How One Woman Healed her Leaky Gut and Lost Over 100 Pounds

Susanna Sisson's picture
gut treatment with 100 pound weight loss

Most of us have experienced that ten to twenty pounds that creeps up after we turn thirty but, when twenty turns into almost 200 it’s not only disheartening it can lead to diseases. My friend Cathy had digestive problems from the time she was a child. She experienced not only constipation and diarrhea, but nausea and vomiting as well. “I have a tendency to internalize stress,” she told me, “and I have always had a lot of stress in my life.” Even so, she was able to stay height weight proportionate at 5’5” and 120 pounds until 1975 when she married the love of her life.


In 1978, Cathy and her husband had a daughter, and despite chronic digestive issues like vomiting when she ate or having diarrhea somehow managed to gain 70 pounds which she was never able to lose. Sound familiar? Cathy also developed toxemia, a condition in pregnancy, also known as pre-eclampsia, characterized by abrupt rise in blood pressure, large amounts of protein in the urine and swelling of the hands, feet, and face.

After the birth of her daughter her physician diagnosed her with a hormone imbalance but rather than treat that imbalance with hormones she was placed on Prednisone. Her stomach and gut issues worsened and over the following months she gained another 90 pounds. Cathy, at 5’5” was now at 280 pounds.

As the owner and CEO of an extremely busy law firm Cathy had a lot of stress to deal with and the additional weight didn’t help. Her doctors put her through a battery of tests to try to determine what was wrong. The doctor suggested an elimination diet to determine if Cathy was suffering from food intolerances or insensitivities but the test was not only inconclusive she did not lose weight. The doctor then performed a comprehensive stool test that also showed no reason for her continued bouts of nausea, vomiting, and bowel problems and cost her $500. She underwent food allergy testing and the foods she was eating – beets, avocados and green beans were what showed up, but again that test was inconclusive. She finally had an MRI and was diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome.

Over the years her mother became ill and it was up to Cathy to help care for her aging parents. When her mother passed away, it was then her responsibility to take care of her father who had dementia. Meanwhile, her husband was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and her stress mounted. Over the years she gained another 25 pounds and reached 305 pounds. She had tried many different diets and nothing worked.

Cathy described her episodes after eating something that didn’t agree with her by saying, “I could feel the blood rising to my head, and I would feel hot. That’s when I knew I was about to vomit.” These bouts of nausea and vomiting were so debilitating she would have to go to bed for a whole day. She also noticed that her bowel movements contained undigested food particles.

Over the years, nothing the doctors had suggested or had done worked to help the digestive issues or weight gain, so, Cathy decided to do her own research. She scoured the internet and read books until she found one by Elaine Gottschall entitled Breaking the Vicious Cycle which recommends a Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). [1]


For the initial few weeks the diet is very restrictive but includes foods such as eggs, cottage cheese or homemade yogurt which she made from live cultures and heavy cream, small amounts of beef or fish, gelatin either homemade or unflavored (may flavor with grape juice or apple cider). Apple cider or grape juice mixed ½ and ½ with water is allowed to drink. The diet encourages drinking a lot of water also. Honey is the only form of sugar allowed. Later in the diet when certain fruits are introduced they must be cooked. Raw foods are not allowed. [2]

As Cathy began this diet, which meant cutting out most sugars (other than small amounts of real honey), gluten, and processed foods which all cause inflammation she began to feel better. In the beginning of the diet she learned to make bone broth from chicken bones or wild game bones because she found that broth from beef made her sick again. She added vegetables like carrots, zucchini, celery, and squash to the broth and after cooking pureed the soup then added bite sized pieces of roasted chicken and would top this very thick, hearty soup with a dollop of homemade yogurt.

Within about three months she was able to start eating baked chicken and more vegetables including sweet potatoes. She eats basically anything she wants as far as vegetables except white potatoes, rice, corn, or other grains, and is able to eat all fruits. Beans do not agree with her so she avoids them. Sometimes for dessert she bakes an apple with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey and add a dollop of homemade yogurt.

Cathy followed what her body led her to eat and she included some supplements in her diet for added nutrition and immune support:

• Powdered glutamine 1 Tablespoon a day
• Slippery Elm Powder 1 Tablespoon a day
• Colloidal silver 2 Tablespoons 3 times a day
• LIMU Original 2 ounces twice a day to replace vitamins, enzymes and other nutrients
• Probiotics
• Digestive Enzymes
• Protease

Within 18 months she lost 100 pounds. Her weight dropped from her highest weight of 305 pounds and she is losing about a pound and a half every week. Her current weight is 189 pounds.
Most of her symptoms have resolved unless she eats something unusual so she keeps her diet fairly simple – no bread, gluten, sugar or processed foods. Cathy cooks her vegetables as well as her fruit but other than the foods already mentioned does not restrict foods and eats a very balanced and well-rounded diet. The key to changing her health was learning what foods she needs to avoid and eating nutrient rich foods. An added benefit is that for herself, her grocery bill is about $15-$20 per week.

Having learned what she needed to do to heal her leaky gut Cathy says she will continue this way of eating. While she did take supplements (only powdered or liquid) they were to fill in the nutritional gaps that everyone has even with a good diet due to a lack of nutrition in most land based plants and she added enzymes to help with digestion. She attributes most of her success in losing the weight, mitigating her symptoms, and finally doing what doctors could not, to radically changing her diet. At 57, Cathy says, “I feel better than I have in years and feel that traditional medicine failed me as it does many people. Ultimately, I had to find my own answers.”