Who: Lee Patrick, 65
Where: Davie, FL
Time with Levels: 4 months
Found Levels Through: Mark Hyman and Katie Wells, founder of the blog “Wellness Mama”
What’s your overall approach to health heading into this?
I’ve always eaten healthy and exercised. I am one of those people that my friends and relatives will come to for health advice. My husband and I eat very well, mostly organic, but without being neurotic about it. In the past, I didn’t eat much protein. If we were grilling a steak, I’d eat maybe a third. Instead, I always ate some “healthy” carbohydrates, such as brown rice or sweet potato. Most people would look at our dinner and think “This person is eating really well!”
That said, I’ve struggled with weight for ages. I would go on a lower calorie diet, lose weight, and eventually, the pounds would come back. It’s one of those things where you do everything “right” and, yet, something is just not working.
Why did you want to put a CGM on your arm?
I didn’t start the program to lose weight but to understand my metabolism. Over the years, I’ve been counseled to follow a variety of diets. I have been vegan and paleo and gluten-free. A DNA nutrition test suggested that my diet be 55% carbs. That was too many carbs, and I didn’t feel good. Another test showed entirely different results.
“Losing weight without dieting has been a wonderful surprise. In my mind, it has been effortless.”
I started to wonder if maybe my body just didn’t process carbs correctly. So I removed things like white rice, pasta, and potatoes from my diet. I still felt like something was off, but I didn’t understand what was going on or what to do about it.
When the pandemic happened, I started baking bread, pies, and cakes—because that’s what people did—and eating more comfort meals. Within six months, the pounds started to creep on again and my jeans were uncomfortable. While the CGM wasn’t necessarily a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, I did start it this January after holiday temptations.
What was one thing you learned that surprised you?
The most unexpected response I’ve gotten was seeing a spike in glucose after eating my go-to healthy foods. I thought I was doing a great job! I learned that sweet potatoes, whole milk, plain yogurt, and whole grains are a ‘no’ for me. Most protein bars are off-limits.
The biggest shock came from my breakfast, which was a millet lavash with melted cheese and arugula. It was my favorite and I ate it every day. But that wonderful breakfast? It wasn’t a good choice for my blood sugar. Now, I’ve switched to coffee and half and half, eggs, sausage, and low-carb toast, and I’m seeing a much better glucose response.
What was something you learned that wasn’t about food?
For years now, I would throw myself out of bed and get on my exercise bike for 30 minutes to wake up. Then, I’d have breakfast. Now, having seen how exercise helps blood sugar after a meal, I ride for 20 minutes after both breakfast and lunch. I know there’s a bit of a delay between the activity and blood sugar response, but I will check to make sure that it’s coming down. If not, I might stay on the bike a little longer. I also take a 30-minute walk after dinner.
What’s one thing you think will stick with you after the program?
At this point, I plan to stay on the program. Originally, I decided that I’d try this for four weeks, but that really wasn’t enough time. It’s helped me modify what I eat tremendously. Having real-time feedback and insight into how food affects your body helps create new habits. I’m more active. I don’t snack between meals.
Losing weight without dieting has been a wonderful surprise. Like other women my age, the extra weight seems to go right to the belly, and it’s tough to lose. Since January, I’ve lost about 15pounds and my stomach is so much flatter. In my mind, it has been effortless.