Food & Diseases,  GAPS Diet & Nutrition,  The GAPS Diet

The Belly is Back & How I’m Gonna Fight It

The reason for this post: I don’t want to look like this. 🙂

I am going to be really real in this post. Beware!

I shared here how I had lost a bunch of weight on GAPS. I also got a flatter, but not totally flat belly (a little pooch just never went away, but I could still wear jeans with no muffin top).

I’m going to talk numbers here. Don’t hate me for my numbers. 😉 Keep in mind that I am 5’2″.

Before I started GAPS, I was 142 lbs and a size 10 or 12.

I lost it and went down to 104, and size 2, 1 or 0.

For a little while, as my body was detoxing (I could tell I was fighting off some major internal yeast and I didn’t feel great), I went down to 98 lbs. I took lots of probiotics and ate probiotic foods and felt a lot stronger and went back up to 104 and stayed there, for a long time. I feel like 104 is a good weight for me, mainly because of the shape I was at.

Fast forward. The last 3 months, my weight has gone up. Today it is 114!!! What in the world is happening? I wouldn’t be worried about the weight, if it weren’t for the BELLY fat. I am still in a size 2 pants (size 4 is too big, I’ve been trying them on), but they’re tight and I’ve got a MUFFIN TOP! What?! Since I know that weight gain in the mid-section is a sign of insulin resistance and can lead to all kinds of other problems (like cardiovascular disease), I am going to nip this–NOW.

But, I’m on GAPS! KIND OF….Here’s where I’ve fallen off of the GAPS wagon lately (AKA, my confession):

  • I’m not taking probiotics
  • I haven’t been eating sauerkraut
  • I’ve only been having bone broth about once or twice per week
  • I make at least one dessert per week (with honey and/or dates)
  • I have tea with raw milk in it (and honey) every day, sometimes multiple times per day
  • I discovered dates
  • I barely ever consume homemade yogurt or kefir raw (I often cook with it & feed it raw to my kids, but I don’t eat it enough).

Now, that’s not really GAPS, is it!? 🙂 I still eat GAPS foods (no grains, sugar, etc.), but I’m failing to take in the most essential GAPS foods!! This is my problem!!

Here is my plan, starting today:

  1. Start taking Biokult again
  2. Make a batch of sauerkraut and start eating it every day
  3. Make some broth tonight & drink some with every meal and throughout the day
  4. Stop making desserts for a while. Maybe 1 dessert per month is better than 1 per week. And pumpkin pancakes count as a dessert!
  5. Stop drinking tea with honey and raw milk. Maybe just herbal tea, no milk, no honey
  6. Stop buying dates! They’re too addictive!
  7. Eat the beautiful yogurt that we make! Make some kefir/fruit smoothies and drink them

Anyone else had this problem on GAPS? Were you doing GAPS perfectly, or did you start dropping some of the (major) elements of the diet, like me?

photo credit


  • My Boys' Teacher

    I think you read the blog Cheeseslave, right? She’s posted about this twice in the last few weeks. Something about doing GAPS too long being not good and one of the symptoms that you’ve done it too long is the start of weight gain.

    • Brenda

      Thanks for the comment! I’ve been reading Ann Marie’s posts, yes. 🙂 If I had been following GAPS 100% I would for sure be looking at other methods of losing the weight. But I haven’t been doing well on the diet & gained weight while not eating the right things. For now, I’m convinced that if I get back on target (on full GAPS, with sauerkraut, broth, probiotics, less honey, etc.), I will lose the weight. If it doesn’t work, certainly, I’ll be checking out other methods! 🙂

  • Sarah Miller

    I started gaining weight too after awhile on GAPS. I’ve read that other people do as well too. I don’t know why. I wish I could get rid of my belly fat. Please keep us posted. I will try some more ferments as well.

    • Brenda

      Sarah, were you 100% on GAPS, or did you go astray like me? 🙂 Just curious! If you were 100% GAPS, I wonder about a thyroid issue going on (Ann Marie at Cheeseslave has been talking about this). If I can’t get the belly fat/weight back off by the changes above, I’m looking into the thyroid testing!

