‘When I was about 17, I was in a really unhealthy relationship and developed an equally unhealthy relationship with food. I became dependant on carbs to give me a feeling of fulfilment. In the blink of an eye, I had gained 30kg,’ says Rebekah.
In a bid to lose the weight and regain her self-confidence, she tried a number of quick-fix diets, which failed. ‘I had become so lost and overwhelmed by a feeling of failure. I was constantly indoors, overeating, chain-smoking and internalising everything I was going through,’ she says.
When her father turned to the low-carb lifestyle after struggling with an inflammatory disorder, Rebekah was intrigued by his remarkable results. ‘My dad’s an orthopaedic surgeon and actually attended medical school with Professor Tim Noakes, so I had a bit of inside information. When I saw how the lifestyle helped my dad with his health issues, I had to give it a try.’
Rebekah moved to the UK, where she lost 40kg in a little over six months. Low-carb eating was working for her, but her mindset was still in the wrong place.
‘I was shedding the weight, but I still got things wrong,’ she says. ‘I would have cheat meals, thinking that it wouldn’t hurt me, but that meant I still saw Banting as a diet instead of a lifestyle.’ After a night out with friends, Rebekah returned to her flat and began to experience excruciating pain. She was rushed to hospital, where doctors told her she had developed gall stones. ‘I thought I was just going to die. Worst of all, I was far away from most of my family. To feel like you are going to die away from the people you love is just horrific.’
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For the Love
RACHEL MANYATHI is an ultra runner and high school teacher whose life centres around kindness, and mountain adventure.