‘I lost 44kg on LCHF’ – Esther Möller’s low-carb transformation
When Esther Möller realised how fast her health was deteriorating, she made a drastic change. Now she’s an LCHF lifestyle advocate and ambassador, she lost 44kg, she’s stopped all the chronic medication she was taking in less than a year and she feels 10 years younger! Read her amazing LCHF transformation story to get inspired for 2018.
How did you become overweight?
As a little girl growing up on a farm in the Overberg I was very active. I didn’t really experience any health problems except for very sensitive skin. It was at boarding school in my teens that I realised I tend to pick up weight faster than others. My family members always point out that I take after my grandmother, who was overweight most of her life. This made me self-conscious about my weight. During my varsity years my weight increased even more and I started to battle with my selfimage. I tried all sorts of weightloss methods. I joined clubs and gyms, losing a few kilos then picking up the weight – and more – again. In my late thirties I decided to make peace with my body – I even started to love the skin I was in – and my weight increased steadily.
My “Damascus moment” came in November 2014. I almost landed up in hospital, completely burnt out, after an event I’d organised. I saw photos of myself at the event… I looked so bloated and washed out. The truth hit home: I was beyond morbidly obese, and slowly killing myself. I was fooling myself by not taking note of what was happening. I didn’t even own a scale but my health was going downhill so fast I came to the scary realisation that I might never reach old age. There and then I decided I had to do something. I’d always seen myself as quite healthy as I don’t visit the doctor much but, with hindsight, I realise how metabolically challenged I really was. I developed hypertension about 15 years ago, followed by chronic water retention, with swollen feet and ankles. I also suffered terribly from acid reflux and gout, and developed severe eczema on my neck and face, and arthritis in my joints. Eventually I was prescribed a handful of chronic medications, which I had to take every day. The eczema got so bad, I needed powerful antibiotics. Then one of my friends mentioned on Facebook that she was losing weight despite enjoying creamy cappuccinos. I thought: “How is that even remotely possible?” She said Banting was changing her life, which made me sit up and take note.
How did you lose weight?
I knew nothing about Banting or Professor Noakes. I had only heard that it was controversial. So I read as much as I could on the topic, and slowly the penny dropped. I started to apply the LCHF principles and soon realised that I could make this a way of life. I love keeping life simple – I’m not into weighing food and calculating carbs or calories – so this suited me. I used a carb calculator app on my phone for about a week to get the hang of it, and after that I just followed the basics. It worked! We’ve been led to believe that we can’t exist without six to eight portions of carbs a day. I bought into that and ended up sick and morbidly obese. Yes, I enjoyed the white starches but I always believed that eating wholewheat bread and pasta, brown rice, and legumes was the healthy thing to do. As a mother I chose the “healthier” options for my family. If only I’d known! The moment you realise that carbs are not an essential macronutrient, life gets so much easier. I didn’t go cold turkey on carbs at first as I didn’t yet fully understand the LCHF lifestyle. By about two to three months in I’d cut the sugar in my coffee to only half a teaspoon, and I thought: “Who the heck are you fooling?” Since then, I haven’t been able to stand its overly sweet taste. Starches and grains have also lost their appeal. I reduced my bread intake dramatically, and when I did eat it I suffered from lower abdominal pains and remained bloated for a couple of days. Cutting grains and legumes was just more soothing to my gut. I didn’t even miss them; I enjoyed my fatty biltong, streaky bacon, macadamia nuts, pork crackling and creamy coffees way more and didn’t suffer any consequences from eating them – apart from the weight melting off. You have a harder time coping with the people who insist you have the cake they feel uncomfortable eating in front of you. The power lies in the space between your ears. The moment you understand the laws of nutrition as explained in LCHF terms, you’ll be hooked. Most people start the LCHF lifestyle in a quest to lose weight, but you eventually realise how beneficial it is all round. Within four to six months I was living LCHF without giving it any conscious thought. It came as naturally as my high-carb lifestyle of the past 45-odd years. The secret, though, is to control your environment. Never underestimate the power of carb addiction.
How much weight did you lose?
At a conservative estimate I’ve lost at least 44kg. I refused to weigh myself before, so it’s hard to pinpoint it exactly. I wore a tight size 48/24 before starting, and am currently between sizes 38 and 40/14 and 16. After about two months my clothes felt looser but it was only after about four months that other people started noticing a difference. My family members were a bit sceptical at first but when they saw the results they realised that this was not a fad. Together, my husband, my eldest daughter and I have lost close to 90kg so far. My parents and both sisters have also changed their lifestyles. Our success has inspired colleagues, friends and even strangers through social media. Living in a small town, it doesn’t pass unnoticed. kg's
How did it change your life?
I feel at least 10 to 15 years younger! I now weigh what I weighed in high school. I have much more energy, I got rid of the most terrible brain fog – my focus is clear – and I have much more stamina and endurance. I dropped all my chronic medicines less than a year after starting LCHF. I now know I will never be able to enjoy carbs safely and I’m not willing to compromise my health any further. We love stews, grilled chicken and meat, lasagna and pizzas. The breakfasts are the best! I have found alternatives for some favourites and I bake only on special occasions. My daughter Mariska had been morbidly obese since childhood. I was worried about her health and felt completely helpless. She’s always been bullied and ridiculed for her appearance and that broke our hearts, but she was inspired by my transformation. Slowly the weight began melting off her. It was amazing to see my firstborn transforming into a beautiful, confident young woman. kg's
Over what period?
Between 4 and 8 month