A question that frequently pops up is how to lose weight on a gluten free diet. Shedding the pounds without gluten isn’t radically different from any other weight loss program. The golden rules still apply: decrease your calories and increase your physical activity. I’d like to point out that eating gluten free is not a diet for weight loss. It is, however, essential for celiac disease (CD) sufferers and people with gluten intolerance.
Having said that, cutting out gluten can be a more straight forward route to getting rid of the weight if you eliminate a lot of processed foods and carbohydrates (at least the ones with grains containing gluten). If you’ve made dietary changes and gluten free diet weight loss isn’t happening for you, there might be a few reasons why.
Avoiding certain foods
In addition to the gluten foods you can’t eat as a CD person, it’s best to avoid a number of other foods to shed a few pounds. Gluten free “processed” foods fall in to this category. For some, this is going to be hard to swallow (so to speak) because you might already feel restricted with your current diet. Gluten free does not mean calorie free! Some grain-based and gluten-free products, such as pizza, cakes, breads and snacks, are loaded with sugar and contain more calories than your body needs. Substitute the processed stuff for healthier options including lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies.
As with all diets, counting the calories is important. After transitioning to a gluten-free lifestyle, you might lose a little weight in the first couple months without even trying. In fact, I had a friend that lost as much as 20 pounds! Eventually, the weight loss comes to a halt. When you get to this point, it’s time to look at your daily consumption of calories. Keep a food journal to help with this.
Are you on a totally gluten free diet?
Perhaps the most important factor, which I can’t stress enough, is that gluten is often “hidden” in food products and even personal hygiene products. This could potentially prevent weight loss. Thorough checks of product packaging is absolutely essential. When in doubt, contact the product manufacturer. If you’re not sure, put it back on the store shelf and move on.
Giving yourself time
When you’re trying to drop the pounds, you want to see results now. The body may have other ideas. If your gluten intolerant or CD, consider that your body wasn’t properly absorbing nutrients from food. It may hold on to the weight until it deems it’s safe enough to let go. Keep up a healthy eating pattern and exercise schedule, and you’ll eventually get what you want.
Going the primal / paleo route
If you read caveman diet recipes 101, you know this diet (also known as “primal” or “paleo”) is rich in non-processed foods including lean meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits and nuts. All of these foods are naturally gluten free, which is why so many people with CD and gluten sensitivities turn to this way of eating. Combined with regular exercise, weight tends to naturally drop off at a slow, steady pace. Going primal / paleo helps steer you towards foods that promotes a healthy body weight, and it takes a lot of guesswork out when trying to decide what to eat each day.
Sticking with gluten free diet weight loss
Being gluten free and losing weight is going to depend upon the same approach that other weight loss programs require — discipline and dedication. Gluten free diet weight loss isn’t a substitute for exercise, although you may be able to reduce weight without it in the beginning. All the “normal” foods that contribute to weight gain, should be avoided if you’re going to make progress. Remember to eat the right foods, exercise regularly and be patient. The pounds will eventually drop off, but more importantly, you’ll feel better.
To your health!
The Gluten Free Cuisine just wants to remind you that you should always check with your doctor before beginning a new weight loss program.