Airway Heights resident Shawn Impett decided to restrict carbohydrates and sugar in his diet, leading to a 130-pound weight loss.
Impett, 43, once tipped the scale at 335 pounds but dropped to his goal weight of 205 in December 2018 after starting the ketogenic diet in the previous year. Along with keto, he follows an intermittent fasting plan and has kept the weight off for more than a year.
He also attends a Spokane Valley Take Off Pounds Sensibly group, which he joined in 2010 and credits for its members’ support. His mother had first tried keto’s high-fat, low-carbohydrate eating plan, so he began soon after.
“When my mom and her friend found the keto diet, I started doing it,” he said. “I found that I had more energy, and the pounds were dropping off quickly, so I thought, ‘There is something to this.’
“I started doing it more seriously, and I kept showing better and better results.”
Keto is short for ketosis, a metabolic state when the liver begins to use stored fat to produce ketones for energy. It happens if the body loses access to its preferred fuel from carbohydrates. Health professionals often caution people to incorporate foods such as green vegetables and whole grains.
Impett cut out certain foods such as one favorite: chips. He consumes more fatty proteins, including eggs and beef, and has gone to a one-meal-a-day model.
He said his health and energy have improved significantly. With the weight off, Impett doesn’t have the symptoms of two prior-diagnosed medical conditions – essential tremors and atrial fibrillation.
“The symptoms of those have pretty much gone away,” he said. “It’s really beneficial to lose the weight and to get rid of the bad foods.”
About eight years ago, the atrial fibrillation had caused heart palpitations and, at times, a racing heartbeat.
“Back in February 2012, I woke up with my heart just beating rapidly. I went to the hospital, and my heart beats were at 220 beats per minute. Plus, I could kind of feel light flutters, which were the palpitations.
“That’s when I was diagnosed with AFib. For a while, I was on a very light dosage of medication, but it was just to keep my heartbeat regular. Since I’ve lost the weight, every once in a while I’ll have a little flutter here and there, but it’s very rare now. I’m off the medication.”
He no longer takes medication for tremors, which previously caused problems for writing and eating soup, he said. Talking about health is part of Impett’s comeback when people tell him they can’t cut back on certain foods.
“A lot of my friends have asked me what I have done, and when I tell them, ‘You have to get rid of the sugar and the carbs,’ they say that they can’t get rid of those,” he said.
“You’ve got to make a decision on what’s more important, the food or your health. I made the decision that my health is more important than the food. Are they themselves more important than the food? Once they have made that decision, it becomes easier to lose weight.”
This time, he also did research and learned how to maintain his weight, he said.
“I had previously lost weight through Weight Watchers and had gotten down to 160 pounds, but, after a bad marriage, I gained it all back, plus some,” Impett added. “But when I previously lost weight, I was almost starving myself. I didn’t really know why and how to get the weight off.
“This time, I knew what I was doing and how to keep it off. I’ve already kept it off for over a year. Having more information makes it easier.”
Today, he’s a co-leader of his TOPS group. Impett received the 2018 TOPS Washington King award, recognized at a state conference last year. Impett uses strategies to keep on track such as what to do at restaurants.
“I’ve switched more to a kind of carnivore-type keto, but every once in a while I’ll have vegetables,” he said. “Mostly, it’s when I go to restaurants with my TOPS friends because restaurants don’t have plain meat plates.
So at a Mexican restaurant, for example, he said he’ll ask for fajitas but skip the beans and rice. “I’ll eat the guacamole that comes with it. It’s a good source of fats.”
His daily activity happens at work where he is a cook for a Zip’s restaurant, he said. On the job, he usually averages about 8,000 steps a day.
“I’m also doing what’s called one meal a day,” Impett said. “I’ve found for me that with intermittent fasting and keto together, it’s very powerful in a good way. It works a lot better than keto by itself or intermittent fasting by itself.”
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