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Lose It! I did.

11 Apr

The first issue of Lose It! Magazine is now available to purchase from Exclusives and Woolies and it is absolutely worth the R50 cover price as it gives you all you need to know to get Banting or, more famously, follow the Prof Tim Noakes diet.

They have also done a feature on me and here is a link to their on-line version.

Lose It! Magazine

Lose It! Magazine

I can eat anything except sugar & carbs and not get fat again.

2 Apr

Although I’ve been at my goal weight for more than a year now, I still think of myself as that fat guy who took up more space. I’m reminded of this when I need to get past people sitting in a restaurant and I think I’m bigger than I am and ask people to push their chairs in so I can get past. Fat blog

I wonder if I will ever be like a cat that knows its whiskers represent the widest part of its body.

Perhaps we all have an inaccurate picture of how we really are. Before getting on the scale this morning I imagined I would be 82Kg (had a greedy past few days) but I was actually 80.6Kg. This prove to me the veracity of the truth that sugar and carbs made me obese and not the fat or the caloric-value in foods.

Pic by Anel van der Merwe at Fairlady.

Pic by Anel van der Merwe at Fairlady.


When a logo says it all

8 Mar

As Cape Town is World Design Capital at the moment, it made even more sense to engage a professional to create a logo to represent my newest passion – a support group for people with Type 2 Diabetes who are also committed to reducing the impact of this scourge by achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

I couldn’t be happier with this logo that Ian MacKie created for me. He perfectly understood that it is a fight to achieve health nowadays and that there is a revolution afoot of people who are no longer satisfied being dished up the same advice for a problem that is only getting worse. Like Victor Hugo says “All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” Please join our revolution. Our support group meets every Wednesday in Kenridge between 6pm and 7pm. You can email to join.

TYPE 2 logo-01

Shed fears and phobias as you shed weight

2 Mar

I’ve started a support group for people with Type 2 Diabetes who want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. We’ve had just two meetings but already I notice how similar the experiences of others in the group have been to mine.

Even though I’ve achieved my goal weight and by every measure I am now healthy, I still sometimes eat as a way of managing my anxiety. The difference now is that now I eat nuts or more of the foods that are good for me and even if I do increase my weight because of it, I’m able to normalise in a day or two.

I’ve also noticed that I’m not alone in the way that shedding my heft has also dramatically increased my ability to manage my anxiety and phobias. My life-long fear of spiders was once so debilitating that I couldn’t even look at a photograph or worse, be near a rubber spider without freaking out.

Look, I’m not suggesting that spiders and I are now best friends but certainly the intensity with which I avoid them is diminished.

I think I’m less frightened of myself, more confident that my body won’t fail me if I need to get out the way of a spider on the rampage.

I’m also more able to tolerate discomfort – I slid while climbing down Hangklip and deeply grazed my hand and arm. It was bloody and sore but I had no option but to continue climbing and deal with it when I got home. I mention this because I know that even if I were bitten by a spider that I’d likely survive it.


A golden orb spider encountered while climbing the Kogelberg.

A golden orb spider encountered while climbing the Kogelberg.

As I learn more about what I’m capable of now that I’m not fat  I honour myself for breaking the cycle of using food to soothe myself and then using food again to suppress the sadness and anger I felt at having used food to soothe myself in the first place.

More than anything, Tim Noakes introduced me to the idea that I was addicted to certain foods.  It wasn’t that I was lazy, or lacking in willpower, but that all of my life I’d been given the wrong advice in terms of what to eat.

Changing the way we live is hard enough without having to also be kept on the brink of addiction.

The Type2Revolution, We Shall Overcome support group meets on Wednesday evenings between six and seven at the practice rooms of Dr Louise Spruyt, 1 Mildred Street, Kenridge, 7550. It costs R450 per month to participate. Email to join.


