Moving On From GAPS: Why I Changed My Course

This is hard for me.

I loathe the idea of “quitting.” Anything, really.

But, as some of you already know, I made the decision several weeks ago to end my journey with the GAPS diet. After I was off to a great start, I began experiencing some difficulties with GAPS that made me reconsider whether or not this was what my body needed right now. I had already resigned to cheating on the diet, but soon after that, the slope got so slippery I was ready to be done with GAPS entirely.

What Went Wrong

As I explained before I even began GAPS, my biggest health concern was my inability to gain and maintain a healthy body weight. I was diagnosed with “failure to thrive” as a child, and remained significantly underweight as an adult.

After studying up on GAPS and all they various health problems associated with gut dysbiosis, I was convinced that the cause for my weight problems stemmed from an unhealthy gut. So, I determined GAPS to be the answer.

I was thrilled — and quite surprised — to gain four pounds on the Intro diet. I thought surely as more and more foods were introduced as I continued with the Full GAPS diet, that I would continue to put on weight. After all, my appetite was finally quite healthy for once in my life, and I was appreciating food like never before. But, that didn’t happen.

I didn’t gain any more weight in that second month. Actually, I started losing some. My appetite sunk down quite a bit, mostly because the foods I was allowed on the Full diet started becoming less and less appealing to me — particularly the carbohydrate-rich foods I needed to eat. I knew I had to make sure my carb intake didn’t dip down into levels which can become problematic, or inhibit my weight progress.

But I didn’t want piles of veggies on my plate anymore. I was tired of gorging on fruit between meals. I lost my taste for coconut flour breads and baked treats. I even started getting sick of the taste of honey.

All I really wanted was a damn donut.

Falling Off the Wagon

If you’re a follower on Facebook, you might have noticed a little debacle a while back over my posting that I had gone a good step beyond cheating on GAPS with rice and potatoes.

For shame!!

I ate an english muffin.

Made from processed, refined wheat, a store-bought english muffin is probably the least-(GAPS)-legal food I could have possibly chosen.

But, get this. I felt completely fine after I ate it.

And boy did that throw me for a loop. I began to wonder if I should just allow myself to eat what I wanted to eat. I started thinking that maybe a restrictive diet wasn’t going to be best for a super skinny girl just trying to pack on a few pounds.

“But, don’t I need GAPS?” I thought. “Won’t it ruin my gut health to go another route so far from the diet?”

The reality that I wasn’t gaining any weight started sinking in, and clearing up my judgement.

“Enough with the gut health dogma,” I started to decide. “I have to gain some weight. And it’s not happening with this.” 

My wedding is coming up this summer. I felt the clock ticking, and started leaning toward scrapping the whole thing.

I tried explaining myself to my readers in the Facebook post in which I made my confession:

“The muffin thing wasn’t planned. Quitting GAPS wasn’t the plan, either. To be totally honest you guys, the reason why I’m ready to try another approach so quickly is because I’m on a time crunch. I’m getting married in 2 1/2 months. I’m very self conscious about my body and being underweight and the thought of wearing my wedding dress and seeing all the pictures of me being ridiculously skinny just makes me want to cry. I would definitely stick it out if I thought I would be able to gain some more weight within the next couple months, but I really doubt it at this point. My primary goal is the weight. So, I’m going to do what it takes to meet that goal, and then reevaluate things after that.”

I didn’t want to cry and I didn’t want to have to struggle with my weight any longer. And soon, I discovered another problem that might be the culprit, and it wasn’t something I was going to be able to address easily with GAPS.

A Different Approach

I’m very grateful for GAPS because of what it taught me and the ways that it did seem to help me even for the short time I tried it. I’m proud of myself for actually buckling down and doing Intro for a full 30 days. I’m glad I at least gave it a shot to see if this diet which is so miraculous for so many people could be what I needed.

I don’t know whether or not I truly did have the gut damage I feared, but I suspect I did not, at least to the degree I had imagined. Most people who go on elimination diets like Intro can’t go scarfing down glutenous breads all of a sudden with no issues whatsoever, if they have a legitimate intolerance to such foods.

I learned that something else was more than likely to blame.

My metabolism.

Never had I even considered that I might actually have a problem with this, since all my life (just like every other skinny person, ever) I had heard how “fast” my metabolism must be. Why else would I be able to eat cookies and ice cream and be stick-thin? And a “fast” metabolism is what everyone wants, right?

Yeah, but, I didn’t have it. 

Actually, most people who are significantly underweight have very slow metabolic activity. I had no idea until I started reading about that crazy Matt Stone and his books about the subject.

So how did I figure out this was my problem? Well, a great way to determine how fast or how well-functioning your metabolism is, is just to take your temperature. A low body temperature indicates a slow metabolism, which leads to a whole bunch of other health problems.

I had already been taking my temperature on a regular basis because I chart my menstrual cycles. I clicked over to see just what I had been mindlessly plugging into the app on my phone first thing in the morning after I hear the beep of my digital thermometer —  and I was shocked.

