My gluten free weight loss journey, one year later

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I began my gluten-free weight loss journey a year ago this July.  Losing weight is hard, doing it while maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle is almost impossible.  But I did it, and I have kept most of it off.

I have learned a lot in the past year about what works and what doesn’t.  I would like to share these tips with you, especially if you are struggling with weight loss and being gluten free.

What worked for me:

  • portion control.  This is one of the first things I learned
  • weighing and measuring foods as much as possible
  • reading labels as to what a portion size entails (you might be surprised)
  • Weight Watchers* helped me to get started
  • Amping up my exercise (walking)
  • having the support of my husband and taking the journey with him
  • cutting back on my baking
  • weighing in once a week
  • rewarding myself one day a week, regardless of progress
  • realizing that weight fluctuates, even hour by hour
  • setting small goals
  • focusing on how my clothes fit, and how I felt
  • taking pictures to see my progress

What didn’t work:

  • Eliminating favorite foods.  You will just end up binging
  • beating myself up for gaining
  • Weight Watchers- it became tedious counting points
  • carb cycling
  • meal skipping
  • focusing on the scale
  • negative thinking
  • focusing on being “bad”

Weight loss is the easy part.  Keeping it off is a whole other ballgame, but it can be done.   It is a daily struggle not to just say “screw it” and gain it all back.  Yes, I slip.  But I don’t beat myself up about it.  I just keep going.  You can too.

 

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My gluten free weight loss journey continued….

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I have been at this for 20 weeks now.  It’s still a constant battle.  But I am continuing to lose weight, albeit at a much slower pace.

I am doing much better with my carb cravings.  I am eating far fewer potatoes, rice and pasta.   I do tend to go overboard when I eat them, but it’s infrequent.  I am focusing on eating more protein.

The one thing I have been craving lately is chocolate.  I found that Enjoy life foods has chocolate mini bars (like Hershey’s minis without the allergens).   So far I am able to control my portion to two bars.  But I may have gone a bit too far and ordered six bags.  I am afraid they will discontinue them as they are touted as a “Halloween” thing.   I do keep them in a closed cabinet out of sight, but I know they are there.  I pray I don’t have a binge.

I have reached the point where if I have a craving for something, I am going to eat it.  I will surely try to stay within reasonable portions, but I am sure that one of these days I will go on a binge.  It just hasn’t happened yet.

So the journey continues.  Stay tuned for progress reports.

My gluten free weight loss journey, weeks 17 and 18

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I almost gave up last week.  I was tired of struggling to lose the same five pounds over and over.  But I decided to keep going.  I still see an overweight image when I look in the mirror.  I still have a way to go to reach my goal.

I am back to the weight I was about a month or so ago.  It seems like I am starting from square one.

Last week I tried modified intermittent fasting.  I decided not to get too crazy with it, so I skipped lunch on Tuesday (this was partly due to stomach issues and I had to go out) and then I ate just a banana for lunch another day.   I lost two pounds this week.  Did it work?  I’m not sure, but skipping lunch here and there certainly won’t hurt me.

Losing weight is hard work and can be very discouraging, especially when your scale is a bit wonky.  The other day I stepped on to see my progress and saw I had lost 1.2 pounds.  This morning I stepped on and the scale said I had lost nine pounds since then.  I knew that couldn’t be right.  My scale had both a dial and digital readout, and they didn’t match.  I finally figured out that my bathroom floor being slanted is the culprit.   I hate scales.

Oh well, the battle continues….

My gluten free weight loss journey, week 16

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I lost the 0.4 pounds I gained last week.  I also stopped Weight Watchers, for several reasons.

Firstly, my 90-day membership is almost up.  I would be getting charged $20 a month for a program I hardly use.  There is a free app that does the exact same thing.

Secondly, I have pretty much stopped tracking points.  I know what I’m supposed to do, and what my portions should be.  Aside from that,  their recipe builder is a logistical nightmare, especially when you have to swap in gluten and dairy free ingredients.

