Brenda first contacted me because she had been following all the strategies of Wheat Belly and Wheat Belly Total Health, yet was not experiencing the weight loss like other people. She detailed her diet to me and it was nearly flawless. Likewise, she had added the Wheat Belly Total Health strategies such as vitamin D, iodine, and fish oil. I therefore advised her to drop her doctor and find one who would help her identify what was wrong with her health that could be stalling weight loss.
I share Brenda’s story because her experience provides three valuable lessons:
- Even when weight loss is modest or does not occur, there can be a marked reduction in abdominal fat and fat in other areas, such as the buttocks and thighs, as well as loss of inflammatory edema. Read on and you will see that Brenda provides an extreme example of this phenomenon, so marked I’m calling it Brenda’s “deflation.”
- Wheat and grain consumption is so destructive to health that eliminating them does not always fully reverse the destructive health damage they caused. In particular, hypothyroidism, other autoimmune diseases, and dysbiosis can require additional, specific efforts to correct before there can be full return to health and desired weight. (This is the reason why I wrote Wheat Belly Total Health: full health and weight only begin with wheat and grain elimination.)
- Most conventional physicians will deny that there is something wrong with your health and tell you nonsense like “Your thyroid is fine” even when you have flagrant hypothyroidism; “”There’s nothing wrong with your gastrointestinal tract because we can’t see any ulcers or cancer on your endoscopy”; and “There’s no such thing as ‘adrenal fatigue.” This is why it is important to lose the “drug and procedure”-only doctor and find one who empowers you in health, such as a functional medicine practitioner or naturopath.
Brenda began the Wheat Belly lifestyle late in 2014. While she experienced an initial modest weight loss and health benefits, she then stalled:
“I have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism except constipation which I attribute to a diet of mostly vegetables and fruit. I sleep better, hurt less, and do not have to take a water pill to keep the swelling down in my feet and legs, but I feel like a complete failure when I read others’ comments on the amount of weight they are losing.”
I advised Brenda to identify a healthcare practitioner who would explore her health issues, especially thyroid status, that were impairing her weight loss success. But, before she began making additional changes recommended by her new naturopathic doctor, she provided an update:
“I began Wheat Belly last October but haven’t lost the weight I should have. I emailed you and you said to find a new doctor. I did and discovered that I have non-alcholic fatty liver disease, adrenal fatigue, leaky gut, autoimmune disorders, thyroid not working, etc.
I have only lost between 5-10 lbs. It fluctuates back and forth, but was amazed to discover I had lost 45.5 inches! I hadn’t taken my measurements since December, 2013 because my weight kept going up and I was only getting bigger. I knew I had lost a few pounds with Wheat Belly, but was completely blew away when I took my full body measurements! This was before I began the supplements from my naturopathic doctor, so Wheat Belly gets all the credit!”
It’s an odd and peculiar phenomenon: Even if weight loss fails or is modest, there can be dramatic deflation of body measures. 45 inches is an astonishing reduction that likely reflects both loss of visceral, inflammatory fat, as well as loss of inflammatory edema (water retention). Now that she has had her health impairments diagnosed and is on her way to correcting them–by identifying a doctor who cares about health and not only about prescription drugs, procedures, and revenues for his hospital system–she will soon be much more slender and healthier.
Here are the before and afters for Brenda’s children: