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Weight Loss, You Look Like Crap.....
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Yesterday was the last straw for me. I went to class (i have night classes) and as I walked into my classroom, my teacher said "you look pale, underweight and you have terrible dark circles under your eyes". He's the last one I thought would say something, but my family, my boss at work, and my best friend are all commenting saying that i am too thin, that I look like crap.

Right when i went gluten-free, i felt amazing, I had energy again, it was crazy, but now, the past month or so, i've felt more tired, the dark circles under my eyes are back, i'm pale (naturally, but now i sometimes have a blotchy reddish-pale tone, or it looks like i have no color at all). I don't think i've lost weight, but everyone seems to think so. I'm 5'6" and 115ish lbs.

what would be some tips to gain weight, or to start feeling better again?

I know I don't eat enough, but i have some anxiety issues as well, which make eating some types of food very difficult for me.

a sample of my food intake for the day would be

breakfast

-banana and usually some gluten-free cereal (dry, I eat it as a snack at my desk)

Lunch

-turkey/cucumber/cheese sandwich on Udi's bread

-banana or another fruit

dinner

completely depends, but its usually a grain, some veggies (green beans, carrots..) and maybe a few bits of chicken (part of one of my anxiety issues, i'm terrified that my chicken that I make isn't cooked enough, even though my boyfriend, and myself, have never gotten sick. My boyfriend will eat about a breast and a half, and I may choke down around half a breast, but usually 1/4 of a breast if I eat chicken that night)

obviously this is NOT enough. I'm nervous enough that my vitamins aren't really gluten-free even though they say they are (they are of the gummy variety, since I have a hard time swallowing pills), so I forget to take them most days.

I need tips, what else can I make that will help me feel healthy again? I feel better by not eating gluten, no more bloating, no more stomach upset, but the fact that I know i'm not eating enough is bad. Plus i'm sick of hearing everyone and their mother comment on my weight/body.

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Try adding in some nut butters (almond, peanut), some avocado, sweet potato, rice, snack on some nuts or a Lara Bar during the day at work, eat some fish, some gluten free pasta with pesto, some hummus dip with crackers or celery.

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Is there anyone who could help you with your diet? Like a nutritionist? Or even a naturopath? They might be able to guide you and help alleviate some of your anxieties about what you're eating.

(I have anxiety issues, too, and I hate hearing it, especially from strangers, but counseling can help get you over some of these hurdles.)

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"i'm terrified that my chicken that I make isn't cooked enough"

I think it is rational that you want to make sure your food is properly cooked. Especially meats. I have found that a food/meat thermometer is a wonderful tool to have around. I use mine all the time. You don't have to spend a lot of money for a basic model. The digital ones do cost a bit more.

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I second the Lara bar idea and nut butters. Maybe add a Lara bar as a mid-morning snack and a peanut butter sandwich on Udi bread (or whatever else you like) as a mid-afternoon snack? That would get you around 400 extra calories, which should help you to jump-start your weight gain back to a healthy weight. It also wouldn't require trusting strangers or much cooking on your part.

Another idea would be to try making tofu one of your vegetables instead of sticking only with lower-calorie alternatives. Tofu adds protein and fats, too. That might bulk up your dinners a bit.

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nuts nuts and more nuts....

I lost 28 lbs since Feb. and have put 4 pounds back on with nuts and nutty snacks...

I feel your pain. I lost this weight without any GI symptoms, so everyone thought it was cancer.

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You could make a trail mix from some nuts, dried cranberries (or other types of dried fruit like raisins), and M & M's (they're gltuen free!) or some chocolate chips if you don't like M&M's. I'm just thinking a little chocolate in your diet won't hurt you and nuts and dried fruit is really good for you. If you like coconut you can add shredded coconut and dried pineapple for a tropical type trail mix. Or throw in some of your favorite cereals like chex too. But I think you do need to add a mid-day or afternoon.

Also I think you should get your vitamin levels checked as well as your thyroid. If you have an overactive thyroid that could account for the weight loss as well. As far as the vitamins and you forgeting to take them you need to try harder to remember. I forget a lot too and I really notice when I forget more than one day in a row. I'm also not sure about chewable vitamins, do they make these adult strength? Are they giving you everything you need? Check with your doctor if you haven't already. If you really can't swallow a pill then maybe you could try some of that Emergen-C stuff that you mix into a bottle of water. You can mix it up and take it to drink with your lunch everyday. Maybe you won't forget it that way. Talk to your doctor of course first and make sure that it's safe to take the Emergen-C stuff daily. I know it is gluten free because I used it to help with a bad cold last week.

