‘I didn’t have to go for heart surgery thanks to banting’
When Elize Rautenbach developed arrhythmia and was told she needed a pacemaker, she knew something had to change. She was overweight, sick and living on fast food until she discovered the LCHF lifestyle. Now her health issues have resolved themselves, she’s lost 34kg and dropped six dress sizes!
How did you become overweight?
I started gaining weight once I’d finished school, and when I had a Mirena IUD inserted for my endometriosis, it only got worse. I tried to follow so many fad diets – Weigh-Less, soup diets, fat burners, diet shakes and supplements – but it was all in vain. After multiple visits to the ER with chest pains, I was diagnosed with arrhythmia and scheduled for surgery to insert a pacemaker in early 2015.
My blood pressure was very high, my cholesterol was out of control and my weight had escalated to 89kg. All of this inspired me to look for a change of lifestyle. At that point I was living on fast foods. If I took the time to prepare meals, they were mostly carbs, like cereal with lots of sugar for breakfast; bread, pies and fizzy drinks for lunch; and pasta, meat with rice and potatoes, or sometimes a large pizza all to myself for supper. I’d crash from the carb overload and be hungry by bedtime, which meant I usually finished off the day with a peanut butter sandwich.
How did you lose weight?
My interest in LCHF was triggered by Stephanie Keto Person. I started following her on YouTube and came across a clip by Prof Tim Noakes. I decided to find out more about this “banting lifestyle” and soon switched over to the low-carb way of life. The food and recipes looked very appetising and suited me to a T. Initially, I copied Stephanie’s meals, but then I received The Real Meal Revolution as a gift. I cleaned out all the junk food from my cupboards and replaced it with the basic necessities like coconut and olive oil. I am on a tight budget and soon found that it wasn’t necessary to buy all the expensive flours etc. I kept every meal basic and I found I soon started to shed the kilos – to my absolute delight! Week one and two were really tough physically – I had terrible carb withdrawal after a lifetime of carb abuse. I had joint aches, restless legs at night, fatigue and muscle cramps. I treated this with homemade, organic bone broth, himalayan salt and raw apple cider vinegar (with mother enzymes). Although I was overwhelmed at first by the lists of what is permissible and what isn’t, as soon as I started using them religiously, it became easy. For the first two weeks my meals looked like this: BREAKFAST: avocado, bacon and egg LUNCH: chicken or fish salad with lots of greens (like baby spinach) and olive oil SUPPER: green leafy veg with fatty proteins like steak, pork or chicken.
How much weight did you lose?
How did it change your life?
Suddenly, in week three, it was as if a switch had flipped. I had more energy, my irritable bowel syndrome was gone and my skin started getting healthier too. In month three, for the first time in years, my menstrual cycle became regular. My acid reflux also disappeared. By month four my blood pressure had normalised and I could discontinue my BP medication. After a year, my cholesterol normalised – the HDL improved and the LDL, triglycerides and total reading went down to the extent that the doctor no longer recommended the use of statins (which I’d previously declined due to the side effects). I’ve lost 34kg and gone down six dress sizes, from size 18 to 6! But apart from that, my health has been completely revamped. I have much more energy, I no longer have arrhythmia, I don’t struggle with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome any longer, I no longer suffer from depression, my self-esteem is higher and my sleeping patterns have improved! Since my appestat [the part of the brain that is believed to control appetite] kicked in a year ago, I don’t feel that hungry. I eat one meal a day, consisting of permitted foods and fatty proteins. I do have coffee with full cream milk, but I mostly drink water (at least two litres per day). As I am now maintaining my weight, I have added some items on the ‘sometimes’ list – like sweet potato twice a week. I don’t miss sugar at all, but every now and then I make myself banting biscuits, or a chocolate pudding in a cup. As a life coach dealing with people’s addictions, I apply my own advice: a craving only lasts for five minutes, so don’t agonise over it. Channel your thoughts elsewhere, keep busy and soon it will be gone. About eight months ago, I started planking to strengthen my core and tone my body to avoid excessive loose skin. I have since joined the gym because I have so much energy. I have also taken a liking to kneeboarding and do it whenever I can, because I no longer have issues about what I look like in a swimming costume! Banting has changed my life. It cured me of so many ailments and gave me back my self-confidence. There’s nothing nicer than hearing my parents say they finally have their daughter back.' kg's
Over what period?
About 8 month