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Overweight Celiacs

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This is our weightloss thread. If you have any tips, encouragement, or need to tlak about the struggle to be glutenfree and lose weight, this is the thread to post on.

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While I was never vastly overweight, at 20, I decided 152lbs was too much for a 5'2" girl. So I changed that. I was down to 112 for my wedding two years later, and have been between that and 126 for the past seven years, the highest weight being during a ten month period of 80-100 hour VERY stressful work weeks that eventually led my husband and I to move out of state. I did it the old fashioned way - food/exercise, which led me to learning a lot about the process. Here's what I learned:

1. Learn about nutrition, exercise, and the metabolic process. Don't just get quotes of numbers, and meal plans, and fitness schedules, but LEARN about what your body is doing, what you want it to do, and how to figure out what it can do. Education will last you a lifetime, and you'll be able to adjust your plan of attack over time as your body and your life changes.

2. No cheating. Stop the emotional eating, the 'I don't feel great so I'm not going to exercise', the 'I need to drink once a week when I go out', or the 'I'm with friends, so I'll treat myself' thing. You set yourself up for failure. It's really really easy to do - I still struggle with it at times, and accepting that it's going to be a lifelong battle is part of it, but changing your tolerance level for these sorts of things is important as well. I'm not saying 'no treats - do it bootcamp style', I'm saying that you need to follow through on the expectations you set for yourself, and if you discover they're unreasonable, you need to reset your expectations, but you need to live up to your expectations.

3. No giving up. For some of us (even at 120, my current weight), maintaining weight, or losing it, is a constant struggle. Some people have no trouble maintaining their lovely figure, and the rest of us have to work at it ever bloomin' day. Bah! Bugger to them (in the friendliest possible way), but that doesn't change what we have to do. So we keep doing it. Trust me... it's worth the effort, even if it's hard.

4. Exercise. Yeah, people will say you can do it on calories alone, but you won't have as much energy, you won't be as healthy, you'll be hungrier, and you'll be less satisfied over all. Chemically speaking, exercise does a lot for you, and there's no reason not to take advantage of that chemical spike you can get from it. There is ALWAYS *something* you can do. Can't figure out what? Get creative. There's the normal walk, bike, swim options, but there's also weights, yoga, kayaking, dancing, gardening, etc. Physical problems that keep you from getting exercise need to be overcome, and it may take the help of medical professionals and patience to get there, but in most circumstances there is *some* alternative available.

5. Do it because you want to, but not until then. Don't do it for someone else. You'll resent having to do it, and will sabotage your own efforts in more ways than you think you possibly could. It's a sacrifice. You don't get to do what your perpetually skinny friend who has a metabolism you'd give away your first born for gets to do. But comparisons don't get you anywhere in this case, and you just have to work with what you've got. And if you don't have the desire yet, you don't have the desire yet. Once you do, you'll get there, even if it takes a number of years.

6. Realize that it may never end. It's not that it's a life sentence, it's that you were misled about what you can do/eat and be healthy. Now it's time to relearn that, even though no one else around you is doing it (or maybe you can get them to relearn too!). It's frustrating sometimes, even after seven years, I sometimes think "dude, can't I relax for just a few weeks", and then the scale tells me... uh... no, no you can't. But that's my body, and I can either accept it, or be very, very unhappy.

7. Figure out what works for your body. Low fat, low carb, zone, atkins, blah, blah, blah. There's a reason for all of these things, which is why the first step is to learn about nutrition (so you know what zone and atkins has in common with respect to weight loss and what's different) and so you can be informed about figuring out what works best for your body. I can't do low fat - I'm hypoglycemic and too many carbs is right out. My father in law does Ornish - very low fat, vegetarian. I don't understand how it works for him, I'd feel awful, but it works for him. I know people who prefer a very low carb, low protein, high fat diet that works well for them as well (note that I didn't say high calorie, works out it's actually fairly low calorie). So figure out what works well for your body, regardless of the fad diet advice out there, and go with that, realizing it may shift over the years.