A normal temperature is, as you probably have heard, around 98.6 degrees. I learned in Matt’s book that a normal basal body temperature, first thing in the morning before any activity, should be 97.8 – 98.2 under your arm (which runs half a degree lower than oral temps), though it will vary for a woman based on whether or not she’s ovulated yet for the month.

Many of my temps were in the 96’s, and low 97’s, and that’s taken orally. I thought that was okay because a basal temp is supposed to be lower — but that is too low. And as I learned from Matt, pretty typical of those struggling with being underweight. And overweight. And just about any other form of ill health.

Skinny Mini Recovery

So it was decided. This needed to be my priority. Raising my body temperatures and fixing my metabolism would mean I needed to drastically change what I eat. My diet needed to be based on that which GAPS tends to reduce — carbohydrates. GAPS isn’t intended to be a low-carb diet, but it is difficult to get enough carbs when so many of the most carb-dense foods are excluded from it, like grains and potatoes. And it’s just about impossible to get enough carbs to rehabilitate your metabolism with a program like RRARF (Matt Stone‘s metabolism rehabilitation program) if you’re limited to GAPS-legal fare.

Ironically, my next step was reading a book about weight loss — Diet Recovery. But like I started to explain in my last post, it’s all about the metabolism. Virtually every function of your body is affected and/or governed by your metabolic rate. And if yours sucks like mine did? You’re not doomed with that for life. Fixing your metabolism really isn’t all that difficult.

I’m happy to report that since making this switch from GAPS to a metabolism-restoring diet, not only are my body temperatures up to a healthy range, my body is finally shaping up to be just what I’ve always dreamed of — shapely! I’ve rather easily put about ten pounds of meat onto my bones, and I could not be more thrilled. I’ll be explaining more about all that, and how you can do the same if you’re underweight like I was, in my next post.

Have you ever given up on a diet or health program?

What were your reasons? Why did you change to your current diet choices? And how has your health changed as a result?

[photo credit: 12]

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55 Responses to Moving On From GAPS: Why I Changed My Course
  1. Rachel says:

    Is the basal temperature supposed to be between 97.8-98.2 before ovulation or after?

    For example, if you basal temp IS between those temps after ovulation, but not before, does that mean you have a healthy metabolism?

    Or are those temps based on the temps before ovulation?

    Thanks and congrats! My husband is underweight and always working on it, I am definitely going to have him start checking his basal temp along with me first thing in the morning!!!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Hey Rachel,

      Great question. Someone more familiar with 180D/metabolic restoration is welcome to correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that’s the range you want to look for while you’re still in the follicular/pre-ovulation phase. I think a woman’s temps are expected to be higher than that “normal” range once she’s in her luteal phase. Temperatures as high as in the 99’s (basal) are what some of Matt’s clients report — actually, that earns you a spot into his coveted “Hot Chicks Club.” LOL.

      Let me know what you find out about your hubs’ temps! My next post is going to be all about gaining weight… maybe it will be helpful to him!

  2. Renee says:

    Great post :) My temps have gone in the low 97’s to mid 98’s :) I feel SO much better…not super excited about the extra 6-7 pounds but I feel like everything is SO much more balanced. I went from doubled over pain labor like cramps during my periods to the last 2 periods I’ve had I’ve had barely any pain, my digestion/elimination is SO much better, and my feet and hands are nice and warm :) Excited to see your wedding pics!!!!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Yeahh Renee!!! I think a few extra pounds in exchange for radically improving your health is worth it!! But, you’ll probably see that drop off… as they all say on Matt’s blog, you want to “hurry up and gain the weight so you can lose it!”

      Will be sure to post some wedding pics soon! ;) Holy crap, like really soon. Less than 4 weeks! :-O

  3. KateP says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing your experiences and being open. I know it must be difficult at times to be exposed in this type of forum, there can be many people who are harsh. But thanks for being honest! It will be a blessing to others!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Thank you, Kate! Yeah, it can be a little scary to put yourself out there publicly… but there are just so many nice, supportive followers here like you that I always feel like at least some people will have my back no matter what. Thanks for that!!

  4. Andrea says:

    I did GAPS for 6 months with my two daughters. While it really helped them recover from food allergies/eczema, I think it did me more harm than good from the lack of carbs and the stress it brought to my life. I gained weight I didn’t need, even on the intro and my metabolism got even lower. Like you, eating non GAPS foods never hurt me at all. I’m not sure if RRARFing is what I need, but I’m definitely keeping it in mind. Listen to your body – everyone is different.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Yes, stressing out over food and restricting it as a result is a great way to wreck your metabolism! How frustrating, Andrea. :( If you’re not feeling up for the full intensity of RRARF, maybe you could at least try to up your carb intake. Should help you to feel better!

  5. Hey this was a really interesting post. Thanks Emily. For ages I’ve been thinking GAPS is the miracle diet I need to go on to lose weight, clear up allergies and increase energy, but I’d be interested to hear about how your metabolic diet works.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Thanks, Emma! I can absolutely relate to being a GAPS worshipper. Now, I just am not convinced it’s the only right way to heal from so many of the conditions it’s reported to address. Since we have different health concerns, you might want to check out Matt’s blog too, cause there are a lot of people that comment there who have used his program for all of those things and found it to be exactly what they needed. Very interesting stuff!

