Gluten Free Fitness

The tale of the clear heels: The gluten free princess takes the stage


I’ve been a little absent this week.

As some of you know, I had a date to be on a stage with a fake tan and wearing clear heels yesterday.

Get your mind out of the gutter 😉

Yesterday I competed in a figure competition-kind of a fitness modelly type of competition that requires a bit of muscle and a good amount of leanness to show that muscularity. The fake tan is so the muscle shows under the bright stage lights. I’ve been preparing for about 3 months specifically getting lean enough and training. Although I always train and try to eat well, getting to this level of leanness is a whole different ballgame.

It’s quite a journey, but it also is very rewarding to be able to achieve those goals.

But there is a point here, dear reader. Promise.

It’s been a convoluted road in coming to this particular goal. When I was growing up, I was a competitive equestrian. That ended when I went to PT school. In PT school, as a poor student I fulfilled my need to achieve a physical goal with starting to lift weights and running. Throughout this I was beginning to have my knee problems, and the running went away, and more knee surgeries came. So time to readjust the goals. I changed from a saddle for a horse, to a saddle on a road bike. I started training in cycling, and did some long distance charity events. Then more knee surgeries. After my second to last knee surgery I learned about the sport of figure. I had seen the magazine Oxygen, and loved the strong but feminine look. I immersed myself in learning more about the proper method for training with weights and optimizing my cardiovascular training. In 2006 I was lucky enough to find an incredibly helpful and knowledgeable coach who could help me with getting into competition shape, and did my first figure show. (Yes, I have the diet and training knowledge, but it’s very hard to be objective when looking at your own physique-especially when you are dieting. Someone once said “The person who trains themselves has a fool for a client” and I agree with that.)

Seeing the changes in my body was incredibly empowering. I felt strong, and was physically stronger.

Throughout all this though, my knees were getting worse. In April of 2007 I underwent my last surgery, which was a complicated procedure. It involved being in the hospital for a week, a wheelchair and braces on both legs for two months, and then crutches and braces for another two months. I was completely physically dependent. I needed assistance to get from the wheelchair into bed. I was in machines which moved my legs passively for 8 hours a day, because to protect the surgery I was not allowed to move my knees on my own for several weeks. I had machines that circulated ice water around my legs for most of the day, including night time. I slept in our guest room with all these machines. I had to rely on my fiance (boyfriend at the time) for everything. Everything. I couldn’t reach into cabinets, open a door, nothing.

Going from an independent, strong person to being completely dependent sure does kick you in the ass.

I had a choice. I could whine, (and I did sometimes) or I could suck it up, do the work, and get back to being me. So I did. I did the incredibly tedious 8 hours a day in the machines, I did all the rehab exercises, I got in the pool when I was allowed, I progressed slowly. I went back in the gym when I was still on crutches to start training upper body. I looked at my legs-two sticks of mush and scars, with no muscle at all. And I decided I would make it back to a figure stage one day.

It was a long road, but 18 months after my surgery I stepped back onto a figure stage, 5″ clear heels and all. My legs were still underdeveloped, and I had problems going down the stairs from the stage, but I did it. I proved it to myself. I’ve continued to rebuild, and yesterday marked exactly 3 years since my surgery. I stepped onstage, presented the best physique I’ve had to date, and placed second.

It’s not about the placing. It’s not about the trophy. (It’s nice, don’t get me wrong.)

What it is about is having a goal, working like hell to reach that goal and not giving yourself room for any excuses.

Anyone can do this. I am not special.

It may be running a marathon, it may be running a block. It may be improving your cholesterol in order to be able to stop taking medication. It may be lowering your blood pressure. Maybe it’s fitting into your clothes better. Maybe it’s the ability to go up stairs without getting winded. Maybe it’s setting a good example for your kids. Maybe it’s helping your kids to be more healthy. Maybe it’s carrying groceries more easily. It doesn’t matter.

Just pick something. Something objective, measurable. Give yourself a time frame, and stick to it. No excuses, no slacking. You can totally do this.

What’s your goal?

Give me your goals. Put it out there, and make it real. Commit.

One person who leaves a comment below with their goal will be randomly selected to receive a free copy of Marlisa Brown’s book Gluten-Free, Hassle Free: A Simple, Sane, Dietitian-Approved Program for Eating Your Way Back To Health.

Contest will close at Midnight EST on May 1st, winner will be notified on May 2nd.

Weight Management and Celiac Disease: Wrapping it Up, Gluten Free Style


There’s been a lot of ground covered over the past couple of weeks regarding managing your weight on a gluten free diet, and how celiac disease can affect weight control.

In Part 1 of this series, I revealed how I was a cheater at the gluten free diet. In Part 2, we covered some physical and psychological reasons why you may experience weight loss or gain with celiac disease/gluten intolerance. In Part 3, we reviewed some action you can take to lose weight/fat if you choose, on a gluten free diet. In Part 4, we covered strategies for gaining weight in a controlled and healthy manner if gaining is your goal.

The upshot of all this is that whatever you goal is as far as weight and/or body composition, you can achieve it.

And really, achieving those goals in within reach for all of us.

You choose a goal, make a plan to get there, and execute.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

In reality, it may not be quite that easy.

But it doesn’t have to be terribly hard. You can achieve what you set your mind to. You choose a goal-whether it’s to reach the top of those stairs, lose 20 pounds, fit into a smaller pant size, do 10 push ups, squat a bunch of weight, or run a marathon. The only thing stopping you-is you.

We need to get out of our own way. To set aside the preconceptions of our abilities. To shatter the expectations that others may have of us.

For today-choose one thing. Make that one thing your goal for this week. I was talking to a client yesterday, and her goal this week is to bump up her water intake to 3-4 liters a day. That’s a great goal-measurable, achievable and realistic. When that one thing becomes habit and no longer takes work, then you set a new goal. With time, all of these things add up, and you’ve changed your lifestyle in a maintainable way.

In my post on the gluten free diet as a lifestyle, I talked about the definition of “diet” and how it may be more beneficial to wrap our heads around the word/concept in a different way. This is your life. Live in it now, not with “if only” and “should have”.

What’s your goal for this week? Don’t be shy-post it below! When you put it in black and white, it becomes real. Go get ’em!