After sitting his final Senior Six examinations at St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) in 2016, Ronald Bette started looking for work. He wanted to keep pre-occupied as he waited for the results to be released.
So, in 2017, he was lucky to get a contract, working under his uncle’s guidance and leadership. The duo would often travel to Kiboga District in Central Uganda to buy cows and sell them in Lira District, northern Uganda.
“This kind of work basically propelled us to often eat beef and take lots of milk,” Bette says. This cause weight gain and by the time Bette enrolled for a Bachelor of Engineering in Telecommunications at Kyambogo University in August 2017, he was already overweight.
In fact, during a health mandatory test for all first year students, it was discovered that his blood pressure was very high. “I was urged to reduce my meat intake and to exercise,” he says.
Bette heeded to the advice. He reduced his meat intake and started jogging. “The problem, however, was the inconsistence,” Bette says, adding that he would lose weight but then relax and go back to eating unhealthy foods.
He completed his course in 2011. In 2012, he enrolled for a Master of Science in Technology Innovation and Industrial Development at Makerere University. He graduated in 2016 and got married the same year.
Health and wife’s concerns
“After marriage, I just kept gaining weight and with time, my breathing became laboured coupled with physical exhaustion. Although I tried jogging once in a while, control my eating habits, I just kept gaining weight,” Bette says.
His wife became concerned and urged him to lose weight. She went to the extent of taking him to Wellcare Ltd in Bugolobi, Kampala, a wellness facility that helps individuals find a better way to living and health. She also introduced him to one of her friends, a man who had previously struggled with weight but had eventually managed to lose it. Bette bonded easily with the man and infact, the two became good friends.
“I remember him telling me that the body is like a generator which burns a certain amount of fuel a day. And, if one supplies more than the required fuel, it stores the rest as fat. So, the trick is to eat less than what the body requires and it will make up for the difference by utilising one’s fat,” Bette recalls.
In addition, the man advised Bette to avoid eating certain foods. “I followed his advise diligently for about two months. However, I was disappointed after noticing no results despite the fact that I had really limited my food intake,” he says.
In 2018, Bette subscribed to Audible, an online service provided by Amazon. It involves one paying a certain amount of money per month and thereafter, the subscriber can be allocated an audio book of their choice. Some of the books he subscribed to include; The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss by Jason Fung, The Diabetes Code, also by Jason Fung and The Case against sugar by Gary Taubes, among others.
“After reading the books, I realised why I was not losing weight. I discovered that when a person is obese and has a big stomach, it means they have a condition called insulin resistance which determines how fat one is,” he says.
Therefore, while bearing in mind that he had the same condition, Bette opted to do intermittent fasting, advice he picked from one of the audio books.
“The approach that worked best for me was cancelling breakfast with the logic that from the time one has eaten dinner, it takes their body 10 to 12 hours to use up all the energy from that previous meal. So, after the 12 hours, one is purely making up for energy requirements from the fat deposits,” he says.
In the beginning, Bette would not eat breakfast while continuing to eat lunch and supper. Over time, he also stopped eating lunch and only opted for supper.
In 2018, Bette weighed 125kgs, his heaviest ever. Currently, he weights 99Kgs.
“My target, however, is 90kgs and I am still applying the same knowledge from the books to reach my goal and once I get there, I want to maintain that weight,” he concludes.
Bette’s current diet
What he eats : “I eat a lot of foods rich in proteins, fat and vegetables. These include beef, chicken, meat, fish, pork and eggs. Some of the vegetables I eat include the cruciferous type such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.”
What he does not eat/ drink: “I always try to stay away from anything with sugar including soda and fruits (even though they have natural sugars). I also hardly eat highly refined carbohydrates that quickly turn into sugar such as wheat foods including bread and cakes,” Bette says.
This is after discovering that as soon as one eats highly processed grains, their body turns them into sugar. And from what I learnt from the different books is that fat does not make one fat, but rather, sugars and anything that quickly turns into sugar in one’s body is what makes them fat,” he adds.