  6. Emily… such a timely post. I was just on the phone with my mom lamenting about my frustrations with GAPS.

    A year ago I went Primal and didn’t look back. I was amazed at how I stopped craving the foods that were bad for me… I could make cookies for people and not even taste the dough.

    I was also pregnant at the time, and it cured my blood sugar problems as well as allowing for only a 16lb weight gain (I am quite obese). I was convinced that the weight would start dropping off once I had the baby, but that didn’t happen.

    I lowered my carbs, no result. I raised my carbs, no result. I did so much modifying with my diet and I just could not figure out why I was not losing any fat.

    So I figured that since I’ve had IBS since I was a kid (got an intestinal parasite at age 14) I might need to heal my gut, so on to GAPS I move.

    I am having THE MOST difficult time sticking with it. Granted, it’s not easy when I have a non-gaps family to feed, but I have three young kids to care for and I am so exhausted. After three weeks on GAPS I can’t tell if it’s because I’m having die-off or if I just am not getting enough carbs. I used to get up early in the morning and work for a few hours before the kids get up, now I’m waking up when they do at 8 and feeling groggy all day.

    I really dislike vegetables, and I am not only being VERY tempted by non-gaps foods but I’m caving in to the temptation. I really feel like I need to heal my gut but I don’t know if I can deal with this. It makes me wonder if I’m having these cravings because my body is missing something, but the only thing I can think of is starches (I was eating tapioca flour baked goods & sweet potatoes before).

    But back to… I want to heal my gut. Dr. Natasha says to not eat starches, but doesn’t really give a reason why.

    And I ate some potatoes (homemade hashbrowns cooked in butter) tonight and I feel just fine… not running to the toilet.

    Forgive me this rant… I didn’t meant to use your blog as my venting space! But your post spoke to me… even though you have the “opposite” problem as me in terms of weight, I think it all drills down to the same thing. But – I still have my IBS. That’s really my problems – IBS and I’m overweight. I’m losing weight on GAPS, but I’m not really very excited.

    But again, it’s only been three weeks (on full gaps, not intro)… and I haven’t even been able to do a full week without cheating. It’s kind of annoying. But I cannot figure out why I couldn’t lose weight on the Primal Blueprint, since I loved eating that way otherwise (and had next to zero temptation to cheat).

    I’m sorta kinda intrigued by this Matt Stone thing, but I can’t reconcile in my head what he says to do vs. what most people in this country already do who are quite obese. I know some morbidly obese people who do just what he says to do in order to heal the metabolism, and I haven’t seen anything that addresses that contradiction.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Hi Bethany!

      What a great comment. Feel free to rant/vent here whenever you want! You are not alone in this struggle and I’m sure it’s really helpful to others to see that you’re going through what they are, too.

      I’m so sorry you’re having such a hard time with GAPS, and it sounds like you’re kinda beating yourself up over it, or at the very least it’s causing you a lot of stress, which isn’t good! :( Hopefully it’s at least leading you to the conclusion that it might not be the best path for you to take…

      I feel like a broken record, but, gosh. Matt has answers to all this stuff here. People heal from digestive issues like IBS with his program — he wrote a book called 180 Degree Digestion that addresses that. TONS and tons of Primal Blueprint/paleo failures come to him and finally get what they’re looking for with his advice — he wrote another book called 12 Paleo Myths: Eat Better Than a Caveman, that addresses why this is.

      And, I totally get that on the surface it looks like his program is nothing but the SAD (standard American diet which so many people are obese from as a result), but it really is not. For one thing, one of the most important aspects to Matt’s stuff is that you absolutely need to avoid PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) or excess Omega-6 oils. These are rampant in the SAD and highly correlated with metabolic decline, leading to obesity.

      The other big thing that I did not really address in my last post is that the eating like crazy (overfeeding), even the junky simple carb stuff like white flour and sugar, and not exercising (rehabilitative rest) is all temporary. You do it to bring back up those temps, and heal the metabolism. The next steps after that DO involve good amounts of exercise (high-intensity interval type) and simply eating to appetite (without overdoing it) on a nutrient-dense diet. However, the principles of keeping stress out of the equation when it comes to food choices still apply.

      Anyway. I hope you’ll look into it more, or at least follow along as I continue to explore this stuff. Everyone I know who has tried it has been having success. Keep me posted on what you decide to do regarding GAPS and everything!

      • Thank you so much for your encouragement :) Today I found out there’s a test I can take for leaky gut which is what I’m pretty sure my problem is – so I looked and I found a holistic doc and I even think my insurance covers it.

        I’ve been NOT wanting to go to a doctor for this because I’ve gotten the brushoff from docs in the past about my IBS, but I’m hoping a naturopathic doctor might actually help me address it and not brush me off or write me a prescription.

