Article written by Merle Westcott – Banting Buddies coach in Durban
In 2014 I started my journey as a Banting Buddies coach, and the passion and satisfaction I get from helping others heal their bodies is why I continue to coach.
As Banting coaches we often take flack – many believe we are not necessary because:
- we charge for our services
- the information is all available on the internet
- anyone can lose weight Banting if they just join a support group or follow the instructions in a book
For many people, this may be true. They follow generic guidelines and have incredible success. Well done to them – what then happens is that when people are not losing weight, the same people who have been successful often jump in and give advice. They now consider themselves experts as they have lost weight. They accuse people of cheating, tell them if they stick to the generic rules they will lose weight and the person often loses motivation as they don’t improve and give up. What they fail to realise is that we have to heal the body first, and weight loss will then follow.Coaching is like being a detective, it is working out why the client is not losing weight when on the surface they are doing everything correctly. They send photos of their meals, keep weekly food diaries and still they don’t lose and often don’t experience any of the benefits of Banting – sleep is still bad, low energy and feeling lethargic. This is where my twenty plus years of working in the complementary health field, along with blood tests and my nutrition knowledge comes to the fore.
I start asking questions, getting clients to fill in quizzes, and narrow down the reasons why they are not succeeding.
When dietary changes don’t work I resort to blood tests.
In the last three weeks I have discovered two clients have Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune disease of the thyroid). In both cases, they were on Thyroid medication but not feeling at all well, one client has a weight issue the other does not. Client number two will be seeing me next week so we can make changes to her diet. Client number one has already started a protocol to heal her gut and remove all cross-reactive food from her diet. The changes in just a few weeks are incredible.
Since Emma Johnsonn’s story has been in Lose It magazine, I will mention her by name, Emma is another client who only started losing weight after we identified the Hashimoto’s, and changed her eating plan and lifestyle to heal her body.
The current issue of Lose It magazine features another of my wonderful clients – Vangile has also healed her body and put her autoimmune disease into remission. In the process she has lost weight, but for me the weight loss is the added bonus, the improvement in health comes first.
This week I had a wonderful voice note from a client, now friend, who has through coaching lost an incredible amount of weight, reversed her insulin resistance, and come off medication. Her doctor did follow up blood tests two months after taking her off Glucophage and he called to say her bloods are perfect and that as long as she keeps up the lifestyle she will not need them again. My heart sings, not only has she reversed insulin resistance but has also made sure that she is not going to progress to being a Type 2 diabetic. This is just one story, I have many insulin resistant and Type 2 diabetic clients who are off all medication. I have Type 1 diabetic clients who have cut insulin usage considerably and have lost weight.
Then there is the client who thought she had Rheumatoid Arthritis – blood tests showed elevated inflammation markers in the body. I advised her to cut out inflammatory foods and worked on healing the gut. In two weeks her pain was gone. That was a year ago, last week she took herself off for repeat blood tests and the inflammatory markers are now perfect.
When I first started coaching, I was often asked how I could coach others when I was battling to lose weight myself. Well, my story matches that of many of my clients. It took years to get a medical diagnosis. Then when I finally did go onto Thyroid medication, I still didn’t lose weight. For me the magic happened when I stopped Intermittent Fasting and upped my net carbs to around 50g a day – so I eat “orange list” vegetables such as butternut and sweet potato every day of my life. My own struggle and the experience I have gained from working with many clients over the last six years is what I draw on when helping people. Coaching others and helping them heal their bodies has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
Article written by Merle Westcott – Banting Buddies coach in Durban. Merle can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.