicken, a hearty bowl of chili, or various “paleo” recipes found on Elana’s Pantry.) I also made room for extra servings of fruits and veggies, snacking on apples and bananas during the day and drinking V8 juice. Finally, I made sure to stay hydrated by drinking eight glasses of water a day.
Don’t be afraid to build some muscle! I was already going to the gym a few times a week, but I decided to step up my cardio routine to include high-impact exercises like running on the treadmill, as well as strength training. The “circuit” area in my gym allows members to complete a thirty-minute training session that hits every major muscle group, which I took advantage of twice a week. I also worked with free weights and did body-weight exercises once a week at home. Combined with my healthy diet, it made it that much easier to go running or biking around my neighborhood with friends! Needless to say, within two and a half months I had managed to drop those pesky 10 pounds, and went from a dress size 8 to a 6. Going gluten-free is one lifestyle choice that I’ll never regret!