So here it is – the last post. This gluten free challenge has been just that, a challenge. As I mentioned in my first post, I’m big on pasta and sandwiches, cake and cookies (I mean who isn’t right?) and basically everything that contains gluten. This is what made this so challenging.
I did my best to try to eliminate all of it, but there were some days where there was just no way I couldn’t eat gluten. There were some cravings, but it was eating somewhere where someone else was responsible for my meal. Not being able to cook my own food was a challenge. When I was eating out, I was careful to get salads or similar things. I ate at a burger place called The Works, and they have a gluten free bun option, so that helped me quite a bit! Restaurants weren’t as challenging, it was usually eating at someone else’s house that was a problem. One night over reading week I ate at a family’s friend’s house, and she made lasagna and garlic bread. It was challenging for me because I’m not going to ask her to make something else separately after she’d just made a wonderful dinner! So instead of eating both lasagna and bread, I just had a smaller portion of the lasagna. Another night I had dinner at my boyfriend’s family’s house and that was a bit better because they all knew I was doing this project, and they were all trying a no carb diet or something like that, so it worked out quite nicely.
Deciding to do this gluten free diet was for me to see if I could actually follow through with it, and to see if it actually worked. As I mentioned in my proposal, I’ve always struggled with my weight, and it’s gotten to a point where I need to do something about it. It’s not fun being the biggest one in your family, or the biggest out of 4 roommates. I joke about it not bugging me or like how much food I ate one day, but I don’t feel good about that. Obviously we all have certain days where we “pig out”, like at some kind of celebration, family dinner, or after Easter when all the Mini Eggs are on sale and you have to eat them fast so no one else in your family steals them from you. But those should be rare or special occasions, and for me sometimes it’s not so rare. I’ve tried Weight Watchers, which according to Jennifer Hudson and even Jessica Simpson, works incredibly well. Which is does, I dropped about 20lbs when I was on it just from changing what I ate. But then my dad started coming with me, and men drop weight faster than women, so I got discouraged when the weight started melting off him and I plateaued. My family was incredibly supportive, and my mom seemed to be a little too supportive, and it kind of came off to me as nagging. “Kels, you should go to the gym today!” she would say, and because she said it, I didn’t want to go anymore.
Throughout this project, I think I strengthened my self-control. I had to otherwise I would have eaten gluten the entire time. I started to look more at the ingredients in things I was buying, and eating healthier things and more natural things. I started eating more fruits and veggies, and finding new recipes for dinners and lunches. Not eating pasta and sandwiches was pretty hard as they’re my favourite, but I had to come up with some alternatives. I started eating rice noodles, and quinoa instead of pasta. I would make extra to take for lunch the next day, or I would make a big quinoa salad with veggies, beans, and a vinaigrette dressing. I had to be more creative with what I was eating, and I’m happy that I’m a bit more adventurous in the kitchen now. I tried to not buy a lot of things labeled as “gluten-free” as they can be full of starches, which doesn’t really make it better for you, and they’re expensive! There was NO WAY I was spending $8 on a loaf of gluten free bread. I’d rather save that money, or spend it on something else that I would enjoy more.
Although I enjoy a lot of different foods now, I realized that my problem is portion control. If it’s a crappy day outside, freezing cold and rainy or snowy, I love nothing more than cozying up on my couch with a bowl of pasta watching TV. It’s a weakness. It doesn’t matter what kind of pasta either: fettuccine alfredo, spaghetti and meatballs, even good old Kraft Dinner. I love noodles. But I would just put a whole bunch into a bowl and eat most of it because it tastes so good! And that’s where my problem is. I don’t know when to stop. But near the end of the project, in the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that I haven’t been eating until I’m almost uncomfortably full. I’ll stop eating and think that it’s okay I didn’t finish it, I can eat the rest for lunch or dinner tomorrow. I used to not be a big fan of leftovers, so I had to get over that “fear” at the same time.
At the end of all of this, I need to do this for me, and no one else. I can sometimes have a lazy mentality, and know that getting back to a healthy weight is going to be really hard. I think that that’s one of the reasons I still haven’t really done anything about it. It’s going to be a lot of work, and the last 4 years have brought on a lot of different stresses and I’ve had other things to focus on. Now that I’m finishing at UOIT and have another year of school lined up in Ottawa that won’t be as intensive, I’ll have all the time in the world. Because as much as people say that image isn’t all that important, it definitely is. I like to think I can be fashionable, and love cute clothes, nail polish, hair, and all that girly stuff, but I can’t wear all the clothes I want because some of them don’t come in my size (also because I have no money left, the last 4 years drained my bank account!). And I would love to be able to work in either fashion or beauty or something along those lines and to get into that industry, I have to look my best, and getting to a healthy weight is going to be an asset for me. And there’s no time like the present!