How the GAPS Diet might affect your Weight

by brenda on October 19, 2011

This is me before we started the GAPS Diet:

We had eaten gluten free for 1 year at this point (gluten free made me gain weight. My body does not like rice flour and potato starch!).

This is me after we were on GAPS a little over a year:

(ignore the squinty expression on my son’s face! :)).

Isn’t this a huge difference? I FEEL like a different person. But, I guess, that is probably for another post!

Here’s the deal: do you see my son’s size in the first picture and in the second picture? This is a kid who struggled to gain weight, all of his life. He gained 1 lb 1 year and the very next year lost a pound–so after 2 years, he hadn’t gone up in weight *at all.*….When we went gluten free, we saw some healing in him. A little bit of weight gain–but not enough. When we “went GAPS”—wow. We have a new kid!

Dr. Campbell McBride says that if you need to lose weight, you’ll lose it on GAPS. If you need to gain weight, you’ll gain it on GAPS. We’ve found that to be true in our family. I’ve heard of some people being afraid of starting GAPS because they didn’t want to lose any weight. Don’t worry. If you don’t need to, you won’t. At the very beginning you may lose a tiny bit–but as you eat proper food, your muscles are going to gain some bulk and your bones are going to get stronger–and you will gain weight, if you need to.

My advice? Unless you want to know exactly how much weight you lost for some reason, don’t check the scale. It doesn’t matter. How do you look? How do you feel? That is what is most important.

How does GAPS manage your weight so effectively?

  • No more blood sugar roller coaster rides!
  • Your cravings are *real,* not tricked into thinking that you need sweet things from an overpopulation of yeast and bad bacteria. You know what your body actually needs, and that’s what you desire to put in your mouth.
  • You can go longer between meals because you’re not famished at 10 am after eating a starchy breakfast at 8. Animal protein keeps you fuller longer.
  • Your energy level will increase! I can’t believe how much energy I have now, compared to how I used to live! With more energy, you’ll want to move more!

Have you been on the GAPS Diet for long? What kinds of changes have you seen in your weight?

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Leah October 19, 2011 at 11:21 am

Hey thanks so much for posting this and getting back to me on face book . I am finishing my 5th week on gaps and feel awesome. We have 5 children and i am currently 16 weeks pregnant. We are also in the process of moving to Southern IL this weekend , but in all this I feel good. I do not know if i am losing or not but i feel so good. I plan on eating this way for a long time .Thank you for sharing.


brenda October 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Leah, I am so glad you are feeling better! Keep it up, GAPS is worth it! I hope your move goes smoothly!


caroline October 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm

i have been on GAPs for about 3 weeks! yippee! and it is not al all hard! i was underweight and my family always commented on my shoulder bones sticking out, and i hated it! but now they said after 1 week i was looking healthier and gaining weight and i had tremendous focus and i had my sparkle back! I love what GAPs can do!


brenda October 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Caroline, I am so glad you are feeling healthier and are experiencing more energy on GAPS! I love the quote about having your sparkle back! That’s great!! 🙂


Arual October 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Ugh. I need to get on this diet. What’s the best book to start with?


brenda October 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Arual, it’s Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Check out the GAPS Intro Guide (there’s a link on the right) to get started, too. It’s awesome! 🙂


PattyLA October 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

I have to be honest so that people aren’t disappointed. I have been on GAPS 23 months. When I started GAPS I was very happy with my weight although I wasn’t happy with how I got there (extreme elimination diet because of my nursing child’s food reactions). I continued to lose a bit when I first started GAPS but then I began to gain and I gained about 20 lbs! I wasn’t underweight or overweight when I started but I am overweight now. I have my own health issues that I am dealing with and I am hopeful that this is part of the process but it is hard to know. I started doing T-Tapp about a month ago and have lost 13 inches in that month. I am happy with that change. My clothes are looser and I feel much more energetic. My experience with gaining on GAPS when I didn’t need to isn’t unique although most seem to indeed do as you said in your post and gain if they need to and lose if they need to. My experience a few years ago with SCD was that I easily lost weight and got to my ideal weight and stayed there but this time I guess I was doing deeper healing and needed the padding or something. I don’t regret the weight gain since I am healing my chronic Lyme and hormonal imbalances. My children have gained just enough weight to be solid and healthy instead of waif like. That is the least of their improvements. I was struck today a new by just how normal my older dd is now. I never thought that about her before but she now reacts to events like a normal child. It brought tears to my eyes because we have worked so hard for this for her. My younger dd still has some healing ahead of her but I know we will get there. We figured her specific tweaks more recently than what we figured out with her older sister.


brenda October 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Patty, thank you for commenting and being real! I’m sorry about your weight gain. My guess is, your body needs it for some reason right now. That isn’t fun, nonetheless. I am glad to see that you are seeing healing in yourself and your children! Press on, you’re doing great! 🙂


Tarena October 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Patty, so glad to see how hard you have worked to bring healing to your family! I hope that you continue to feel amazing…even if you might feel like you have more weight than you would like!
Thank you for sharing so that anyone who is curious will know how different each body can react!


