Petro’s Banting Journey

“I truly believe that this is a Revolution, and the best one!”

My name is Petro Cloete, and I am in the legal profession. I turned 66 in November 2015, and I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. This weight struggle stems from my childhood, I think, as I felt deprived of emotional support and my family went through financial hardship. During this time confectionary was a treat, it was hard to come by, and when it was available, it didn’t last long, so we made the most of it while we could. In boarding school,I had little spending money, but bread and peanut butter was freely available, so I filled up on that! By the time my last child was born 32 years ago, I was about 20kg overweight. I couldn’t shed it, which eventually resulted in me being almost double my ideal weight. I am 157cm tall.

I tried everything I could think of – numerous diets, pills, etc. I lost a couple of kgs in the first month or so, but slowly regained all of it and more. My story is not a new one; I have heard the same story numerous times: I could not reach my goal weight in order to maintain it.

To add frustration to the pot, my husband’s weight is still the same as it was when I met him.

He drinks coke on a daily basis, eats chocolates and sweets, and his staple food is bread, rice, pasta, and protein. He does not like veggies at all, let alone cabbage, cauliflower, garlic and green stuff. He is active however, and does some form of golf every day. I wanted to be able to drink and eat what he could – so I started to drink coke, and landed up drinking half a litre every day.

The turning point for me came in August 2015, I felt terrible. My joints were stiff; I could not get out of bed without having to hold onto something. I could not get out of my chair from behind my desk without holding on something just to straighten myself up to get going. My blood pressure was high, and my GP was concerned. My feet were constantly swollen, but even more during the summer. I was becoming more and more housebound and did not want to go shopping because I did not look and feel good. I had no faith in diets because I couldn’t sustain them. I lost the most weight on a high protein diet,but in order to see success, I had to consume few carbs, eat a large amount of protein and exercise to a point of doing 10,000 steps a day, while drinking lots and lots of water.

It wasn’t practical and didn’t fit into my busy schedule.

My daughter introduced me to Banting, in the form of a Facebook group, at the beginning of August 2015. I started to cut out all refined carbohydrates like bread, cookies, pasta, potatoes, etc. But I still wasn’t ready to let go of sugar completely.

I was motivated by the weight-loss results of the members and read the daily posts. As I love avocado, I ate avocados by the dozen. I even decided to grow some trees and my first two trees are in pots and are beautiful. I hope to harvest some fruit eventually. A month later I did Sugar-free September and cut out the sugar as well.

I stumbled on the Real Meal Revolution’s Online Banting Program in early October 2015, but didn’t have the time to really look into it. When the price came down, I decided: “This is it, now I am going to do this!”

I followed the weekly menus, listened to the lectures, got inspiration from the cooking lessons and applied the general knowledge that I gained through the groups.

I love the recipes; it opened up a whole new world of cooking for me. In the past, I did not have the energy to try out new recipes and got stuck preparing food for my husband’s way of eating. Now I have so much energy that I can still clean the kitchen after I have made the food (and a big mess in the kitchen)!

I have invested in a stick blender, and I love the bullet coffee, but do not drink it too much. It tastes like a cappuccino! I love the meal plans and try to stick to them as much as possible. Sometimes I am pressed for time, but then I have some homemade veggie soup from the freezer. The whole Online Banting Program appeals to me because it provides me with all of the tools that I need to make this way of life successful. I realised how important it was to journal every step of the way and keep track of my intake.

I try not to use Xylitol as a sweetener because I am scared of it. I have dogs and have read that it is deadly if a dog consumes it and I don’t want that to happen by accident. I say to myself that if it is not good for dogs, it can’t be good for humans, but I am not a scientist, so maybe there is an explanation. If I have to sweeten anything, I will use a little raw honey.

While I am still in the weight-loss phase, I try not to introduce treats as I can see that by not sticking to the meal plans you can stall weight-loss. I also test my ketones every morning, and I am happy to see that I am mostly in the 3+ range.

My gallbladder was removed 18 years ago, and I can truly say that the high-fat way of eating does not affect me at all. I do not feel bloated, my headaches, which I attributed to high blood pressure, have disappeared and so have my night sweats. I sleep well and am more alert than ever. I wish I was in this condition when I started studying for my new career in my 40s!

I do not spend much time at the doctors, but I had my cholesterol tested for a policy that I was planning to take out. According to them, my cholesterol was within limits. I plan to have the tests done formally so that I can also keep track of my progress on that front. My blood pressure, which I test at home, is in the range of under 140/66.

I do fall off the wagon sometimes, but because I have made a mind shift, it does not bother me too much. I try to stay focused on my goal to reach my goal weight.

I would encourage you to try the Online Banting Program and to utilise the meal plans and the recipes – they are great! Watch Jonno’s cooking videos; they are an inspiration! Clear out your cupboards and fridge of everything that is not Banting-friendly. Once you get into this lifestyle, it is not expensive at all.

I want to thank all of the admin members behind the scenes, which we have not met in person, value their contribution in engaging on the forums; people like Skip, KarenB, LindaK and Kim Blom. Thanks to Prof Noakes and Jonno for all the lectures on the important topics. I truly believe that this is a Revolution, and the best one!