Something I am trying to come to terms with, with Banting, is the softness of my belly. Not the fatness, but the softer look and feel. This is all going to sound VERY superficial, and I apologise for that. I know that looks mean NOTHING in the grand scheme of things, and how my belly looks really means nothing, except to me, but for gym goers who are considering Banting, this post may be of interest. The reason I say that is because I competed on stage with a young Personal Trainer who also tried Banting and stopped due because she felt she didn't look as good on Banting as off it. Now we are talking about people (her, and yes, even me) who are hyper-critical of their bodies, due to the fact that we are bikini competitors. Meaning, we got on stage specifically to be judged on how our bodies looked. We trained our muscles, we dieted and did all this just to look toned and balanced and fit. So for us, Banting takes on a different meaning.
I understand that for most people, like, say, my mother, for example, Banting is for health. Weight loss is a happy by-product, but not the most important thing. You see, for someone like my mother, Banting completely cleared up her IBS. And also, she lots a ton of weight.
But I digress. This post is dedicated to how Banting makes one look. Can we still be lean and fit and toned whilst Banting? This is a question I have been trying to ask and answer for myself.
The thing is, when I Bant (eat LCHF) I notice that I immediately stop bloating. I also notice that my tummy, particularly my lower abdomen, feels very soft to the touch. I am trying to explain this as best as I can. It's not something particularly noticeable if you have to just look, but I can feel a huge difference. My belly goes soft. I can squish the flesh. The tiny roll I do have gets way softer. It's not firm fat anymore, but soft fat. (And I realise that it's very little fat, but bare with me here.) From a bodybuilding or bikini competitor's perspective, this is a little disturbing, as generally we want everything on our bodies to be hard. We want to be ripped.
So this time around (this is my third time Banting) I decided to take a few pics. And in all honesty, I can't see much of difference between my Banting belly and my low-fat-eating belly. Banting belly does look a little less lean, but then again, I haven't competed or dieted in two years, so even without Banting I would look less lean.
So I can only say that the Banting belly flesh feels softer. And after thinking about this for ages, researching it, and Banting three times now, I have come to this conclusion: that maybe the softer feel is an indication that inflammation in my body, particularly in my gut, is reduced. So maybe the firmer lower belly previously was actually a sign of a bloated, inflamed gut pushing hard again my abdomen wall? This is all just a guess, as I am not qualified in nutrition or training, but I AM one to do a lot of research, and I am one to listen carefully to my body and intuit what it's telling me.
So what exactly is my body telling me? It's telling me that I mustn't worry about a bit of softness, because overall, when I Bant, I feel healthy. I no longer crave sweets or cake or chocolate. I sleep well. I have ZERO bloating and gassy discomfit, and let me just say that I used to have A LOT of that before. When I ate low-fat, I bloated all the time. And I am not the only one. I know many, many gym-going ladies who are experiencing the same thing.
So the second thing I intuit is this: when we go too low-fat, it contributes to gut problems and encourages bloating. And that's just my...er...gut feeling.
|My "Banting" belly. Not bad, but it feels a lot softer to the touch than ever before.|
|Another view of my "abs" on Banting. I say abs in inverted comma's because you can't really see abs.|
|My belly when sitting down. What I like is that there is ZERO bloating with Banting. I had just eaten, and still, so flat. But this tummy feels so soft and squishy to touch, nothing hard about it. No "washboard" abs.|