Thirdly, I am getting more and more tired of restricting myself.  As my husband put it, “sometimes you just want”.  I am at the point now that if I want to eat something, I am going to eat it.  And if I don’t want something, such as salad, I am not going to eat it just because “I should”.  It’s not about should or shouldn’t.  It’s about balancing out your wants and needs.  You can’t keep restricting yourself and expect to stick to a weight loss plan.  It just won’t work.

It’s a life change, not a diet.  I am eating much healthier and making better choices, but I still slip now and again.  In fact, now when I see those commercials like Arbys “we have the meats, but we also have the fat”, I cringe at the portion sizes.  No wonder Americans are getting more and more obese.  We eat way too much in the way of food, and don’t exercise enough.  I have put the brakes on that without being fanatical about it.

It’s all about balance, and living life.  I am deprived enough of things I can’t eat; I don’t want to make myself depressed by depriving myself even more.  It’s all about portion control and awareness.

 

 

 

 

My gluten free weight loss journey (Weight Watchers) week 15

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I lost 2.4 pounds this week, which takes me back to the halfway point.   My goal is to lose 20 pounds.  I have lost ten;  five of which I gained back.  It’s been an uphill battle.

I try to focus on the victories, but I find myself still looking in the mirror and seeing an overweight person looking back.  But pictures really do tell a story:

The picture on the left is taken on the day I started Weight Watchers. The one on the right is after losing just four pounds.  But I had lost inches.

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This was after an eight-pound loss.  Not a significant difference, but you can see that I had continued to lose inches.

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This was taken a month later.  Along with a new haircut (alas, I didn’t lose any weight after cutting my really thick hair)  I had gained and lost about five pounds here.  You can really see it in my face and upper body.

 

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Here is the picture from today, side by side with the first one I took:

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You can really see the difference here.  Pictures are a great way to see your progress.  Sometimes when you look at yourself every day, you don’t see the weight loss.  Yes, I have a way to go, but I am doing great.  I just have to keep telling myself that.

Carbs continue to be my nemesis.  I have cut way down on them though, including potatoes.  Measuring and weighing is key, as is counting points, although I don’t do it as strictly as I did when I started.  Some things I just let slide.  I find point counting tedious and since I know what portions I should be eating, it’s not as essential as it once was.  But I do keep an eye on it.

Walking is also essential.  It’s a low-impact, free and easy exercise.  I have noticed that my cellulite is slowly disappearing.  I probably won’t ever be completely free of it, but I do see a difference.  Walking is also great for toning those thighs.

I am living proof that you can lose weight while being gluten and dairy free.  You have to be willing to cut down on carbs and sweets.  You don’t have to eliminate them completely, but you have to be accountable.

Please contact me with any questions or just for guidance.  Stay tuned to follow my progress!

 

 

 

My gluten free weight loss journey, weeks 13 and 14

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These past two weeks have pretty much been an exercise in losing perspective.  Starting with our road trip to NJ to visit our kids, I really fell off the diet wagon.   I almost quit Weight Watchers.  After tasting freedom from dietary restrictions, not even considering my gluten and dairy restrictions, I did not want to go back to counting points and accounting for every morsel.

I had a real battle with myself this morning after gaining another 1.8 pounds.  I know some of that is water weight, since I got on the scale two days ago, and had lost the .2 pounds I gained the previous week.  I went a bit carb crazy in the last two days, and that can make you retain water.

I really thought about quitting.  I’m tired of the bouncing scale and the constant struggle.  I’m tired of the additional restrictions.  Being gluten and dairy free is hard enough, but add to that having to give up all of the things I love, and it becomes a real battle.  What turned it around for me is that an old friend of mine commented on the above picture that I posted on Facebook: “you look great, have you lost weight? ”

“Yes, I said, I have.”  Yes, I have struggled for every ounce.  Yes, I want to lose more.  Having lost 12 pounds, and then putting back almost four, is really discouraging.  Bouncing weight is bad for your health.  But it’s a war, and I have lost this recent battle. The war rages merrily on.

