By Radka Zitkova
Valemount, McBride, Fraser Lake, Prince George and now Midway. Five towns across B.C. are on a diet – or rather a lifestyle – started by Valemount doctor Stefan du Toit.
John Fair first heard about the diet in early May from his wife Leda who went to a community meeting organized by Midway Health Centre. She recorded the meeting, played it to him and inspired him to join the next one.
“I have never believed in diets,” Fair says. “But this to me is not a diet, it is a change of the way we live.”
Fair was 256 pounds, diabetic and had a blood pressure over 160/100 before he hopped on what the Lower Mainlands now call Midway diet. He was on two different drugs that kicked his blood pressure in check, as well as on diabetes medication. Now he is 35 pounds lighter, off blood pressure medicine completely and on quarter doze of his original diabetics medication.
“I was always a happy person,” Fair says. “But now I am really happy, I am happy to see which way my body is growing.”
But he says the first days were not easy and he kept craving dark chocolate ice cream bars.
“I was simply hungry and hungry,” Fair says. “And then I realized it was the carbs that were making me hungry. Now when I am hungry, I drink water instead.”
His eating habits changed dramatically. Three times a day he eats a combination of vegetable and protein, both weighed carefully, five hours apart. Every week he shares his progress with a group of people who started the program with him. He doesn’t snack or exercise.
The key to the diet is to cut out carbs such as bread, pizza and pasta and lower the amount of fat people are eating.
Du Toit first came up with a low-glycemic plan 13 years ago when he was trying to lose weight himself. He suceeded. In two months he shedded 45 pounds and has maintained the weight ever since then. He has helped hundreds of people to better looking abs and pill-free mornings and others are still on the waiting lists.
The no exercise policy is what differentiates du Toit’s diet from other low-glyceming meal plans. Du Toit says that there are two ways of losing weight – a change in a diet or change in activity, but if you do both at once, you are cancelling out what you are trying to achieve. This way you lose weight as soon as you can, get to your goal weight and only then start excercising.
Du Toit says by losing our belly fat we are also more responsive to a hormone called leptin that tells us when we are full and teaches us that most people are eating way more than they need.
People who start his meal plan also join a group of people and go through the changes together which can help them to stick to the plan.
Just in Valemount, du Toit helped 150 people to lose almost 4000 pound in a year and half. That excludes family members who saw the progress of their loved ones and started eating like them.
He gets calls from all over Canada and U.S. from people asking about the diet but believes it is only effective when people form a group with a doctor in charge.
For John and Leda Fair the diet is far from over. They both plan to continue in the program for at least six more weeks and reach their dream weight. Fair says the only time they will take a two-day break will be when Leda hits 200 pounds.
“We will go celebrate,” Fair says. “And for a day or two we are not gonna care what we are eating at all.”
Graphic by digitalart
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