We all agree that the gluten-free diet is one of the toughest diets to follow. For most of us, veering from a strict gluten-free diet by just a hair can have horrible consequences.
Well, since we spend so much of our energy focusing on the diet, it can be VERY difficult to take on another diet by choice, such as a diet for weight loss. Unfortunately though, people with celiac disease still need to manage their weight and overall health just like everyone else.
The good news? We’re here to help you achieve your goal of a low calorie, gluten-free diet.
If you’re like many people, you’ve tried various ways to lose or maintain your weight and have gotten discouraged with various diets and are skeptical about any promised magical weight loss miracle. Any remaining malabsorption and gastrointestinal issues from celiac disease may be making weight loss particularly challenging. Despite trying many techniques for weight loss, you may not have tried one very healthy, reasonable approach to ensure you’re meeting but not exceeding your caloric needs.
Track your daily eating with Sparkpeople.com. It’s an excellent free website that allows you to track your daily caloric and nutritional intake. Depending on what’s better for you, you can log on at intervals throughout the day, or just once at the end of the day, and enter the foods you’ve eaten, including the approximate amounts.
The program calculates your approximate intake, from calories to micronutrients, and lets you know how you’re doing. Its report will let you know if you’re on track to lose or gain weight, including how quickly you will lose weight if you continue eating like you did today. You can also log your weight and measurements if you’d like to see them on a graph so you can visually track your weight loss.
What’s amazing is that after logging food intake for just a few days or weeks, many people find that their relationship to food has changed so much that they don’t need to keep logging on a daily basis. The special thing about online food diaries is that they force you to take a look at how much you’re really eating. When you pour a bunch of baked corn chips into a bowl to munch on, but first pause to count how many you’re eating so you can accurately report that number to Sparkpeople.com, you’ll likely find you’ve taken far more than a serving size and will either put some back or compensate later in the day by eating a lighter meal or snacking on something less caloric.
When you enter your foods at the end of the day you may find yourself surprised by how little protein was in one food, how much calcium was in another, and how surprisingly low-calorie your dinner was as compared to your breakfast.
For someone with celiac disease whose gut is repairing itself, it is equally important to pay attention to vitamins, minerals and protein – through monitoring your diet like this, you can get more of the nutrients you need in order to heal your body, reduce your risk of osteoporosis and other celiac-related ailments, and improve your intestinal absorption.
All of these little revelations increase your knowledge and awareness of serving sizes and of the nutritional profile of various foods. After a few days of tracking your food, you will find that throughout the day you are automatically choosing food options and building meals that balance each other out so that you’re not going over your allotment of calories during the day.
After tracking for a little while, you may find you can confidently stop tracking yet continue losing weight. If your weight loss starts to slow down or reverse, simply log back on and start tracking for few days or weeks to recalibrate yourself. Then give yourself a break from calorie-tracking again, and watch how with mindfulness you are able to maintain your weight loss and reach your goals.