My Banting Story

Hi everyone! I’ve been taking a little break from blogging but you can still keep updated on the ins and outs by following me on social media. 🙂 For those who do follow me, you probably already know that I finally got my puppy (I reserved him a while back and I was just waiting till he was big enough to come home with me), his name is Buddy and he’s the fluffiest ball of love! He’s a golden retriever, a breed that I’ve heard and witnessed many great things, they have the best temperament, super patient and kind. See me hanging out with Buddy by following me on Snapchat —> @lovemarylu.

Onto today’s post…

Some of you may be rolling your eyes already by reading or hearing the word “Banting” – probably one of the most popular words in the health and fitness world right now, it’s all the craze! Clearly there’s something drawing you in, perhaps its a curiosity, perhaps you needed some convincing, a testimony… who knows! Whatever your reason is to click on this post, I can guarantee you that you’re not wasting your time, this is a real-life testimony on Banting, the good and bad, I’m not holding back!

I’m going to provide you with some basic information on my Banting experience:

What is Banting?

Basically, Banting is a eating plan that’s high in fat and low in carbs, and by carbs I mean all carbohydrates including the usual suspects such as potatoes, rice, breads but also fruits, sugar and legumes. This eating plan throws everything that we were taught in reverse because we all assume that healthy eating means less fat with lots of fruits and veg and moderate amount of healthy carbs. Firstly, let me start by saying that Banting works best for people who exercise regularly. I can’t imagine sitting on my ass all day and gobbling down bacon for breakfast and dinner, this leads to one word – obesity!

What do people on Banting eat? 

Pretty much all leafy greens and anything that grows above the ground and all meat products but also eggs and seafood. This doesn’t sound so bad right? Yes it’s great in the beginning but then you realise how much sugar and all things starchy are in the foods you eat on a daily basis, it gets a little tougher after that.

How does Banting work? 

It works on the logic that when you take your body off the carbs, instead of using up carbs for energy like what you’re used to, your body burns up the fat you’re taking in. Also the protein will help with muscle building, ideally you become a much more defined and leaner version of yourself. However, you MUST eat fat because if you don’t your body starts feeding off your muscles for energy (that’s the science).

How long was I on it for? 

I was on it for about 6 weeks, I literally just came off it now because for some odd reason my cholesterol has always been on the slightly higher side of life (I don’t even know why) and I want to do my Vitality test at the end of the month, so to be safe I’m just going to take a break from Banting and eat more fruit and veg, healthy grains and less fat and meats till I do my test (just to clean up the arteries if you want to put it that way) 😉

So… did it work?

Short answer – YES! Hell yes it worked but just bare in mind that I was extremely strict about it, I allowed myself one fruit a day and limited my carb intake to 50g per day. I had one cheat meal a week, which was usually something like a takeaway like Burger King and Pizza. I substituted my sugar for xylitol (although I don’t drink my coffee or tea sweet), which is one of the sweetners that are allowed. Importantly, I went to gym and exercised EVERY SINGLE DAY (sometimes I’ll give myself a day off) and even if sometimes I’m so stiff, I’ll do pilates or something. I weighed myself every Tuesday but it’s not the weight that I was after, it was my body fat content and muscle mass that I was targeting to change. Of course this goes without saying that I want my body fat content to drop while my muscle mass went up and whether that affected my overall body weight, that didn’t matter to me. So yes, it worked for me, I lost a bit of weight and my body fat percentage dropped a bit too but what I noticed the most is how I looked. My waist was visibly smaller, I’m guessing the fact that I stopped eating carbs and especially breads also contributed to that, I bloated less. My arms were more defined, I didn’t only feel the difference but I saw it too.

What’s the downside? 

Nothing has only an upside to it so naturally Banting has downsides too. I guess the most obvious one is that if you don’t eat enough fibre from the leafy greens, you’re going to have issues going to the bathroom – expect cycle changes! However everyone is different, it might not affect you in that respect at all. The first week was horrible, you feel low on energy and weak and all your body needs is a baguette! If you don’t buckle and give in after the first week, it becomes a breeze! I lost my appetite eventually, it’s natural that you eat less when all you’re eating is protein and vegetables because it fills you up quicker with less food. At one stage, the thought of eating another piece of meat grossed me out, I resorted to green smoothies and protein smoothies to help me out. This isn’t really too much of a downside for me because I don’t have a sweet tooth but all sugary goodness is out of bounds, no cake, sweets, chocolates and desserts!

The verdict…? 