8. Did I mention exercise? Yeah, keep that up. All your life. :-)

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Wow... Tiffany covered it all! :rolleyes: Ok, lift weights. That's all I got. Don't go all muscle-mama, lifting 30lb weights...just go for the 3 lbs to start.. or 5 lbs... whichever you feel comfortable with . Step up and down off of your back step if you can't afford leg weights or a machine. Just bend a bit and use those muscles. Or hold on to a couple of cans of beans for weights. Or lift sand buckets of toys. Seriously. Back in college I lifted bean cans because I couldn't afford weights... For every bag of junk food you don't buy, pocket the money and you'll be able to afford some cute weights from Walmart in no time. Or a weight machine. I got my first weight machine from a Walmart 5 years ago for only $150. Got the most buff I'd ever been with that one machine. You can do it too. Machines are nice, but little hand held ones are best for sitting and watching tv. And those little ankle ones are great for laying down and lifting your legs while watching tv. :) I like All my Children... ok?!

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I need this thread! Since going gluten-free 10 months ago, I've put back on all the weight I lost when I was sick--plus about 15 more. Pretty soon, none of my clothes are going to fit me anymore!! Tiffany, as usual, your advice was sound and sensible. I have lost weight successfully in the past--once by low fat, and more recently by Atkins (3 years ago). I do Pilates now, and love that. I need to begin a walking program--I live in a great neighborhood for walking, and have a treadmill for bad weather days. I'm all set--just need to *start*!

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I have a gazelle, but I have been hurting with arthritis just too much lately. The only exercise I do are stretches, moderate-paced walking, and work. I have an appointment with a physical therapist Monday, I am hoping he can help me with this back pain!

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Swimming! So many people overlook it! Yes, I know that finding a pool isn't always cheap, or convenient, but when I was having problems enough with my knees that walking a mile was quite painful, I called around, found a gym with an indoor pool with hours I could work with (harder than you'd expect in SoCal). It was a half hour drive (one way, at 6 in the morning), and I had to negotiate with them quite hard to get a $30 a month rate that would only allow me to use that single location, and locked me into a two year contract, but if I couldn't do anything else without pain, then I had to do what I had to do.

You don't have to know how to swim (and if you don't, you can take lessons - I did that at age 22, and was probably the oldest person in my class, by a decade - well, I was only five years older than the teacher), and you don't even have to swim! You can walk across the pool, you can tread water, you can just use the kickboard. There are all kinds of joint sparing, low-impact options. You don't get the same weight-bearing, bone-building effects from swimming, but you do get good exercise benefits out of this sort of activity. (And if it makes anyone who is very overweight feel better, more than half of the people in the pools of the gyms tend to be very overweight - the thin/fit ones are on the machines out in the main floor.)

