Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weight Watchers Gluten Free--TOUGH!!

Six weeks in, and I've yet to break the five pound barrier on my gluten free Weight Watchers journey. FRUSTRATING! I've been exercising, I've greatly reduced my portions, and I'm still struggling with a breakthrough. Although not exactly WW sanctioned, I'm doing a cleanse this week to try to get a jump start happening. Gosh, I hope it works!

One thing that Weight Watchers has helped me to see, is how I got where I am eating the typical gluten free swaps you might find in your local grocery store, and I'm definitely seeing a trend:
gluten free swaps make you fat!

There's just no other way to say it! The sooner we accept that as fact, the sooner we can come to terms and go about gluten free life smarter and wiser.

But what a bummer! The reason we went gluten-free in the first place was to get healthier! And initially, yes, we did feel better. We felt better, we began absorbing nutrients (and calories! ACK!!) more efficiently, we had more energy; all good reasons to eat gf.

In my husband's case, being gluten free has quite possibly saved his life! Because I was going to kill him if he spent one more minute in the bathroom, suffering with his IBS, which then progressed to ulcerative colitis, and was beginning to look like debilitating Crohn's Disease! Our lives revolved around where the nearest bathroom was, and that was WITH meds that had to change every so often because they would stop working. Now that he is gluten free, he is also medication free, and I would say his number of bathroom visits is within normal parameters, at least by my tolerance scale. See? A life saved! (O; And I always know when he has fallen off the wagon, because he snores when he ingests gluten. The wife ALWAYS knows!

In my 8 yr old son's case, a gf/df diet has dramatically helped with his ADD/ADHD-type behavior and learning challenges in school. He's been gluten-free since birth because of my six-year battle with infertility. Visit www.glutennazimom.com for the back story on that whole roller coaster ride. My son is not the least bit overweight, but I think the key for him is how very active he is. We could all take a lesson there! He also just doesn't like many sweets, even if I make them at home. We avoid refined sugar and watch artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors, and preservatives, so that eliminates constant requests for "over the counter" candy as well. He enjoys occasional natural sweets and candies, free of refined sugars, flavors and dyes. A wonderful neuro-therapist here in San Diego has helped me to understand his system's need for protein and nutrient-dense foods and supplements, including absolutely essential probiotics, all to his great benefit.

When I began eating gluten-free, I definitely noticed fewer skin issues, an increase in my energy and stamina, and a definite bonus in the digestive department, though I was nowhere near suffering to the extent my husband was. But the years of relying on carbs to fill me up, comfort eating and hording food have taken a terrible toll on my weight. Even though my son didn't enjoy them, I was buying and making gf cookies, brownies, cakes, and prided myself in finding the most delectable versions of such goodies available, and taking a mix and making it better. I order Sami's bread, bagels and pizza online, only I'm the one eating it most often. And I could eat brown rice pasta for every meal, and some days I probably did! And boy, did I go overboard in the portions! (Incidentally, Sami's Bakery is not a dedicated gluten free facility, and therefore their products might not work for someone who requires a strict gluten-free diet, due to cross contamination.)

Perhaps the better way for anyone to navigate a gluten-free diet, would be to focus on lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and save the indulgences for special occasions. We need to recognize that our gluten-free swaps are higher in carbs, fat, sugar and calories, and that just because a replacement product is available, doesn't mean we should be eating it. Especially not every day. Or even several times every day, thinking it's only a bite, or it doesn't matter.

Tracking my points and getting up and MOVING every day is definitely helping me to feel better than simply eating a gluten free diet has done, and I'm hopeful that Weight Watchers will help me to navigate a gluten free lifestyle more consciously, and ultimately prove successful.