HIS STORY

Rick Eberle attributes his weight gain to that pesky “life happens” thing. “I was athletic as a kid, played a number of sports, and was never overweight. But then I met my wife and we had dinners out, plus the Italian food and sauces, then kids and before you know it, it’s 10 years later and you’ve gained 50 pounds,” he says.

Eberle says he wasn’t feeling great in the summer of 2013 and, although he knew he was allergic to wheat, it wasn’t until he read “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis that he discovered that some theories connect gluten consumption to neurological issues. Gluten, the general name for proteins in wheat and related grains, is commonly found in pasta, bread, and crackers.

Eberle went with the what-do-I-have-to-lose approach and stopped eating all foods containing gluten. “Once I took that out of my diet, I felt more clearheaded and the weight started coming off. Then I went almost completely alcohol-free, because of the sugar, and stopped eating dairy products. Now I feel the healthiest I’ve ever been,” said Eberle.

He’s also quick to note that he hasn’t eliminated pasta and bread but has instead found gluten-free versions of these favorites. “Gluten-free products are improving and the taste has gotten better,” he adds. Eberle is now sporting a 31-inch waist, down from 38.

HIS DIET

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For breakfast Eberle has an Udi’s gluten-free blueberry muffin, a few slices of bacon and Mott’s for Tots apple juice (which contains 40 percent less sugar than regular versions). Lunch can be a gluten-free wrap with chicken salad or mixed greens with turkey or ham. Dinner is usually either chicken or fish with vegetables. He snacks on popcorn or a limited number of tortilla chips and enjoys a Ralph’s Italian ice periodically.

HIS EXERCISE

Eberle uses two popular at-home workout DVDs — by Beachbody and Shaun T — about four times a week.

HIS ADVICE

“Keep trying until you find what works for you. A lot of people make fun of the gluten-free approach. Maybe it doesn’t work for them, but it works for some. Start with small changes.”