Elizabeth – Patient Profile

//Elizabeth – Patient Profile

A reader, Elizabeth wrote in to me recently. I would like to share her inspirational story to start the New Year! She writes:

I grew up in South Africa, over-weight most of my life with periods of weight loss (yo-yo dieting). In 2002 I went on the X-Diet, a fat-free high carbohydrate diet, for 2 years. Early in 2004 I moved to a new job in Botswana, a neighboring country, and had to have a full medical check-up after which I was diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I was put on medication for all three (at this stage my father was also on medication for all three and my siblings were on some of these medications too). Only later did I discover how many people/friends who had been on this X- Diet were diagnosed as having diabetes after a time on it.

I started out on Glucophage (metformin) twice a day, but didn’t really worry too much about my diet assuming the medication would solve it all. Weighing 105kg I began a low carbohydrate, severely calorie restricted diet, (about 100g meat or 2 eggs, and about a cup of green and white vegetables 3x per day.) My weight went down to 75kg over about 18 months, but the diet was so restrictive it was not sustainable so inevitably my weight steadily climbed up. I also developed many allergies and was on a lot of cortisone, never realizing or being told that this would affect my blood glucose levels, which were at about 16 mmol/L on most days.

At the end of 2010 I was very ill and went to see a physician, in South Africa. My medication was increased. Although I had no pain I was horrified when an ultra-sound showed up a non-alcoholic fatty liver and a 2 cm kidney stone. In April 2011 I went to Johannesburg where the kidney stone was broken up by laser. The night before the surgery the urologist gave me a large dose of cortisone and on the morning of the surgery a physician came in, measured my glucose levels at 20 mmol/L and said I needed insulin injections. He put me on Lantus along with the Glucophage XR and said I must just increase the dose until my blood glucose level was down, with no other explanation and so I did just that!

However, it wasn’t really helping and so at a stage another physician changed my medication to Levemir at night and Novorapid before meals, as well as the Glucophage XR. Again no one educated me properly and as my glucose measurements became higher and higher I just increased the dosage.

Late in 2011 I went to see a diabetic dietician in Pretoria. By this time I was injecting 120 units of Levemir every night and 80 units of Novorapid with each meal as well as the Glucophage XR morning and night. She gave me a diet plan with 6 small meals/day with plenty of Low GI carbohydrate. My morning fasting glucose measurement remained above 10 mmol/L and after some months in 2012 she referred me to a doctor in Pretoria, again a diabetes specialist.

At this time my weight was about 96kg.

Fasting glucose 9.5 mmol/L.

HbA1c 7.6%.

Cholesterol 4.5 mmol/L.

HDL 1.2 mmol/L

LDL 1.7 mmol/L

Triglycerides 3.5 mmol/L

Since starting insulin, no matter what I did or how hard I exercised I could not lose weight as easily as I had done before. Even when I quit carbohydrates, I was convinced it had something to do with insulin. I became disillusioned with these doctors. They just seemed to be doing and telling me the same old same old. Eventually, I changed to Glucovance 5mg/500mg, which I took along with my insulin.

Fast forward to January 2015, still weighing about 96kg and having attended gym religiously since 2010 never moving the scale less than 90kg, I had had enough.

I began by cutting carbohydrates again and the gym I had been going to started a 30 minutes high intensity interval training class, and suddenly on the days that I went to this class I would wake up between 10pm and midnight because my glucose levels were dropping to about 2.3 mmol/L. So as I was concerned, I researched a bit on the internet and at the same time came across an article by Dr Fung, who had just presented at the LCHF Convention in Cape Town, which said Type 2 diabetes could be reversed.

I watched his You Tube presentations and for the first time ever here was something that made sense. I immediately decided that quitting insulin was my first priority, but I could not find a single dietician, doctor or physician in South Africa that would help me. So I read more of his IDM blog and started fasting towards the end of February with low carbohydrate meals. I cut all my insulin doses in half, but continued with the Glucovance, I also quit the statin I was taking.

