I was grossly overweight and miserable. I weighed in at 104KG and had started to snore, pissing my wife off to no end. That was the final straw. The reason for my weight gain was that I officially gave up smoking. The weight just packed on. I had no inclination to get active again. I never was inclined to get physically active, tired all the time. Anyway, come last March, I decided I needed to do something. My wife came home and told me about a patient who had started Banting after reading The Real Meal Revolution.
Now, I must explain Cholesterol and Heart Disease runs in my side of the family. My Dad has had 8 Stents to date from has hardened and blocked arteries, is on Statins and blood pressure medication. For years I had heard that butter, eggs and fats were bad for you from my mother and I point blank refused to go and have my cholesterol checked. Why? I was scared plain and simple. I enjoyed eating what I was eating, liked my take away lunches. Food was the one pleasure I had left, as far as I was concerned. Looking back, I realize now how much justification one can have when addicted to food substances I can only imagine it is as bad as a drug addiction.
So, the wife told me of her patient who amazingly, had eaten no breakfast, had a lamb dish for lunch drenched in lamb fat I might add, and then had had enough energy to go all the way to breakfast next day? Naturally I was skeptical. I mean, my dad’s doc had drummed this into us all the time I knew it was a concern. How can fats be good for you?
However, I love reading and curiosity got the better of me I bought the book that changed my life. After the 1st few chapters, I was hooked. What was written made sense, if you, like me are of above average intelligence and believe the evolution of a species model how animals adapt to what is around.
In short yes, we as human beings are not designed to digest carbohydrates at least not in the volumes we consume them in today are society. If we go back to whole nomadic existence, mankind being hunter/gatherers our main source of nutrition was animals. Fats, Protein. And we ate everything tip to tale. When we had the occasion carb, from a fruit tree or from a tuber we found in the wild, the body took this in and it triggered an evolutionary response in our digestive system. In short, the digestive system saw this as a reserve and converted it into a fat reserve as such.
Why? Because, the body did not know whether it was going to get food from one day to the next. So any chance to build a bit of a reserve was a good thing.
Nowadays however, with the abundance of cheaply produced carbs available everywhere and in every meal, this evolutionary digestive response is overwhelmed, and we suffer because of it all of what we eat is not burned as fuel, but converted by the liver to a fat reserve we feel tired all the time because this is an energy intensive process, but more than that, because of the lack of good fats in the diet, we can eat our fill of Carbs and Calories, and then half an hour later be hungry?
Why, because we need FAT to run this process of converting carbs to a fat reserve. So what do you do? Well, you eat more carbs and then the whole self-defeating process starts again. Compounding the problem. My doctor told me, your body is like a petrol engine that has been run on diesel its entire life if it runs at all, it will run like crap he said. Kind of summed up how I had felt for most of my life.
So, I started this lifestyle. And apart from feeling worse as I suspected I would, within a week I felt better (Once I had detoxed the carbs from my system). I had a new lust for life, but loads of energy. Was smiling and whistling everywhere I went. The wife was happy as I had stopped snoring, but as a bonus (and because I was not tired all the time) I was not, as she put it, a as moody bastard all the time.
Eventually, as to assuage her fears her being a Pharmacists assistant and all, I had the full panel of bloods done unfortunately only 2 weeks after I started so I do not have a true before reading on these. However, the Doctor was so shocked I was even walking upright!!!!
The phrase “a walking heart attack” was thrown around the room a couple of times. Anyway, he and I agreed to a 6 month evaluation of blood work. He said that if I was not willing to try the Banting way he would have had me on all the meds my dad was on; statins, blood pressure and the added insult of Diabetes meds to boot.
6 months later I had dropped 20 KG without doing anything except changing the way I eat. I had so much energy, I started something called boxercise this is a boxing themed aerobics class where you hit a punching bag in time to music, or hold a punching bag for your partner, or run around like a demented Alsatian. Great cardio and great fun. I started this because the Doc warned me that when you lose the excess weight, you are going to have excess energy and are going to need something to do to burn it off. My Doc was impressed.
He was however, floored with the results of my bloods after 6 months.
My Cholesterol dropped from 9 to 5 totals; LDL went from 5.0 to 0.9!!!
My insulin level dropped from 30+ to 11.3!
Whatever I was doing, I was told to keep it up and carry on.
And I have been doingthat ever since. As I said, I am no expert. Just an amateur who tried something new and now read a lot about it. I was always a good cook, and have easily adapted my favourites to a Banting friendly version of the same thing my fitness levels continue to increase as my boxing training improves.
Since I have started there have been several new realizations and benefits that this lifestyle has held. (Impressive, seeing as I started simply to stop me snoring.
For one, my Sinus and Hay fever problems, which have plagued me since I can remember, have just disappeared!?!? I used to blame this on growing up in Kempton Park and having my tonsils out when I was younger. Now, I am convinced this was my body in a toxic reaction to all the grains and starch I was eating reacting to the poison I was eating and trying to expel it. For all you sinus sufferers out there, only you will understand what it is like to not have to take antihistamines every day and walk around with pockets full of tissues; sniffing, snorting and sneezing your way through life not enjoying anything outdoors or physical as you never know what will set you off.
Now, even living in JHB, I breathe clear and easy and have not had an antihistamine since April 2014!
Food just tastes better! I never ever realized how much sugar blunts your taste buds. Living this way, every day is a new experience food wise. I am eating things that I never would even consider before the High Fat lifestyle.
Energy and Razor Sharp mental focus need I say more? Who does not need this in their lives?
Cooking well it is easy to cook and eat this way just need some lateral thinking. Also, a tip for those just starting: Do not make the classic mistake of thinking the only things you can eat are in the RMR book! Remember, this book was designed by a 5 star chef. If likened to cars, this book is the Rolls Royce of cooking. There are simpler ways to eat and maintain this lifestyle. Not that I am suggesting this book is not invaluable, because it is. Just bear in mind, one does not need ingredients that cost a fortune to eat Real Food.
Lastly, and this is for those starting. One thing I must warn you about. The Carb Detox… Sometimes referred to as the Carb Flu. Bear in mind, like I said before, everyone is different. Detox times are no exception. Myself, if I have a carb I know for the next 5 days I am in Detox or carb craving mode where I am constantly looking for food! Some people I know don’t have its Lucky B*stards!!! Others can be in this mode for up to 2 weeks some even more.
How you deal with this is entirely up to you but all I can tell you is to stay strong. It will pass. Carbs, in my opinion are one of the most addictive substances on the planet. And everyone reacts differently to them. How I deal with these cravings, is by eating fatty biltong or pork crackling. All I can tell you is that it will pass. Stay strong and remember your weight loss goals keep them forefront in your mind. These craving will pass.
Anyway, that is my story and my opinions – and for proof I am happy to draw and submit my medical reports to anyone who cares to view them. My Doctor is a believer in the lifestyle and holds me up as his prize patient.
On a final note, I would like to say to Tim and the RMR team, a huge thank you.
You have showed me a life that I never thought possible. I salute you and your cause and consider myself one of your most ardent supporters.