Wheat Belly video FAQs: I lost the wheat, but didn’t lose the weight, part 2

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Prescription drugs, iodine deficiency and thyroid dysfunction, disruptions of cortisol as causes of stalled or failed weight loss despite removing wheat.

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  1. 10 days since I went WHEAT FREE, and I’ve lost 2.5 inches off my waist and 6 lbs. That puffiness around my face is going down, and my pants are fitting more loosely. The immediate results have been amazing, which shows me just how sensitive I am to wheat products.

    On the other hand, I take metoprolol and carvedilol because of my non-ischemic cardiomyopathy. I had a virus do some damage to my heart tissue when I was 29 years old (12 years ago). So losing weight is VERY difficult. With my heart condition, there’s no way my cardiologist will take me off of these very effective beta blockers.

    What else can I do to help continue these amazing results? My goal is to lost another 50 lbs. Thanks so much for your work, Dr. Davis.

    • Dr. Davis

      In this situation, you are likely better off on the beta blockers, Jay. All you can do is to try to make everything ELSE perfect.

      By the way, for non-ischemic cardiomyopathies, it is crucial to address 1) vitamin D status, 2) magnesium, 3) meticulous wheat, rye, barley avoidance, 4) thyroid, including T3.

        • Greg

          Hi everyone, I wanted to see what some of you others are eating on Wheat Belly. For me, finding the right foods has been the hardest part since wheat is in so much. Its difficult keeping carb counts low as well. I’d love to hear what some of you others are eating on a regular basis to get some other ideas!! Here’s some of my “staples” now……. Thanks so much for any replies!!
          - Eggs (with or without cheese) & sausage links or pork patties. Deviled eggs.
          -Celery, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, avocado (guacamole)
          -Tomatoes with fresh mozzarella & olive oil
          -Salmon burgers, hamburgers with cheese, fresh fish, pretty much most items in fresh produce area I find acceptable since mostly proteins.
          -Uncured meats (salami, summer sausage, bacon). Some nuts, like pistachios and cashews but gotta watch how many I consume.
          -Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries. Basically stopped all apples, oranges, bananas due to high sugar content. Don’t drink any milk anymore and most dairy in general.

          • Neicee

            Great list, and we basically eat the same. Green beans, not so much. I’m addicted to broccoli and spaghetti squash. The squash is a great substitute for noodles. For the past week I’ve been cooking a little more meat for dinner to have as a slight variation on the eggs and meat issue at lunch (don’t eat breakfast). After close to three years being wheat free I suddenly only want eggs a couple of times a week. Of course I’m also down to about 4 ounces of meat at dinner. Seems (at least for me) that at first I could pound down a half pound of meat at dinner. Now, I’m into tons of veggies and salads.

          • Karen

            I’m actually currently on the Paleo Diet Autoimmune Protocol because my RA is active again and I want to see if I can get some control through diet. I will tell you that we don’t eat anything with an ingredient list, except for wheat-free tamari/soy aminos (I haven’t been able to find coconut aminos in Canada yet), and well-scrutinized bacon. We find recipes online, just googling “Paleo” and now have some favourite sites. This way we are able to change things up, always try new things, and ensure that we don’t accidentally consume wheat. I definitely recommend bone broth & soups/stews for breakfast. They are not a typical breakfast, but super hearty and a great way to start the day, particularly in a cold climate! Best of luck!

  2. Theodore VanDeusen

    While I have been wheat free for about 5 months, I have not had the weight loss results of others on the program. I have lost 17 pounds in about 3 months time. I understand that the thyroid can cause diminished results. Mine has been checked and is functioning in normal range. I do take a large number of prescription medications for such things as depression, diabetes, hypertension, GERD and blood clotting plus both prescription and non-prescription drugs for pain. Given this information, is it safe to presume that medications may be the cause of diminished to no weight loss? Would you need to know specific meds? I have spoken to my family dr, my cardiologist and my endocrinologist and all seem to at least have heard of wheat free, they know very little about it. Be aware that I have noticed a decrease in blood sugar as well as blood pressure.
    Thank you for your time Dr..

    • Dr. Davis

      Gee, it sounds like your #1 problem is your doctors!

      Insist on an answer on whether your drugs are causing failed weight loss. They almost certainly, given your list of conditions.

  3. Karen Dollard

    Hi Dr Davis,
    Thank you so much for writing Wheatbelly. And thanks for the videos. I have asthma. I manage it pretty well, but once or twice a year it gets out of hand. January was one of these times. I was put on prednisone for 6 days. I heard that it takes months before it really wears off. Would losing weight be a problem for 6 months due to taking it? I’ve been Wheat free for 6 months now and feel a lot better. I’m just concerned about prednisone and using inhalers a couple of times a year.

  4. Melissa

    I have been wheat free since last March and have not lost any weight. I have done the low/no carb thing, cut the sugar, use coconut sugar instead! How do I revive my thyroid and get off my antidepressants and beta blockers? I have decided I should not focus on the weight loss, or lack there of, but more so on eating healthier. However, know I have a big problem with my knees…they are hurting so bad. When I lost the wheat the inflammation in my joints got better, but now my knees and shins hurt really bad.

