‘I LOST 32KG AND RAN A HALF MARATHON’

LIV­ING (AND LOVING) LCHF, SHARON VAN WYK IS HEALTH­IER THAN EVER.

LOSE IT! - - Contents -

How liv­ing LCHF changed Sharon van Wyk’s life

‘ Istrug­gled with in­fer­til­ity and re­cur­ring mis­car­riages from the age of 30 un­til 2009 we ad­poted our daugh­ter. I was 37. The years of in­fer­til­ity treat­ment and de­pres­sion had taken their toll on my weight and my health – I tipped the scales at 118kg.

In the pre­vi­ous 10 years, I had tried ev­ery diet known to mankind. I’d spent a for­tune on sched­ule 5 diet pills, diet shakes, di­eti­cians and ev­ery crazy fad diet imag­in­able. Noth­ing worked. I’d lose a cou­ple of ki­los, but be hun­gry and mis­er­able the en­tire time – and then fall off the wagon spec­tac­u­larly, gain­ing the pre­cious few ki­los lost... and more. I saw a regis­tered di­eti­cian for about a year and lost 8kg by eat­ing low fat. But I was com­pletely mis­er­able and it wasn’t sus­tain­able so I put it all back on. I craved the foods I knew I wasn’t al­lowed. In ad­di­tion, dur­ing the course of our in­fer­til­ity jour­ney, I had rou­tine blood tests that showed that I was in­sulin resistant.

I’m an older mom – we adopted our sec­ond daugh­ter just be­fore I turned 41 – so I was very con­cerned about my bal­loon­ing weight and its ef­fect on my health. I want to see my girls grow up. Aside from in­sulin re­sis­tance, I’ve also had is­sues with high blood pres­sure and choles­terol,

and my HDL lev­els have al­ways been dan­ger­ously low; pre­sum­ably the ef­fect of years of a low-fat/ fat-free diet.

Then my best friend lost 22kg by bant­ing. Her sis­ter needed a kid­ney and, even though she had lost weight on a low-fat diet, she was re­jected as a donor be­cause there was still a lot of fat around her liver. But when she started bant­ing, the fat around her or­gans van­ished. That’s what re­ally con­vinced me. I did worry ini­tially about the link be­tween choles­terol and fat in the diet, but my fear was un­founded: my choles­terol is com­pletely nor­mal.

My hus­band and I of­fi­cially started LCHF in Jan­uary last year. I won’t lie; it was dif­fi­cult to get my head around the con­cept in the be­gin­ning. I was ter­ri­fied of do­ing fur­ther dam­age to my health, but so ex­cited by the re­sults. In the first month, I lost 8.8kg and almost im­me­di­ately started to no­tice dif­fer­ences in my health

and well­be­ing. My IBS (ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome) van­ished almost overnight, my knees and feet were pain-free for the first time in years, I didn’t feel sleepy or lethar­gic all day and had no mid-af­ter­noon slumps. And I started sleep­ing bet­ter, hav­ing been a ter­ri­ble sleeper almost all my life. Almost 11 months into bant­ing, I’d reached 86kg, hav­ing lost a to­tal of 32kg. I’m tall, so my goal is to get to be­tween 75 and 77kg. At 176cm, that would put my BMI (flawed as that may be) at around 24.

My hus­band has also lost in ex­cess of 30kg. His start­ing weight was 127kg and he now weighs around 94kg. He’s also seen dras­tic im­prove­ments in his over­all health; most no­tably, the de­bil­i­tat­ing headaches that he suf­fered from almost his en­tire adult life are gone!

With bant­ing, even after a small plate of food, I feel as if I’ve eaten some­thing sub­stan­tial; I feel sat­is­fied. We eat sim­ple foods; lots of vegetables, sal­ads, eggs and a small por­tion of meat at most meals.

The first few weeks are re­ally tough be­cause you have to break that sugar ad­dic­tion. I didn’t re­alise that I was com­pletely ad­dicted to sugar un­til I started bant­ing. At first I also strug­gled with dizzi­ness and cramps, but I stuck with it and I feel health­ier than ever be­fore. For the first month we didn’t cheat once; we went com­pletely cold turkey. When we’d been into it for 30 days, we went to a con­cert where the choice of foods was re­ally limited. So we landed up eat­ing burg­ers and chips and cho­co­lates and I can hon­estly say none of it tasted as nice as I re­mem­bered it tast­ing. Even while I was eat­ing the choco­late, I thought, ‘I don’t know why I’m eat­ing this. It’s not nice.’ The next day my IBS flared up. My crav­ings have now vir­tu­ally dis­ap­peared. If I feel like some­thing sweet, I have a tea­spoon of macadamia nut but­ter – but that rarely hap­pens now.

Aside from my dras­ti­cally de­creased waist­line, I started run­ning in April be­cause my en­ergy lev­els had im­proved and the pain in my body had van­ished. Thanks to bant­ing, I com­pleted my first half marathon – the Soweto marathon. I’ve seen a huge num­ber of changes in my body and gen­eral health since I started eat­ing LCHF, a lot of them I never ex­pected: • My in­sulin re­sis­tance is sta­ble

• My blood pres­sure is down to 120/75

• Im­proved PMS and men­strual cy­cles

• Im­proved skin; the acid bumps that cov­ered my arms are gone, and my cracked heels and feet have healed

• No more ex­cess bile pro­duc­tion

• No more IBS

• No more in­som­nia

• No more body pain

• It’s very odd, but I don’t have cellulite any­more!

• No more colds and flu – I’ve not been sick all win­ter

• No stom­ach cramps

To oth­ers out there who are con­sid­er­ing bant­ing, ig­nore ev­ery­thing you’ve ever learnt about diet and nu­tri­tion! Just go for it; you will be amazed. Get the books, join all the on­line fo­rums and support groups – th­ese are great. It’s life chang­ing. I will never look back.

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