        Last night I gave up on trying to do starch-free and made some gluten-free (with rice, tapioca & bean flour) biscuits for dinner and I had two of them – felt great.

        However, like I thought she would, my baby pooped again today. It’s so weird – if I don’t eat the grains, she is able to 100% digest my milk. Isn’t that bizarre? I’m going to test it out next week with non-grain starch, I’ll make potato pancakes or something and we’ll see if just starches have the same effect.

        So, I still don’t know where I’m going to go with it. Does Matt have any free info where I can read a basic overview? I don’t have cash for another book right now :(

        • Heather says:

          I gave up dairy, even grassfed, raw dairy, and that’s how I can lose weight. It causes way too much inflammation in my body. So I went Paleo, not Primal. And yeah, I eat potatoes and sweet potatoes for some carbs. I’ve lost 22 lbs this way, and my IBS is much improved.

  7. Chris says:

    dulcimer
    pa system

    I believe everyone has different needs, even if we don’t know what those needs are either right away or as time changes them.
    I say as time changes them because that is what is always happening to me.

    All my life I’ve had GI problems, sometimes going to emergency in the middle of the night for what I now know felt like contractions.
    I’ve also been someone with yo-yo weight problems. It’s no coincidence I am an apple shape like my mom and adopted her unhealthy relationship to food, diets, eliminations, going all out or doing absolutely nothing – most of my life. Upon moving to Europe (Austria, where I am now), a new problem developed, chronic constipation.

    Pre-constipation problems I began running marathons and had absolutely no problems in all regards. I ate normally (what I mean by this is no special diets/eliminations, etc…) splurging on this and that whenever.
    Later into my 30s when I stopped running and started touring (i.e road food – I’m a singer/songwriter), my weight went up again.
    When the road brought me here to Europe, where I eventually married & settled, my weight naturally fell off just by adopting the walking everywhere and eating no-processed food lifestyle. Then when we entertained out of town guests and I suddenly got on heavy breads and beer and after they left, my on and off constipation problems began.

    Which brings me to that, every time I have felt great, functioned at nearly 100% and lost/maintained my weight at a healthy (also feel great) level, it’s because I limit (as in once in awhile) or eliminate gluten/grains, nightshades etc… altogether.
    For awhile I was able to eat them while making and eating my own milk kefir, then I went off the kefir and felt I couldn’t tolerate them again. Constipation & bloating returned, weight gain…

    About 1.5 years ago I went gluten-free and that seemed to help, but I was also working out again.
    Then back to the gluten as I said, w/ kefir (started making my own sourdough starter then bread with it, etc…) and I was ok.
    Stopped the kefir, but continued on the gluten/grains, etc…and gained and felt sick again.

    Couldn’t figure out if it was (is) gluten only, grains, carbs altogether….
    Then I started eliminating things one by one and seeing.
    For me, I realized, it is in fact grains/gluten and when I eat them, it’s an immediate reaction; bloating, hot flashes, groggy, irritated and weight gain + constipation to follow. Dull, dry complexion, stringy hair…

    The only thing I can be sure of, is when I stay off gluten/grains/nightshades, etc… I have no constipation, my weight falls off and normalizes and I feel well again. Really well.
    This includes eating a raw food diet and paleo one.
    Also, if I eat too much dairy, I notice the changes are slower, but it doesn’t mean I eliminate them. I realize I feel ok on small amounts of dairy (even if slows my weight loss progress), so I have it here and there.

    Do I consider myself a vegetarian, vegan, rawfoodist, strictly paleo, primal, etc…? No, I don’t because I don’t believe I can name what it is I am doing for myself and my body. It’s constantly changing. It also doesn’t mean I NEVER have gluten/grains, sugar, etc… again. I do. Just on a limited basis once I normalize. It means sometimes I am eating more of a raw food diet, sometimes paleo. Other times I would be considered a vegetarian or vegan. If it’s my birthday and someone bakes me a cake, I eat.
    See where I am going with this?

    The thing I do know is when I base my diet on gluten/grains/nightshades, etc.. I am not well.
    If I have them once and awhile after normalizing my diet, I am fine.

    It’s a slippery slope, but I’ve finally learned what works for my body.
    What you did was what everyone should do, experiment and see what really works – for you.

    I am also involved in the holistic/natural-living world and I admit I get tired of the preachers telling us what works and doesn’t. I’m talking about the ones who insist it’s their way or no way. Hardcore rawfoodists, vegans, etc…
    It’s great if it works for them, but not everyone can and should eat one particular way.

    Raw food diet, GAPS, paleo, primal, gluten-free, grain-free…. *insert diet here* …..
    whatever works and sometimes that may mean a lot of experiments, elimination diets, etc…

    Don’t let anyone tell you how you should or shouldn’t eat. Let your body be your guide.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      I really appreciate your insight! Such great points. I think flexibility is key in any lifestyle adaptation — especially when it comes to food. People seem to get into trouble when they think that just because something worked for them initially, that it is 100% the way to go and should not be deviated from whatsoever. I like the way that you allowed yourself to experiment beyond what seemed to be a temporarily working, and figure out what suits you best. All with the attitude that things change, and your needs might require something different later on. Very cool.