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How about adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet to add some nutrition.

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The symptoms you describe--pallor, fatigue, anxiety, dark circles under the eyes--are all indicative of anemia. You're at high risk for anemia, given the celiac disease, and your sample menu does not include much iron-rich food.

The dark eye circles of anemia will not go away no matter how much rest you get; neither will the fatigue. Because anemia can have many causes apart from iron deficiency, it is best not to self-treat. You should go to the doctor and have him investigate.

If he decides that you are iron deficient and prescribes just an iron supplement, don't let him throw iron pills at you. Go to the health food store and ask for a gluten-free liquid iron supplement, which would be much more absorbable than the pill form.

People are not trying to be rude in their comments; they are simply expressing concern. Because anemia comes on so slowly and insidiously, the person with anemia often begins to experience the symptoms as "the new normal." It takes another person to point out the symptoms and suggest that there might be something wrong.

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Yesterday was the last straw for me. I went to class (i have night classes) and as I walked into my classroom, my teacher said "you look pale, underweight and you have terrible dark circles under your eyes". He's the last one I thought would say something, but my family, my boss at work, and my best friend are all commenting saying that i am too thin, that I look like crap....

what would be some tips to gain weight, or to start feeling better again?

I know I don't eat enough, but i have some anxiety issues as well, which make eating some types of food very difficult for me.

I can totally empathize. Your diet is very similar to mine, although mine is a tad more restrictive. (I've been gluten-free for about 10 years but I found about a year ago that I am also allergic to corn, yeast, dairy, cane sugar and a slew of veggies). I suffered a weird bout of stomach pain last year around Christmas, lost too much weight (at one point I was 5' 7" and 123 lbs... everyone said I looked horrible). I too had panic attacks and anxiety about eating... and then it was worse because everyone was stressing me out because they were stressing out about the way I looked.

I am still recovering... I am still on a restricted diet. I still have panic attacks on a regular basis. I still struggle eating certain foods (even foods I'm allowed) -- especially meats. HOWEVER, I now weigh 139 and feel physically pretty good. I still have some tummy troubles but it is not as bad last year. The number one thing that helped for me was to give myself permission to have a bad day and not beat myself up about it. What I eat is my business and I know I'm getting better so however long that takes is how long that takes. So when my panic levels are through the roof during my monthly cycle and all I can eat is a banana, two cups of tea, and maybe some cream of rice that day...that's ok!

If I want to eat my favorite dish three times that week (homemade fries, broccoli, and salmon patties) then I'll let myself. It's a well balanced meal and better any day that someone who eats take out for lunch.

Ignore the people who you think are judging you and give yourself permission not to judge yourself! Find your "safe" go to food(s) and let yourself eat them whenever you want. If you *know* you are having a hard time with chicken that day, don't even bother to cook it or buy it...you'll just end up throwing it out and feeling guilty on top of everything else that you wasted your food. Save your chicken for a good day when you can really enjoy it without panic or fear.

If you don't care for nuts... one thing that really helped me put these last 10 pounds on is coconut... I use coconut milk instead of dairy or soy in recipes; I make a little coconut "icing" out of coconut butter, agave syrup and water or soy milk; I use coconut flour as a partial substitute in some recipes. If you can't stand the taste of it, there are ways to get it without too much flavor. There's a coconut oil you can cook with that doesn't leave that flavor, At any rate, coconut is very high in *good* fat...just like avacodos. If you like avacados, that's a great way to get some calories (about 350 in just one) and good fat in your diet. I can even cut it up in some of my "go to" dishes and I don't even taste it, so there are ways to get it in if you don't like the flavor.

But honestly, I didn't start getting better until I quit caring and stressing out how much or how little or what I was eating that day. You know, there are people who fast for 5 or 10 days straight...I've never been guilty of that! :) but it puts things into perspective for me...if I don't eat enough one day, it's not that big of a deal. Over the course of a week, I just work toward having more good days than bad days.

Angela

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I'm currently going through the SAME EXACT thing.. tack on I learned that dairy (the OTHER food good at helping you get nice and plump quickly) was giving me issues.

I also am very hesitant to cook chicken because I think it will be undercooked- so I compromised,

a. If you make chicken, cut it up into tiny little pieces and cook in a pan. That way they are small enough to cook through quickly. if you leave them in long (even a little "too" long so the blacken a tad) they'll be even more "done". This helped me ensure they were cooked all the way, I could visually tell!

b. do steak instead! This is my fav. fall back. If steak is undercooked, it's not really that bad for you, unless it was spoiled (which, if you just pick it up from the store and use it that day or the next you're fine. That's where we get that whole "medium, medium rare, etc" from! cook it until it's well done and if it turns out it's still a little pink, well, then you have a medium rare steak :)

c. I know this isn't technically "meat" but I learned the other day you can cook crab in the microwave very quickly and easily. Maybe try more seafoods? I have precooked frozen shrimp I take out sometimes when I'm just sick of pretending to like meat for my health.

