While he was never obese, Jim Zwahlen always found himself 40 to 50 pounds (18 to 23 kg) overweight. Throughout his adult life, even after attempting various diets and exercise plans, he found he would lose weight with some success—45 pounds (20 kg) in 2005, for example—but success slipped away and despite everything he found himself on three different medications for pre-diabetes and high cholesterol.
“I had a corporate, high stress job, and ate poorly. I would stress-eat chips and other junk food,” said Zwahlen. “I tried the Atkins diet in the 1990s but when my cholesterol soared, I was put on statins and dropped the diet.”
It was road-biking combined with a low-fat diet that contributed to Zwahlen’s 2005 weight loss, but the carb loading he did to prepare for biking also contributed to his pre-diabetic diagnosis. “Oh, the irony of losing 45 pounds, becoming aerobically fit, and becoming a pre-diabetic and now being on three medications!” he said.
Zwahlen moved to Canada for four years. There his bike riding subsided and his weight began to creep back upward. But upon his return to the U.S. in 2015 he worked with his general practitioner to get off all his medication, cold turkey. While his blood glucose proved to be OK after the “medication vacation,” his cholesterol levels were not, forcing him to continue on Lipitor.
It was May 2018 when Zwalen’s wife heard about keto from a friend and urged him to give it a try. Since then, he has heavily researched keto, insulin, and the effects of a high-fat diet on blood lipids. His research led him to Dr. Berg’s videos.
“We have several couples in our neighborhood who are eating keto and we share recipes, meals, and stories,” Zwahlen said. “Also, I have found a couple of great keto communities online including Dr. Berg’s, which helps fine-tune the nutrition and address concerns.”
While his main reason for starting keto was to get into better health and improve his diabetes, Zwalen admits that he was also concerned about appearance. “I am just under 6 foot and have a very small frame, so I don’t carry excess weight well (all in my stomach),” he explained. “I started the keto lifestyle and began dropping about 1.5 pounds per week, and now have lost 25 pounds (11 kg) and consider myself at near my ideal weight of 153 pounds (69 kg).”
Beyond losing weight and improving his appearance since eating keto, Zwahlen has improved his health immensely. He can move better, his sinus and allergy issues are better, and he breathes much easier. “My wife reports that my snoring is no more!” he said. “Even when I was thin years ago, she said I still snored. Now I’m so quiet, she says she has to check to see if I’m still breathing!”
Additionally, his acid reflux is resolved, his gut feels 100% better, and his mood is more stable now that he’s off the sugar rollercoaster. He says he’s no longer a slave to food. “I am committed to this lifestyle and would gladly make any changes to improve [my health].”
Zwahlen lives near Greenville, SC and hopes to see Dr. Berg at the keto event there next year.
Favorite Way to Exercise: Spinning class and road biking
Favorite Keto Recipe: Bacon, chicken parmesan, and mini keto cheesecakes with berries and whipped cream