Jim, a 61-year old from Oregon, USA, struggled with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure for years despite carefully following conventional health advice.
Fortunately, he decided to try something very different and went on the keto diet.
“I lost 60 pounds (27 kilos) and normalized my blood-sugar levels in just 100 days. My blood markers are still improving and I’ve been able to reduce my medications,” Jim says.
In this interview, which we’ve edited lightly for length and clarity, Jim shares his health journey, what he eats in a typical day, and how to get the right mindset for a lifestyle change.
How did you discover keto or low carb?
I discovered low carb online and got started under my doctor’s advice, guidance, and care. My low-carb physician is and has been fantastic for guidance, but I’ve realized that ultimately, it’s up to you to figure you out!
Did you have any health or weight struggles before going low carb or keto?
I was obese, had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, and fatty liver disease.
What were you eating before making this lifestyle change?
I followed the food pyramid and conventional advice for people with type 2 diabetes from my health maintenance organization (HMO). I now call this the old school way, and it was literally killing me.
In what ways has your health improved since starting keto?
I started keto on June 1, 2019. I lost 60 pounds (27 kilos) and normalized my blood-sugar levels in just 100 days. My blood markers are still improving and I’ve been able to reduce my medications.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you now?
I eat breakfast around noon and usually have one meat protein source (like sugar-free bacon, sausage, or lean steak), eggs, avocado, coffee, and water.
I have my second and last meal around 5 to 7 PM. It’s usually lean pork, beef, fish, or chicken together with broccoli or cauliflower rice, a 50/50 salad mix with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.
Have you made any mistakes on your journey (which you’ve learned from)?
I’ve learned that sugar-free products often have hidden ingredients like maltodextrin. It’s very important to read labels and understand ingredients. These days, I make my own sugar-free Jello because of this.
Do you think exercise is necessary for success on low carb?
No — and I’m a perfect example of this. When I started low carb, I was unable to exercise as I had a blown-out back. Still, weight loss happened without exercise. Nowadays, I do exercise after having had back surgery. Five days per week, I walk 10 miles (16 kilometers) in two hours. I want to emphasize that I have not lost any weight from this, but it has helped me improve my heart health.
What are your top tips for people starting low carb?
Be patient with yourself, but also be firm in your resolve. DO NOT GIVE IN! I had many more reasons to start low carb than just weight loss: heart health, blood-sugar control, and much more. Try to find your whys and stick with it. After a couple of weeks, you’ll find that you have tremendous self-control when it comes to food since it’s a natural response for the body not to crave sugar once you create the right environment.
Educate yourself. Read books, watch videos, and be the best advocate for yourself. Take personal responsibility: You are the person responsible for your success! If it is to happen, it’s up to you.
Don’t tell anyone what you are doing. Many naysayers will tell you a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t start low carb. Please don’t listen to them and learn what works for you instead. Find low-carb support groups and use Diet Doctor. You will discover that there’s so much to eat. Enjoy the journey! Don’t spend time thinking about what you can’t eat and focus on what you can enjoy instead.
Keep it simple, and the rest will come along. Personally, I don’t track macros and such. I think you can get hung up in analysis paralysis. Trust that you will learn what works for you over time.
More with Jim
You can listen to Jim telling his story in his own words in this YouTube video.
Congrats on your fantastic success, Jim! I especially like your message to be patient and find your why. You are absolutely correct that there are many more reasons to go low carb beyond just weight loss. Come for the weight loss, stay for the numerous health benefits!
Thanks again for sharing your story.
/ Dr. Bret Scher
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