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Who: Chris Wise, 42
Where: Los Angeles
Time with Levels: Four months
Most Useful Takeaway: Sugar-free creamer, a so-called “free” food, was one of the main sources behind high blood sugar spikes.
1. What was your health like before Levels?
I’m very focused on my health. I’ve been working out with a trainer for 18 years, going to the gym three to five times per week to do weights and cardio. I’ve also seen a nutritionist in the past—eating high-protein, low-fat and low-carb, though, within the past year, I’ve moved towards a keto-based diet. I take several different supplements, and I’m really into biohacking. Dave Asprey and David Sinclair are two experts I follow closely.
2. What made you want to put a CGM on your arm?
I can’t seem to bring my body fat percentage down. I’ve always hovered around 20% to 22% body fat, though it got as high as 26% during the pandemic.
My diet has always been the barrier. I love to eat good food. When I travel to new cities, I like to go to nice restaurants. But I also love cheeseburgers and pancakes. It’s that diet that’s kept me from getting to my goal of 12% body fat. In 2019, I worked with a trainer for a year and got down to 17.5% body fat, but, honestly, it wasn’t easy, and I had to be perfect with my eating. One mistake, like a piece of cheese or candy, and I couldn’t drop any weight.
Recently, I had been working with a doctor who was 50 years old. He started at 26% body fat and dropped to 12% in six months. The key, he said, was having a CGM and measuring his ketones. After watching a video of Casey Means introducing Levels, I signed up hoping that this was the answer to 18 years of struggle.
3. How has the CGM prompted you to change your eating habits?
What I learned from the CGM was that some of the foods that I thought were insignificant were having adverse effects on my glucose. The biggest thing causing a problem was the sugar-free creamer I had every morning in my coffee. That would spike me to 150 mg/dL, and so I cut it out. I also like donuts. I expected that I’d get an initial glucose spike, but it was surprising that eating one would keep my blood sugar elevated for 24 hours. With the immediate feedback of the CGM, when I noticed something spike me, I’d stop eating it. Plus, I didn’t want my levels to get into the red and get a low zone score.
4. What are foods or meals that consistently keep your glucose stable?
About 60% of my food intake is on-diet, meaning it’s mainly meat and vegetables, with vegetables and some fruit being my only source of carbs. A breakfast that keeps me stable is steak and eggs.
The other 40% are any foods that I want. I don’t worry about my glucose levels as much, but I find that they remain pretty stable. Controlling my blood sugar, in general, pays off when I go off my diet and have pizza, a cheeseburger, or something sweet. The other day, I ate two tablespoons of Nutella, and my glucose didn’t go over 100 mg/dL, and it came back down in an hour, which is pretty great.
Intermittent fasting has also helped. My fast is 18 hours with a six-hour eating window. I have one meal at noon and the other at six p.m. Sometimes I mix things up and eat three meals a day. Other days I won’t eat at all and will do as long as a 40-hour fast. Or, I won’t eat until the evening and have one large meal. I think the variety has been helpful for me.
That said, in my third month with Levels, my progress began to slow. I think I became too loose with my diet. My plan from now on is to tighten my carb intake for five days per week, and then two days per week, I’ll be a little more lenient. Based on what I’ve seen while using Levels, I’m confident that this will get my body back into a better state, and I can continue to lose weight.
5. What type of results have you seen?
I’m at 17% body fat right now, down from 26% in February. Not only is this great progress, but I got to this point without the diet strictness I had to follow before. It’s the combination of intermittent fasting and using the CGM that has accelerated my metabolic health optimization. I finally feel like I’ve cracked the code on my body.