Gluten-Free & Fat. ~ Michelle Marchildon

Via Michelle Marchildon
on Sep 4, 2012
get elephant's newsletter
Warning: These Will Make You Fat.


In my continuing effort to seek enlightenment, I decided to go gluten-free.

You will be a better yogi if you are both vegan and gluten-free, everyone says so. And probably it couldn’t hurt if you add in a little hula hooping and Acro Yoga too.

However, since I am uncoordinated and terrified of heights, I was going to have to give up the wheat berry (technically gluten is the protein found inside wheat and other grains which make them yummy). It’s been about 40 days and 40 long nights of rice pasta and bread so dense that once I dropped a slice and it nearly broke my toe. And now it’s official: I am fat.

Okay, not fat-fat, just moderately fat. And perhaps not fat by the U.S.D.A. guidelines, and probably still within the Weight Watchers’ range of acceptable. But definitely fat by my personal guideline, that being every single pair of pants in my closet which do not fit. I went gluten-free and gained 10 pounds. I may not be a better yogi, but I certainly am a bigger yogi.

Before you get all uppity about the definition of fat and start pointing out that in the photographs I look pretty good, please notice the strategically placed typewriter. Yes, ask yourself, “Who on Earth uses a typewriter anymore?” Well, that would be someone who needs to hide about 24 inches from her throat to her thighs. I am taking this typewriter on all personal appearances from here to eternity.

What’s behind that typewriter?

Anyone who is an apple shape, meaning we gain weight in our gut and not in our butt, knows how to dress to look good. It usually involves leggings and a top shaped like a tent. However, this is difficult when you teach yoga and need to demonstrate things like standing up straight. And forget about plank pose. My plank looks like a hammock these days.

Therefore, I assume it was out of love when a Skinny Yoga Bitch suggested the following last week:

SYB: “You might want to wear this when you teach.”

Me: “It looks like a rubber girdle.”

SYB: “Right.”

After that conversation I came home and woke up my husband to yell at him because I was sure this was somehow his fault.

I believe it was also with love when another Skinny Yoga Bitch asked me in the same week how it was that I got that fat.

SYB #2: “Did you get that belly from a Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation during childbirth)?

Me: “No. I am just old and fat. And now I am gluten-free.”

If you read this column hoping to be educated on something other than how to disguise an extra ten pounds with a typewriter, here it is. Being gluten-free is not a diet. It may bring you closer to enlightenment, but it will not get you closer to fitting in your yoga pants.

Why? Because gluten-free foods still have the same carbohydrate value as grain-based foods. In fact, some of those gluten-free brownies and cakes may actually have more calories as they are loaded with sugar and fat to taste good. So unless you have Celiac Disease or another very good reason, going gluten-free may not be a great idea.

There you have it. If you want to be closer to enlightenment and fit into your yoga pants, you will have to eat better. This is a total bummer so for now, I’m just going to hang with my typewriter—especially when I teach yoga—and maybe those Skinny Yoga Bitches will pick on someone their own size.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta

Like elephant funny on Facebook.


About Michelle Marchildon

Michelle Berman Marchildon is the Yogi Muse. She’s an award-winning journalist, and the author of Finding More on the Mat: How I Grew Better, Wiser and Stronger through Yoga. Her second book, Theme Weaver: Connect the Power of Inspiration to Teaching Yoga, is for yoga teachers who want to inspire their students. Michelle is a columnist for elephant journal and Origin Magazine and a contributor to Teachasana, My Yoga Online and Yoga Journal. She is an E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and teaches in Denver, Co where she is busy raising two boys, two dogs and one husband. You can follow her on Facebook at Michelle Marchildon, The Yogi Muse. You can find her blog and website at And you can take her classes on


13 Responses to “Gluten-Free & Fat. ~ Michelle Marchildon”

  1. atrelaun says:

    Hah, I love this piece, Michelle! Thanks for reliably cracking me up. And thanks too for reminding me about diastasis recti, which is officially my excuse for fatness, even though my baby is now almost 25. If I weren't so enlightened, it'd also be my excuse for a tummy tuck. XO

  2. really? says:

    well, I guess you have to live outside of whayt"everyone says.." Where I practice 'everyone' does nto say to go gluten free to be a better yogi.

    However.. I gave up most gluten products long ago and did not run out fo rthe packaged replacements.. some weight was lost.. but itis a challenge. You and many others can do that.

    Lululemon promised you that you woul dnever be a lululemon ambassador?

  3. The key to eating gluten-free in a healthy way is not to eat the same glutinous foods (bread, pasta) that have been transmogrified to be miraculously gluten-free, but to choose food that is naturally without gluten. As with most things of value that pertain to our health, merely choosing to buy the healthy product based on the label is not going to help, because food manufacturers will play into your ignorance and laziness for their own profit. Most foods that are 'now gluten free!' are made with potato starch or something else equally unhealthy and over-processed. If you want to improve your nutrition, practice reading ingredients, not labels.

  4. Love this! I am the anti-gluten free Celiac Crusader. I have celiac and have to eat this way & it's been challenging to keep my weight down w/ GF products. If you are just going to eat whole foods, sure, you'll lose weight. GF baked goods? Not on your life! My eyes roll nearly out of my head when I hear someone doing it as a "diet" or because it's healthier.

  5. Nena says:

    Great post! I'm going to start using the term SYB!
    I was diag'ed with gluten sensitivity four months ago and have lost weight (yay!). BUT, I stay away from all the gf muffins, pastas, breads, etc…That stuff is soooo high in calories, my goodness! Not to mention most of it's just gross anyway.

  6. Some good suggestions up here michelle. I went gluten free over a year ago and try not to eat anything processed ( therefore eliminating the carb overload) lost 10 lbs off the bat. My only problem now is cutting off the dairy because replacing your gluten with cheese will make you fat just by looking at it.

  7. Gluten Dude says:

    I am so glad you got fat. And I say that with nothing but love. It just proves what I and most celiacs have been saying for years. Gluten-free is not a dang diet. Get off the bandwagon and leave gluten-free to those who need it to stay alive.

  8. […] school bus and getting to work. Lunch often needs to be portable. Dinner needs to be easy and fit several different eating styles. And I’d like all of it to be healthy, affordable and stuff my kids will eat. Is that too much […]

  9. […] not I’m fat. That is, my mind begins a tyrant of remarks and questions: Where is it going to go? Am I fat? Ugh, why did I eat so much? Now I’m drinking wine…I’m such a […]

  10. fragginfraggin says:

    OMG, It's been a while since I actually laughed out loud when I read something.

  11. shaydewey says:

    I gained weight going gluten-free too, but not from replacing gluten with gluten-free, I usually eat about 2-4 'grain' servings a week. I think just from healing from celiac, i started to gain weight, but yes, most of the substitute foods are higher in calories and in fats.