Depending on how my vitality test comes out later this month, I’ll consider going back to Banting after. It’s fun when your friends are doing it with you and are there to support to all the way without rolling their eyes when you refuse to order dessert. What’s up with this Banting shaming (I know it’s not a thing but I’m gonna say it anyway)? I don’t shame you for NOT going to gym and leading the healthy and fitness kinda lifestyle that I enjoy living (boom). I’ve included some photos so you can be the judge of that. Btw… I was drinking coconut water… yum!

Any tips?

At the end of the day, my account of Banting won’t necessarily dictate your experience with it, everyone’s body is different so it might work great for others but not so for some. I think what’s important is that you stay true to yourself no matter what eating plan you’re on, if it’s not working for you, then change! There’s no shame in trying and changing because after all, you want the best for YOURSELF and not for other people. Chop it and change it if one eating plan isn’t working but I urge you to try it out instead of bad-mouthing and rolling your eyes at those who do. Track your results, measure yourself weekly and take photos because that’s the only way you’ll know if your body has improved. Also, it’s important that you give your body time to change, you cannot expect your body to lose 10% of fat within the first week, it takes at least a month to see actual results I would say.

The best way to start is grab a friend and do it together, it makes it a lot easier speaking to someone (or bitching… whatever you prefer) who is going through the same thing as you. Not only will you motivate each other but you’re mentally keeping each other in check, I actually feel guilty about disappointing my gym friends if I cheat when I’m not supposed to than feeling guilty about the actual cheating itself!

All in all, everything that I’ve said so far is MY account of Banting but if you want any official information, feel free to visit the website by clicking here.

Questions, answers, suggestions or any tips, all welcome 🙂 I’ve also been making my own almond milk, let me know if you want a recipe or if you want to know what I eat daily when I was Banting. I’m pretty confident that if I stayed on it for 3 months, I’ll look even better 😉

With love…xxx

My Fitness Story: Holiday Food

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a great week so far! Just one more day to go and then it’s the weekend! 🙂 I’ve had many great feedback since I started the “My Fitness Story” posts and please keep the feedback coming! If I haven’t addressed all your questions, I promise that I will get to it eventually. Since I’ve been back home from my holiday, I’ve received a few emails asking me about my diet when I’m on holiday, like what I eat and whether I cheat since I’m overseas and naturally I would want to try all the deliciousness out there.

The short and easy answer is, yes! I cheat and I eat whatever I want on holiday BUT you also have to bear in mind that my holidays aren’t food orientated, I eat the normal 3 meals a day and sometimes even 2. When I’m on holiday, I eat when I’m hungry and I snack only when I feel like snacking. In all honesty, I’m so busy exploring, shopping or being a beach bum that I don’t get hungry. If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that my all time favourite meal of the day is breakfast (surprise surprise) and that’s the one meal I don’t skip when I’m on holiday and I make sure I eat a good, wholesome and hearty meal for breakfast before I start my day. The best are those hotel breakfast buffets – I tend to pig out a little because I like to try a bit of everything. After a massive breakfast, my next meal is normally between lunch and dinner, then I’ll have a proper meal again. If I’m feeling peckish, I’ll snack in between when I’m on the go.

Do I feel bad about my diet when I’m on holiday? Not really because my holidays generally consist of a LOT of walking, abnormal amounts of walking for us who live in SA and drive everywhere. Public transport is super efficient and convenient especially in Hong Kong, so naturally walking would be part of everyday life. On average, I would say we walked about 7km a day when we’re in Hong Kong, obviously some days are more and some days are less. Walking then combined with the summer humidity there, say goodbye to any form of appetite for a big meal. 🙂

Of course, you cannot go traveling and not be tempted by local delicacies (that’s the best part about traveling to new places) so here are some things I had while I was on holiday, which isn’t even a proper glimpse of the amount of deliciousness I had while I was away. The one thing I love about going to Asia is the food, sure I love a good pizza and a burger with fries every now and again but if I could choose, I’ll choose to eat Asian food for the rest of my life. There’s never a dull moment!

This is what we had for dinner one night at a local restaurant with traditional barbecue pork. It was amaaaaazing!

This is what we had for dinner one night at a local restaurant with traditional barbecue pork. It was amaaaaazing!

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These are the devil! Equivalent to our Whispers by Cadbury but E bought an entire tub of this stuff! I would eat it in between in our hotel room while getting ready.

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Noodles for breakfast! One of my favourite things to eat for breakfast, rice noodles cooked in a hot beef broth with some pickled asian veg, meatballs and wontons! Yum! Also some cold Hong Kong style milk tea on the side!

