I‘m a 48 year-old woman. The pic on the left was taken in April, when I was at my heaviest – about 169 lbs. My A1C had gone from a 5.4 in December to 6.5 in April, as my weight ballooned. I found that I had intense carb cravings. If I went out to eat and started in on the bread on the table, I would literally keep eating it till the main dish came, or until I’d finished the basket of bread. Same with cookies, pasta (couldn’t just have one serving!), basically anything with wheat or sugar in it.
I realized that I was on the verge of diabetes, which runs in my family. I felt tired and sluggish all the time, despite working out three to four times a week. I had acid reflux to the point that I was taking Prevacid every day. Headaches were a regular occurrence – in fact, not to have a headache was the exception. Intestinal distress was “regular” for me “:-)
I read Gary Taubes’ book “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It” and realized that carbs were killing me. I decided to cut out anything “white” in my diet. I added Jorge Cruz’s Belly Fat Cure idea of only eating 15g of sugar and 6 servings (about 120g) of carbs per day, but I did not like his addition/inclusion of wheat toast. I knew that if I ate one slide of bread, all bets were off.
From April through June I slowly weaned myself off most carbs, and all white flour products. I ate mainly meat proteins, eggs, cheese and nuts, and high fiber veggies like broccoli. My acid reflux disappeared almost immediately. Headaches became rare occurrences. I started losing weight. But I’d have an occasional bite or two of pasta, or a brownie. Usually I would get a headache or acid reflux, but I was losing weight (10-15lbs at that point), so I didn’t really care.
Then, for my birthday in June, I decided to “splurge” at dinner. I had a steak, sweet potato, and two (or maybe three!) dinner rolls. I also had cake for dessert. Before I even got home, I had a splitting headache. I crawled into bed feeling like I just wanted to sleep for a year. But I woke at 3am – feeling like I had tied one on the night before (I’ve been alcohol-free since August 2008). The next morning felt like a hangover. Headache, brain fog, sluggish. Awful. Terrible diarrhea for two days (I called it the diarrhea diet, but wouldn’t recommend it to anyone!).
At that point I scheduled an ALCAT food sensitivity blood test with my doctor; I knew that something in my dinner had almost killed me. Two weeks later, in July, I got the results – extreme gluten intolerance. The gluten intolerance found in my blood test only confirmed what I had already suspected (I’m also highly intolerant of high-fructose corn syrup!). At that point, I got serious about being wheat free. No more cheats. I was dead serious about losing weight. Even by July, on my 90% wheat-free diet, my A1C had dropped to 5.8. I had lost almost 20lbs, and I was feeling better than ever.
By late September, when the pic on the right was taken, I had dropped more than 25lbs. My A1C was down to 5.7, and my doctor pronounced me out of danger of diabetes.
I recently found out about “Wheat Belly” through a friend who works at a bookstore in Canada. I immediately read your blog. It made total sense to me. I would love it if we could convince the FDA that their food pyramids and plates are killing us. People can’t believe that all I did was cut wheat out of my diet, along with other high-glycemic carbs like rice, and cut back my sugar to 15g or less a day (they don’t realize that there is hidden sugar in everything – I have to thank Jorge Cruz for that one – who knew yogurt was so full of sugar? Natural (if you eat the right stuff) but still sugar. Bananas? ditto… milk? same thing).
So – NO wheat, limited carbs and VERY limited sugar, and I’m now down 33 lbs. I weigh 136 lbs. I am starting to recognize the woman in the mirror as the same slim woman who was in the Army 30 years ago! I think I can get to my “fighting weight” of about 130lbs with no effort if I just keep eating the way I am. I figure my body will stop losing weight when the fat is gone. That’s one thing I learned from Taubes’ book – our weight should be self-regulating, like that of wild animals, if we are eating the right foods and not messing up our hormones with sugar and carbs and gluten and gliadin.
That was probably way too much info. But I want people to know that they too can lose the weight, and feel like they’re young again. It came off almost effortlessly for me. I haven’t looked at calories or fat, just sugar and carbs, and I don’t touch wheat or other gluten-containing products. Even with the “gluten-free” pastas, etc. I either eat VERY small portions (which wasn’t possible for me with wheat-pasta) or skip it. Gluten-free cookies, etc. still contain as much sugar as regular cookies, and I don’t want to spike my blood sugar, so I look for those sweetened with stevia or just skip them. I find almond butter or peanut butter on a lentil cracker (low carb yummy goodness) or even on a piece of 85% dark chocolate is enough of a treat for dessert.
I feel as if I’ve gotten a degree in nutrition over the last six months. My friends tell me I look 10 years younger (and the pics attest to that), and I feel younger and better for sure! This is not a diet. This is a lifestyle change for me! Thanks for filling in the final blanks with “Wheat Belly”!