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Growing up I was a very thin child. During junior high my parents switched us to a whole grain diet which included a lot of whole wheat. I missed 30 days of school (not in a row) due to stomach pain. We were only allowed shreaded wheat and grapenuts (only cereals with no added sugar). The doctors did upper and lower GI series and the diagnosis was teenage queazies because I didn't like my school. At about 5ft 4 I weighed 88lbs, and was 13 years old. I had chronic constipation and only had a bowel movement every 4-5 days and I had no idea that that was not normal until I went off to college and we talked about daily bowel movements in biology. I was 5'6" and 110 when I graduated from high school. During college my hair began to fall out and I started having abdominal pain and bloating. The doctors did all sorts of tests for the hair loss and came up empty. By age 22 I weighed 117 lbs and was 5'6". I stopped drinking milk but didn't give up all milk products. Age 24 I had appendicitis. Abdominal pain, chronic constipation and bloating were a constant problem. At age 29 I had my first child, she didn't sleep at all and was very cranky. I weighed 137lbs which is a good weight. My daughter was in the 80th percentile for weight. By the time she was 2 I was developing chronic fatigue and would sleep in very late on weekends and had trouble getting up during the week to go to work. I started gaining weight and over a 2 year period gained 20 lbs dispite 5 days a week exercise and all sorts of diets. I got pregnant again, I weighed 160 and gained 40 lbs tipping the scale at 200 lbs when I delivered twins 5.5 weeks early. They are both small, below the chart, but healthy and sleep well and not cranky. I was able to get down to 155 lbs, but over a 3 year period gained weight until I weighed 176 lbs, I had no energy, I couldn't exercise strenuously due to pain all over my body (fibromyalgia, constipation predominate irritable bowel and chronic fatigue). I was able to get rid my problems sleeping at night when I had a hypernodule removed with half of my thyroid. I figured out and tried a gluten free diet on my own, when the antibody test was negative I tried one bit of a tortilla and 15 minutes later I was sorry I did. I started a gluten free diet and felt better, I had a biopsy which was 1 month later and it was negative except for lymphocyte aggregates, but the HLA testing was positive for HLA DQ2 and DQ8. I am down 17 lbs now and have been able to go down in sizes again. The gluten free diet can make you gain or lose weight, if you focus on meats and vegatables you will lose weight easier than if you focus on lots of gluten free starches or high calorie gluten free treats. I still eat those lovely cookies, but one at a time. I have a herniated disc and tend to get tendonitis. I try to keep up with sit ups, stationary cycling and pushups so I can pass my AF physical test, but I usually feel bad after the test because I go all out. Standard lose weight advise works, just add don't eat food you are intolerant too. My diagnosis is Non-Celiac Gluten intolerance and let me tell you it takes you down slowly. My children all carry DQ2 or DQ8, the antibodies like mine are negative, the twins are small but energetic. My oldest had constipation problems early on and bad teeth (both could be from letting her have too much juice). For them I will try to keep an eye on their health and look for indications of the illness. My older sister has thinning hair, and is over weight with asthma, but tried a gluten free diet and noticed no difference when reintroducing gluten. My younger sister had a goiter (hashimotos), but it went away, she has an intolerance to chocolate and lactose. The chocolate gives her migranes. They have not been tested. My parent obviously both have one HLA that puts them at risk. My mom use to call me her healthy child, but not any more. I'm getting better and the weight loss is so much easier on the right diet.

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I have been following calorie charts, trying to figure things out. What I have discovered, is that my activity level combined with my calorie level says I should be a skinny person! I went to my doctor about it Thursday. She said my weight could actually be a symptom of something else. She has ordered thyroid tests, hormone level tests, and a sleep study. She said all three of them affect a woman's weight. I know about the thyroid, and Robix explained about sleep, but hormones?

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I have started going to a physical therapist about the pain in my back. Turns out I have muscles locked in never-ending spasms pulling my spine out of line. He is helping me with exercises and stretches, so I can actually move without pain! Now I can exercise more, maybe I can get better control over my weight.

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I have started going to a physical therapist about the pain in my back. Turns out I have muscles locked in never-ending spasms pulling my spine out of line. He is helping me with exercises and stretches, so I can actually move without pain! Now I can exercise more, maybe I can get better control over my weight.

Ooo! That's no fun! Good luck with the exercises. Perhaps biofeedback can help with that. (Specifically, I'm thinking about sensors hooked up to measure the electrical output of the muscles along your back that display the output on a computer that helps you learn to recognize tight muscles that you previously weren't able to consciously feel (because you hadn't known to try!). It's a sound therapy (even amonst mainstream physical therapists) though few use it or are equipped for it. (I used it for the PT I did for vulvar vestibulitis.)

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Since starting this thread, I have lost three pounds. It has been slow going, but following much of the advice I got here, I am doing it. I am following weight watcher's flex plan, and exercising more. I have cut out chocolate, which causes me to feel totally exhausted during the day.

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Since starting this thread, I have lost three pounds. It has been slow going, but following much of the advice I got here, I am doing it. I am following weight watcher's flex plan, and exercising more. I have cut out chocolate, which causes me to feel totally exhausted during the day.

Congrats. Slow may be frustrating, but it's more likely to be lasting!

Good work!

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The more high quality protein like meat and eggs you eat, the smaller your appetite will be. I try to have the biggest part of each meal being meat or eggs and then fill in with veggies and fruit. Keeps my gut happy too.

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Just found this post - thanks!

I have been fighting my weight issues for more years than I want to admit - my early teens and I now have a teenager! My parents went on the natural, whole food when I was in high school and I developed IBS and gained over 40 pounds in 2 years.

After I got married, I lose some of it, only to gain it back with my first child. I started losing again [exercise and ADA diet for hypoglygemia] when Paul was 2. Then I got pregnant with Beth and everything went nuts!!! After she was diagnosed with celiac disease we eleminated alot of gluten from the house and I started losing again.