Others here have said what others suggested to me too... the coconut, avocado, and nuts. Here's the kicker, I'm STILL loosing weight. currently 5'4" @ 94 lbs.

Someone said the word "anorexic" the other day and I got so upset and defensive. How do you tell someone "I'M EATING! I JUST CAN'T EAT THE FOODS THAT MAKE YOU FAT!" (lol and taste delicious). The thing is, when you're gluten-free (and especially when you have other intolerances) you're limited to genuinely more healthy foods like meats, veggies, fruits, and a smaller variety of safe grains. So, even if you're eating the same amounts, they don't necessarily have the same calories etc. So we naturally loose weight!

With so much emphasis on weight loss in our society, I find people often making the remark "I wish I had your 'problem'..." Ugh, being underweight has it's other downsides too, I have extremely low blood pressure too. I'm sure there are associated higher risks of getting sick etc. as well. In all, we just want people to stop judging us for what we look like, and take some time to think about it from our perspective. I hope, even if I can't offer any great advice, it helps to know there's others out there going through the same things you are. *you're not alone* :)

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I second the protein issue. The pallor & dark circles...try adding some beef to your diet since you aren't a vegetarian. It might help, with being Celiac and having an impaired digestive system, to incorporate probiotics into your diet. You don't like pills, but you can buy it in powder form and add it juice or applesauce. I'd also try sublingual vit b complex...it completely bypasses your digestive track and goes into your system quickly. I noticed a difference in my skin & eyes (much brighter & healthy looking) after taking the b. I buy a gluten free version at Walmart from Nature Valley (?) and it's less than $7 for a big dropper with 50+ doses. You can do this 2-3 times a day. Your body will flush excess b vitamin. Chewable vitamin C might help too. Without enough C, you cannot absorb iron. Celiacs are vitamin deficient usually. Taking an extra 1000mg a day, esp. when you eat iron-rich foods can really help your absorption.

Good Luck!

FooGirlsMom

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How about smoothies?? use full fat milk and yogurt...

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When I was pregnant both times I lost 15 pounds in the first 3 months. Since that is not safe, my doctors told me to eat avocado to add fat. You might try putting some avocado on your Udi's turkey sandwich. That will increase your calorie count for the day. Iron rich foods you might think about adding that you could just carry around with you are things like dried apricots and raisins. You could check the labels on some of the gluten free bars and find one that is high in iron. If you are trying to eat regularly through the day maybe you will be able to eat more.

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Definitely add some protein to breakfast. Custard (low sugar) is easy to swallow, hard-boiled eggs are cooked through (I've learned to eat them recently... because I can, and they are seriously safe), yogurt, milk, even sausage or a slice of roast beef. Dried fruit in your cereal would definitely add calories, and it can be relatively inexpensive. Raisins and dried apricots, for example.

I also tolerate meat more when it is cut into small pieces, stewed slowly and starting to fall apart. Tagines, for example, are great. The spices also help me ignore that I'm eating meat. Try adding in lentils and beans with your small amounts of meat. So, for dinner, you have something like the chicken breast, your grain, veg, and lentil salad or hummus with carrot sticks. They'll add more iron, and it will be better absorbed with even that 1/4 chicken breast than if you ate them plain. Dress them with olive oil.

And I have found that weekly doses of chocolate does keep me over 110lbs.

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This sounds so familiar--I had to overhear my relatives "discussing" my weight at christmas like I wasn't 6 feet away in the kitchen. my mom tried to explain to them, "there's not a whole lot she can eat!" and I, too have been called anorexic. so frustrating.

I've been drinking a protein drink every morning when I get up (I drink Orgain, it's organic, gluten free and I needed one kinda low in iron because I have hemochromatosis as well) This starts my day with a calorie and protein boost, and if I'm finding myself hungry around 3, I'll down another one.

I haven't really put the weight back on, but I am maintaining at least.

good luck!