  8. Chris says:

    Haha! Sorry! I wrote this post below a list I started of music stuff I need to get (dulcimer, pa system)… oops!
    It wouldn’t let me edit my post.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Haha!! Too funny! I wondered why that might have been there, but when I read that you’re a musician, it kinda made sense. :D

  9. angie h says:

    I’ve been reading Matt Stone’s blog and I think this may be the answer for me…when I temp I get 96’s and 97’s mostly but I need to started temping consistently. I’m about 5′ 9″ and up to 210 at this moment…I’ve been 190 to 200 for awhile. I have struggled with always being tired for so long. My thyroid numbers are borderline, so I never was medicated for them.

    The thing I don’t get about Matt Stone, I don’t know if I just haven’t been reading enough but it seems he just says to eat whatever you want and as much as you want. I feel like I already do that and I am getting heavier by the month. Can someone explain the jist of this aspect of the plan? And do you know of anyone who successfully lost weight doing this? How long would you say it takes to get temp results? and if anyone has done this, how long until you see weight loss? TIA!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Hi, Angie. I would definitely encourage you to check out Matt’s program some more. You do sound like you fit the bill for what it addresses!

      I definitely see how it seems like all he is saying is eat whatever you want and as much as you want. See my (long winded) reply to Bethany above for a bit of an explanation. There are lots and lots of people who have had success with this. If you “like” Matt’s Facebook page, you’ll find plenty of them who I think would be happy to tell you how it went for them. Best of luck and keep me posted!

  10. Linnae says:

    GAPS isn’t for everyone and its also not meant to be long term. I am sure the time you were on it you experienced some benefit and then your body told you it was time to move on. It was great that you listened and are doing well.
    I have been on the full GAPS diet for over a year and I am feeling great and healing. My son has been on the full GAPS diet for about 6 months now and his autism symptoms are GONE!
    I notice that I have many more years of damage to undo so I will most likely be on the GAPS diet longer than him. I am finding that he needs more carbs too, he is a growing 14 yr old boy with an amazing metabolism!
    That being said, I feel like because we have had so many positive results from the GAPS diet, I feel like the principles we learned will continue for many years.
    Best of luck to you and I am so excited that you are finding what works for you!!

  11. Gina A. says:

    Matt’s program is not *about* weight loss. It’s about restoring *health*. The two are not really all that related.

    • ButterBeliever says:

      You’re absolutely right, Gina. I don’t mean to perpetuate that idea. But most people that look to Diet Recovery to heal are, well, failures from various diets that they tried in an effort to lose weight. Still, it’s an important distinction that should be addressed. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. aimee says:

    Thanks for your honest insight. As a fellow skinny-mini, I also struggle with the whole “healthy” eating paradigm. Unlike you, I have a lot of tummy troubles, but to be honest I have been eating “healthy” for quite some time. Avoiding grains, sugar, eating lots of meat and veggies. Recently, I got really sick to my tummy and all I could stomach was sourdough bread, crackers, and pancakes : |. I felt so guilty for eating these forbidden foods. The funny thing is I began to get better. Im not sure what is going on, but as long as I eat a good amount of bread, meats, even sweets, I feel fine. As soon as I limit my “bad” carbs or eat too many veggies or meat, I feel yucky again. So weird.

  13. I’m so glad to hear you are gaining weight! wonderful!!! Hope you continue to do well. I could stand to lose about 5 so you are welcome to them!!!!

  14. Sara says:

    Matt’s RRARF program is not about eating whatever you want whenever you want. It’s about eating nutrient-dense foods in abundance to cure your body from thinking it’s constantly deprived! He clearly points to omega 6/ omega 3 imbalance as a key to understanding the disastrous results of how the Western world eats. Hence eating SAD in unrestricted amounts, definitely leads to obesity.

    I’m a thin person but for over 20 years I’ve tried to “eat healthy.” For most of that time, that meant accepting the low fat dictate. For the last couple years I went paleo — with almost no sugars, grains or starches. At first, I dropped 10 pounds that I didn’t need to lose — blaming it on my gut health. When I finally started gaining the weight back I thought that meant my digestion had improved. But I noticed had gotten sort of lumpy, and that my skin looked droopy — and I had zero energy. Blaming all of that on age, I kept on in my carb-restricted ways vowing to step up the exercise and get more sleep.

    Then came Matt Stone. (Bless you, BB for introducing us.) My basal temps were low. No surprise — my thyroid has been low functioning… uh… since I started the low fat thing! I had never struggled with my weight, so it took me a while to understand that I was very much in need of diet recovery from trying to “eat right!” I’d already brought in healthy fats during the paleo phase, but bringing back healthy carbs has been an absolute Godsend and exactly what my body needed.

    It’s only been a few weeks, but temps are up, energy is coming back, and I cannot believe the changes in my skin! The “macronutrient wars” are behind me forever — Matt, I promise you, I WILL EAT THE FOOD!