Type2Revolution support group

11 Feb

A new support group called Type2 Revolution, We Shall Overcome! for people with Type 2 Diabetes who are struggling to achieve and maintain a healthy weight will be facilitated by me, Brian Berkman who successfully shed 70Kg and reversed diabetes and hypertension. The hour-long sessions on Wednesday evenings, between 6pm and 7pm will be held at the practice rooms of Dr Louise Spruyt at 1 Mildred Road, Kenridge. It will be an opportunity for people to talk about their experiences in a confidential, caring but constructive environment where they can plan ahead to achieve their goals. Fee is R450 per month. Email to join.

I’ll get more sponsored stuff if you buy it. Thanks.

26 Jan

New Year Detox: Get all five detox products for just R449. That’s a massive saving of R456 per pack before the end of Jan.

New Year Detox: Get all five detox products for just R449. That’s a massive saving of R456 per pack before the end of Jan.

I’ve used Sh’Zen products for years. It started with my sister Naomi Gelb who has represented Sh’Zen since Moses needed hand cream after 40 days and nights in the desert –  a very long time ago. At the time I was spending fortunes on Dermalogica products and not that keen to try something new but with each celebration I received another Sh’Zen product to the point today where I use Sh’Zen and Environ exclusively.

Imagine how thrilled I am to get a stash of Sh’Zen-sponsored products (thanks in part to SleekGeek Eric Chowles for bringing his mom Heather who works with Sh’Zen and knows Naomi) to hear my Upgrade Your Life talk about my successful weight loss. Anyhoo, in exchange for a blog post and Facebook mention I’ll get a stash from them every month (providing, I guess, you let them know you love them too.)

I chose the New Year Detox package of Pamplemousse Cleansing Gel (smells divine) and can be used in the shower every morning to help tone and purify skin, the Skin Stimulator (think sponge and loofa on steroids) which exfoliates, improves circulation to give you a toned, firmer shape, a Contour Gel to help improve the excess skin under my arms and upper legs which also eliminates excess fluids and strengthens connective tissue to leave skin looking firmer and smoother as well as a Digestive Aid Massage Oil  which helps detoxing. (I’ve used the Black Pepper After Sports oil for years and swear by it!) The package also comes with Detox bath crystals but as I only shower I swapped it for shower gel.

IMG_4516 IMG_4517If you see me looking more spiffy than usual and smelling dreamy you’ll know why.

If you’re going to buy Sh’Zen please do so from my darling sister Naomi, also available on




I can get it for you wholesale!

18 Jan

On top of the Kogelberg with Pringle Bay bay in the background.

On top of the Kogelberg with Pringle Bay bay in the background.

Anything for a discount, right? Right. Why pay full price when you can pay half the price? Suddenly spending R999 on another pair of waterproof Columbia hiking boots doesn’t seem like a stretch. Even less so when it comes with a different lacing technique (think ice skates) making my complaints about how long it took me to get into my previous pair a thing of the past.

Columbia, Canal Walk

Columbia, Canal Walk

I also love the elegance of the leather (amazingly this pair is as light as the synthetic fabric pair)  but they got seriously scuffed after just one mountain outing.

I consider the Kogelberg MY mountain and try to walk on it every day that I’m in Pringle Bay but it has lots of sharply jagged edges and small rocks and stones that make the wearing of regular shoes not a comfortable option. The best part about these boots is they have the kind of traction on rocks that let’s me pretend I’m a klipspringer. Mind you don’t expect the same traction on a tiled surface through, I almost went flying walking on a wet kitchen floor while wearing them.

A new favourite store is Kingsley Heath, also at Canal Walk where I bought the Columbia boots. I first discovered them when they used to be in De Waterkant but at that time I was too fat to fit into anything there. Their interior is all Colonial Adventurer Club meets African luxury and what I love most is the huge and comfortable changing rooms and brilliant service. I bought a 100% cotton shirt with button-down tags to neatly roll up the sleeves also at half price and they also had golf shirts vastly reduced.

A huge thrill for me is to ask the sales attendant for a smaller size. A big change from having to embarrass myself every time I got onto an aeroplane and had to ask for a seat-belt extender.

