ask our dietitian your question todaygluten free and weight gain

I have been a member for almost 4 years. When I first joined, I exercised 7 days-a-week and alternated Aqua aerobics with different group fitness instructors; I lost 36 pounds. About 2 years ago I added spin, and I was doing fine keeping the weight off, but then I went gluten free and the weight started to pile on. I was wondering what I should be eating to lose and keep the weight off. – Graciela


Well, I’d say go back to how you were eating before. Stick with what worked. If on the other hand you have a diagnosed gluten allergy, such as celiac sprue, then you’ll need to really examine those gluten-free foods and read the labels for added sugars and fat.

In either case, you should still choose fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources and low-fat dairy. Your starch preference shouldn’t impact these. Naturally low-fat, produce is filling, relatively low in calories, hydrating and chock full of nutrients.

  • Aim for 5 servings total combined fruits and vegetables per day.
  • A few ounces of a lean protein source such as fish, egg whites, poultry breast, beans or loin or round cuts of meat should be present at your main meals.
  • Include up to two servings of low-fat milk products daily to provide needed calcium, Vitamin D and other nutrients.
  • You can include a spoonful of healthy plant fat like avocado, oils and nut butters at each meal, too.

How You can Control Portions to Lose Weight and Get Lean!

As with any approach to losing weight you should watch calories and manage portions. Just because something is “___- free” doesn’t make it healthy. For example, mashed potatoes with butter and homemade gravy are gluten-free, but very high in calories. Steamed red potatoes with dill are a better option.

A smoothie might seem like a good way to work in produce, but a 24 oz. juice bar version typically has 400 calories! A 16 oz. serving is more reasonable, but better yet — split the larger size in half and freeze the remainder for cost and calorie savings.

Make sure you are getting enough fluids. Mild dehydration might manifest as hunger since foods have moisture content, too. Opt for sparkling water instead of soda. Try drinking green tea daily. Pep up plain water with slices of lemon, lime or orange.

Your exercise level is commendable and you shouldn’t need to spend any more time working out. However, the body does adapt to training, so what caused change 4 years ago might only let you maintain now.

Read through our Living Healthy Blog for ideas how to change up your exercise routine and get the most out of the time you put into your workouts. Perhaps consider swapping one aqua aerobics session for strength training each week.

Other readers: Interested in a gluten-free diet for weight loss? CLICK HERE to read our article on the facts.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition?

Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below. To learn how to follow the “Ask Our Dietitian” Q&A CLICK HERE!

Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.



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