Sometimes I think, wow, I can really see the weight loss.  And then, sometimes I think, I still look fat, especially when I turn sideways, and from certain angles.  I have a permanent belly from scoliosis and a past surgery.   Women tend to have poor or distorted body image.  Blame unrealistically sized models, celebrities and airbrushing.  But being overweight is not healthy.  I need to find my way again and be accountable.

I am newly determined to reach my goal of a twenty-pound weight loss.  I am just shy of halfway there, again.  The free for all is over.  Back to counting points, weighing and measuring and making friends with the scale again, both the bathroom and kitchen varieties.

It is weigh in and reward Monday.  So I made a batch of gluten-free brownies (which I will review separately), froze all but one and ate it with gusto.  Even though I lost the battle, I still rewarded myself for coming through it with new resolve.  Thank you to all of you who have commented your support and shared your own struggles.  Thanks to my old friend who helped me change my outlook.  And thanks most of all to my husband, who told me this morning that it was completely up to me if I wanted to continue losing weight, and for listening to me rant about why I wanted to quit, and for supporting my decision, no matter what.

Stay tuned for updates!

That's me in the corner, losing my ambition (my gluten free weight loss journey)

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After last weeks’ road trip, and totally foregoing Weight Watchers, I am finding it really difficult to “get back on the horse” as it were.

I loved the freedom of eating what I wanted without worrying about it, even though I was restricted by my dietary issues the whole time.  I did bring my own food, but we ate dinner out several times, with little to no repercussions.

Once we returned home, I resolved to resume my “good habits” and restart the diet.  Alas, this did not happen.  I found that I did not want to return to my restricted diet. I had tasted freedom, and I was not going back anytime soon.

A new weigh in looms on Monday.   We were on the road last Monday, and we had decided not to weigh in once we returned home.  I did though, and had only gained .2 pounds.  I also got on the scale today, just to see where I am at, and have lost that .2. Okay, not too bad.

I still want to reach my goal of losing twenty pounds, but the bouncing scale has made that goal seem unreachable.  It’s really discouraging.  I find myself slacking on weighing and measuring food, exercising and generally caring about what I put in my mouth.  I find myself sliding back into old habits.  Yes, I still want to lose weight, but the effort of doing so is slowly wearing me down.  I have had several setbacks and failed ideas about different methods (carb cycling).  I am finding it hard to find the motivation to continue.

I find I don’t want to wait until reward days to eat the foods I love.  I find myself eating too many carbs.

Today, two days before weigh in, I will try to get back on track. I will weigh and measure my meals today and try to be accountable.

Stay tuned for a new progress report this coming Monday.

 

 

My gluten free weight loss journey, Weight Watchers week 12

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I lost 1.8 pounds this week.  This is part of the five I gained last week carb cycling.  It seems like an uphill battle, but it’s a journey.  I have to keep telling myself that.  I also have a road trip looming this coming week along with two plus dinners out.  Hoo boy.

At least I am back on a downward trend.  I am now going to confine my carb loading to reward Mondays.   There are days when I just want to chuck it all.  I was much happier when I could eat what I wanted (ok, I could eat anything gluten and dairy free that I wanted).  I miss baking my wonderful gluten free creations.  I now have to settle for baked goods with reduced fat and sugar. No more ganache (boo).  It also doesn’t help that I have developed a nightshade sensitivity.  I can’t eat tomatoes anymore without days of burning around my nether regions.  Same goes for peppers.  Potatoes don’t seem to bother me, but I have cut way back on them. Geez, where will the list of foods I can’t eat end?

I have found some recipes for mug cakes that I am going to try out on my reward days. It’s all about portion control.  Unless I make something I can portion out or freeze, I know I will go overboard.  I couldn’t keep dairy free ice cream in the house because I kept dipping into it.  I have to have something available that isn’t going to tempt me every time I open the fridge, freezer or cabinet.