  • Amanda

    I should probably know this but I am fairly new to your blog. How long do you plan to continue GAPS? Do most people transition back into traditional eating with relative ease or weight gain?

    • brenda

      Thanks for asking! We’ve been on GAPS 2 years, and honestly, I’m trying to figure out the future plan right now. 🙂 There are a lot of different thoughts out there & I am researching it all. I think most people move from GAPS to a traditional diet pretty smoothly. I don’t know about weight gain though. I would ideally love to move our family to a traditional diet (even soaking grains for homemade BREAD! Wouldn’t that be a DREAM!?), but I’m not certain it’s the best move *yet* (or ever? I don’t know). I am still learning, so bear with me!

  • Becca

    Does weight gain in the belly specifically mean insulin resistance or could it just be where certain people put on weight. Mine too goes straight to the belly or hips and I easily bloat.

    • brenda

      Becca, I think that some people do just put on weight in the mid-section, but I think those people usually have a greater risk of diabetes & heart disease. 🙁 Not fun!

  • Emma

    Wouldn’t “The Liberation Diet” by Kevin Brown work with GAPS diet to encourage weightloss? I’ve lost 34 lbs. since using “The Liberation Diet” by Kevin Brown, even though I started it in Autumn 2010. Haven’t lost much the last 9 months. Now I’ve been at a standstill, mostly because of too much cheating (pigging out when at the in-law’s house, like I’m deficient in BBQ chips & bugels!) But I made more “coconutty fudge bars” from Eat Fat, Lose Fat recipe book. So I will try again. Next time you see me pigging out, please remind me 🙂 My numbers look funny next to yours, and I thought I would be a healthy “Mother” weight at 120 lbs. I am 5’0″ and weigh 130 lbs. Still in family mode, just weaning my 23 month old son, also have an 8 yr old & 5 yr old.

  • Sharon

    I think you wrote this about me 🙂 I lost 11 pounds on GAPS in two weeks and then lost a few more steadily. Fast forward and NO weight loss. I still have 20 l s I. Me to lose. I have had no sauerkraut in 2 months and probiotics when I think of it. My keifer has gone to my kids. I do eat my yogurt sometime. Broth is now only 1-4 times per month. UGH!!! I AM GOING TO JOIN YOU IN YOUR RENEWED COMMITTMENT.Thank you!

  • CS

    Thank for this post Brenda. I’ve been on Gaps for about 5 months and my weight loss seems to have plateaued. I still have about 30 pounds to loose and I went on gaps for thyroid issues in the first place, so I’m quite nervous. I’m reading about leptin resets, and adrenal fatigue and I’m totally confused. I would love to hear more about what your doing to address this. Hope to see more posts!

  • Becky

    AAck! I’m in a similar boat! After initially losing about 15 pounds and keeping it off for the first 6 months, I’ve gained back 25 pounds in the last 6 months (been on gaps for 1 year). I have been GOOD too. Fully committed to the diet. I’m starting to get a little desperate. I am so uncomfortable- all of my clothes are way tight. I have belly fat- and that’s definitely new for me! I’ll be following your progress closely- maybe you’ll figure something out that I haven’t.

  • Coreen

    After about 5~6 months on GAPS I started to gain weight and feel tired. I have my broth and kimchi with 2~3 meals/day and kefir every day, was seldom making sweets, and limited the fruit. (No probiotics… yet.) I do have hypothyroidism. Looking at what I eat I realized that perhaps I had gone a little too low-carb so I am currently trying the Cheeseslave/Matt Stone way. My BBT is coming up a little, so I am hoping the increased metabolism will lead to some weight loss.

