Bridgette Allan

Wellness coach



Rolling into the New Year

fitbit.jpgThis morning I posted a photo of my new companion on Facebook with the caption “my new best friend ‘cos after the holidays I’m fat AF” (my young nephew tells me AF means “extremely”.)

 To which a well meaning Facebook friend replied that I should “just start Banting.” “Start by cutting out all sugar, all grains. Eat everything full fat. Dairy, nuts, olives, avocados. Olive oil, coconut oil and butter. You will lose weight and feel fantastic.

Well that’s just it you see, I have been Banting - for a few years already,with great success. So why have I rolled into 2018 FAT AF ?

2017 was a challenging year for me. I generally tend to over commit and so throughout the year I felt somewhat overwhelmed. This is never a good thing for me because I pick at food to cope and as somebody who gains weight very fast, I can ill afford to fall into this trap. 

When over committed I also battle with episodes of depression. It is very important for me to stay calm and focused and incorporate some “me time” or “down time” into my schedule. I let this slip too, in 2017 and found that a couple of very negative events in the past two years started really eating away at my psyche resulting in more mindless picking at food.

Because I cook for a family, who desire to eat constantly, I am often thinking about or preparing food. This is a little like asking an alcoholic to work in a bottle store. Although we all follow a low carb lifestyle, the rest of the family are slim and weekends are very challenging when the family are sitting down to 3 meals a day. 

Back in 2016 I had a fall while running one of my dogs on the promenade. The pain in my ankle at the time was excruciating but I shrugged it off, iced it, strapped it for a couple of days and then spent the next 6 months wondering why it took so long to heal. As a result of leaving what was a torn posterior tibial tendon, I caused more damage and more inflammation and by mid 2017 could barely walk. 

Finally in September, desperate enough to seek help, I consulted a Foot and Ankle specialist andankle2.jpg ended up with a surgical repair and a very lengthy rehabilitation process. Weeks of absolutely no weight bearing and then gradual mobility and strengthening which is estimated to take six months in total. 

Although I am very well aware that we can’t outrun a bad diet- being physically inactive does nothing for the physique or for mental well being. 

Then to just add a final insult, menopause, which had already been lurking a while, descended on me like a dense fog, almost obliterating my focus. My sleep was terrible, I was constantly hungry, the physical effects of reduced oestrogen extreme.

 dwarves 1.jpgI felt murderous. And at this point, let me just mention, that LCHF is NOT a cure for menopause! Following clean eating may help with symptoms in some ladies but for many it doesn’t and pushing the LCHF “cure all” bullshit in their direction only makes them feel as if they are failing somewhere. 

Because of the hunger I started eating 3x a day, where previously I would eat only twice a day at most and practiced regular intermittent fasting, which works extremely well for me.

I was aware that I was picking up weight (yes, you can pick up weight while eating low carb.) My clothes didn’t feel comfortable on my body and I noticed that the wrinkles around my eyes were becoming nicely ironed out from the increased fleshy volume of my face.

Was I trying to stop the weight gain? of course ! I am acutely aware that as a professional, coaching patients on how to manage or reverse Type 2 diabetes, I need to set an example. My partner reassured me that it was just a temporary set back due to my injury but this was really very little reassurance when there’s a chorus playing repeatedly in the back of your head “never trust a fat medical professional to tell you what to eat.” Sadly, this is a tune many of my slim, fit colleagues sing and it really does make things challenging for those of us low carbers who don’t shed weight rapidly and easily.

By the time I went down to the Cape for Christmas and to see my brother visiting from 2108.jpgAustralia, I had packed on 12kgs ! I wanted to give up my job and become a recluse. I literally felt like saying “stuff it” and eating myself into oblivion.

2018 2.jpgFamily photos were inevitable and my brother(right) commented that my slim sister looked like a piece of ham between 2 sourdough bread slices. Fabulous !

So there you have it. As I commented on the Facebook post things are seldom as simple as just following a few eating rules. There is no one size fits all solution for everybody and although I strongly believe that a low carb diet is suitable for all, individual lifestyle, emotional and psychological well-being as well as hormonal and other physical consideration need to be taken into account when formulating the right diet for the individual. 

So is this a blog post justifying my weight gain? Absolutely NOT. It’s a reflection on how I got here so I can take steps to correct what has gone wrong. 

Knowing the how’s and why’s and the science behind low carb eating does not exclude me from sharing similar battles to many of you. It’s what helps keep me grounded (and rounded) and humble.

It is humility that helps us learn and enables us to exercise compassion to those who aren’t always sailing on calm seas !

My next blog post is about what changes I have made and how I am slaying this dragon. I would love those of you who are finding weight loss challenging, to join me on this journey. 

Lets make 2018 a healthy happy year together.

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