J October 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Hi PAtty i can relate i was on a strict GAPS from intro on. I did lose about 10lbs at first but from there nothing. I needed to lose antoher 20 or 30. So it does not always work like that i too wanted to chime in so that otehrs don’t think it is the be all end all and do it for weight only issuesand be disappointed . We did it for multiple reasons the 2 most being we have 2 older children that we have long suspected as dealing with functional autism. Plus a couple of us have eczema, asthma, etc. So it was to heal not lose weight. The first 10 lbs was a great surprise. I must admit i was sad to not lose more :). We do plan on going on it again we have been off for a couple yrs after being full GAPS a yr after our 8 months of strictly following the phases.


brenda October 20, 2011 at 9:18 pm

J, I’m sorry, after all that work, that you didn’t lose more! I hope you saw some healing, though? Good luck in “going GAPS” again! 🙂


elaine October 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

We’ve been on GAPS for 3-1/2 weeks and I’m not a happy camper. I don’t want any of the “legal” foods, I’m sick of soup, nothing sounds good or tastes good and I’m a real party pooper! 🙂 I need to lose 50 – 70 lbs (depending on if I ever wanted to get back in my wedding dress 🙂 and so far I’ve only fluctuated up and down 3 lbs. My husband (also doing GAPS) is back in a pair of jeans he hasn’t worn in 8 months. Grrrr. I was a confirmed chocoholic and so far the cravings haven’t gone away, the brain fog hasn’t lifted and I am struggling to find a good reason to stay the course. I have read that if you think it’s not working to try and stop and see how much different/better you really felt. I feel like we have invested 3 hard weeks and I don’t want to give up too soon. I just wish I were having *some* positive results — anything! On the brighter side, I love your blog. It is full of great info and such an encouragement. Any tips would be welcome. Thanks for letting me be honest.


PattyLA October 20, 2011 at 1:58 pm

All of these symptoms are a sign that you need this diet. My dh lost way too much weight on GAPS without even trying and eating far more “treat” foods than me. grrr….. I so feel you there. For some it is much easier than others. I think that esp if your hormones are messed up you are more likely to be stuck at a higher weight than you want while that part of your physiology heals. (at least that is what I have learned for myself). Give it 6 weeks and then you won’t feel quite so crazy with the diet and then consider adding in something like t-tapp. I am losing inches, working out very little but also I feel so much better. It is a very detoxifying exercise method. I think that is a big part of why it works so well for so many people. I have been doing it for a month and have lost 13 inches over all. 1.5 inches on my waist alone. I am 20 lbs overweight. I also have spent a long time healing my adrenals on this diet and that can be key to losing weight as well. If your adrenals are shot it is very hard to lose weight. So try to manage your stress and give your adrenals a break and just let the healing happen first and the beautiful body that comes from a healthy gut come second.


elaine October 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Thanks Patty! I appreciate the encouragement. None of us have huge issues – but all of us have issues of some sort. Unfortunately the teenagers have bailed out on us this go-round : / so it’s just the hubby and me for the time being. One of the main reasons I did this was I was just sick of food and was hoping this would re-set me, so to speak. Since my pregnancy with #3 food has been medicine and out of desperation because I am so hungry but don’t want *anything* I would do fast food or chocolate — even with a kitchen FULL of WAPF approved foods! I was hoping I would have the kind of weight loss success that Brenda has had but that wasn’t my primary goal. I am just so bummed that I have felt so deprived and haven’t really lost anything. Poor me 🙂 I’ll get off my pity party now and go have some soup! Take care~


Alyssa October 20, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Hi Elaine,
I found it really difficult for the first few weeks too, but when I felt like I just couldn’t cope anymore, I had a cup of broth and for some reason that really did help as it obviously nourished my body enough for me to feel better. The broth really is the most important part of the whole diet, we drink it all day and I have lost 7kgs in the first 3 weeks, and I am noticeably smaller round the tummy and no longer puffy in my face! My husband also had huge weight loss in his first week but then slowed in his broth drinking and hasn’t progressed any further and he’s been feeling really lethargic and foggy so he’s started drinking more of it. I’m positive he will feel better soon. hope you’re feeling better soon too.
ps my easy peasy yummy clear broth is just a small piece of chicken with skin and bone, (I piece a whole free range antibiotic free chicken into 8), 1 carrot, 2 small or 1 large onion, 1 stick celery and a small handful of sea salt into the crock pot, then fill it with filtered water and leave overnight, when its done (overnight or 24 hours) pour the veggies and chicken into the colander and bowl and drink it throu the day, (add more salt if necessary), eat the meat if you want.xx


elaine October 21, 2011 at 7:07 am

Thanks, Alyssa. Drinking the broth has been one of the things I haven’t kept up with as diligently as the first two weeks. I appreciate the encouragement to keep going and will go make a cup of broth right now!

