Eat Brownies (and Still Lose Weight)

Jamie Lichenstein

Trying out freshly baked brownies!

In the past 16 months, I’ve excluded sugar, dairy, gluten, carbohydrates, and red meat from my diet in an effort to lose weight—and gain much-needed confidence. (I also began to exercise five days a week.) The result: I’ve lost 40 pounds and I’ve never felt better.

During the first month of my diet I was challenged: temptations were all around, my friends didn’t understand, and amidst final exams at the end of last school year, Entenmanns cookies were the most common study snack, but I forced myself to remember why I started my diet in the first place: I felt badly about my body and wanted to change that.

Not to generalize, but I have learned that my peers, teenage girls, either eat whatever they want and don’t care—supporting the YOLO (You Live Only Once) lifestyle—or others will choose to skip eating all together, setting themselves up for serious eating disorders. So, when I decided to adopt a routine that was not similar to theirs, I was met with confusion and opposition. “Why would you do that?” They would ask. It wasn’t clear to anyone but me. This was something I had to do for myself.

After those first four weeks, the diet became more of a lifestyle: ordering chicken and veggies became natural and skipping dessert wasn’t a big deal any more. Eventually my friends stopped pressing me.

The result: I’m happier and healthier than I have ever been before, and now I get emails and texts from people all the time asking me for “weight-loss tips”.

Healthy Ingredients for Brownies

The ingredients for my favorite brownies.

With that said, I wanted to share this amazing recipe for sugar-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free chocolate fudge brownies. They are delicious! So, I hope you enjoy these brownies and understand that just because there isn’t sugar in my diet, it doesn’t mean my life is any less sweet! (I found the recipe on this great website, sugarfreemom.com.)

P.S. Just as I was cooking these brownies, my mom said to me, “I don’t get the point of these. If you can’t have sugar, dairy, or gluten, why eat these at all?” Well, to those of us who have very restrictive diets, it is nice to often be rewarded, albeit with non-traditional desserts. One of the greatest lessons I have learned from my diet is there is always a way to enjoy yourself, but without sacrificing calories or confidence. Now, I respect myself for having such strong will power, and I feel better about my body than I ever thought I could.

Sugar, Dairy, and Gluten-Free Brownies

Just click on this recipe to enlarge…and follow!

 

 

 

Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.