I first began with 3 days fasting a week with a Sunday night to Tuesday morning, Tuesday night to Thursday morning and Thursday night to Saturday morning. I drank coffee with cream in the morning when fasting, and water with a slice of lemon in it the remainder of the day. I ate egg and bacon in the mornings at first as I have always been told you have to eat breakfast! Later on the more I read the more I learnt that you don’t need breakfast so I changed my fasting regime and only ate one meal in the late afternoon. However, my glucose levels continued to drop at night so I quit all injected insulin, but continued the Glucovance with fasting and LCHF/Paleo type eating (REAL FOOD). By now my weight was slowly coming down and the needle on the scale was less than 90kg. I now weighed 87.8kg and had lost a total of 6.2 kg (2.9%) body fat and a total of 35cm.

In April I went to visit my family in Texas and did not deprive myself at any time, however, I tried to make wise food choices, (not eating fries or the bun of a burger, no sodas, etc) and fasted when I had gone over-board. I took along my insulin, just in case, but didn’t need it; however, I continued using the Glucovance and continued to get very low glucose levels at night.

On my return, I changed back to Metformin 500mg twice a day and continued with the HIIT, more intense fasting and LCHF/Paleo. Then on reading one of the question and answer sessions with Dr Fung on www.dietdoctor.com I realized that I should not be using Metformin on fasting days, so I quit that too.

My weight was now 79, 7 kg and I had lost a total of 13.03 kg (7.3%) body fat and a total of 46.5cm.

Fasting glucose 7.6 mmol/L.

HbA1c 6.2%.

Cholesterol 5.9 mmol/L.

HDL 1.4 mmol/L

LDL 3.4 mmol/L

Triglycerides 2.45 mmol/L

At one stage Dr Fung mentioned Marty Kendall’s page on ketogenic diets. For me this way of eating was too limiting and not sustainable. I need to stick to something that suits my needs. I enjoy fruit, but have tried to stick to strawberries with a bit of cream, with the odd peach or apple and use the fruit as my candy. If I’m out and presented with a few carbohydrate choices instead of eating all of them I will decide as to which one I really feel like and have a small portion. I try to eat real food most of the time, nothing processed or from boxes, tin cans, packets, etc. I live alone and also try not to keep any tempting food in the house, just to make it easier on myself.

And so I continued fasting and in August I thought I had finally found a physician in Pretoria to help me. I was often dizzy, but after again reading an IDM blog I realized this was not from the fasting, but more than likely from my blood pressure coming down. How mistaken I was about getting the help I needed, apart from confirming my suspicion that I was now in full menopause at the age of 49 and taking my blood pressure and taking me off blood pressure medication I got a lecture. I was told how I now needed HRT, how important statins are for me, and how I could not exercise while fasting, and please I must eat carbohydrates!

I have continued reading the IDM blogs, dietdoctor.com and a few others, educating myself, as knowledge is power, and astounding various people in various ways, including some friends in the medical profession that were too polite to tell me that they thought I was nuts!

It’s the end of November and I now weigh 68kgs and have lost a total of 20.64 kg (12.40%) body fat and a total of 77.5cm.

Fasting glucose 5.9 mmol/L.

HbA1c 5.3%.

Cholesterol 4.9 mmol/L.

HDL 1.4 mmol/L

LDL 3.12 mmol/L

Triglycerides 0.84 mmol/L

I realize that I am always going to struggle with my love of carbohydrates, especially bread and fruit, but I know that this way of eating is sustainable and that as Dr Fung put it, there are times of feast, but it is easy enough to balance these with times of famine (fasting). I feel so much better for the weight lost and have lots of energy when fasting.

My biggest frustration this year has been that I could not find a single physician, doctor or dietician in South Africa that has been willing to help me, even after I had made it clear that they did not have to buy into what I was doing, just assist.

Dr. Jason Fung: Congratulations, Elizabeth on your terrific results. It is amazing to realize that you went from taking 360 units of Insulin daily as well as oral medications to no medications at all with a HgbA1c of 5.3%.

That is truly impressive. The indescribably sad part about it is that you achieved this amazing feat despite, not because of the health professionals. In fact, had you listened to ‘health professionals’ at any point in this journey, you would still be injecting yourself 4 times a day – overweight, diabetic, sick and, to tell you the truth, slowly dying.

You successfully reversed your type 2 diabetes in a matter of 10 months! This is a feat that your doctors think is impossible! Not only is T2D reversible, sometimes it is quickly reversible.

I always suggest getting tight medical supervision for any type of dietary changes and especially with any medication changes. However, I do understand that it is not always easy to find such help. We have recently started our ‘Affiliates’ program in order to connect patients with physicians that understand the dietary strategies that we use.