These Columbia boots are made for walking. Note the easy lace ups.

These Columbia boots are made for walking. Note the easy lace ups.

My other pair of Columbia boots, also useful as a flare when lost.

My other pair of Columbia boots, also useful as a flare when lost.

Betty's Bay from the Kogelberg.

Betty’s Bay from the Kogelberg.

Route to change: pick a path and stick to it.

5 Jan

Route to change

Baking without grain flour or sugar.

30 Dec

I love baking.

Increasingly I’m finding it difficult to bake sugar and grain-rich items while I encourage people to follow a low sugar and low grain diet. Here then is my beta version of carrot cake without grain flour and sugar. I used pureed banana in place of the sugar to add sweetness and volume to the beaten egg and oil (using olive oil instead of sunflower seed oil).

JP keen to try a slice.

JP keen to try a slice.

I didn’t have sufficient carrots so used zucchini too which works well enough. The coconut flour absorbs liquid at a far greater rate than cake flour does so I will use a third less the next time I make it. The olive oil imparts a flavour to this cake that is not entirely desirable but I’m loathed to use coconut oil instead as it is so costly. I plan to beef up the cinnamon to make it a more pronounced flavour.

While this dish meets many Paleo requirements it is still high in energy and fat because of the coconut flour, olive oil and banana.

Will let you know how the next one turns out but welcome any input if you’ve managed to bake successfully without sugar or grain flour.

Carrot cake without grain flour or sugar.

Carrot cake without grain flour or sugar.

An open letter to the medical profession

17 Dec

It saddens but doesn’t surprise me that there is such a vitriolic response to Prof Tim Noakes’ recommendation of a low carbohydrate, high fat diet to achieve sustainable weight loss. It saddens me because I, and so many of us, have elevated the medical profession to a higher level of trust than other professions and it takes much to feel we can question or challenge a doctor’s prescription. It doesn’t surprise me though as the groundswell of popular support threatens the status quo. It is becoming much harder for medical professionals to diagnose, prescribe and engage with patients to discuss their thoughts in the 15-minute billing increment.

But times have changed. Prescriptions are no longer written in latin to maintain the veil of mystery and in today’s connected world, access to knowledge from the globe’s most respected universities, is a click away.

Perhaps the time has also changed around the closed-mindedness (and, in my judgement, fear-based protectionism) by the medical profession in only considering randomised controlled studies as the basis for revisiting what was once believed to be true.

The reason, to my mind, anyway, why Prof Noakes is so vilified is that he is not satisfied to simply publish his findings in the popular press and discuss them on talk-shows. He needs to, and has, shared his opinions and findings within the sacred pages of the SA Medical Journal – a move too far for the establishment which has responded with fear and ridicule. It is this point that disappoints me the most. Instead of engaging in robust debate and re-thinking to help shape a new way  to manage obesity the medical profession appears to me to simply be protecting its position.

It is a fact that obesity and the lifestyle diseases that stem from it threatens not only our nation and health-care budget but also those of many countries abroad. Surely, if for no other reason, this has to mean that the existing approach to healthy-weight management is not working?

Prof Noakes is so committed to his view that there is another way to manage obesity that he risks professional persecution for it.

I am not alone in my appreciation to him for doing so. As someone who successfully managed to shed 70kg and have maintained the same healthy weight for 10 months now, I am hugely grateful for his outspokenness and fervour. Of course there are many factors that have contributed to my successful weight loss but I believe that the main one was my new-found appreciation that I was addicted to sugars and starch-based carbohydrates. It was only after purging myself from these toxins to my body that I was able to manage and maintain my weight loss. It is true that the terror of pending weight-loss surgery helped focus my mind on the reality of the problem but it is also true that eating a diet similar to what he recommends has allowed me to feel sated and without the cravings that haunted and ultimately undermined every other diet.

Rather than investing so much in dismissing Prof Noakes I would have preferred his detractors to mobilise a study to test his theories.