  15. Susan W says:

    I understand where you are coming from. You want to look good for your wedding photos. For a lot a people it is the other way around. They don’t want to look too pudgy for the wedding photos.

    Over the last 30 years I had to deal with a an ex-husband, father and sister where I wasn’t skinny ENOUGH! No wonder I moved to the west coast! Never could satisfy them. I can remember all the diets I was on: the diet sodas, skim fast shakes (all the while, not knowing THEN the HORRIBLE ingredients in them that I know of now, wondering if I caused irreparable harm to my body, just to satisfy a few people’s desire to be THEIR optimum weight for me not so much for my health’s sake, but their desire to see me skinny, as my ex-husband would quote, “You can’t be too skinny or too rich.’

    I believe you will find your balance in your quest for healthy eating. Albeit it took over 30 years to find that balance. Yes, I still get cravings for unhealthy foods and it’s not a unforgivable sin if you indulge and succumb to it once in a while. So, don’t beat up on yourself. Enjoy life!

  16. Thanks for sharing sharing, Emily. Great post and I look forward to hearing about your progress on Matt’s program. Like you, I was trying GAPS and was getting too thin.
    I panicked the other night while looking at my skeletal body and had 4 pieces of pizza and a hot dog for dinner (: …and like you, I really don’t have the extreme allergy symptoms of a gut issue so I was fine.
    I think everyone is so different that no diet is a one size fits all “best.”
    Keep us posted and I’m going to go check the library to see if they have Matt’s book yet (:
    All the best and here’s to having a little booty back!
    -Katie

  17. Deborah says:

    There is no “one” diet for everyone. We all have different problems, different weaknesses, different strengths. As we learn our bodies (where is that darn instruction manual), we learn what makes us run vs crawl.

    For me, GAPS has been a life saver. Will it always be that way or will I need to adjust things as I go on? I don’t know. I’ll have to see. I have never, and I do mean NEVER, had a normal body temp. I’ve never had warm hands or feet. Ever in my life. Even now on medications for Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism, I still have low body temp and cold hands and feet.

    I’ll stick with GAPS for now. Maybe later on, I’ll investigate your new deal.

    The main thing is do what works for you.

  18. Amy says:

    Hey, this is like an echo of Tracy’s blog over at “The Love Vitamin.” I was starting to feel guilty over not putting my hay-feverish children on GAPS when I started noticing how many people are going from GAPS to a diet designed to up their metabolism. I just couldn’t bear trying to restrict more foods since we face a lot of opposition for just eating “clean.” I’m keeping tabs on all of you bloggers to see how it works for ya ;-). Good luck!

  19. Jackie says:

    I am not sure what to think. I was on Intro Gaps for 4 weeks and got REALLY sick because I pretty much went NO carb (I have young kids, I was stressed over the diet and the “die off” I was having what stressing me out) Out of necessity I went to eating every 2 hours and quit Gaps. My adrenal fatigue doc said to stay low carb but I was not regaining strength… so I called Matt Stone… I have SO much more energy and symptoms are disappearing! BUT the digestive issues are coming back!!! AGGGG!!!! I have only been doing Matt’s program since Friday… I am in so much pain but I am wondering if its something I need to push through? any thoughts? I have GERD really bad but nothing else. Oh and FYI – as much as I hated gaps I KNOW that it helped me be able to have RAW milk and other foods with no reaction! BB- I was like you most of the time… before this last pregnancy I was 5ft 9in and 115 lbs… my body was starving.

  20. Randa says:

    Such an interesting conversation. I’d like to add my two or three cents:
    1. First, I’m really glad you are finding something that is working for you, and is giving you the confidence (rather than stress) to go into your wedding day. I pray that you have a wonderful wedding, full of sweet memories rather than any regrets.
    2. Selfishly, I’m glad that you started with GAPS because your “gearing up for GAPS” post was so helpful to me! :) My husband and I started GAPS on April 28th of this year, and we are through intro and in the “full” part of the protocol. It was hard at times, but I have to say that it’s helped me so much with my issues — cleared up my digestive issues and almost cleared my itchy skin issues (I only have a couple of itchy episodes a day now, as opposed to innumerable itchy episodes that would drive me crazy before, spreading out over probably 80% of my waking days and even into my sleeping time). Husband has noticed some improvement too, so we are thankful for the diet. Will it be what we need forever, or even for much longer? Maybe not, which brings me to point #3…
    3. I think it’s so important, GAPSters and non-GAPSters alike, to really listen to our bodies (as even Dr. Natasha has written-
    http://www.doctor-natasha.com/one-mans-meat-another-mans-poison.php). Maybe we tend to gravitate toward “rules,” but sometimes those just don’t work. It’s definitely an organic, growing, changing thing, and we shouldn’t forget that. Not to say that some basic rules aren’t good (like don’t eat hydrogenated oils, for example), but in other areas it’s more case-by-case.