In Cape Town, Dr. Salih Solomon recently spent some time with us in the IDM program and is ready to help patients there. He is friendly, kind and a great physician. I highly recommend him.

2017-10-27T18:11:55+00:00 28 Comments

About the Author:

Dr. Fung is a Toronto based kidney specialist, having graduated from the University of Toronto and finishing his medical specialty at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. He is the author of the bestsellers ‘The Obesity Code’ and ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting’. He has pioneered the use of therapeutic fasting for weight loss and type 2 diabetes reversal in his IDM clinic.

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28 Comments on "Elizabeth – Patient Profile"

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Glenda Glayzer

No affiliates in the USA? We need help!


Glenda –
Where are you located? Jimmy Moore has a list of doctors who follow LCHF on his website. You should be able to find someone there. it’s getting more and more recognition as people see the anecdotal evidence & doctors like Dr Fung, Noakes, Eenfeldt & Hallberg get their research out there.


Some constructive criticism…..

You need to put the headline and text ABOVE the picture, not below it. You posted this article above a picture of a man. It’s very disorienting and non-intuitive

The headline should come first then the picture.


Congratulations, Elizabeth on your efforts & results & determinations. The credit goes to Dr.Jason Fung who continue to help all T2 community around the world.Keep up good work.

Dear Dr Fung, I am also from South Africa, and have experienced almost exactly what Elizabeth has gone through! My experiences have been so similar and I have been led solely by your IDM and related websites after your visit to Cape Town last year which I picked up in a Dr T Noakes online article. I worked through your whole blog!!! The lack of cohesive and correct information and guidance from professional resources here has been very frustrating, especially when it comes to the actual and practical medical advice required to assist us with your approach and guidelines. I… Read more »
Wow, Elizabeth, that is awesome. Personally, I wouldn’t be too concerned about blood cholesterol. In my opinion, the relationship between blood cholesterol and heart disease is sketchy, at best. If you’re looking for information in this area, this is a good website, and he has a good book in this area, too: http://drmalcolmkendrick.org/ If you want more information, I could provide you with several more books. I exercise all the time while fasting such as missing breakfast, missing breakfast and lunch, not eating all day, or not eating for several days. I’ve exercised several times while not eating for several… Read more »

For Vic,


This is an old article but it has good information about nephropathy, not sure if that is exactly what you’re looking for, but very interesting.

Anne M. Muasya

Congratulations Liz. You have done a splendid job without help.

Nancy J

Wow, what an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing it Elizabeth. The only shame is that you had to do this all with no help from people in the health professions!

Dear Elizabeth: I love your pre-start photo with the great smile and beautiful brown eyes; she was beautiful when she was young but had undiagnosed metabolic syndrome. I had it too, found my way to Drs. Eades book PROTEIN POWER LIFEPLAN 6 years ago, now my metabolic syndrome is gone due to strict low-carb high-fat diet that I’ll never abandon. Because I’ve become so used to this way of eating and because I feel so great when I eat this way (and because my weight went down 25% after losing lots of body fat, I would never risk another round… Read more »

Hi Hazel, I have been searching for a family practice doctor who will support and help me with LCHF and reversing metabolic syndrome. Can you tell me who you doctor is or what town? I only live one state away from you and it would give me great pleasure to find a doc who is only perhaps an hour or so away from where I live. Thank you so much.


Elizabeth: I meant to say that you resemble my mother. Sorry to leave that out. I’m cheering for you.

Peter Lawton

To Elizabeth and Jason.
I also live in South Africa, and can corroborate the observation that local doctors seem unable to understand the problem, or unwilling to go against standard practice. I’ve had some fairly pointed exchanges (face-to-face and by e-mail) about chols, statins, fasting and postprandial insulin testing etc .This very morning on national radio the obesity/diabetes topic is being discussed and the usual misunderstanding is being displayed by ‘experts’.
Thanks for reporting this life-changing experience.

Marty Kendall

Thanks Jason and Elizabeth for the kind mention of the blog. 🙂

Gopika Rani Rao

Kudos to Elizabeth. It isn’t easy to do lchf diet and sticking to fasting religiously. Appreciate your courage and I’m very happy for you.

