Gluten Free Fitness


The Magic Bullet for Living a Healthy Gluten Free Life


The Magic Bullet for Living a Healthy Gluten Free Life

No, not the Magic Bullet, one of my favorite small kitchen appliances… Not a pill, or potion, or lotion, or gimmicky late night infomercial product or fitness program…

Actually, it’s not very sexy at all. But, it will get you closer to your goals than a kitchen gadget, a pill, a potion, lotion, or gimmick.

It’s awareness.


Since you can’t package it and sell it, I’m afraid this little tidbit may be receiving less attention than it should.

If you’ve been reading my rantings, you may have heard me rant about this before. I believe that celiac disease is a blessing in disguise, a built in necessity where we HAVE to become more conscious of what we put in our mouths.

Awareness can extend much further than the gluten status of a food though

1. Be aware of how much you move-sitting, standing, lying. Be conscious of your movement or lack thereof, and try to add more general movement to your day.

2. Be aware of how eating different foods make you feel. Do you feel energized or listless? Do you feel good or no so good after eating french fries or something with a list of unpronounceable ingredients longer than your arm? (Gluten free of course-whatever it may be.)

3. Be aware of your sleep patterns. Many, many of us aren’t getting enough sleep, and that can lead to issues with appetite and weight control. On top of feeling tired, which just stinks. I am guilty of trying to get a lot done in a small amount of time, I understand totally. But sleep is crucial. 7-9 hours is ideal. Really. I get up at 5AM, but I’m lights out by 9:30-10 PM.

4. Be aware of your stress levels, and minimize them whenever possible. If you find yourself getting aggravated, try to focus on your breathing, count to 10 in pig latin, whatever it takes to talk yourself down. Every day life throws a lot of chronic stressors our way, and we’re just not built to live well under that constant low level stress. It’s very different than the stress of running from a lion, you know? In that case you run and it’s over. If you find this interesting, a great book to check out is Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky.

5. Be aware of the nutritional value of your food. You don’t have to change anything, just take a look-see. You may find that your habits begin to slowly change, and gravitate toward more “healthful” foods just by being aware of your choices and not just grabbing by habit.

So it’s not a pill, or a potion, or a lotion, or a gimmick. But give it a try and see what happens. You may be surprised what a little awareness can bring you.

Leave your experiences with awareness below…I love to hear from you guys!


Fast Weight Loss for Better Long Term Results?


Maybe slow and steady wins the race, but you get to the finish line thinner/fitter if you start fast.

Last week a study released from researchers at the University of Florida. I’m just going to cut and paste their conclusion here since it’s not in science-ese.

Collectively, findings indicate both short- and long-term advantages to fast initial weight loss. Fast weight losers obtained greater weight reduction and long-term maintenance, and were not more susceptible to weight regain than gradual weight losers.

Lisa Johnson had blogged about her thoughts on the research yesterday, and I responded on Twitter that I agreed completely. To me, fat loss is best approached like a band-aid. Get in, get it done. Rip it off and be done with it, then get on with your life and maintain your new and improved physique.

I’m not the only one beating this drum. Leigh Peele has written about it before, in fact I’m sure many times, but the post I came up with was this one on goal setting for fat loss. Lyle McDonald wrote a whole (excellent) book about it.

This does not mean that this approach is right for everyone. Now watch me backpedal.

Not for everyone

The impression I get from reading this abstract (because the full text isn’t available for free, one of my pet peeves) is that all the women were encouraged to intake a calorie level that would achieve a weight loss of .45 kg/week (approximately 1 pound per week, which is fairly standard for a weight loss diet. These women were also categorized as obese, so potentially COULD see more short term weight loss than someone closer to their ideal weight. (The fatter you are, the easier it is to lose a large amount of scale weight-hence the huge loss numbers on the Biggest Loser, which aren’t realistic unless you are also that size. And are sequestered. With a trainer, chef, kitchen, and nothing to do but exercise and learn about healthy habits. But I digress.)


Since I can’t see the full text, I also do not know the specifics as far as actual calorie and macronutrient breakdown, compliance measuring, and individual variability within the subjects. The groups of fast, medium, and slow “losers” were compiled based on their rate of loss after the first month of treatment. We do not know if those groups were evenly matched for obesity rates, age, activity, health history, etc and so on.

Having said that though, there have been other studies in the past which have also shown positive results from a faster rate of loss. Lyle wrote a very good article which references these studies and also explains a bit about how you can determine if this type of rapid weight loss diet may be a good fit for you.

So here’s why I think that a rapid weight loss at the beginning of a diet is a good thing.

  • It develops good eating habits which can then be transferred to a maintenance level of eating
  • It provides positive feedback-reward for your efforts. We are a society of immediate gratification.
  • It gets you in and out of the dieting mentality. Here’s what I mean.

You ever meet someone who is ALWAYS dieting and yet always looks the same? Forever complaining how they can’t have this or that, it’s “not on my diet.” (Of course-I’m referring to a calorie-reduced diet, not something like a gluten free diet-as I addressed in my Gluten Free Cagematch-Diet vs. Lifestyle article.) Do you want to be this person? Heck no! Get in, work hard, eat well and strictly, get your results-and get OUT! Maintaining a certain weight/look/body fat level is WAY easier than getting there in the first place. So if you can get there faster-that may be something to seriously consider.

This is definitely a personality thing too. Some people prefer to suffer a lot for a short period of time and be done. Others prefer to suffer less, but go through it longer.

  • Suffer more and be done=larger calorie deficit, more hunger, but over faster
  • Suffer less and go longer=smaller deficit, less hunger, but goes on longer
  • Same or close to the same end result.

Which of those choices do you prefer?

Rip the band aid off quickly, or pull it off slowly.

There’s the answer to your dieting personality quiz 😉

What’s your preference? What kind of band-aid remover are you? Share in the comments! Let ‘er rip (ooh-bad pun alert.)

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.