    • Crystal M. says:

      Itchy skin – can you tell me more? I’ve been in mysery for about 4 years now with itchy skin ALL over my body. The only visible signs are on my scalp (inflamed, flakey, etc.) but no visible signs on the rest of my body. I know it’s nothing external by now. I did GAPS intro for 2 weeks and think I was probably on my way to healing but felt so weak/lethargic b/c it just wasn’t enough food (you can only eat so much soup!). I’m thinking of maybe trying a modified version – broth/soup for breakfast and lunch and a “clean” (paleo-ish) dinner. I just can’t take the itching any more and I’ve tried EVERYthing. I would love to know more detail on your healing journey!

  21. LOL I had a donut moment too! http://rojerthat.com/2012/06/08/megan-eats-donut-lives-to-tell-the-tale/

    Thanks for keeping it real and encouraging the rest of us.

  22. Emily, it takes a lot of guts (no pun intended) to be so transparent about your struggle on GAPS and road to discovering what is helping you to gain control of your health. Everyone is a unique individual and there isn’t a one-size fits all diet as much as the people writing all these books would like us to think. It comes down to discovering what your unique health issues are and how best to resolve them with a healthy diet (which can take on many different forms based on the individual) and exercise and a lifestyle of reducing stress – which causes more health issues than probably anyone really realizes! I had to come to terms with my own misconceptions that being a vegetarian for me personally was healthy – it wasn’t and when I started eating cultured dairy products and grassed/pastured meats and poultry. I experienced a dramatic change in my health. So I understand how sometimes it takes a lot of researching and trying out new ways of eating healthy before we discover what works best for our own unique health issues. I applaud you for being so honest and bold. And I wish you the best with your upcoming wedding and continued journey toward good health! Just remember, the true key to health is fully trusting in the Lord and putting your life in His loving care. Blessings, sweet friend! :) kel

    • P.S. True Confessions of a Real Foodie (LOL!) I tried a Krispy Kreme donut a couple of months back in a moment of weakness. I ate about three bites and couldn’t eat another – it so sickened me as I realized I am just not used to sugary foods anymore. It was an awesome experience because it’s made me completely ambivalent to further temptation to eat junk like that. So it’s not always a bad thing to test the waters. It often makes us realize just how far we’ve come and just how much our bodies have adjusted to, need and crave real food. :)

  23. Lisa says:

    I’m really happy that you have found what your body needs. We are approaching our 1-year anniversary of GAPS and thinking about whether we are ready to transition off. We’ve seen a lot of wonderful benefits from it and I’m so glad we did it. But it’s not the answer for everyone.

    One thing that bothers me about Matt Stone is his ignorant attacks on the GAPS diet. He states that he read the book but in his highly critical blog post he has a lot of misinformation and even states that he’d rather shoot himself than have an autistic child who benefits from GAPS. I’m sure he’s writing for effect, but he’s putting off a lot of people. GAPS is not the answer for every problem by any means but it is helping a lot of people.

    His book is free online, I’m hoping to read it soon. Even though his online personality is sometimes offensive, I do want to read his info.

    • Randa says:

      Lisa, that’s interesting, I had the same reaction to Matt Stone. Don’t personally like his style (and I do think he was a bit off-base in his critique of GAPS), but if he has good information otherwise, then I’m willing to look into it. In my view, he would have farther reach if he were less offensive… but that’s just my view (probably based on my Mom stressing to me as I grew up, “you can say whatever you want, it just depends on HOW you say it.”)

      Anyhoo, I also really like Kelly (of The Nourishing Home)’s comments above. Very well put.

  24. Rose says:

    can I just say thank you for this post. we’re on GAPS and lost weight during the first few weeks of intro, then gained weight to a healthy spot. But then we started making mistakes and even though we’ve corrected those mistakes weight loss have crept in. I don’ tknow if we have the metabolism problem, but I will look into it. Thank you. Also, we’ve been pretty strict on GAPS for almost 6 months now, yet still having a few problems and are not seeing the full benefits we did during Intro. I wonder if we are having more of a candida problem than anything. Intro is no sugars/sweets of ANY kind and this is why I’m considering this. Definitely GAPS is not the end all for all people. I’m glad you’ve found what you are looking for and congrads on the wedding. So few people marry anymore – they don’t understand nor care about the covenant needed in a relationship.

  25. Lhizzie says:

    I guess this can be a reason for all of us especially to those people who can relate to this situation.. Anyway, good luck for everything..

  26. Phil says:

    I have a similar problem – since going on GAPS I have lost a LOT of weight, and am now close to being underweight. I have lost my appetite and struggle to eat enough of GAPS friendly foods. I was already slim prior to GAPS so I think it pushed me over the edge a bit. I also styruggle with the stress of it all – constantly cooking and thinking about what recipes to make and so on.
    However, the diet also had beneficial effects for me in many way, as I suffer from depression and so on.

    I’m hoping to transition to a less strict diet now which includes potatoes and safe starches.

  27. jennifer T says:

    What about people that are overweight. I need to buy a thermometer (which one do you recommend?) and go from there. I am purchasing the book today! Id love to see more posts! Congrats on the marriage!!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Thank you Jennifer!! Oh that is wonderful that you’re looking into the metabolism stuff more. Matt’s book is fantastic. I will definitely be back to writing more about all this soon! And yes, people that are overweight also tend to have low body temperatures, sluggish thyroid function, and slow metabolism. Getting that thermometer is a great first step! Keep me posted on how it all goes for you.