As always – Dr. Fung – Thanks for touching people’s life and making the difference. Your deep research and spreading the awareness will help the world with better and healthier lives.


Congratulations Elizabeth! You have travelled far, and alone too. 😀


Congratulations to Elizabeth & congratulations to Dr. Fung & Dr. Eenfelt, intellectual pioneers who are literally saving lives. What you are doing and your global reach is simply astonishing.



Congratulations. Would love to hear more about your HIIT & Fasting regimen. Your response in detail will be of much help to me.



Howzit Elizabeth! Fantastic! Congrats and thanks for sharing. Your story came at the right time for me as I am going through a minor challenge with my fasting. Thanks for the shared motivation! All the best!

Neuropathy: been severely diabetic for decades on insulin 6 times a day, 83kg and 6ft, I recently got into ITU in London with a later diagnosed Guillain Barre syndrome that causes paralysis thru nerve insulation stripping. My feet worse effected, most have feet and hands disabled in a wheel chair for a while if survive. If my mum were about she would recognise my Polio, the symptoms are identical. Flu jab’s mercury and other friends caused this( see flu jab info sheet) and I had 7 of this free cumulative poison. Some things have helped with my recovery, now a… Read more »
Liz Hobson
Hi Anderson. …I fast according to how it fits into my week. ..mostly I eat on Sunday afternoon at about 4 then the same again on Tuesday and Thursday. I never fast on the weekend. I do hiit on a Saturday morning and then eat a late brunch ….This is also the day I will have a treat. However sometimes I will fast from a Tuesday through to the Saturday. If I feel deprived I know I will quit so if I’m out or on holiday I try to make good choices. Hiit also works with how it fits into… Read more »

Above I left out the B12 I take, a key supplement for my nerve repair. I do not supplement with its essential friend folate as my green juice has abundance ( folate= foliar = green leaves). Lack of B12 causes nerve damage and needs stomach acidity to absorb. Older people tend to have low stomach acidity


Dear Dr. Jason.
I came across your w/site…read the articles and am inspired to do the fasting, my question is that if someone is prediabetis or just to improve their health ,does this fast ,does this fasting has to be done for the rest of their life, on and off?…
Please could you guide me for the betterment of my health..


Just been watching on BBC iplayer trust-me-im-a-doctor-series-4-episode-4 they compare which foods spike blood sugar in 2 women, same age eating same foods but one has a high waist to height ratio. Just as Dr Fung says the foods that did not spike her sugar all had quite a high fatty component and her companion could eat the foods the thinner one could not. Interestingly the thinner one’s biome was much more diverse and healthier whilst the fatter was not and associated with diabetes etc. What is hopeful is that the lady with larger waist, on switching to the fattier foods… Read more »
Shuba Raj
Dear Dr. Fung, Greetings. I’ve been following your blogs and have been on LCHF for the last 5 months. I have two questions. 1. Elizabeth (from South Africa) mentions in her letter that she realized from your website that Metformin should not be taken on fasting days. I could not find the reference for that. Could you please explain why we Metformin should not be taken on fasting days? 2. Your analogy of the freezer in the basement makes a lot of sense. My question is about the HF part of LCHF; if I keep eating an HF diet, how… Read more »

OMG. That’s so shocking, although I encountered the same problem in Ireland. I now live in Germany and found that there are more enlightened physicians that understand the benefits of fasting and LCHF. It’s so bad that patients have to take matters into their own hands just because Drs. turn into gatekeepers (ever tried to get Natural Desiccated Thyroid Extract rather than synthetic meds?) rather than informing themselves and helping. Well done Elisabeth! You’re a real inspiration!

I came across this post when searching for doctors in South Africa who understand Intermittent Fasting! Thanks so much to Elizabeth for the inspirational story and for Dr Fung for providing so much great info on this site! Unfortunately your “Affiliates” page now appears to be down but I got the name of Dr Solomon from the article and plan to look him up. My story is very similar to Elizabeth’s and, although I am making progress on my own, I am nowhere near where I want to be. Incidentally I also followed the X-Diet when it was all the… Read more »

Monique, I don’t know whether you will see this response, but if you need support I would encourage you to go to one of the support groups on Facebook. A good one is Fung Shweigh for Diabetes/Metabolic Issues Inspired by Dr Fung. Good luck.