I am going to let loose a bit on this trip.  I think it will do me some good to relax the rules for a few days.  Within reason.  I am not going to go hog wild.  I am restricted as it is in restaurants.   Fast food is out, so we are bringing sandwich fixings and some snacks (Enjoy life chewy bars!)  I have a portable cooler that is a life saver on long trips.

I bought myself a Daiya gluten and dairy free pizza for reward night tonight.  Yes, tomatoes, but I can put up with it once in awhile.

Stay tuned for the continuing weight loss saga!

My gluten free weight loss journey, week 12 (Weight Watchers week 8)

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I am sorry to say I gained almost five pounds this week.  I am truly upset about that.

It seems that carb cycling only worked for a short time, at least in my case.  I ate way too much in the way of carbs this week, and went over my 30 points almost every day.

I believe that the flux of carbs caused my IBS to flare.  I had alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea this week; something that happened on a regular basis before I went on Weight Watchers.  I found that when I ate too many gluten free cakes and cookies, I felt bloated, and often had an upset stomach.   I believe I did get sick from eating dairy last week at my dinner out (the chef lied about it).  I also believe I need to up my liquid intake.  I am eating more in the way of fiber (fruit and veggies), and that can cause constipation.  I have a really sensitive tummy as it is.  Eating more fiber can really set it off,  if I am not careful.

No one but me is responsible for this weight gain.  I also have to confess that I got a bit lax with weighing and measuring this past week, and I also dipped into the dairy free ice cream a time or two.  Lesson learned.  I am tossing out the ice cream.  If it’s not here, I can’t eat it!

Even though I am discouraged, I know I need to get right back on the horse.  I think part of it is water weight, but most of it is not.

Weight Watchers gives you a -3, +7 daily points leeway.  In my case, my daily points are set at 30.  So I can go anywhere between 27 and 37, and still be in my target range.  I have been leaning this week more towards 37.   This next week,  I need to lean more towards 27.   But I have to watch that I don’t restrict myself too much or I won’t lose any weight. It’s sort of like walking a balance beam.   At least that’s how I equate it.  A tightrope would not be the right analogy.  At least not for me.

With a road trip looming in two weeks, I feel like I will lose this 5 pounds, only to gain it right back on the trip.  I will have to be more careful than I planned to be so that I don’t start to yo-yo, which can be really bad.

No one said this would be easy.  Weight loss is a journey, not a race.  I have to keep telling myself that.  Knowing what I did wrong this week, and correcting my mistakes, should result in my losing these pounds.  At least that’s what I hope will happen.

Stay tuned for an update next week.

My gluten free weight loss journey, week 11 (Weight Watchers week 7)

This is a rather long post, but I want to give all of you an idea of how carb loading works when you are gluten free.

This has been a really interesting and successful week.  Last week, I posted that I was going to try carb cycling.  I wasn’t sure if it would work or not.  I am happy to report that I lost 3.2 pounds this week.  So did it work?  Hell yes!

I had my doubts mid-week when I stepped on the scale and had gained almost a pound.  But that’s the way carb cycling works.  The days that you eat carbs, you tend to bloat.  Towards the end of the week right before weigh in, you drop your carb intake.  The result should be significant weight loss.  I DO NOT completely cut out carbs.  You do need some in your diet.

Will it work for everyone?  No.  But is it worth a try?  Yes.

So what exactly did I eat this week, and how did I cycle the carbs?  Let me show you. Bear in mind, my daily total is 30 points, with 35 “extra points” per week.

Monday is weigh in day, and also reward day.  So I ate a lot of carbs, including chocolate cake:

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I had grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup for lunch-one of my favorite meals.  If you notice,  I did not go crazy, but I did satisfy my carb cravings.   Total: 35 points.  Not too bad.

Tuesday was a low carb day:

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You’ll notice that I had way less carbs for lunch, even with the cake.  An easy way to do this is to eat half a sandwich.  I put 1/4 bagel because it was so thin.

A word about cauliflower rice- beware if you have IBS.  It made me really sick.  So sick, in fact, that I should have deducted my entire dinner.  Total points: 24

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