my wheat belly

by MrsFatass on October 3, 2016

If we are friends on Facebook (and if we’re not, why AREN’T we?), then you may have seen that I recently decided to go grain free.

I’ll just let that sink in for a moment.

One step further than gluten, being GRAIN free rules out a whole lot of food I love. Warm tortillas, flour OR corn. Chips that so deliciously scoop salsa and guacamole. Egg rolls. Sticky sushi rice. Wonton Egg Drop soup. A toasted onion bagel that holds heaping piles of cream cheese and smoked salmon and tomato an onion.

Not to mention the basics. Bread. Pasta. BEER.

I haven’t felt right in a long time. I haven’t lost a single pound in a long time. I’ve known something was going on inside me but any time I talked with a doctor about it I just wasn’t being heard. Labs just didn’t seem to be revealing much, and every symptom I listed was met with either some level of disbelief, or a prescription. Irregular cycles? Birth control. Anxiety? Celexa. Constipation? Stool softener. Hemorrhoid? Lidocaine and hydrocortisone. Weight gain? Phentermine. And a lecture about calories in versus calories out.

Sluggishness, fatigue, mood swings, joint aches, puffy and swollen hands and feet, breakouts. Falling asleep sitting up in a chair after coming home from training group. Not being able to catch my breath in yoga. Feeling “hung over” in the morning, even when I hadn’t had anything to drink the day before. And no matter how I ate, no matter how dirty or how clean, I just never really felt nourished.

I’ve said more than once that working in fitness has put weight on me. I have gained steadily since first becoming a fitness instructor in 2011. I’ve also said more than once that the harder I train, the more severe my symptoms. Remember when I ended up in the ER not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES in a weekend? I was hitting Couch to 5K hard and heavy. The next time I had that particular problem, I was training for the Las Vegas RnR Half. I cancelled on several races I was registered for so far in 2016, not because I wasn’t training, but because I was training and training and not getting anywhere. No gains. And my heinie discomfort was at an all time high (I’ll spare you from another lengthy paragraph about the 8 months worth of constant, around the clock pain in my beehole) and I just lost the motivation to run and swim and sit on a bike seat.

My daughter turned 9 in September, and on her big day we indulged in a lot of once in while foods, all at once. A biscuit with breakfast, pasta at lunch, doughnut holes at the class party, and a dinner that included breaded meat and gravy. It was 7PM and I could barely keep my eyes open, and the next morning when the alarm went off, there was that old, familiar, hung over feeling. Except I hadn’t had a sip of alcohol.

I’d been suspicious of gluten and it’s effects on my body before, but had my concerns dismissed more than once by a PA. If you don’t have celiac, then going gluten free probably isn’t going to much for you. Gluten-free is just the newest fad. But for whatever reason THAT morning, I didn’t turn to a doctor or PA, I turned of course to Facebook.

Well, the next step in my quest to figure out some things about my health that I can’t get a doctor to diagnose: I’m pretty sure I just decided to see if I have a gluten intolerance.

And within minutes the comments filled up with support. I wish I’d typed that update months ago, but I kept hearing in the back of my head “gluten-free is a fad” and lord knows I don’t want another fad diet in my life. But here were so many people that described similar symptoms and uplifting stories of cutting things out and feeling better. And one of my friends recommended the book Wheat Belly. And within minutes I was reading a book about my life.

For me, though there were a ton of ah-ha moments, what it really it boiled down to were a couple of major realizations about my MOST major/obvious complaints, weight gain and digestive problems leading to bootyhole issues.

  1. I’ve steadily GAINED weight since beginning my fitness career in 2011.
  2. The harder I train, the more issues I have.

Well. In the last 5 years, in an effort to EAT HEALTHY, SCULPT MUSCLE and RACE I have dramatically increased my intake of two things: Healthy! Whole! Grains! and whey protein.


It explained so much.

So I decided to go all in and see what would happen if I took the time to follow the detox program 100%. The elimination diet AND the supplements. Ten days of detox promised a few things: low energy, feeling like you have the flu, feeling kind of overwhelmed at the rules and the timing and all.

But by day three? I also was 100% pain free. 100%! That alone was worth the time and effort. But by day four I was going to the bathroom daily. By day five I’d noticed my fingers and toes weren’t puffy in the mornings. I’ve also had some bursts of energy and noticed that I can get through lots of housework without having to sit down and take a break. I don’t feel like I’m going to crack by 7PM under the stress of trying to stay awake past my children’s bedtimes. Today is day 10, the final day of the ‘detox’, and I definitely feel a weight lifting.

And speaking of weight, there are so many success stories in the book of all the pounds that folks lost during detox and beyond. I did lose a few. Maybe not as many as I hoped, but now I actually HAVE hope that it will come. With more time, and more gut repair, I think that this is a major step toward reclaiming my health. While I’m still pretty convinced I need to keep pushing thyroid testing, in the meantime I have this, and I’ll be patient with the process.

The past 10 days has done more for making me feel right again than any of the appointments and testing and prescriptions of the last year. So here’s to hope.


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Myra October 3, 2016 at 3:53 pm

My eyes just opened wider and wider as I read the post. I have not been able to lose in years. I don’t have pain, but I attributed my low energy to my age and lack of metabolism. I absolutely work out, vary my calorie intake, and every other thing I could try. I’m guessing I won’t be picking up the whole grain unsprouted wheat on my grocery run!


Ginger King October 3, 2016 at 4:28 pm

Wheat Belly Total Health is a great resource for more info on gut health. Marks Daily Apple website is really good as well.


AdjustedReality October 3, 2016 at 4:43 pm

That’s so awesome that you’re finding relief. I tried the same thing 2 years ago… and sadly it was not my silver bullet – it didn’t do me wrong, but it didn’t really help me and it really sucked not to be able to eat sandwiches.

I consulted with a nutritionist last year and while we definitely were at odds on some things, he confirmed what I thought: it is SO hard to lose weight while training hard for races. I was able to take down about 15 lbs during offseason, and during these 10-12 hour weeks of training, it’s just totally impossible. You have to eat what you burn back if you want to keep going.


Janice - Salads4Lunch October 4, 2016 at 7:04 am

I’m in the same boat as you – I’ve steadily gained about 15 lbs over the year and have suspected that prepared foods (which pretty much all contain wheat) are the culprit. Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m going to look into Wheat Belly detox too.
PS – been lurking on your facebook for years!


Donna October 4, 2016 at 10:02 am

Yeah, when I decided to do Primal and go grain free about 4-5 years ago everyone told me I was an idiot. A few of them had issues and one in particular, who was especially finger-waggy when I gave up grains, has recently ‘saved her own life’ by going to a grain free diet. WTF do I know? Listen to your body and if something works for you, then do it. Forget what anyone else says or thinks they know.


Karen P October 6, 2016 at 10:21 pm

I’m telling you going gluten/grain free saved my life. 40 freaking years of trying to eat all the grains.

Getting off them in mid 2011 has changed my life and health. Onward and I’m cheering for you and the better days & years to come. 🙂


Thea October 13, 2016 at 6:16 pm

I’m so, so happy you found some answers!!


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