Jogging mile after mile, swimming hour after hour, elliptical machine for 90 minutes, Zumba 5 days a week . . . I see these hard-working athletes and serious exercisers struggling to lose weight, or to stop continual weight gain. They blame themselves for eating too much, or pass it off as the inevitable result of aging or menopause, or–incredibly–not exercising enough.
No, it’s the wheat. It’s the few-amino-acid-different form of gliadin protein that serves as a powerful stimulant of appetite, increasing your calorie intake 400 calories per day. So it sets you up for a continual battle against appetite, desire for more food (especially carbohydrates), and the weight gain that results. Throw in the mental “fog,” low energy, and joint pain that comes from the other components of wheat, such as lectins (wheat germ agglutinin) and gluten, and you have the recipe for an overweight, unhealthy person, struggling to get through the day, sapped of energy, blaming herself.
Cherie, a lifelong athlete, tells her story of new wheat-free life after years of struggle:
One year ago, on the eve of my 40th birthday, I decided it was time to get in better shape. I”ve been an athlete all my life, a long-distance runner for 20 years, triathlete, dancer, tennis player. I”ve also experimented with my diet for about 20 years: vegetarian, vegan, high protein, etc. But last year, I felt like something had to change. I started by using the “Abs Diet” book to make some changes in the amount of protein I was eating. I had been feeling nauseous between meals and felt I had to eat constantly. I began to eat yogurt smoothies, lots of nuts, spinach salads, etc. All things I had eaten before, but not as regularly. I also started adding light weights to my exercises, in addition to the dancing I was doing each week. Hmmmmm…not much happened. Though I didn”t own a scale at the time, but I didn”t really feel any different.
Jump to September 2011 when I started working with my chiropractor to alleviate some nerve issues in my arms. He looked at my most recent blood work and said he thought I needed to make some changes to my diet. He noticed my Triglycerides were high, my TSH was high (hypothyroid), my bloodsugars were low. We did a blood panel to test for wheat-sensitivity, and sure enough, I showed reaction to the Gliadin IgA on every part of the test. I also showed a sensitivity to corn, potatoes, rice, and sesame. Wow!!
He recommended that I do a three-week diet change that excluded all gluten, corn, rice, potatoes, dairy, soy. After this, we would start adding foods back and see what reactions I had. Well, after the first three weeks, I had lost 10 pounds and was feeling really great! Then, I came across the “Wheat Belly” book, which affirmed what I had been doing and also helped me understand what went wrong with wheat!!
I have continued to eat wheat-free and have now lost 21 pounds!! I started out at 5”8? 155lbs. I was in good shape, so I didn”t look like I was carrying extra weight. But, the pounds have dropped off, EFFORTLESSLY! I am exercising at my usual rate, but simply by changing WHAT I ate (not how much), I am at 134lbs! And, I didn”t even start this “diet” to lose weight! I started it to see if we could get my thyroid and blood sugars back in normal range.
I don”t feel the nausea any more, I feel super ENERGIZED and I feel FIT! I have not really added much back to the original three-week diet, just eating meats, vegetables and fruit (and dark chocolate on occasion). I love that I don”t drink coffee anymore! And, I am telling everyone who will listen about “Wheat Belly.” People get defensive sometimes, when I am really hoping to encourage them. But, if one or two people start making changes, those changes will influence others, too!
Thank you for writing THE most important book on diet in the 21st century!
Thanks for telling your instructive story, Cherie. I hope other frustrated athletes learn from it.