‘DROP­PING FROM 126KG TO 84KG HAS BEEN A TRI­UMPH’

After try­ing var­i­ous com­mer­cial di­ets and nu­tri­tion plans and not see­ing much suc­cess, Mick Wa­ters de­cided to give banting a go in Jan­uary 2016. Since his change in life­style, he says he has never felt bet­ter.

LOSE IT! - - Inspiration - AS TOLD TO: NADIA GHUMRA

‘Igrew up with a fairly tra­di­tional meal pat­tern: ce­real for break­fast, a pie or sand­wich for lunch, and meat, rice and pota­toes for din­ner. Like all kids I liked fizzy drinks and treats like dough­nuts and chips but, un­like most kids, I started to get chubby and in my teens my mom had me join Weigh-Less. It worked but after school I left for Lon­don – and a life of par­ty­ing, patched with con­ve­nience foods.

When I came back to South Africa I was big. Over the years I tried one diet after an­other; there were times when I made some progress but noth­ing was per­ma­nent. Then a good friend I had known since high school was killed in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent, and I pretty much fell apart: by 2015, I weighed 126kg.

There came a mo­ment when I re­alised I was no longer able to run around and play with my kids. I could barely make it up a flight of stairs with­out be­com­ing breath­less. I didn’t want to go to the beach or take part in out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

LCHF was in the news and I was in­trigued. It’s not every day that you hear a re­spected sci­en­tist say, “Hang on, I was wrong.” This was some­thing def­i­nitely worth lis­ten­ing to. So I joined the LCHF world and saw re­sults within the first cou­ple of weeks.

This was highly mo­ti­vat­ing, and I started weight train­ing again. My fit­ness lev­els im­proved, and run­ning on the tread­mill was be­com­ing eas­ier. Al­most mirac­u­lously, things came right. I now train six or seven days a week and run in the forest and on moun­tain trails. I also en­joy sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties with my chil­dren.

I have been banting for about 18 months, and I never feel that any­thing is miss­ing on my plate. The high fat sa­ti­ates me – I don’t feel hun­gry. I av­er­age two meals a day, a huge dif­fer­ence from my pre­vi­ous six! I can do a two-hour gym ses­sion and still not need to eat any­thing. My body is get­ting en­ergy from the fat stores.

I still need to make ad­just­ments here and there, like mak­ing sure I keep my salt lev­els up and tak­ing mag­ne­sium sup­ple­ments, but LCHF is my nor­mal. I can keep this up for the rest of my life. I have also found ways of deal­ing with dif­fer­ent so­cial sit­u­a­tions – for in­stance, if some­one presents me with a burger, I eat just the salad and the patty, which is the best part of the burger!

The big­gest mo­ti­va­tor is the sup­port I re­ceive. Set­ting out to lose a sig­nif­i­cant amount of weight is like stand­ing at the bot­tom of a moun­tain look­ing up and feel­ing there’s no way you’ll be able to climb it. When you have sup­port, it makes a big dif­fer­ence. My wife, Lara, has joined me on the jour­ney, and our kids have also adopted healthy and nu­tri­tious eat­ing habits.

I also joined a sup­port group on Face­book, which re­ally helps with recipes and in­spi­ra­tion. I have sub­se­quently be­come an ad­min mem­ber so I can con­tinue help­ing others achieve their goals. To help me keep up my fit­ness game, I joined an­other Face­book group called SleekGeek SA. They are al­ways there to tell you to get up and get to the gym.

Al­though I didn’t have any se­ri­ous med­i­cal con­di­tions be­fore I started banting, I be­lieve I was get­ting there. My sugar lev­els, blood pres­sure and choles­terol lev­els were higher. Drop­ping from 126kg to 84kg has been a tri­umph. I am proud of what I have over­come and what I have been through.

A good friend I’d known since high school was killed in a mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent, and I pretty much fell apart: by 2015, I weighed 126kg.

RIGHT: MICK AT THE BEACH WITH HIS WIFE, LARA, BE­FORE HE BE­GAN BANTING. BE­LOW: BY THE END OF 2015, MICK WEIGHED 126KG.

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