Gabrielle Union altered her diet after gaining 27 pounds during perimenopause

Gabrielle Union altered her diet after gaining 27 pounds during perimenopause

Whether she’s lifting weights at home or working up a sweat in the gym, Gabrielle Union never shies away from intense workouts, and she’s also a foodie who doesn’t like to deprive herself.

Wondering how the 51-year-old star balances her love for food with her fitness goals? Here are some of her most relatable tips and tricks:

She eats a lot more than you’d think

Union loves food and she’s not shy about giving her fans a glimpse into her daily diet. In 2023, she shared on Instagram a sample of what she eats on an average day.

In the morning, she has seasonal fruit (like mango, kiwis, blueberries and strawberries) then enjoys some gluten-free pancakes covered in fruit and maple syrup.

A typical lunch consists of a salad made with collard greens, shaved fennel, arugula, avocado and champagne vinaigrette. For dinner, Union loves to chow down on Three by Wade Cabernet Sauvignon braised short ribs with a garlic cauliflower puree, broccolini, carrots and sweet potatoes with a demi glaze.

She drinks a lot of water

In 2014, Union told Elle she started drinking a gallon of water each day in her mid-thirties.

“It’s something that everyone has access to and it not only helps with your beauty, it also helps with your fitness and digestion,” she said.

Union revealed that she spaces out her water intake and avoids drinking too much water at night.

“The best tip I was given is to try to drink half of it by noon and then just casually drink the other half until 6:00 p.m., after then it gets a little tricky. I’m about to go work out (it’s 11:30 a.m.), so I know I’ll drink a good 32 ounces in the workout alone. Just try and do as much as you can early,” she said.

She’s honest about the diets that haven’t worked for her

In 2017, Union told Women’s Health that the Master Cleanse was “the craziest diet I ever tried.”

“I lasted about a day and a half and then the rage set in … You can’t do the Master Cleanse and have a normal life. Like I’m cussing everybody out …’ cause I’m hungry,” she said.

“I have to eat every few hours. I can’t eat a lot after 8 p.m., but to eat nothing from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.? I can’t do that. I’m doing (a different) cleansing diet to get on track while filming ‘Being Mary Jane.’ I’m eating vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, low-sodium, low-sugar, low-carbs. I feel very focused when I eat like that, and it keeps me lean,” she said.

She has a healthy attitude about food splurges

Life is short, and Union fully embraces a treat every now and then.

“What good is it to be emaciated if your stomach’s always growling?” she told Us Weekly in 2015. “That sucks. Have a burger!”

After all, splurging on your favorite foods can sometimes be much more productive than having the low-calorie versions.

“If I don’t feel like it, I don’t feel like it,” she added. “I’m gonna have a margarita — I’m not gonna get the ‘skinny margarita,’ I’m gonna get the one with all the frickin’ calories. I’m gonna have a cheeseburger, I’m gonna have a pound of bacon, and then, maybe, the next day, I’ll try to pull it together. But I try not to be too crazy with it.”

In 2017, the star also told Women’s Health she’s learned to be kind to herself when she does indulge.

“I’m not obsessive about food, like, ‘Oh no, I ate badly, so I have to stay in the gym for two hours!’ At the end of the day, did I enjoy that meal? Hell, yes! Am I going to stress out about it? Hell, no! And, magically, the world doesn’t end because of what I ate,” she said.

She often dreads working out but knows it’s worth it

Union has said she doesn’t always love exercise, and even described some workouts as “varying degrees of torture” in a 2014 interview with Elle.

“But I like kickboxing because I can work out some aggression without judgement. Because you can’t go around hitting people, apparently they arrest you for that. A good boxing workout is the best stress, anxiety, and rage reliever there is, so I definitely look forward to that,” she said.

She’s always willing to try a new workout

“As the workout phases come and go, I’ll try everything,” Union told Women’s Health in 2020. “Nothing, not one thing, has stuck. I’ve tried kickboxing, cardio barre, I’ve tried a SoulCycle class … I’m not a class person.”

She prioritizes strength training over cardio

In 2020, Union told Women’s Health she typically works out for 50 minutes at a time, three days a week, with just six minutes out of each workout being dedicated to cardio.

“I like to mix it up so I don’t get anxiety staring at the treadmill,” she said. “Cardio could be jumping jacks, running up my driveway, side shuffles like I used to do in basketball, an elliptical, treadmill or sled pushes.”

The star swears by classic moves like squats and lunges to tone her butt, especially with a resistance band.

“The beauty of my workouts are that they change every session and day. It really depends on my mood, what my scenes are like action-wise,” she said. “Basically I try to stay as flexible as possible.”

She enjoys outdoor workouts

Getting outside to exercise can make your sweat session a bit more bearable.

“I need vitamin D on my face. Give me a trail, a park, a walk down the street with the dogs, a breeze, rain. I’ll go hike,” Union told Women’s Health in 2019.

She thinks at-home fitness is ‘the new normal’

In recent years, Union has collaborated with FitOn, a free fitness app, to share some of her go-to workouts that anyone can do in the comfort of their own home.

“For me, at-home fitness is the new normal,” she told Woman’s Day in 2021.

Pilates works for her

Union doesn’t love getting up early, but when she fits in a morning workout, it’s often Pilates.

“I’m not a morning person, but I have to work out early because of my schedule. The great thing about Pilates is that I can take out my annoyance from waking up early on the machines instead of human beings. It’s for the greater good. My body responds to it, and I’m also more clear,” she told Women’s Health in 2017.

Husband Dwyane Wade keeps her motivated

Working out with a partner is always more fun. In 2022, Union shared a video of her early morning sweat session with her husband, Dwyane Wade.

“How I stay motivated 😵‍💫🫠🖤 My favorite workout partner @dwyanewade 💪🏾😜I promise you can pick the music next workout 🥰😂🤣PS: This is us at 630am,” she captioned the post.

In 2019, Union told Women’s Health she also loves to work out with her kids.

“Training together, struggling, failing, trying to get better — it’s been a cool thing that doesn’t feel like, ‘Let’s go talk about our feelings.’ It’s like, I’m a cool mom!” she said.

She adjusted her diet when she hit perimenopause

When it comes to perimenopause, Union isn’t afraid to get real about the symptoms she’s experienced, including sudden weight gain.

“I once went up 27 pounds (seemingly) overnight,” she told Allure in 2023.

After talking to a hormone specialist, the star embarked on an anti-inflammatory diet, which limited her intake of gluten, dairy, alcohol and caffeine.

“It’s really changed everything,” she told People in 2023. “I didn’t want it to be true because I love all the things. I love cinnamon rolls and real butter, lard, like a lot. So it’s been a journey. And there’s days I backslide, and when I backslide, especially around vacation, (my symptoms are) going to come right back.”

She strives for balance in her diet and fitness routines

Union tries to give herself a break when she strays from her diet and fitness goals.

“If I’ve inhaled some of my favorite foods one night, the next day I boost my water intake to a gallon and a half and just try to move. If I can’t work out, I walk instead of drive, take the stairs rather than the elevator, and keep active,” she told Women’s Health in 2017.

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Kerri Waldron

My name is Kerri Waldron and I am an avid healthy lifestyle participant who lives by proper nutrition and keeping active. One of the things I love best is to get to where I am going by walking every chance I get. If you want to feel great with renewed energy, you have to practice good nutrition and stay active.