Then I was diagnosed with RA and fibromylgia - IT HURT too much to exercise and all the weight came back - plus some. Medications for both conditions only added to the weight gain and with very little exercise - I topped out at over 260 lbs in less than 4 years.

Then heart problems, migranes and TIAs. I was out of work for over 6 months with doctors visits and physical therapy. Need I say more...

That was 2 years ago, and 10 months into a gluten-free diet I am still not able to lose the weight. The doctors have tested my thryoid repeatedly and it's always normal. I started exercising [walking, swimming, lifting weights] and still no results. :angry: I am tired of being fat and know that if I just hang in there the weight will go away eventually.

I lost 11 pounds with the last gluten reaction - but that's no way to lose weight!!! Tell me I can one day wear a size 10 again!

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NSG, what are you eating? Can you post a sample menu, including portion sizes of what you eat all day?

Maybe we can help point out things that might be keeping you from losing weight.

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Guest Robbin
:) Great thread. JP, your story sounds so much like mine. I have been struggling with all the different intolerances and thanks to a careful food journal and this forum, I have found what works for me is very little grains of any kind and lots of protein. I lost weight when I first went gluten-free, then started gaining and found that corn is a big problem for me and since cutting corn out too (hard, hard, hard!) I have started losing weight again. I also have been taking a supplement that is supposed to help your thyroid function ("Thyroid Support" ). It has really helped. Dessa, craving chocolate is a sign of magnesium deficiency. Maybe try a calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement. I also have arthritis in my spine from scoliosis, and moving in the morning is so darn hard, I try to do my excercises later in the day like ten a.m. , this works for me since morning is so painful and afternoon and evening I am just too exhausted. Maybe if we can find our "peak" energy time and try to excercise or take an earlier or later lunch hour to excercise/walk at work it would help. Tiffany, you are so on target with the advice. It is a definite can-do attitude that we all need. I am sick of thinking about how I used to look and getting depressed about the weight. This is just like any other problem that we have at work or with family. Pinpoint the problem, research the solution, supply yourself with the "tools/knowledge" you need, and work on resolving the problem and maintaining. I just need to cut out emotions and get on with it!! :D Thanks everyone!!

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I am finally having some success losing weight.

I have a fruit and yogurt shake in the morning, usually a veggie soup for lunch, and a dinner of protein (fish, chicken, occasional beef) with veggies for dinner. Then a snack of either nuts, yogurt, or fruit shake.

This is the first time I have succeeded and I am so excited because I also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and cannot exercise.

I attribute my success to the VitaMix machine we just bought. Someone on another website was talking about how great it is. It costs $500 but makes the greatest smoothies, makes and heats soup (with friction) and generally makes it fun to eat healthy. (Disclaimer- I do not have anything to do with the VitaMix company). Karen

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Sample menu -

Breakfast - 1 oz. white cheese [or poached egg] and 4 oz fruit juice

Mid-morning - diet soda

Lunch - 2 cups lettuce mix with 4 oz chicken or tuna, 1/4 cup fresh fruit, and 1 tsp. fat free dressing

Mid-afternoon - low carb protien bar [gluten-free]

Dinner - 4-6 oz. fish or chicken [boneless, skinless, and broiled], 1 cup rice, potatoes, or pasta, and 1 cup cooked vegetables.

Bedtime - rice cake and 1 Tb. peanut butter

6-8 glasses of water daily

Exercise - Walking [1/2 mile] 3x week, swimming [at least 30 minutes] 1-2x week, and weights 1-2x week

I have been on a 1200-1500 cal ADA diet for over 16 years. Tried Curves, Atkins, South Beach, etc. - nothing works. My husband has had high cholestrol problems for years - so there is not alot of sweets or fats in our house. I still think it's my thyroid - but all the blood work is normal.

Any suggestions?!?!?

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Nancy, you deserve an A+ for effort!