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Unfortunately, I'm in the same boat as you all...you really don't want to even know how much I weigh, I don't want anyone to pass out at their computer :P

I've always been tiny, but after going gluten free, I've had a *very* hard time keeping my weight up and I am so sensitive to taste, I can hardly stand all the "yummy" gluten free pastas and breads everyone loves on these boards. To make matters worse, my doctor thinks I have an ulcer, which has made it even more difficult to eat, since I'm nauseous after every meal :( I hardly eat anything, it's pretty pathetic.

In any case, my husband bought me a blender for Christmas (yay!) and has been making me delish smoothies for breakfast! I can't have milk, so we use Vanilla Almond Milk, strawberry yogurt, and frozen veggies like strawberries, bananas, mango, blueberries, etc. I haven't gained any weight yet, but I just started drinking them last week, so I'm crossing my fingers. I'm getting a lot of nutrition, along with a decent amount of calories, so I thought I'd mention it for anyone looking for a good breakfast idea to maybe gain weight :)

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I'm 6' tall and weigh in at 135 lbs, and take daily tongue lashing from (mainly female, and mainly overweight) people who feel it is perfectly okay to comment on someone's body. When I was overweight, nobody said a word.

My PCP was so nice. She said "So many women would pay so much money to have a body like your's." "They'd have surgery, which I'm opposed to, or take drugs, or do a fad diet."

A Pressure Cooker is great for the Celiac diet. There are great cookbooks in the library and good recipes on the web. You can cook foods really well done in very little time with confidence. You can even cook soaked dried beans in 9-14 minutes, depending on the variety. The pressure cooker has been a life saver for me. I hope this helps, and I wish you the best. P.S. I also like Ativan or Xanax as needed for anxiety. I'm not sure what came first, the anxiety or the disease, but I know it helps to take 1/2 a Xanax when I get worried about something. (Usually it's about food.)

If you have a birthday coming up, I'd hint about a 4 quart pressure cooker. Meantime, eat lots of spinach and kale if you can. Good luck. :)

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I second the anemic post. I would reccomend going to your doctor and having your levels checked for that and B vitamis as well.

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    • I figured I would update those who were wondering.  I have gotten the appt. so far moved up to August 30. I am waiting to have gene testing done via swab for all 3 of my kiddos tomorrow. My daughters celiac antibodies came up negative but her IgA is low which the ped said could cause false negative antibodies for celiac so she will need to see a GI dr. also. The pediatrician is going to call the GI to try to get them in sooner. I am keeping them all on a gluten diet until the GI dr. decides what to do. I am on the cancellation list already for my son, however I am not going to be persistent with my phone calls to them until I have the results of the gene test. I really want that result in my hand before going to the GI dr if I can. Maybe if he is positive, along with his bloodwork and my history they can forgo the endoscopy. But he will eat gluten till then.  My husband and I have been very honest and upfront with him as to what is going on and the possibility of the endoscopy and what that entails and although scared in general he seems ok after assuring him that since I have it he has me to help him every step of the way.  Going through his current diet with him I realized that he is truly on such a low gluten diet that I am actually surprised his bloodwork shows antibodies at all!  So I told him to make a list of allllll the gluten he could possibly think of eating and he needs to pound it until the GI visit or endoscopy. Funny thing is everything he keeps thinking of to want to eat...is already gluten free!  The other night we were at a friends and he asked if he could be done with his hotdog. I made him finish just the bread 😂 Thanks for your help and advise and I will keep y'all posted on both kids!  My oldest is a ok as far as all his antibodies. Just actually had a follow up for other immune issues and all his levels are now normal!
    • I like your plan Cara, I may have to include it in my sons.    Poor little guy is still very very sick. I think he is resisting and cheating, despite having the support of two other siblings and a 100% gluten-free home. 
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    • Well, you can probably get an apple or something.  You might be able to get someone to boil you some eggs.  But be careful of things like nuts that should be naturally gluten free.  They have almost always been soaked in a flavor solution that usually containes caramel coloring, "soy" (wheat) sauce and other aditives.  If I am really hungry and must eat in a Chinese restaurant, I order plain white rice and steamed vegetables.  But even so, you must monitor it carefully.  The rice sometimes has other substances added to give it a better texture, and very often the vegetables have in fact had "just a little bit" of soy sauce added.  To be fair, celiac disease is hardly ever found in East Asians, so understandably people are not tuned it to it.  Also, culturally, with the exception of fruits, it is generally thought that the flavor of foods needs to be enhanced, so it is had to find anything natural even in the "western" gorceries. Even in the western restaurants, be careful.  Fish and meat and often vegetables are usually pre-marinated. I will not even attempt to address the issue of cross-comtamination, since that is a whole higher order of things. I do know what I am talking about; I have celiac and have worked here for nearly 7 years.  
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