  • Ahubish

    This post keeps haunting me. We are only 23 days into the GAPS diet and I am more concerned with my weight (after losing 10 lbs) than I was before I started. I was pretty content and now I am greedy or something. Anyway, I keep thinking about this post and hoping that I am not developing an unhealthy obsession. What I am wondering is, don’t women who eat primal/paleo/GAPS maintain a healthy (not twiggy) size? What if your body wants to have a little belly (even some hips and a bottom)? What if you aren’t meant to barely be a size 0 or 1 or even 2? What if I am meant to be a 6 or 8 – will I be okay with this or am I jealous of your 2? This overwhelms me a bit – I just want to be healthy. Do you think it’s really a weight loss thing or are you healthy? Is it insulin resistance? Sorry for my ignorance, I am NEW to this and I find all of the health issues overwhelming.

  • Marci

    Okay – 104 pounds for a woman who is 5’2 is perfectly healthy. Though BMI charts give huge ranges about what is healthy, let’s all be realistic – we all know at what weight are energy levels are high, we look our best, we feel our best. So I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to suggest that Brenda is fighting her body’s natural inclinations, etc. Extra weight is *not* automatically a sign of health. I have a friend who is naturally plus sized, and her belly is flat – she is fit and healthy, eats a balanced diet, and still has a pretty flat tummy. So I think that tummy expanding is often a sign of both insulin resistance, and a sign that someone is at a weight that is too high for them personally (regardless of what the BMI charts indicate – like I said: those ranges are far to wide. In my case, the BMI says I can go up to 144 and be healthy. Let me tell you – the ONLY way I sustain that so called ‘healthy’ weight is by eating junk, not exercising, and abandoning healthy lifestyle. So it doesn’t matter what the BMI chart’s say – 144pounds is NOT and will never be a healthy weight for me! 🙂 ).

    Brenda – I’ll bet even infusing your diet with probiotics more religiously will do the trick. I went on probiotics, then stopped for three months….and let me tell you, I had ‘unexplained’ weight gain. Until I made the connection, went back on probiotics, and the weight melted off. Good luck in optimizing your health and achieving your optimal weight!

  • Sheri

    Ok so i guess I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum here, I’m 21, about 5’4 and weighed around 103 lbs. i started GAPS intro last week and lost like eight pounds! I’m very concerned as i can’t afford to lose that. I was skinny to start with and now feel very weak and can hardly work. I’m simply not getting near half as many carbs i need. Do you have any advice? I am doing it for celiacs but feel frustrated at the side effects and don’t know if i should just give up… Scared i’ll just keep losing more weight — and its muscle, cuz i definitely don’t have any fat! 🙁

  • Emily

    I went on the GAPS diet about 1 year and a half ago. For the first 8 months or so I was losing a ton of weight, I’m not sure how much I originally weighed, I was never fat, but I was not nearly as skinny as I liked to be, but after I went on the GAPS diet I started losing weight like crazy. I’m 5’6″ and at one point I weighed about 113. I’m not asking to weigh 113 but I think 120 ish would be a goal weight. I weigh around 130 ish but I tend to flucuate a lot. Like you, I have not eaten nearly enough probiotics or sauerkraut, and I have been eating too many sweets, such as honey/maple syrup, and larabars, also I used to make a ton of bone broth, but I have gotten extremely lax with that too. Do you think those are my only problems? How can I lose the weight that I gained back? It is so frustrating because I eat so healthy relative to everyone else, but yet I still can not lose weight.

  • traci

    OMG that is me to a “T”! I got lax on those GAPS specific things you mentioned and at about 18 months on the program the belly fat crept in. I’m the same size elsewhere, just like you. So how are things now? I’m getting off the honey and milk in my tea, the occassional coffee, and back on the ferments and FCLO. Please keep me posted. I also think that my metabolism has just slowed way down and am looking to changing up the diet. It has been 23 months on GAPS now with about 4 of them on intro.

  • Ashton

    I haven’t lost any weight on the GAPS diet. In fact, I loathe the weight I’m at. I’m a steady 140/42 lbs. at 5’3. I’ve been on the GAPS diet for a little over a year now. I stay faithful in eating the probiotic foods daily as well as the meat stock. I thought you would lose weight on this diet which I was very much looking forward to. I still have yet to figure this out. If anyone has any ideas, please share!

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