‘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.
‘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.