brenda October 20, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I say, stick to it! 🙂 It’s hard, I know! I’m sorry you’re not seeing the results you want. 🙁 It’ll be worth it, eventually! Just stay strong! 🙂


elaine October 21, 2011 at 7:08 am

Thanks, Brenda!


kylie October 20, 2011 at 9:13 pm

hi there so far i am loving this gaps im not doing the intro per se it more some of that and some full gaps i know not good but im feeling awesome. my bff got me on it. she has been researching gaps for ages now. i got to the point i couldnt eat anything without a reaction 🙁 having 8 op and countless amount of antibiotics was not good for my poor tired body and my adrenal glands are shot. i have been doing weight watchers which helped with part of my weight loss but still i felt like i was the walking dead. i know doing gaps like this is not true way but i feel so good and i dont have a lot of money so im doing what works for me. luv this blog by the way 🙂 p.s i have cut out grains and so glad


brenda October 20, 2011 at 9:24 pm

I’m so glad that you feel better & are loving GAPS! I’m glad you like this blog, too! Thank you! 🙂 Keep up the good work! 🙂


Kwaldroping December 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Again, thanks for sharing! Very inspiring!


Bina January 5, 2012 at 12:33 am

HiI am really following GAPS ( for the last few months) and eating very little fruit, some honey, lots of yogurt and broth, fat, meat etc. some cooked and raw veggies. I gained 6 pounds in the last couple weeks! I am freaking out! I am searching the web all over trying to figure out how in the world this could be happening. The only possible option is Thyroid stuff, which I know I have. I am completely off grains and starches and I feel like I’m getting fat thighs. Did you have fluctuation in the beginning at all?


Leah Funk January 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Hey thanks for the post !! I enjoy reading this sight and our family enjoys the recipe even though they eat a traditional whole diet and i eat Gaps . I wanted to know if you added any exercise to your first year on Gaps ??Thanks ,


Kawms August 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm

It may not be so simple. I have been on Gaps for six months for food sensitivities. I was 25 pounds underweight when starting, and during the first 3 months lost another 20 pounds. I began taking HCL to counteract this a few weeks ago, gained back 4 pounds immediately, but since then nothing at all. I am 5’6 and 91#. I eat chicken fat, butter, nut butters, avocados and all the ferments, but it’s not effective.


John C. A. Manley June 5, 2013 at 11:52 am

Some people just have trouble gaining fat. I’m the same way. The only way to gain weight is with muscle; which means you need to do strength training. With just bodyweight exercises I put on 2 pounds a month on GAPS.


Christina December 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm

I’ve heard this theory before, but I have had an extremely difficult time managing my weight since being on GAPS. I yoyo A LOT, despite the fact that my activity level and diet remain fairly consistent. And I’ve been yoyoing in an upward swing – hitting weights I haven’t hit since before I even went grain and sugar free (which I did several months before starting GAPS) . It’s been very frustrating. So, nice thought, but not always true.


Amber March 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Wow, you and your son look amazing. So full of life and vibrant. Thank you for sharing. I just found your site yesterday and am already in love with it! I am reading the book now and am getting ready to start. It is nice to know there are people out there who have/are doing it that I can have as a valuable resource. Blessings to you and your family!


Jay June 17, 2014 at 8:48 am

I haven’t started GAPS yet but have read the book and am considering it, but just don’t know where to begin. I’m also severely overweight and need to lose weight fast so have started weightwatchers for now while I start gradually learning various staples of GAPS eg how to ferment foods.


Lost20SomethingReady4Healing March 3, 2015 at 5:55 pm

I’m about to start GAPS and your post almost moved me to tears. You’ve given me so much hope that I’ll finally be me again! I so appreciate your attitude and outlook.


Cabu May 27, 2016 at 6:38 am

I have been doing GAPS for two monthswith my family. Dh lost over 10 lb; he was freaking out. I lost all my belly fat in the first two weeks which made me very happy. I lost about 6 lb. Two months forward and I have gained 7 lb all in my belly. It’s horrible. My blood sugar got messed up, my skin soooo oily I can mosturize the rest of my body with my hands after a touch my face. I am constantly bloated and my legs hurt all the time as if they were about to start cramping. It’s so frustrated. I am far worst now that I was before. I had none of these issues before, except for bloating now and then, not after every meal. Ah, and my tongue has become yellow with an overgrowth of something. It’s horrible. I am looking for a way to get out of this diet, but seems difficult since it seems everything we eat makes us sick. We were able to eat almost any kind of healthy food before. Not any more. We had a very decent diet with included little fat and lots of veggies. Some meat and grains. We did eat gluten but mostly sprouted. No my life is a bit nightmarish. I cook so much, I don’t have a life. No social life either as I cannot share a meal with “normal” people.


brenda January 9, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Cabu, that sounds horrible. 🙁 I am sorry for your bad experience with GAPS! 🙁


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