Today, I want to tell you about who inspired me to start my lchf journey… my best friend, Elize, who was turned down as a kidney donor for her sister as her BMI was too high and her liver to fatty. Her story is truly incredible and I knew when I saw her results that this was the right path for me too! Especially her medical results, because she was being considered as a donor for her sister, her progress was closely monitored with many many tests throughout her journey and her results are incredible!
Here is Elize’s LCHF story:
Today marks the 1 year anniversary of our transplant! But let me start at the beginning.
I have been overweight for most of my adult life. I have tried many many many diets, including Weigh-Less twice, Slender wonder, Weight Watchers, Dr Botha’s diet (using daily injections) and many different appetite suppressants. They all worked, somewhat, with my 1st Weigh-Less I lost 23kgs, but the second I stopped the diet I gained everything and more. I always gained more so I ended up weighing more than when I started a specific diet in the first place. The only word I can describe while following these diets were, HUNGRY. I was always hungry, a hunger that dominated my thought life, made me fixate on food and sweet stuff I was not allowed. I lived for the next meal / snack time which was almost every two hours. The last half hour I would watch the clock like a hawk. My food ready on my desk for me to dive in.
Early 2011 our worst fears as a family were realised, my sister was diagnosed with end stage renal failure. She was diagnosed with FSGS 20 years ago, we were told that she would eventually need a kidney transplant. They gave her 10 years but as she approached her 40′s we’d all thought this wasn’t going to happen so it came as quite a shock to suddenly hear her function was gone. I knew 20 years ago and I knew in 2011 that I was going to donate my kidney. No questions asked, so it came as huge shock to be told that I needed to lose at least 18 kg before I would be considered a donor.
The only diet I could think of was Weight Watchers, it wasn’t as restrictive in what you can eat, you just needed to make sure you stayed in your points allowance. The lower the fat content of your food the less points it costs the more you could eat. I lost slowly, on average 1 kg a month, but I was consistent and I stuck to it. Then about 12 months into the plan I stalled, completely, it didn’t matter how little fat I ate, how much I exercised, the weight didn’t budge. I had tried everything, by then I had lost 16 kg, I was 2 kg away from being considered a donor. I was frustrated and hungry, I remember feeling so despondent, I was failing, my sister was not going to get my kidney and time was running out. She wasn’t doing well on Dialysis and she was on the verge of giving up. I decided to take a small break, big mistake! 12 Months of being hungry I let loose on all the foods I had deprived myself, and I gained 6 kg within two weeks. I was mortified, stressed and beating myself up for not having self control, for failing and for not sticking to my plan. That put my total weight loss at a measly 10kg.
Round about the same time I had failed so miserably on my diet, my hubby came home one night and said that he thinks he had found the answer for him, he’s also been struggling to lose weight, and after his last attempt at Weight Watchers he’s gained weight while following the plan to a T we’d decided that traditional dieting was obviously not the answer for him. He’d been listening to Tim Noakes on Radio 702, and he felt something inside him move and click and it was as if the stars had lined up and he realised in 20 minutes why he was not able to lose weight. He was insulin resistant. I’ll let him tell his story here when he’s ready.
Of course I was skeptical, I had been told over and over again that Low Carbohydrate diets were bad for you, that it causes kidney damage etc. But I read the article hubby found online and for the first time it sounded like the truth. Here was a man who had come under major fire for his beliefs, but somehow between all of it, it felt as if we had found the answer. Tim Noakes mentioned a book written by Gary Taubes called “Why we get fat and what to do about it” I bought it immediately and read through the whole book in two days. What an eye opener!!!! I was exited and I was a convert immediately! I must have bored my friends and family to tears with all my low carb preaching! But more importantly, I was losing weight and so was hubby!!! We were SO exited!!!
I lost the 6kg I’d gained, and two more! I was finally considered a suitable donor!! During my work up as part of being the donor, I was scanned and x-rayed and my liver showed huge amounts of fat (it doesn’t say so on the report, it just mentions fat, but the ultrasound technician told me that there was a lot of fat), I remember being perplexed as I had lost 10kg with Weight Watchers surely my fatty liver should have been better. But it wasn’t. Just after those scans I started with LCHF. In that time we moved to a different transplant center, and they needed my test results renewed, 13 months after my initial scans showing fatty liver, my liver was declared normal! No more fat! I was astounded!!! I was initially nervous because I had started eating fat and a lot of it. My brain was still fixated on fat being bad, and this just put all my fears about fat to rest.
By the time we were both approved for transplant I had lost 24kg, I was exercising, doing BootCamp daily and running 5 km’s 3 times a week. I’d even entered into a couple of races and finished them. I had more energy, was less puffy and bloated, I am almost never hungry! Ever! Only if I’m too busy to eat and I leave it for a couple of hours, but best of all? I’m never over hungry, you know that hunger when eating a horse just wouldn’t be enough? I don’t have that, just a slight twinge in my tummy. I feel totally in control of my eating and my appetite, it’s been very liberating.
It is now 1 year post transplant, I still have about 10kg to lose to reach my goal, but I will get there, losing weight hasn’t come easy for me and in fact it had slowed down quite a bit in the past year, I think most of it has to do with relaxing my diet a bit, the pressure was off me, the transplant had gone well and I was in a celebratory mood, but I am back on track now and rearing to go!
The most important thing is that my sister is alive and well, her kidney functions are normal, it’s literally the same function as I had pre transplant! I am feeling so blessed and happy to have been able to do something for my sister to help her.
I will always follow LCHF, it has changed me in ways I cannot completely put in words. I am not insulin resistant, both my sugar and my insulin levels are completely normal, but sugar has wreaked havoc on my life. If I had known this, if I had known how bad sugar was and what a devastating effect it would have on my fertility, who knows, I might have had children. It’s only been in the last few years, after following LCHF that my Adenomyosis is gone. My gynie and fertility specialists told me the only way to cure adenomyosis was by having a hysterectomy. I had 4 surgeries to remove the growths, they kept growing back, but now they are completely gone, everything has gone back to normal and the only thing I changed was my diet. I don’t think I could ever forgive the ‘experts’ for advocating a low fat diet, high carb diet. It ruined any chances of us ever having children.
You might also be sceptical, but if you’ve been battling to lose weight, look into, do the research, try it. You never know, it might just be the thing that helps you.
– See more at: http://getslim.co.za/elizes-story-how-lchf-got-me-approved-as-a-kidney-donor/#sthash.4Qic4OSd.dpuf