Nearly two years ago, Phyllis Powell began a new food regimen with her husband. Though the couple had hoped for good results, it’s hard to tell whether they really expected the improvements that followed.
Powell retired in January 2018 after serving nearly 28 years as city clerk in Jefferson City. For her, retirement was an opportunity to take on some new challenges.
“When 2018 rolled around, both my husband and I had reached a point that we knew we needed to do something about our health,” Powell wrote on the Low Carb JC website. “I retired on January 5, and this was my chance to concentrate on something besides my work. I had some health issues that were concerning and maybe being retired would give me time to work on those issues.”
Those issues included trouble sleeping without over-the-counter aids and the development of atrial fibrillation, also known as Afib, which is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to things such as blood clots, stroke and heart failure. Powell said the medication she was prescribed came with a list of side effects that scared her, so she put the pills away without ever opening it.
Her cholesterol had also been climbing; another problem that could be helped by a medication that came with a long list of scary potential side effects that Powell had no interest in risking.
Her husband had developed his own health issues, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and serious skin issues.
And, in Powell’s words, they were both overweight.
So after she retired, her husband began his research.
The couple had tried other diets in the past, but no matter what method they used, Powell said they always had the same downside: they left them hungry.
After all his research, Powell’s husband decided they would try Atkins, a low-carb diet they began to undertake in March 2018. Now more widely known as Keto, Powell said the couple has stayed on the diet for almost two years.
“The very first thing I did was climb up onto my kitchen counters and take every food out of my cabinets and read all the labels. Carb-loaded foods were either thrown away or given away,” Powell wrote on the Low Carb JC website.
They used free online trackers to help as they started the new food plan, something Powell said was a huge help.
After a few weeks, they began to see positive results. Powell’s husband saw his average blood sugar drop to normal levels. After three months, his levels were found to be in the non diabetic range.
And they were losing weight. Noticeably so.
“It got to the point where, after several months, everywhere we would go, people would notice (the difference),” Powell said. “They would start asking questions … so I told him, ‘you know, I’m going to start a Facebook group.'”
That way, she said, she could answer everyone’s questions one time in one spot. But her husband, a web designer, took it one step further, creating the Low Carb JC website at lowcarbjc.com. The site contains posts from Powell about the couple’s journey, tips on how to start Keto, recipe suggestions and lists of Keto-friendly restaurants and dishes. The Facebook group, of the same name, allows people to share their own tips, recipes and milestones from their journeys, all while encouraging and helping each other stay on track. It currently has roughly 150 members.
Powell said having this community has helped her discover new recipes and encourages her to keep going, something other members share among their group.
She said she’s been amazed by the results she’s seen throughout the last two years. She is no longer suffering from Afib and has found she sleeps better at night without aids. Her cholesterol has gone back to normal. And she’s lost 55 pounds.
After trying so many different diets and exercise regimens without success, Powell said she has developed a more critical mind when it comes to conventional medicine. She is adamantly opposed to the oft repeated idea of “eat less, move more,” as her Keto experience improved not only her waistline but her overall health without cutting overall calorie counts or adding exercise.
While everyone is different and no diet will work for everyone, Powell said everyone should keep an open mind and learn as much as they can on their own.
“Don’t take anything at face value,” Powell said.