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Melissa,
      Coconut sugar is high in fructose and should not be eaten. Use another form of sweetener. Also,
      make sure you are hydrating enough and taking the supplements Dr. Davis recommends. The left side of this blog contains many archived articles which address these issues.

      • Culinary Adventurer

        Melissa,
        I second Barbara in New Jersey and suggest taking Magnesium Malate as a supplement but you must get off the sugar! Try Xylitol which is used one to one to satisfy your sweet tooth or liquid Stevia – only a few drops needed.
        Experiment with healthy foods and single ingredient foods. Watch out for items that “seem” good for you but are not like Agave. Most of all, enjoy learning about all the wonderful foods you can really enjoy without harm!
        Best,
        CA

  5. Janet

    Thank you for this. I’ve been wheat-free for almost three years now. I did initially lose inches around my middle, but I haven’t really lost the weight I wanted to. I am still about 15 pounds heavier than my goal weight. We grow our own food, raise chickens and pigs, get grass-fed beef locally, and still, with all this healthy eating, I cannot get the scale to budge. I have been on compounded T3/T4 prescribed by my naturopath for the past eight years. That is the only medication I take. We are both confounded by the behavior of my metabolism. The only theory we have left at this point is that I have some degree of thyroid resistance, and the T3 just isn’t getting into my cells in adequate amounts. So yes, it is frustrating, but I celebrate the fact that I feel so much healthier now than I did when I was eating wheat.

  6. Val

    Hi Dr. Davis,

    I’ve been on Wheat Belly since September, and while it hasn’t been easy I have had lots of success and I don’t plan on looking back. However, I have recently learned that I am expecting my fourth child, and I’m starting to go a little nuts with my carb cravings. I’m confused by the guidelines of just 1 dairy serving per day. What is your recommendation to someone who is pregnant concerning the Wheat Belly Diet? At times I feel like if I could just have 1 slice of pizza per week it would keep me from going crazy, but I don’t want to look back and see that this was the turning point in an otherwise successful weight loss journey. Getting the baby weight off the last three times was pure hell and I know what I’m in for considering I’m almost 40.

    • Karen

      See if you can take care of your carb cravings with some home made sweet potato fries or chips (thin slices of sweet potatoes fried in coconut oil).

    • Culinary Adventurer

      Val,

      When youcrave something it may just be the intense flavor you desire. I make “Pizza” just by putting great sauce, cheese, garlic, mushrooms, mmmmm….and onions or anything else I used to like on a pizza but NO crust. Put it all in a little casserole dish and heat until the cheese melts and bubbles – and enjoy your “pizza” without “wheating” yourself. You’ll be satisfied and won’t suffer because there are no consequences to eating this way! Yum!
      AND…
      Your baby will thank you!
      CA

  7. Liza

    Val,
    Try getting some non gluten carbs, like potatoes (sweet & white), rice, plantains, fruits, etc. I don’t think low carb during pregnancy is a really good idea, especially if you’re craving them. I don’t know where you live, but many restaurants serve gluten free pizza, or make your own. It’s not necessarily a bad thing once a week or so. You don’t need to eat wheat to get in some extra carbs.

    • Barbara in New Jersey

      Wheat Free Market Foods has a delicious pizza crust mix available. There are many recipes for this on the web. Search out paleo sites.

    • Dr. Davis

      In addition to Liza’s advice, cravings can be reduced by increasing proteins, fats, and oils.

      I’m okay with the potatoes, plantains, and bananas provided they are RAW, so that they nourish bowel flora, support their metabolic conversion from fibers to butyrate for bowel health, and reduces colon cancer risk.

  8. WheatFreeintheBoro

    I’ve been wheat/grain free, no added sugar (none), and high fat for about 7 months now. I have had some thyroid issues and we’re still tweaking my meds. I’ve started to see some movement in my weight so I think we are on the right track with my metabolism. By no means am I having the amazing weight loss rates of some of the people who have been highlighted–I’ve lost about 25 pounds and have a lot more to lose.

    I am a bit frightened by my last bloodwork done in advance of my annual exam. Cholesterol is high (220) and NMR LDL-P is nearly 1400 with NMR Small LDL-P nearly 500. Triglycerides are 94. NMR HDL is 71. I gave up my statins last November because of the Cholesterol Clarity book. I’m wondering if I made a mistake and at what point do I do as I’m told?

    Thanks so much for the videos. I have your books and am appreciative of your new magazine!

    • Dr. Davis

      Your pattern–small LDL particles 500/1400 or 35.7% small particles–suggests that further reduction in grains and sugars can eliminate small LDL particles to zero, resulting in reduction in LDL particle number to 900 nmol/L–a very nice value.

      I tell patients to ignore total cholesterol value: It is a meaningless value when lipoproteins are known.

  9. Tim

    Dr. Davis,
    Since going grain free, I have been dealing with low blood sugar issues, especially after eating starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, squash, bananas. I add olive oil and coc oil but still get light headed and dizzy and feel hungry still. Weight has never been an issue, just gut issues post pregnancy. What can I do? Thank you!