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This was a daily routine when we’re in Boracay for the week, everyday we would go to Sharetea for bubble tea or in this case, E was feeling adventurous so he ordered Rock Salt and Cream Cheese!

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My biggest regret is not eating at Ding Tai Fung more often, since it was pretty much right next to our hotel. If you don’t know what Ding Tai Fung is, it’s basically the only Asian restaurant that has earned its Michelin Star, all thanks to these beautifully crafted babies! Mini soup buns, absolutely amazing!

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Traditional fried rice with prawns!

Sorry about the quality of the photos, these were taken with my phone camera, it was awful having to lug our DSLR around in the heat!

After all this, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that I don’t go crazy with the carb-loading when I’m on holiday but at the same time, I don’t restrict myself in what I can eat because I think it’s very important to try new things especially when you’re traveling to a foreign country. When it comes to drinking, yes I do drink alcohol and no I don’t get drunk on a daily basis when I’m on holiday because I don’t go on holiday to drink when we have perfectly good quality alcohol at reasonable prices here at home. I do enjoy a few cocktails by the poolside or on the beach though. I think of my holidays as a reward for all the times that I’ve been clean with my eating and my working out when I’m here in SA, you should too. 🙂

Hope this answered some questions!

With love…xxx

My Fitness Story: I’ll have seconds please

Hi everyone! Following on from my previous fitness post: My Fitness Story, I spoke about how I had come to terms with improving my health and also my journey in getting fit and becoming the best version of MYSELF. I have come to a point where I motivate myself and I am my motivation. It sure as hell haven’t been easy especially when there are tons of deliciousness everywhere you go (by the way, I’m writing this while sipping on some beetroot, carrot and apple juice and trying to convince myself it’s delicious). The enemy is not the unhealthy deliciousness, it’s the raging, hungry demon inside of you wanting to eat it. Honestly there’s nothing you can do but to ignore yourself, it takes a load of discipline to turn down a packet of chips for me but it’s possible because I’ve done it so many times already. The more you feed into it, the worse it gets, there’s no such thing as “I’ll have it one last time”.

I grew up eating Chinese food, trust me we’re not born to eat salad, but Chinese isn’t exactly the healthiest. I mean sure, there’s always greens, probably more greens than there is meat but a lot of the good stuff is fried as well which takes away the health factor. Bottom line is, whatever you grew up eating and if it’s not tons of vegetables and salads then you probably have to change your eating habits.

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I’m not particularly fond of eating salads or just vegetables but if you eat it enough, you find ways to enjoy them better. Like I try play this up a little and instead of doing the common tomato, cucumber and lettuce salad, I add things like baby radishes, quinoa, chickpeas, lentils, broad beans, carrots etc etc. It all comes down to experimenting and finding the right combination to create something you really love to eat and wouldn’t actually mind eating. Those other vegetables that are good for you but disgusting, I just juice them! I can’t stand spinach but it’s so good you so I just juice it and drink it up. This way you get the nutrients you need but not having to eat it in mouthfuls and chew it. Click here to read my post on the benefits of juice.

The next thing to get right is portions, knowing your portions and making sure you eat enough of all food groups. I’m not a nutritionist and I’m not a trained professional so don’t take my word for it, this is just how I do things. I try eat my biggest protein portion during lunch time, so generally lean meat (I also try stick to fish because chicken bores me) of some sort and the portion I have is about the same size as my fist (sounds huge but isn’t actually because my fists are tiny). Then I have double that portion of salad/vegetables and for carbs, I either skip that or have sweet potato. I generally eat my carbs in the morning, in the form of oats or toast. I love fruit but they often fool people with the amount of sugar they have in it, which is naturally carbs, a medium size banana has about 100 calories and a medium sized nectarine has about 50 calories. So it’s pretty important to portion your fruit intake as well, I try stick to 2 and a half portions of fruit a day. You shouldn’t be starving once you’ve had a healthy, wholesome meal and if you are, have more vegetables and greens. Eventually your stomach will be trained to stick to the portions that’s right for you.

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After this you’re probably thinking, why bother living?? I would have thought exactly the same thing when someone told me all this like 5 years ago, but that is exactly the point of living! To eat healthy and fill ourselves with natural and wholesome foods so that we may all live longer, be more active, age better and watch our great grand children grow up without pain and without health struggles.  Food for thought, just remember that no matter how wealthy you are, the one thing you cannot buy is health, you cannot throw the majority of life away into the dump and pick it up again, dust it off like nothing happened. Hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

With love…xxx