#1)DIET

The only suggestions I can think of for your diet are, get rid of the diet soda (aspartame increases appetite, for one thing, and for another, my best friend's father when I was growing up was one of the scientists who developed it--and he would never let his family touch it. She told me that he said he was sure it would turn out to be carcinogenic.), add either hot herbal tea (it fills you up nicely and hydrates you) plain broth (gluten-free, of course), water or really watered-down fruit juice, and can you add some crunchy raw vegetables like celery, carrots, or red peppers?

#2) THYROID

Check out this website http://thyroid.about.com/cs/thyroiddrugs/a/armour.htm, which explains how many people with low thyroid have normal bloodwork--but they are low in free T3, which the bloodwork doesn't test for. The trick is finding an endocrinologist who believes this, as most listen only to the T4-bloodwork, not to your symptoms! I think a lot of people on this board have been through this, so you also might want to do a search on this board about thyroid and T3.

#3)Can you add more exercise? Maybe work up to 2 miles a day? Swimming is great conditioning--good for you! How many lenghts of the pool can you do in 30 minutes? Cold you possibly iincrease it to 3X/week?

Good luck, welcome to the board, and keep us all posted!

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A great book to check out is the Schwarzbein Principle. Not always the easiest to understand because she talks about very complex things like how the adrenals work and the many factors such as stress and lack of sleep that can contribute to weight gain. Also, healthy fat is very important in the diet.

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Thanks! I will look into T3. Looking for a GOOD doctor anyway - my current GP still believes that the blood work for celiac disease should remain positive after years on a gluten-free diet. Like she knows what she is talking about!!!

I really need this site... getting over the emotional stuff about being overweight is a real challenge. My mother had to have gastric bybass surgery 10 years ago [she topped out at over 420] and all the females on my dad's side of the family are 250+!! So genetics are also working against me... I remember being a size 10 in high school [decades ago] and a size 16 right after Beth was born. So I know that it can be done.

Exercise - I have just reach the current level and have plans to increasing it as my tolerance increases. I have to be careful about the kind of exercise I do since the strokes and heart problems. Would love to get back to hiking, cycling, and soccor!!! Neurologist told me to dream on...

Still, I have overcome alot in the past 3 years and know that this is one battle I will win!!!

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Karen--What is a fruit and yogurt shake--do you make it yourself? Sounds interesting. I am trying to get away from my ricecakes but need breakfast and the shake sounds interesting.

Dessa, I have a gazelle too, well, had, I gave it away. I have peripheral neuropathy from my years of undiagnosed celiacs and I just can't use the gazelle. After 10 mins on it, my right foot hurts so much I would prefer cutting it off to just about anything--but, then it would be hard to walk :blink: . At first when I used the gazelle, I did very well with it--it is so easy on your joints. The neuropathy has progressed since then and now I just can't use it. I do other exercises and now I have a Ab Lounger. We will see what happens now.

I am one of the celiacs who was very heavy before going gluten free. I wore a very tight size 26 jean pre gluten free and lost 60# which put me in 16 and 18's. I have gained a little of that back and am back to working it off. It's been 5 yrs since I went gluten free this July. Deb

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Karen--What is a fruit and yogurt shake--do you make it yourself? Sounds interesting. I am trying to get away from my ricecakes but need breakfast and the shake sounds interesting.

Dessa, I have a gazelle too, well, had, I gave it away. I have peripheral neuropathy from my years of undiagnosed celiacs and I just can't use the gazelle. After 10 mins on it, my right foot hurts so much I would prefer cutting it off to just about anything--but, then it would be hard to walk :blink: . At first when I used the gazelle, I did very well with it--it is so easy on your joints. The neuropathy has progressed since then and now I just can't use it. I do other exercises and now I have a Ab Lounger. We will see what happens now.

I am one of the celiacs who was very heavy before going gluten free. I wore a very tight size 26 jean pre gluten free and lost 60# which put me in 16 and 18's. I have gained a little of that back and am back to working it off. It's been 5 yrs since I went gluten free this July. Deb

1/2 cup yogurt (either plain or low-fat vanilla)

1/2 banana

2 rings of canned pineapple

1/4 apple

small amount of mandarin oranges

8 frozen strawberries

4 ice cubes

Put all in VitaMix (you probably could use a blender) and mix it. Delicious!! You can use any fruit, but the banana is needed for texture. Karen

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