Celiac and Obesity

I am a fat Celiac!  It is so funny to see the look on some people’s faces when they see the size of me and I am telling them I have Celiac Disease.

One of the things, I think that kept my doctor from thinking I had Celiac disease, is the fact that I am overweight. Most doctors won’t even look for Celiac if you are heavy because it has always been believed that Celiacs are underweight due to varying degrees of malnutrition.

The reality is that about 30% of Celiacs are in the obese range when they are diagnosed.

Now in my case, I had been misdiagnosed with Bi-polar disorder and put on Zyprexa (an anti-psychotic drug) The Zyprexa caused me to gain a lot of weight. Prior to taking it, I was always alarmingly thin.

In other cases it is theorized that because the body is not able to absorb the nutrients it requires, it stores whatever fat it does absorb. (Your body’s way of guarding against starvation)

Because everyone is different, there are many reasons for obesity in both the Celiac and the non Celiac populations.

It is important to note that many of these obese Celiac patients can still have typical symptoms such as diarrhea but because they are overweight, doctors tent to look to other causes for the diarrhea.

The biggest issue for the heavy Celiac is the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This can be a real problem because the gluten free diet often involves foods that tend to raise the blood glucose levels.

If you have Celiac and type 2 diabetes, you really need to talk to a registered dietician in order to learn to eat a healthy balanced diet. It really isn’t that difficult once you learn how foods affect your body.

If you are obese, you know you need to lose weight. To lose weight, there are no quick cures or easy remedies. It takes determination and hard work, but it is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Once you start to lose, you start to look better and feel better and because you look and feel better, you get encouraged to lose more weight which makes you look and feel better! See the trend!

The keys to losing weight are:

Do not try to lose a lot of weight in a short time – it will not stay off.

Exercise, exercise, exercise! (Don’t go nuts right away. Start off with a little bit of exercise and work your way up to heavy exercise over a long period of time. We don’t want any heart attacks)

Eat several SMALL meals per day. These meals need to be balanced. I use the Canada Food Guide – it is tried and true.

Be sure to include lots of fibre.

Join a group or club (Or start one) It is always easier, if there is a bit of friendly competition and encouragement. If you can’t find a group, leave me a comment and I will be your weight loss buddy.

Of course I am not a medical professional. These are my opinions and observations only.


6 thoughts on “Celiac and Obesity

  1. I believe another reason that celiacs can be overweight, especially if they are undiagnosed, is shear fatigue. When my body was fighting those allergens, the last thing I wanted to do was anything. I’d come home eat dinner and crash on the couch due to low energy and headaches. You think food may help you feel better, but because you’re not getting any exercise, the pounds add up even if you’re eating healthy.

  2. Another great post. When I went to the gluten-free baking class, the woman teaching was saying something about ‘people will never see a fat celiac’, as I was walking into the room. I wanted to say something to her, but I didn’t want to step on the teacher’s toes. I ended up doing it later, anyway. I also had an issue with trying to lose weight while still eating gluten. I would pretty much starve myself to lose it, but it would come right back, of course. Since going off gluten, I have stayed right around 145. I used to be 190, a couple of times. I would still like to be about 10-15 lbs. less, but I am definitely more healthy.

    I find that I also prefer to make my own food. That way, even the sweets are more healthy.

    I love your blog. Thank you for all of the great info.


  3. Thanks for visiting Sarah.
    I appreciate you taking the time to comment as well.
    I have tried quite a few of the prepared foods but as you can see by the recipes in this blog, I prefer to make my own foods. I also like to incorporate as many fruits and veggies into my diet as possible and of course I drink lots of water.
    Good luck with your weight and don’t hesitate to ask if there is a food you need a recipe for.
    Take care of you.

  4. I’ve found that buying a lot of gluten-free prepared food (just in the last few weeks since my diagnosis) has caused me to gain weight – mostly because they are all full of starches. Tapioca, potato, garbanzo, corn – so starchy and the body converts straight to sugar. This week, I’m concentrating more on protein and good fats (coconut oil, healthy animal fats from clean, grassfed sources, avocados, etc) to help keep me full and get rid of the bloat and extra weight.
    I’m with you on the small meals every day – when I visited my sister who was eating small meals all day because she was nursing, I ate the same way as she did and never felt better!

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