What we have found is that after a while a few of the ‘newly-lean’ reach a frustrating plateau. Don’t be disheartened, you are not alone! Sally-Ann Creed, The Real Meal Revolution’s Banting Nutrition Therapist has had heaps of experience with Banters who run into this problem.
She comments, “The first thing one needs to remember is that weight loss is unique to every person. A book, and The Real Meal Revolution book in particular, can be an amazing help but 20% of the time, you’ll need a closer look from a professional. There are over a million things that could be standing in your way that you are not even aware of. It could be as simple as the type of yoghurt you are religiously eating to keep up your fat intake. Something you’re allergic to might be pumping up that tyre around your waist. The speed bumps are endless.”
Keeping this in mind, Sally-Ann has greased her 20 year-old arsenal of weight loss weapons to create a simple and easy to follow set of rules.
The ten commandments
- Eat enough animal fat. This is central to banting. Animal fat DOES NOT make you fat, and you need to eat it. Small amounts at a time make you feel full and stop you from overeating.
- Eat enough vegetables. Vegetables should be your bulk-food and this means that you must try to have veggies with every meal. Green vegetables are the best – low in carbs and full of nutrients. There are a great many different vegetables on the Green List. Make sure that you have variety in your diet.
- Don’t snack. For the first week or so of banting, that is, when you are going carb-cold-turkey, you may need to snack periodically, if only to keep your sanity. Make sure that you have banting-friendly snacks at hand. Remember that it is essential to have a good breakfast to set you up for the day. If you aren’t losing those hunger pangs, increase the animal fat in your diet.
- Don’t lie to yourself. Eating carbs that are perceived to be proteins, like legumes, baked beans, peanuts and quinoa, will undermine your banting attempts. Pay attention to the Red List – the forbidden foods. Quite simply, a red-listed item is either toxic or will cause weight gain. Foods on the Orange List must be eaten in moderation, with careful attention to quantity and carb content.
- Don’t over- or under-eat. New Banters get nervous about the idea of not snacking and tend to go overboard at mealtimes. Don’t worry about this. As long as there is enough fat in your diet, you will soon, without effort, be eating moderately-sized meals that will carry you through to the next meal. Never force food down your throat. When you are full, stop eating! If you don’t feel like lunch, don’t have it.
- Don’t eat too much protein. We cannot stress this enough. Banting is NOT high-protein eating. No more than 80 to 90 g of meat or fish is what you should be eating with any meal. [But don't be over-fastidious, to the extent that you feel deprived. If, on occasion, you eat at a steakhouse, choose the smaller option on the menu and don't fret. What is more, it is quite unnecessary to chop the pointy bit off the chicken breast!] Remember, the main thrust of banting is to cut the carbs from one’s diet and increase your fat intake. The consumption of proteins should be unaffected or even reduced.
- Be alert! Many ostensibly ‘healthy’ products and ready-made meals are full of carbs. Before you buy something, check the label. Five grams of carbs is the cut-off. If the carb content is higher, don’t buy it. Also, avoid any product that professes to be ‘low-fat’. The chances are that it will be loaded with carbs to compensate for the inevitable loss of flavour. When you start scrutinising product labels you will realise why it has in the past been so hard to lose weight.
- Avoid too many fruits and nuts. Fruit is full of natural fructose (the substance that makes it sweet). Fructose is perceived to be ‘good sugar’ but for a Banter there is no such thing. Sugar is sugar regardless of its perceived ‘goodness’ and, while natural sugar is far preferable to refined sugar, its consumption needs to be strictly controlled. Of all the fruits, berries are best but even berries need to be restricted in some cases. The nuts on the Green List are low in carbs and great snack foods, but you must not go overboard. Nuts may cause weight gain in some individuals, especially women, so must be restricted to an occasional small handful. Macadamias are best as they are loaded with healthy fat and almonds are packed with fibre and goodness. Always choose raw nuts in preference to commercial roasted nuts, as natural is always better.
- Control your dairy. Although dairy is good for you, it does contain carbs and can be a stumbling block for some people. When you start banting, avoid eating too much dairy. In other words, limit your cheese intake as much as possible, use whole milk and double cream yoghurt instead of low fat choices and have cream in your coffee. Butter is always good.
- Be strong!
THE ELEVENTH COMMANDMENT! Banting warnings and banting health risks
Watch what you drink. We’re faced with a dilemma here. We’re trying to promote health and overall well-being so promoting booze is not in our interest as alcohol is highly toxic. Dry wines, most spirits, low energy beers and a few other drinks are safe BUT that is only from a carb perspective. Alcopops, normal beer, any spirit mixer or cocktail will halt any weight loss you’re experiencing. It’s easy for us to promote low-carb alcoholic beverages but one needs to remember that a low-carb 5% vol. beer is still 5% toxic. Alcohol is also really good at draining motivation, lowering inhibitions, impairing driving ability and and and… So we leave drinking up to you. Consider the Eleventh Commandment our “drinking disclaimer”. You’re a grown-up and how much booze you choose to drink is up to you.