    • Dr. Davis

      It sounds like you have a glucose meter.

      Have you tested pre-meal, 30-, then 60-minutes? That might provide insight into your pattern of blood sugars.

  10. Denise

    Dr. Davis,

    Love the new videos! Short but very informative.
    Do you know of any apps or small books for carb values that you prefer?
    Thank you. H9MS

  11. 10044

    Dr D,
    Thanks for your reply to the part 1 question of mine.
    I still can’t believe how a person can eat unlimited amount of “good” calories and expect weight loss, but I guess that’s where we agree to disagree, since I’m not Michael Phelps and do have to worry about my calorie intake.

    My question is that my FT3/T3/FT4 are all at the bottom of the range so there clearly is a problem (perhaps hereditary as my grandma was a little chubby and no matter what she did she couldn’t lose the excess weight..not sure)..I’ve been taking 500mg of kelp every day since September, when do you expect my iodine level to be where it can help with my low levels of t3/ft3 and ft4?
    Also do you believe in “BMR/RMR” concepts as not going below those levels?
    Thank you.

    • Dr. Davis

      If iodine is the cause for thyroid dysfunction, 3 months is generally required for it to normalize.

      I don’t know what you mean by “BMR/RMR” concepts. You mean “basal temperature”?

  12. Neicee

    Dr. Davis, I’ve been linking to both the videos you’ve posted. Love them. Being an avid reader is one thing, but to visually connect with the author is another story too – bringing out more nuanced explanations. Please do more and we’ll convert a whole new crowd. Looking forward to more…..

    • Dr. Davis

      Will do, Neicee!

      I procrastinated on doing this, but once I got started, I kept on going and going. Plenty more to release and to produce!

  13. Help!!! I have been diagnosed with Addison’s Disease and am hydrocortisone dependent. I take 40 mg HC daily and some days feel okay and other not so much. I have been grain free for a year and at first lost weight, now I have gained it all back. I’ve not changed my diet. I eat the same things I have been eating for the past year, but the weight just sneaks up. I believe it’s the hydrocortisone. My question – would walking on a treadmill for exercise help? I know I need to up my mobility – I also have COPD – and am on atenolol, also. So between the atenolol and they hydrocortisone, is there a chance I can lose weight. I only need to lose about 10 lbs. Having COPD, the less I weight, the easier I breathe.

    • Dr. Davis

      The hydrocortisone should NOT stop weight loss, Victoria, if it is prescribed properly.

      So the question is whether it has been prescribed in a manner that mimics the normal, physiologic secretion of cortisol by your adrenal gland. That may be a question for the person prescribing it for you.

  14. Sylvia

    I’ve been following the Wheat Belly plan for 20 days and have only lost 5 pounds. I need to lose 50 more. My clothes are looser though!! I have a history of hypothyroidism and on medication, insomnia and on medication, fibromyalgia, IBS, and osteoarthritis. I saw myself in the book for sure.
    I’ve recently began an antidepressant as well (primary caregiver of an elderly parent).
    I am enjoying the foods that I’ve been cooking but not losing weight as I would like. I’m hoping to get off all medications. I have to say that the muscle pain from the fribro has decreased slightly. I’ve always joked that my metabolism only supports my breathing…haha
    So far I have avoided diabetes (my three siblings are diabetics) and cardiovascular disease prevalent in my family. Yay!!!
    I have started counting carbs since I haven’t lost but 5 pounds. I am not always hungry, have more energy, and am eating less often than before Wheatlessness. Since I can’t stop the current meds, do you have any other suggestions? Oh, I am pretty active and do exercise, though, somewhat irregularily…
    Help!

    • Dr. Davis

      Are you replacing the T3 thyroid hormone, Sylvia? I’ll bet you have been prescribed levothyroxine (Synthroid) only–T4–but with no T3.

      If so, you will likely need a new doctor, preferably someone better informed.

      • Sylvia

        Yes Dr. Davis,
        It’s Synthroid. I requested Armour Thyroid but she “doesn’t believe in it”. My values on Synthroid are within normal range. I have had a partial thyroidectomy, forgot to mention that.

        • Dr. Davis

          Then your problem is most like not YOU, Sylvia; it’s your doctor.

          Get a new doctor, one who empowers you and doesn’t dismiss you offhandedly because you don’t fit into her closed-minded paradigm.

  15. Kirby

    I have celiac disease and have been gluten-free for 12 years. i also eat a paleo diet and low carb most of the time. i am weight training twice per week. But i am very overweight and cannot seem to lose it no matter what i do. Any suggestions for me? Thank you.

  16. I couldn’t find an appropriate (or open) thread to post this so am apologetically hyjacking this one. An advisory committee convened last July to begin the process of providing the new 2015 dietary guidelines. As an optimist, I hope it is possible, with the help of Wheatbelliers, Grainbrainers, the LCHF community and with the assistance of social media, to help influence conversion to a new, healthier dietary paradigm. Share…..

    http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/