Former food critic Brian Berkman tells us how the LCHF diet helped him shed 70kg and gave him a new lease on life.
I’ve had issues with food for a long time. I was chubby at birth and just continued to get bigger. I was put on diet from a young age and taken to Weigh-Less. I remember rebelling against the diets that my mom would put me on.
In July 2011, I weighed 153kg. My health was compromised; I had chronic back pain, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. It is amazing how easy it is to convince ourselves that what we are feeling is okay. Finally, I asked my doctor what I should do. He said the only solution was bariatric surgery (gastric bypass).
In preparation for the surgery, I had to see a dietician, who put me on a strict low calorie and low carbohydrate diet. I was terrified of having surgery; I knew something needed to change so I followed an even more restrictive diet than the dietician had given me. I cut out dairy and sugar. It was the most difficult challenge I’d ever faced, but I realised that weighing 153kg would eventually kill me.
I had been associated with food and restaurants for 10 years so, when I started dieting, I had to completely change my whole identity. I stopped writing about food and restaurants, shifting focus to travel writing and working in the PR industry. The dates for my scheduled surgery had to be postponed due to some health issues, but by then I had already lost 25kg and decided not to have the surgery at all.
Soon after that, I heard Tim Noakes on the radio saying that carbohydrates were bad for us. I did more research on him online, greedily absorbing everything he had to say. I knew nothing about Paleo and asked my dietician about it. She advised me not to cut out carbohydrates and said that I needed them in my diet. I chose to disregard her advice. I decided to follow Tim Noakes’s guidance over my dietician’s.
I was already losing weight on the diet she had given me, but I found that when I cut out all carbohydrates, as Noakes advocated, my weight loss increased and I had no more cravings. It was a real revelation.
I have lost over 70kg in total, and now weigh in at 81kg. I’ve been at my goal weight for almost a year. I feel amazing; I have so much more energy that I’m sure I’ll continue eating like this forever.
Read the full story in LOSE IT volume 1. As told to Sandra ParmeePhotographs:Hetty Zantman, Anèl van Der Merwe and supplied