Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wheat Belly Wednesday - Week #2

This posting is certified to be gluten-free.

I successfully completed a whole week without gluten.  I didn't even cheat on the weekend.  In the past, on whatever diet plan I was on, the weekends were always sort of a "free" zone, where the diet didn't really count and I could eat outside of the plan.  But since this is a different kind of plan, cutting out gluten instead of cutting calories to lose weight, I find I'm in a different mindset.

The positives:

- during my first week of gluten-free eating, I lost 6.5 lbs! 

- I usually wasn't hungry between meals. 

- the cravings for carbs and wheat products went away after the first few days. 

- I was able to do about 95% of my grocery shopping at Aldi, so buying gluten-free whole food wasn't any more expensive than shopping for the processed foods that I used to buy.  Aldi even carries 85% dark chocolate. 

- I met friends for dinner at a Polish restaurant buffet and was able to eat gluten free.  At first, when they suggested going there, I thought there was no way I would be able to go with them.  But after I thought about it, I realized it was a good choice.  There's a salad bar, plus there is always some kind of clear vegetable soup or broth.  The buffet always has steamed vegetables, boiled and mashed potatoes, roast chicken and pork, and a carving station.  The only foods I had to avoid were the dumplings, sauces, and gravy.  The dessert section is very limited and nothing is very tempting.  It was a delicious meal and a very successful evening.

- Wine spritzers are low in carbs, so I was able to enjoy a spritzer with dinner a few evenings (2 oz. white or red wine with about 12 oz. of sparkling water).

- there is no post-lunch slump in the middle of the afternoon - I have a ton of energy at work.

- best of all, I am sleeping wonderfully at night!  For the past several months, I would fall asleep at my regular bedtime, then wake up about four hours later and often would not be able to get back to sleep.  For the past ten days, I fall asleep and either stay asleep all night, or if I do wake up (to let the dog out, for example), I go right back to sleep until morning.

The negatives: 

- I did wake up with a mild headache for the first few days.

- almost all processed foods contain wheat, so you have to read labels and shop mostly from the fresh food sections of the grocery store. 

- more planning is required to stay on the plan, like figuring out what you will be eating the next day, and having gluten-free snacks available (things like cheese sticks, celery and natural peanut butter or spreadable cheese, gluten-free chicken broth, almonds).

- the first few days can be hard, between cravings and habit.  I came home from work on the second day ready to eat a box of crackers, wrappers and cardboard box included.  Having done really well during the day, I managed to stop and ask myself what I had in the house that I could snack on that was gluten-free since dinner wouldn't be ready for about 45 minutes.  I made myself a wine spritzer, got a cheese stick (string cheese) and some almonds, and went and sat on the patio and took some deep breaths for about ten minutes.  After my snack, I was able to go back in the house and cut up vegetables for a salad.

- eating out also requires planning - you have to think about the restaurant menu and what you can order (online menus are GREAT).

- it helps if you like to cook, since gluten-free eating is definitely easier at home.  I have always done some cooking on weekends for evening meals during the coming week, so this is not a problem for me.

- I am sleeping great, but I had absolutely whacko dreams for a couple of nights, which I blame on wheat withdrawal.

I realize that it's not possible to sustain that level of weight loss and that I'm not going to lose another 6 lbs this week.  But I am hoping to see continued weight loss over the coming weeks and months.  I am also hoping that I will be able to get off the acid reflux pills permanently, although it may take 8-12 weeks.  I have been looking at gluten-free recipes online and at the library, so maybe I will share some successful recipes in my postings.

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