By Marian Rothschild
Having been a professional dancer in my younger years, I have always stayed active. I eat pretty healthy too, preferring natural food to processed, fish rather than red meat, fruit and veggies rather than dessert, and wine over beer. My body can’t handle the rigors of dance classes anymore, but I’m still fairly good about working out regularly.
Things were pretty much staying in place…until…the menopause monster came knocking at my door. “Go away!” I yelled, “It’s not time, I can’t possibly be that old.” Again came the knocking, only this time it was pound, pound, smash. And the monster had me in its cruel clutches.
On came the hot flashes, on came the weight gain, and on came the gunk around my mid section with the consistency of Jello. “Not me,” I thought. “Oh God, I look like my mother! I’ll just have to walk more; every night after dinner and twice on Sunday.” But try as I might, my gelatinous middle would not be diminished.
I had heard about choosing to eat gluten-free for better digestion, better sleep, and anti-inflammatory benefits. But I figured that my digestion was pretty good, my sleep was so-so, and inflammation? I didn’t think that was my problem. I thought inflammation was associated with disease, a scar, or wound of some type. Little did I realize that what was packed on around my tum tum was indeed inflammation, and associated with gluten. And sugar. Yea, sorry.
Now I’m no scientist, not even a nutritionist or food chemist. I’m an Image Consultant who helps people look their best. And if I had a nickel for every time someone told me they wish they were 10 or 20 or 25 pounds lighter, I could solve world hunger.
I believe that professionals should walk their talk. And I was sick and tired of having those extra globs of goo on my torso. So this past February, six months ago, I decided that I would go off gluten and processed sugar. And that’s what I did.
Eating gluten-free does not mean eliminating all starches. And cutting out processed sugar does not mean you can’t have wine! So it’s not as bad as you feared.
Gluten is only in wheat, rye and barley. So if you decide to cut out gluten from your diet, you can still eat potatoes (and potato chips!), rice, (and rice crackers), corn (and corn chips!), quinoa, and lots of other grains. Just nothing made from wheat, rice, or barley. Yes, that includes beer, which is usually made from wheat or barley. But think of all the other alcoholic beverages that are not made from wheat!
And by cutting out processed sugar, I mean anything made with sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar or cane syrup. Not fruit, fruit juice, or wine. Certainly you don’t have to give up wine. The sugar in wine and fruit occurs naturally; it is not processed nor added.
So eat all the fruits and veggies you like, especially salads. Top them with home-made dressing which is super delicious and easier to make than you think. It’s just oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and garlic. Maybe some mustard; very easy and yummy. Salad dressings you buy usually have sugar in them. Read the label. Read lots of labels; you will be shocked.
Just say no to sugar. It’s addictive and sets off a rebound effect in your body. In other words, having sugar makes you crave more sugar. When you make up your mind that you are going to cut out gluten and sugar for your own good, it will be easier than if someone else were making you do it. You are the boss of you. And you can decide. Do it for you.
Here are ten tips that will make cutting out gluten and sugar a little easier for you, based on my personal experience.
1) Decide to commit fully. Tell close friends and family that you are invested in this personal choice. Ask for their support.
2) Give away all products in your home or office desk that contain gluten and processed sugar. Do not buy any new products that contain gluten or processed sugar.3) Stock up on gluten-free products: corn; frozen, canned, fresh, chips, potatoes; all types of fresh, frozen French fries, potato chips, rice; crackers, wild, brown, gluten-free bread, rolls and crackers. Do not buy products marked “Sugar-Free.” They contain artificial ingredients to sweeten the product. Those artificial things are just as bad if not worse for you than sugar.
4) Eat only real food. Prepare meals made of ingredients that you love. This is a choice, so you don’t need to deprive yourself of flavorful seasonings like soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic and butter. You can have all of those – just nothing fake. For example: butter instead of margarine, and real fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored drink. Get recipes online. If the recipe contains sugar, substitute fruit juice or applesauce, or eliminate the sugar all together.
5) Work out for one full hour, at least three or four times per week. If you haven’t been exercising much, you may need to work up to that. Take it slow, but not too slow. Do whatever exercise you enjoy: swim, bike, speed walk, run, Zumba, Jazzercise, yoga, whatever. You want to shoot for at least two days of strength (weight-bearing exercise), and at least two days of cardio, (power-walk, run, swim, Zumba, etc.) per week. The strength exercises will burn calories and tone muscles. The cardio will speed up your metabolism which has slowed way down by now.6) Join an athletic club, yoga studio, Meet-up group, your local rec center or YMCA, or sign up for dance classes. Do what you enjoy and it will keep you going regularly.
7) Commit to making exercise part of your lifestyle. Don’t make excuses. You take a shower every day, don’t you?
8) Build up to working out five times per week. Vary what types of workouts you do. One day should be strength, the next day cardio, back and forth.
9) Remind yourself why you are making this commitment; it’s for you. You want to do it – not have to. No one is forcing you. You are the CEO of your life.
10)Bring gluten-free and non-sugar options with you when you know you are going to be away from home. In my car’s glove compartment there’s a stash of dried cranberries, roasted edamame and sesame rice crackers. If we are invited to friends’ homes, I offer to bring something like a bean salad, fresh fruit, spinach salad, or luscious cheeses and rice crackers. Always ask your server at restaurants if a dish can be prepared gluten-free and hold the sugar, please.
Personal results: I lost my desired weight and with it went the belly bulge, my menopause middle. I don’t miss it. I have more energy, sleep better, breath easier, and my pants fit better. I even had to take several pair into the tailor to be taken in. People who see me regularly have noticed and complimented. I feel sexier. That translates into having sex more frequently with my hubby of 32 years. Could that be a good thing for you?
When my husband saw how much fantastic food I eat currently and the weight I took off, he too decided to jump on the bandwagon. Ten pounds came off within six weeks. His belly is flat, just like fifteen years ago. He feels great, looks phenomenal, and things are working really, really well.
If you fully commit to eating gluten-free and no sugar, I believe you will see the pounds fall off. Really. It takes about a month or so, maybe six weeks. But it happens.
I’m not saying I never cheat. I do, occasionally. But just a little. (With food, not my hubby.)
Going gluten-free and sugar-free was a personal choice that I made because I wanted to be healthier after menopause. Before making these kinds of choices for yourself, you might want to consult a doctor. Your situation is unique, and what helped me may not be appropriate for you. Commit to finding what works for you—and getting help where you need it—and don’t give up!
What have you got to lose?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment or email me at [email protected].
Marian Rothschild is a certified personal image consultant, speaker and best-selling author of Look Good Now and Always: a do-it-yourself style makeover for busy women. A former actress, dancer and model, Marian has a knack for helping men and women look sensational for work, weekends, special events and all-around feeling fabulous. So she trained, got certified, and built a thriving business, Look Good Now. With her help, men and women all over the Denver area have transformed their outer appearance into a confident, genuine expression of full potential for stellar success. There are lots of ways Marian can help you, even for free. Visit www.marianrothschild.com now.