  28. Brandis says:

    I actually became quite interested in this topic as well after hearing Matt Stone’s presentation on the Real Food Summit this past weekend. I have always had an idea that I might have slow metabolism because I have always gained weight easily and had a hard time loosing. Since I’ve been following a traditional foods diet my weight has normalized, but I’m still carrying fat in unhealthy places (around the middle…). And when he started talking about body temperature and the other signs of low metabolism (cold feet, tingling, etc) I was like “OMG, that’s it!” My body temp has ran low as long as I can remember, usually around 97 (even thought I’ve never tracked basal body temp…), and in the past few years I’ve had chronically cold feet and have had issues with tingling in my toes when I lay down. I’m definitely going to be looking into this…

  29. […] wasn’t what I really needed, and definitely wasn’t helping me meet my weight goals. I changed course, and was finally successful in gaining the weight I needed to feel comfortable and no longer […]

  30. J. says:

    This post blows my mind because it is exactly what I seem to be going through (however, I have not done GAPS or eliminations)…but…
    Everything you wrote really resonates with me. I can’t purchase that book online. I’m not sure what my issue is..but I sure as heck would love to know a MEAL PLAN each day…suggestions?
    I mean I want to gain and NOT obsess. But I also don’t want to keep gaining and gaining. I don’t know what to eat anymore.
    Oh my. If you can email me, much appreciated. I won’t steal much of your time.

  31. […] earlier this year, I had done a little self-experimenting. I had tried and failed at the GAPS diet, which led me to try this really crazy-sounding plan from that Matt Stone guy I discovered, […]

  32. Is the Hypothyroidism book by Dr. Mark Starr worth a read? I have many of the same symptoms you have and was wondering if his book was worth buying. Is he open to traditional foods and not-so-modern medicine or does he follow right along with all the propaganda published by the FDA and AHA? Thanks for the article!

    –Kristin | Living the Rustic Life

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Oh I wish I could tell you from experience, but I haven’t read it yet! It’s sitting on my bookshelf, next in line on my reading list. I have heard very good things about Dr. Starr. I’ll report back with a review of the book sometime soon hopefully!

  33. Rhianna says:

    I am finally filling out after being on the GAPS diet for 5 1/2 months. During the past few years I observed slow and steady weight loss that did not make sense since I ate so much and was so hungry (yet miserably bloated in the belly), including gluten free grains and starches. I am now also gaining shapely muscle. I am grateful for being less bloated and uncomfortable in my abdomen. My appetite has stabilized and I am now able to go without a meal every now and then, because I feel satisfied and have stable blood sugar.

    I need to stay on GAPS for many months longer because I still notice intolerance to various GAPS legal foods, like egg whites, butter, and peanuts, although not as severely as before GAPS. So happy I may now eat raw milk hard cheeses again!!! I still have intermittent fatigue (although this has improved immensely once I gave up the grains) and die-off symptoms. And acne on my chin and jawline, which continues unabated. But at least the steady decline in weight seems to be resolving.

    My body temperature is steady and normal. I am going to give the GAPS diet the long time that it deserves, until my body indicates otherwise.

  34. […] Elizabeth presents in the book. Specifically, I stopped being so obsessive over what I ate. I ended a restrictive diet. I made sure I was getting key nutrients that were missing in my diet before. I prioritized sleep. […]

  35. Brandi says:

    I started the GAPS diet 3 weeks ago and lost 8lbs in the first week! After that I’ve been stuck at the same weight. I’ve struggled with weight loss for a ling time. I feel like I’m eating about as healthy as I ever have and and don’t understand why the weight isn’t coming off. I’m reluctant to end GAPS right now because I have RA and Fibromyalgia and I feel like it’s helped with the Fibro pain. I just worry about my metabolism because I’m eating so well and not gaining or losing weight.

  36. Paula says:

    I wonder if Dr. Natasha (aka GAPS) might agree with you on your decision to move on! It might be insightful to read her own article on nutrition: http://www.doctor-natasha.com/one-mans-meat-another-mans-poison.php

    • ButterBeliever says:

      I would hope so. This is not a diet to be taken lightly, nor is it one to try harder with if all doesn’t go as planned. I see many people making the mistake of “GAPS-ing harder” when things start going south, and write off the symptoms as “die-off” when they have no basis to make that claim.

  37. Chloe says:

    I was wondering if you noticed a lot more improvements on Matt Stone’s diet than the GAPS diet. My daughter has been of the GAPS diet for over 3 years now and although we noticed big improvements the first year she now has many food sensitivities. Her Temps are quite low too. Dr McBride mentions starchy foods puts more stress on the digestive system. How did you go introducing starchy foods back in your diet. Did you introduce foods back very slowly? I would love to get my daughter off the GAPS diet, but I would hate to see her digestive issues get worse.

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